Staying healthy on holiday
Holiday season is fast approaching. People are either starting to think about getting fit for their holiday, or are deep into training making great results so they can look their best by the pool, or on the beach.
Holidays are needed. We all need time away, to create space, let our hair down, relax and have fun. It's also easy to have a complete blow out, to drink too much and over eat which doesn't do us any favours when we get back to the gym. We can either be back to square one, or come back even heavier than when we started.
While holidays should be the time where you relax on your eating and exercise, you don't have to undo all the hard work you did in the gym. There are some tips and strategies you can implement to help you find balance, and still enjoy yourself while staying healthy on holiday.
The first thing to do is do a little research and plan ahead. Having a plan takes the stress away before you get there and saves allot of time. You'll know all the good spots once your planning has been done, you'll know what to expect before you arrive and can get straight into enjoying your holiday. Some things to think about about might be....
Does the hotel have a gym? Is there a gym near by? What are the restaurants like? Does the hotel room have a kitchen or a fridge? Are there decent shops near by, where you can stock up on food? (healthy food of course)
Brining your own snacks from home can also be a good back up, as you will always be prepared if hunger strikes and not snack on whatever is available.
Once you're prepared as can be, and pretty much know what's on offer, there are some tips that will keep you on track while on holiday.
Carry a greens powder. Travelling is a major stress on the body. We may travel through multiple time zones, have to wake up early, or be exposed to allot of germs at airpots and planes. This all wreaks havoc on our immune system. Sachets of greens powder contain a wide variety of veggies, and is an easy way to get a high dose of quality nutrients in on the go, They contain digestive enzymes, vital minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that will support the immune system and boost your healthy gut bacteria. Simply add to a bottle or glass of 80z water, stir and enjoy. There are many different types in health food shops that taste great.
Body care. Being stuck in a car or plane for any number of hours does not do our body any favours. Taking time to stretch or mobilise when you arrive will help lubricate the joints and increase blood flow around the body again. This will take out any stiffness or swelling that accumulates with prolonged sitting or a long haul flight. Even if the journey was short, doing some sort of mobilisation when you arrive will help you feel much better. Mobilise the hips and upper back as these are the main areas that get tight when we sit for too long.
Here is a link to some great mobilisation drills you can try. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgkL4kyD9vA&t=88s
Get Grounded. This may sound hippie whoo whoo rubbish, but the earth contains free electrons that is easily conducted through the human body. Getting our feet grounded on the earths surface has amazing health benefits. Travelling through multiple time zones is very unnatural and our circadian rhythm (body clock) is easily kicked out of sync. This disrupts our digestion, sleep patterns, body temperature, blood pressure and hormones. Putting our bare feet directly on the earths surface is almost like a battery charge. Electrons are conducted through our feet and this syncs our body to it's new surroundings, helping to reset our circadian rhythm and prevent jet lag and fatigue.
Restaurants. Choose lean, green and clean on the menu. So a lean protein of choice, plenty of veggies and a clean carbohydrate such as white/sweet potatoes or steamed rice. Ordering a salad, soup, or a dense protein source like fish as a starter will help curb appetite and prevent spontaneous dessert choices later on.
Ask how the food is being cooked. Stay clear of low quality cooking oils that cause inflammation and salad dressings that add up to extra calories. Drinking two to three glasses of water before a meal to helps digestion and can also make us feel satiated.
It's important to enjoy your evening meal and not feel like you're missing out. Share a dessert with your partner, eat some of your favourite foods and don't feel like you have to finish the whole plate.
Training. Training doesn’t have to take a back seat while on holiday. In fact, this can be a great time to try something new, such as a bodyweight circuit or different pieces of equipment at the hotel gym.
Bodyweight circuits are an easy choice on holiday as all you need is a 6x6 space. Whether that’s in the hotel room or on the beach. The surrounding area might have some scenic routes to go running, and will probably be much more pleasant than your regular treadmill.
Invest in a resistance band. It's a really versatile piece of kit, it takes no room in your suitcase, and you can get a great full body workout just by using the band alone.
Here is a simple bodyweight circuit you can do in your hotel room. Complete 30 seconds of exercise followed by 30 seconds rest, working through each exericse. Rest 1 minute after each circuit and repeat 4-5 times.
- Star jumps
- Bodyweight squats
- Press ups
- High knees
- Plank (hold for 30 seconds)
- Superman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6PJMT2y8GQ
Breakfast. Opt for a high protein, high fat breakfast. A high protein, high fat breakfast will stabilise blood sugar, satiate appetite, regulate metabolism and put us in a better mood. A heavier carb breakfast can make us feel sleepy and produce cravings later in the day due to the blood sugar spike.
3 eggs and a protein source (smoked salmon or lean meats) half an avocado and some light veggies is a great choice.
Saving the carbs until dinner will give you more flexibility to enjoy a nice meal, which can help you sleep better at night.
Intermittent fast. This can be a great strategy to save calories in the day so we have flexibility to enjoy a drink and a bigger evening meal in the evening. There are various ways to intermittent fast, and an easy strategy would be prolonging your first meal of the day. An example would be having your last meal at 8pm and fast until noon the next day. Or stop eating at 8pm and eat again at 8am. This gives our digestive system a little break, and has some added fat burning benefits. Some steady state cardio and/or some black coffee in the morning will help boost the fat burning effects even further.
The last and probably the most important tip is to enjoy yourself. Try new foods you don't normally eat at home, have long sleeps or naps and soak up the suns rays. This is the time to destress and unwind, helping you come back feeling refreshed and re energised ready to tackle your daily schedule again.
Keep some of these tips in mind when you're on holiday. Have fun, try not to completely fall off the wagon and let all the hard work go to waste. Let me know how you get on and happy holidays!
By Adam Willoughby