Holiday’s – Does it need to spell disaster for our healthy lifestyle?
Summer is fast approaching and with so many of us working towards our health and fitness goals, ready for that holiday we have been planning, the question we may be asking is what happens on the holiday? Do we stop and have a break and let ourselves relax and indulge? Do we stay on plan and maintain our goals? Or do we do a mix of both?
The answer honestly depends on what you want to achieve and what type of holiday is for you. If you are struggling to decide we have put together a guide to eating and excessing on holiday for all these scenario’s. Keep reading to find out more.
Arriving to your holiday destination is one of the best feelings, knowing that for the next few days you are free to do what you want. The last thing you want to think about though is how to plan in exercise and healthy eating.
Being Self Catered the eating part can be a little easier meaning you can choose what to cook, maybe even factoring in a few restaurant trips as well, just make sure to look at the menus before hand.
A Hotel without catering is again easier because you can look at the menu before going to a restaurant and make a decision from there.
But when you are at an All Inclusive Resort it can be a minefield of will power stopping yourself from grabbing 7 pastry options to go along with your fruit salad! There is no easy way to navigate a buffet which doesn’t make coherent sense. You find yourself plating muffins with salad because they happened to be next to each other and theres a man speaking a different language behind you, fed up with you deciding the right thing to do. Its a crazy place!
In a Resort there more than likely there will be a form of exercise readily available which can make working out easier. From a swimming pool to an on site gym it can help keep you on track meaning you can keep to your plan while you are away.
If you are in a Hotel normally there is some form of gym on site as a general but again check ahead incase.
If you are Self Catered (i.e airbnb) then you probably faced with no place to exercise other than the house/flat/room and running on the street. Personally i don’t enjoy running in the street as i’m not comfortable doing it, which means all the exercise i would do would be contained to indoors. But luckily when you are on holiday there is a lot of things that you could be doing that are burning calories but you just don’t realise.
Swimming is such a great exercise, using most of the muscles in your body. Swimming is gentle on joints so almost everyone can do it. Currents in the sea add resistance where a pool wouldn’t give you that added extra difficulty, making it a perfect workout for those who want to stay active but not feel like they are working out( make sure if you are a confident swimmer with a lifeguard present with open water swimming).
Ways to Holiday
Less Exercise but on plan with food.
For some of us working out isn’t to reach for a goal its simply for the pleasure or to keep us healthy. When you are on holiday you may want to give your body the break it needs. This is perfectly okay and whether we are meaning to or not there is always going to be exercise we are doing without realising; swimming, exploring the city or lugging your suitcase from the airport to the hotel, whatever it may be these things will burn off some of those extra calories!
For a lot of people food is a reward or a pleasure and therefore holidays tend to be the place we over indulge and regret what passes our lips when it shows on the scales. While enjoying yourself is inevitable, staying in control is possible. Instead of ordering the burger go for something hitting more of the food groups proportionally. A steak might be a good alternative to feel like your indulging but with a swap of fries for salad or a jacket potato might make the difference between a +8 pound gain and a maintain or loss!
If you are at a Resort with buffet meals take your time and work out what you are going to enjoy first then work out what would be the healthiest option. This may be having something that is higher calories but more filling for a main so the desert station is less appealing.
Not on plan with food but normal exercise.
If you do not have an issue turning away from a snack or stopping when you are full and making the right food choices consistently, then for you holiday food isn’t going to be an issue; you will be able to sensible when it comes to food and it wont affect you. Equally your metabolism might be rapid. You can eat what you want when you want with little consequence (lucky you). So enjoy every mouthful!
Whether it’s maintaining your current wait or keeping your muscles toned, the reasons why we exercise can vary. Having time off from working out can put a spanner in our progress and set us back further than we want. If you have a certain exercise goal in mind and don’t want to let it slip working out on holiday might help you stay on track. Finding a time and place that isn’t going to interfere with the holiday but give you the necessary workout for you may be tricky but there is a lot of ways around making that space for you.
Firstly try excising at different times than you normally do. Early mornings and early evenings in hotter climates are often cool with enough light to exercise outside such as a jog, so grab your running trainers and do a pre breakfast or post dinner run. For cooler climates mid-day might be the ideal time to get up and go seeing as the sun as at its strongest so makes that run a little warmer. Any pools or sea swims will also add a great element of muscle workout to your routine. For anyone who has not got access to any workout facilities or wants to do their workout in the comfort of the room, a workout specific to this is at the bottom of this page. Wherever you are on your fitness journey, it is easy to keep yourself on track and keep moving forward through the Holiday.
Completely on plan.
If you are the kind of person who breaks from a routine and takes them 3 months to get back on track then this option might be for you. Temptations are rife and the pull of the sun longer can overtake but with some simple tweaks maintaining your routine on holiday can be just as enjoyable as letting yourself go.
Working out at different times might make all the difference, instead of working out in the morning, give yourself a lie in and wait until the cool evening to go for a run and see the place in a different light. Incorporate swimming into your holiday as a fun way to burn those calories and still get a sun lounger sesh in. Equally if theres a gym you may want to continue your home routine in knowing what works best for you. Take a skipping rope if all else fails and find a quiet spot somewhere to use it, again a great all round body workout.
With food instead of saying ‘i cant have that’ say ‘i can have that in moderation’. Don’t limit yourself and not enjoy the holiday just make sensible changes. Instead of a calorie packed cocktail with all the thrills, pick a gin and slimline tonic for a much lighter option. If beer is your alcohol of choice then i would advise switching to a spirit and diet mixer because in one pint of beer there is 208 calories, a gin and tonic is around 93 calories! Food options should be well balanced containing elements from all food groups. Indulge occasionally, for example, let yourself have the cake with coffee that you have been eyeing up from the local bakery. Do not make it a day where you loose all control though. Make healthy decisions for the rest of the day and that cake wont be a burden but a great treat.
Having the Holiday as a break.
Sometimes all the hard effort we put in during the year needs a small break where we put on a few pounds and loose a few inches of muscle in order to blow off a bit of steam. This perfectly okay too! As long as you are fine with the results when you get back, then enjoy yourself.
Just remember which ever way you decide to go, enjoy yourself!
No Equipment Workout
Jumping jacks –
- Stand upright with your legs together, arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly, and jump into the air.
- As you jump, spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out and over your head.
- Jump back to starting position.
- Repeat – (recommended) 20 reps x 5
Wall sit –
- Make sure your back is flat against the wall.
- Set your feet about shoulder-width apart and then about 2 ft out from the wall.
- Slide your back down the wall, bending your legs until they’re in a 90 degree angle. Your knees should be directly above your ankles, but no more forward.
- HOLD your position, while contracting your abs.
- Stand slowly, while leaning against the wall, when done.
Push up –
- With legs extended back, place the hands on the floor below your shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Start lowering your chest until it is just above the floor.
- Push your arms back up until your body is in the start position.
Abdominal crunch –
- Lie down on the floor on your back and bend your knees. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest. Some people find that crossing the arms over the chest helps them avoid pulling on the neck. However, if you find your neck is strained, you can keep one hand cradling the head. The idea is to support your neck without taking away from the work of your abs.
- Pull your belly button towards your spine in preparation for the movement.
- Slowly contract your abdominals, bringing your shoulder blades about 1 or 2 inches off the floor.
- Exhale as you come up, keep your neck straight and chin up. Imagine you’re holding a ball under your chin. That’s about the angle you want to keep the chin the entire time.
- Hold at the top of the movement for a few seconds, breathing continuously.
- Slowly lower back down, but don’t relax all the way.
- Repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions with perfect form for each rep.
Step up, using a chair –
- To start, place your entire right foot onto the chair. Press through your right heel as you step onto the chair. Bring your left foot to meet your left so you are standing on the bench.
- Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot. Repeat with the left so both feet are on the floor.
- Complete 15 steps leading with the left foot, then repeat another 15 steps leading with your left foot. Do three sets.
- Stand with your feet apart, directly under your hips, and place your hands on your hips.
- Standing up tall, put your shoulders back, lift your chest, and pull in your abdominal muscles.
- Bend your knees while keeping your upper body as straight as possible. Imagine you were lowering yourself onto a seat behind you. Lower yourself as far as you can without leaning your upper body more than a few inches forward. Don’t allow your knees to go too far forward. You don’t want them to stick out past your toes.
- Being careful not to lock your knees when you reach a standing position, straighten your legs.
- Repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Tricep dip on chair –
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a stable chair.
- Slide your bum off the front of the chair with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension off your elbow joints.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the chair.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, push down on the chair to straighten your elbows. Return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. You can bend your legs to modify this exercise.
- Do 15 to 20 reps per set and aim to do two to three sets.
- Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Toes on the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals.
- Keep a neutral neck and spine.
- Create a straight, strong line from head to toes – a plank, if you will.
- Hold that position.
High knees –
- Stand up straight and place your feet about hip-width apart.
- Place your hands palms down facing the floor, hovering just above your belly button.
- Quickly drive your right knee up to meet your right hand. Bring the same leg back to the ground immediately bring the left knee coming up to meet your left hand.
- As you are alternating knees, you want to do it with a hopping motion. Stay on the balls of your feet the entire time.
- Make sure you are engaging your abdominal muscles as each knee comes up to meet the hands.
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