How do I manage to stay fit when I am away from home?
Travelling, as exciting as it can be, can easily become a source of stress for those concerned about staying in shape or continuing their weight loss program.
Whether you are on vacation or travelling for a business meeting – being away from home does not mean you get to fall off track. You might not have the equipment you are used to and you may not have the time to prepare all your meals. Still, with these 15 Tips you will not only prevent weight gain but also enjoy your time away from home.
Stay fit on vacation
1. Schedule your workouts for the whole week
I do this for my home workouts too, as I like to organize my days. There are always many different things I plan to do and as a medical student some of my seminars’ schedules might interfere with my own plan.
On vacation, you want to explore the environment, spend time with family and friends and just relax at the beach. That’s okay! Just schedule your workouts beforehand, so that you can enjoy your time and still commit to your health and fitness.
Sometimes, plans might change. It actually happened a lot to me during vacation last summer this. But if you have planned out your week, you can adjust your schedule easier and still make sure to get in good workouts.
2. Have access to Internet? Use it!
If you have access to internet, make use of the awesome workout videos YouTube has to offer.
I like to workout with fitness videos because it motivates me much more. At home, I like to do my own workouts and I lift heavier.
On vacation, finding the motivation to workout can be tough. Especially if your environment is very hot and humid. Whenever I felt like that on this vacation, I put on my workout clothes (bikini) and just pressed “play” on the video. Once the video started playing, I forgot how comfy the couch was and got motivated.
My favorite workout videos are by Fitnessblender but there are a lot of different fitness videos on YouTube. You can find Yoga classes, Pilates, HIIT, Strength Training … .
3. No access to Internet? Download!
If you don’t have access to internet, you can download videos from YouTube for free.
You can still work out with videos by downloading them beforehand. I did that, as I didn’t know if I would have access to internet. Here is a free YouTube video downloader for Mac you can use.
4. Fitness is Fun
Fitness should be fun and not interfere with activities you would like to do with your family/friends. It is not a duty, it is your choice to commit to your health. Nobody is forcing you to work out. The only person you compete with is yourself. In fact, beating myself every time I work out, lifting heavier or completing more repetitions, is a very rewarding feeling.
5. Be active
You do not necessarily have to work out! If you spend your whole day active, you can still stay in shape and healthy. Only use the car/taxi for longer distances, try to walk as much as possible. Explore your environment and have fun moving your body.
6. Try different sports/activities
Hiking, cycling, swimming, dancing, yoga, anything that gets your body moving. Before I started strength training and HIIT, I was not able to dance, do yoga or take part in ball sports because I was lacking flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. This year, I managed to swim from one shore to the other in 25 Minutes (year before was 45 min). Accomplishments like this motivate me to keep going and I am constantly trying to improve myself.
7. Pay attention to your environment
Are you at the beach? You might not be used to work out in the heat and it could make you feel dizzy. Don’t push too hard the first workouts and drink lots of water.
If you are working out in a cold environment, it is even more important to warm up properly. Instead of the usual 5 min Cardio, do 10 min and spend more time foam rolling and lightly stretching. Do not forget to properly activate the Glutes before you do Squats/ Deadlifts.
8. Make mindful choices
Eat until you are 80 % full and eat 90% of the time healthy. To me, clean eating means eating food that has one ingredient. Also, at every restaurant there is chicken or lean beef with vegetables, or fish.
If you want to enjoy a treat, do not make it a “cheat day”. Decide what you want to allow yourself and try to stick to healthy choices the rest of the day. That way you will not feel guilty. For example, I love anything with chocolate. So, if we went to a restaurant, I would eat fish and vegetables and then as a dessert enjoy some ice-cream or mousse-au-chocolat.
Change your macros according to your activity level. You do not need to eat less because you are on vacation and not lifting weights! For example, if you are working out plus swimming and walking, you need more carbohydrates (if your goal is to speed up the metabolism). Even if you want to lose weight, don’t cut down the carbs. You can still stay in a slight caloric deficit to lose weight but make sure to balance out your macronutrients and not give your body the impression you are fasting.
Try to have protein at each meal you eat and a balance of healthy fats and carbohydrates. Protein is important to prevent muscle loss and speed up the metabolism. Also, it will decrease hunger and keep you satiated.
10. Check out the grocery store:
There are always clean healthy foods in grocery stores. We bought a lot of vegetables, fruits, goat cheese, turkish cottage cheese, whole wheat bread, tahini, tuna, chicken, lean beef, sea bass, eggs, chickpeas… I even found a whole wheat flat bread to prepare wraps!
11. Be prepared
If you have allergies/ food intolerance, take your medications with you and maybe also some food essentials. My mum and me are lactose-intolerant and took some curd with us, as we did not know if there was cottage cheese at the beach. We also took our own flours (almond-, coconut-, buckwheat) to prepare pancakes and cookies.
I strongly recommend anyone who is on the fitness path to purchase bands, ankle weights
and balance balls. This additional equipment will help you to address body parts more thoroughly. Some of these can be taken anywhere because they are light and don’t take much space. I took my resistance bands with me and my ankle weights
13. Commit to your health
The people you are surrounded with might not understand why you work out even on vacation. I heard this sentence a lot “You are on vacation, why can’t you take it easy for once and do nothing?“.
Now, if I would only be gone for a week, I could definitely rest and instead stay active otherwise.
However, I was at the beach for 4 1/2 weeks. Seriously?!
Anyone who is involved in fitness and enjoys working out, will understand that doing absolutely nothing for such a long time will not only lead to strength and muscles loss but also make you feel miserable. I love working out because it keeps me pain-free and I care for my body.
Dedication is key here. I tried to explain to those people why I work out every day but unfortunately, most of the time they didn’t understand. So, I just kept doing my own thing and did not listen to their comments.
14. Don’t make fitness and healthy nutrition a source of stress.
You are on vacation to de-stress and relax and you want to come back home refreshed. If you constantly stress about every calorie you ate or every workout you missed, you are not doing yourself a favor. In fact, prolonged elevated Cortisol levels (the stress hormone, more about that in future posts) can lead to weight gain, as the fat burning metabolic pathways are depressed.
Even if you overeat a couple of days, you will not lose all your progress. It is not the end of the world if you gain 1-2 kg on vacation. Once you get back home, you can continue where you stopped.
15. Enjoy your time off!
- Mixture of HIIT and Bodyweight Strength Training
- Used resistance bands, ankle weights
- I found a sports center and bought 2×5 kg DB’s
- Took oats, curd, quinoa with me for the first days
- We went to restaurants on special occasions. Food I had: either chicken (grilled or crock pot) or fish
- Enjoyed treats 2-3 times every week
- I had protein at each meal
- Ate good quality carbohydrates: vegetables, quinoa/wild rice, whole wheat flat bread
- Good fats: olives, tahini, cooked with sesame oil and olive oil
- We went swimming every day plus walking to explore the city
- Workouts 5x/week mostly total body (as I didn’t lift heavy I didn’t get sore)
- I lost 2kg but no muscle mass at all, I got leaner
Conclusion: Successful vacation!
How about you? What are your Tips to Stay on track when you are not at home?