You’ve been training for months. You’ve lost a few pounds, regained some muscle definition, and are starting to get some nice comments in the office. You feel great and want to keep this momentum up forever. That elusive six-pack is now well within sight.
Then your hearts sinks. You’re going on holiday next week. You might as well forget those rippled abs. Those gains you’ve made at the gym have already sprouted wings and begun to fly away.
If you're anything like me, that’s the struggle you go through every summer. One step forward and two steps back. It’s a rotten cycle that you’d love nothing more than to break. So, how do you stay fit while on holiday?
Here are ten can’t-miss-ways that you can stay fit, have fun with the family, and not lose those gains that you’ve worked so hard for at the gym.
Avoid the Booze
Most guys don’t like to hear this, but your favourite lager has more calories than your favourite fizzy drink. When you’re at dinner or at the pub, you probably don’t only have one beer. You’re going to have a couple—or six. Typically, at almost 250 calories per pint, beer is definitely your caloric enemy. Mixed drinks don’t help much either. The sugars and mixers hurt you much more than the alcohol itself. Hydrate with water and you’re guaranteed to feel much better.
Don’t Splurge Everyday
I realise that the buffets on the cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts are great and that the fondue fountain never runs dry; however, calories at sea work against your waistline just like they do on land. On holiday, it’s always wise to continue to make healthy choices and choose one day out of the week to really splurge. One easy way to hack vacation meals is to divide the portion in half as soon as it arrives at the table. Take the second half back to your room and it’s easier on your budget too.
Get Plenty of Rest
Vacations are made to spend time with family, to rest, and to refocus for the continued grind at the workplace. Too many men haven’t figured that out yet. We come back from holiday and immediately feel so worn out that we need a vacation from our vacation! Getting enough sleep each night is an integral part of overall health and wellness. When you’re on holiday, go to bed when the kids do. That first yawn is your body telling you that it’s time for bed. Listen to your body and get some much need sleep.
Stay Active with the Little Ones
While you’re at home working too much, you don’t always have the time to play with Junior. Take the time on vacation to play whatever he wants to play, as long as it involves a ball and a little movement. Leave the tablets and game consoles for entertainment at home. Football, basketball, and volleyball are examples of games that don’t require a ton of equipment, space, or large numbers of people. They’ll keep you active and fit and get both you and your daughter off the couch.
Pack the TRX Straps
Invented by a former US Navy Seal, TRX straps are billed as home suspension trainers. They allow you to do anything you’d normally do at the gym—only on vacation. They come in a conveniently portable mesh bag, can be fixed to a basketball rim, a tree branch, or a door frame. If you want a entire body workout that includes those difficult stabilising muscles, don’t forget to pack the TRX straps. I never go on vacation without them.
Burpees, Burpees, Burpees!
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, you already know what a burpee is and started to cringe just reading the word. A burpee is a compound exercise movement that involves a push-up, a squat, and quick jump. It recruits the major muscle groups in the body and doesn’t take long to get completely gassed. You don’t need much space or any equipment. Do as many as you can as fast as you can and feel your metabolism speeding up.
Bodyweight Movements are Great Exercise
Let’s say you don't have a suspension training system and you have limited mobility, you can still use a wide variety of bodyweight movements to get in a superb workout. Squats, push-ups, and lunges are amongst the most well-known bodyweight exercises. They’re simple, simultaneously use multiple muscle groups, and don’t require a large open space. Throw in a plank and some bicycle crunches and you’re approaching a full-body training session in your hotel room.
Walk as Much as Possible
Go sightseeing on foot instead of riding a bus through town. Determine to be active rather than passive—no matter what you do. If you’re at the beach, take surfing lessons or go for a morning jog in the sand. If you're in the mountains, go trekking or hiking. Rent a bike and ride across town rather than hailing a taxi. Just keep moving for at least a few hours everyday. It will help you rest better overnight and you will be refreshed in the morning.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Rowing is such great exercise, virtually every gym in the world has a rowing machine now. Canoeing and kayaking work your shoulders, abs, and back. It’s also great fun and can be done in fresh water lakes and ponds or many times at sea. The scenery is exceptional, and even the most leisurely kayaking trip will make those muscles that you rarely use sore for days.
Turn off the Screen
True fitness is so much more than just counting calories and exercising. It involves the body, mind, and soul. In our normal lives, we’re constantly bombarded with phone calls, texts, and social media. Take a break from all of that so you can decompress and get to know your family better. Capture those memories with an old digital camera so you’re not tempted to check-in with the office or see what others are doing on Instagram.
Try to incorporate as many of these tips into your next trip with the wife and kids. You won’t have to regret your vacation, and both your wife and personal trainer will thank you for it!