Vacations, while relaxing, can be extremely hard when you’re on a health and wellness plan. Typically on vacation we over indulge, get out of our regular sleep patterns, workout routines and consume more alcohol. The trip itself can be hard enough, but getting back on track can be even harder. With that being said, I’ve come up with some tips to help you stay on track, and get back on track after vacation.

1. Don’t Stress – It’s a Vacation


– Enjoy your vacation: One of the biggest things we see from many clients is a fear of taking a step back while on vacation. Other stresses include work projects, family/friend issues, school, pets and much more. Keep in mind, you work hard for most of the year, you booked the vacation to get away, so make sure you get away. The more you stress about things, the less you’ll enjoy your vacation and it will actually affect your waistline. When you’re more stressed out, your body will be more likely to store body fat.


Let’s get into some tips:


– Disconnect: You’re in a new, exotic place. It’s time to get away from home, work and everything that comes along with it. To disconnect you need to get off social media (who care what Steve is doing, your on vacation!), get away from your e-mails and turn off your cell phone. Be in the moment, be present and enjoy the different sights, sounds and experiences that your vacation will give you.


– Keep an Open Schedule: Don’t over schedule your vacation. While it’s great to have an idea of what you want to do during the vacation, you need to manage your time. While it’s great to rush out and see every possible landmark or tourist attraction during the trip; how nice is it to be able to sleep in? How nice is it to lay on the beach, or go for a sporadic hike? Why stress about getting to bed early to get up at 6am every day and spend all your time on a tour bus, train or boat and not have a chance to unwind. Make a loose agenda, prioritize and be able to enjoy your vacation. This should help with the feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation.  


2. Stay Active


– Try Different Activities: Vacations are a chance to go to new and exciting places so you want to utilize it as much as possible by trying new things and using your environment to the full benefit. Going to Banff? Plan a hike or go cross-country skiing. Going on a cruise? Take a fitness class, jump in the pool or use a rock-climbing wall (yes they have them on cruises). Going all-inclusive? Go on a walking tour, snorkeling, go dancing or play some beach sports.


– Equipment need: Do you need a full gym set up? Squat Rack? Cable machine? Absolutely not! Find easy to do exercises and utilize your own body weight. Squats, lunges, pushups, burpees, and the majority of core and cardio exercises don’t require any equipment, but you can also find easy to use equipment you can pack away such as resistance bands to add a bit more variety to your routine. Looking for a cardio burst? Ditch the treadmill and run in the sand or in the water to add in more muscular engagement, which gets you sweating more.


– Small Changes: Being active isn’t just the exercise side of things; it’s making more changes to the lifestyle. This means that you take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalators, biking to locations rather than taking a cab, and carrying your bag instead of always using the cart.


– Frequency: This will depend on the length of your vacation, but you should be aiming to get some type of physical activity the majority of time you’re there. Typically looking to get a quick workout in every second day of your vacation for 15-30 minutes. Keep the intensity high, time short and go to work


3. Nutrition


 Hydration:


– Water is one of the most well know, underutilized aspects of your health and wellness. Drinking water helps with your digestion, muscle recovery, blood flow, and skin/hair/nail health. Staying at an adequate hydration level can be tough in everyday life, which makes it an afterthought during vacations but this is one of the most important (and easiest) parts of your vacation nutrition. With added physical activity, hotter or humid climates and increased intake in sodium and alcohol your body will be starving for water.  Now when dehydrated, your body has a hard time distinguishing thirst, from hunger; so, when an individual is dehydrated, they are much more likely to overeat. Not only that, but the decrease in water slows down the nutrient absorption rate through the blood stream and the speed in which those nutrients get to the cells to give the body more energy. I could go on all night about why water is good for you, but it will keep you energetic, help keep your skin healthy, prevent headaches or sunstroke and prevent any type of bloating throughout your trip.


– It’s recommended to aim for about 3 litres of water per day on an average day. Aiming for more while on vacation is ideal, so make sure to invest in a good water bottle, and know how many it will take to hit your goal. Keep it full!


– Bonus: Make sure to keep drinking water before, during and after your flights. The low humidity can cause dry skin, sore or bloated extremities; dry eyes, nausea and can lead to an increased risk of catching colds. Keep drinking your water, even if you have to use the washroom more frequent.


Food Choices


– This will be another area that will take a bit more time but very important. I’ll try to come up with more general ideas and leave some time for some question later.


– You are on vacation, you need to keep moderation in your back pocket, and sample delectable foods, don’t just go to town on them. At buffets, don’t load up your plate; take an adequate amount for you. When time comes for dessert, pick one and enjoy it. If you want to try out multiples, split them between friends. You wont need all the sugar, regardless of what your goal is! Try to keep the treats to 1x per day as well.


– Enjoy the local foods. These are fresh and going to be prepared while you are there. Just like at home, avoid the fast foods, as they are usually the unhealthy options. While at these restaurants, be mindful of your sides with what meal option you are picking. If you’re having a burger, you’ll be getting more than enough carbohydrates with the bun, so instead of the fries, the veggies or green salad would be a better pick. Having a steak?  You might have a bit more freedom. Remember, these things add up!


– Pack up some snacks (and eat them). Eating throughout the day will help keep your energy levels and ensure you don’t overeat at other meals. Stopping at a convenience store and picking up some fruit, nuts, beef jerky or precut veggies and carry them around in your bags!


– Plan ahead. Research where you are going, the food options in those areas and review some of the places to go eat. Get a good idea of what to expect and make a bit of a strategy for the trip.


– You’re on vacation, so enjoy yourself! Remember, moderation is the key. Eat until you feel comfortable, don’t eat until you’re full. Most the keys to success don’t differ much while on vacation than your everyday life, except for the fact you can’t meal prep. Again, questions will be opened up a bit later!


Alcohol


– This is a big part to the nutrition side of vacations. While eating a couple different meals here and there is fine, it’s the alcohol consumption that does the real damage. This is my time to be the bad guy. The more you can cut out your alcohol consumption, the more likely you will be to maintain or lose weight on your vacation. Alcohol essentially slows down your metabolism and becomes the priority for your body to metabolize. All other calories that come on during that time are going to essentially be stored as body fat. Your energy levels will fall as well due to the empty calories from the alcohol, and it will dehydrate you. Now it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some tips to help you still have some fun, but not go too overboard.


– For starters, Use our previous tips to help out. Drink your water, stay active, and eat throughout the day so the alcohol doesn’t have as big as an effect.


– Avoid sugary drinks, drink water between drinks, press your drinks & maintain the moderation mindset.


4. Pre-Planning (pre & post)
– Like anything else, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So before going on your vacation, prepare for when you come back as well. It’s a common issue we see around the gym all the time; a client goes away on vacation but doesn’t get back on track until weeks later. Why? Because they are not prepared, and don’t have a plan for when they come back. So how do we combat that? We pre-plan!


– Have your meal choices all picked out for the week you return and have a grocery list ready to roll for when you get back. If you have this done ahead of time, it takes away having to motivate yourself to make these things after you get home and all you want to do is lay on your couch/bed or start playing catch up for your every day life.


– Freeze 2-3 meals before leaving on your trip. Having a few meals already prepared will help prevent the trips to the fast food restaurants or the pre-made, crap filled meals from the grocery store. This gives you something to eat when you get home, and possibly the next day if you don’t have a chance to get groceries.


– Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more.


– Catch up on some sleep! Staying up late and not sleeping in your normal sleep pattern can affect your appetite and how your body processes food. Sleep is essential to producing hormones in your body to repair muscles, improve metabolism and keep your body & mind healthy.


– Prioritize! What is more important? Is doing Laundry immediately after coming back from vacation then going to the grocery store? Do you NEED to unpack everything that first day rather than get a goodnight sleep? Are your e-mails, Facebook notifications, or text messages going to disappear if you don’t answer them as soon as you get home? There is only so much time we have in a day, we need to use it productively otherwise our health and wellness will take a back seat again, and it will be much harder to get back on track & see the results you’d like to see.


In Summery:  Moderation Mindset
Disconnect from technology and enjoy your surroundings
Stay active – go for walks, hikes, swims, workouts; whatever is most appealing to you!
Drink water and stay hydrated 
Preplan for your post vacation
Relax! It’s a vacation  

Rich Hill

CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer

RK Athletics – https://linktr.ee/RK_Athletics

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