Whether it's Spring Break, Summer Vacation, or an extended weekend get-a-way at the shore, time off from our routine always presents a challenge in sticking with healthy habits.
To avoid this common vacation pitfall, two of our favorite fitness experts – Personal Trainer Jessica Rudloff and Group Exercise Director Dori Nugent – share their thoughts on how to use this time to keep up our healthy routines or even start new ones!
TIPS FOR DINING OUT ON VACATION
We can characterize eating out with oversized portions, low nutritional value, and maybe a few high calorie beverages. While it seems unlikely at first, there actually are ways to overcome the obstacles of enjoying a meal out!
Follow the strategies below to avoid overeating, find healthier choices, and combat the calories in those delicious tropical drinks!
1. GO HALVSIES!
Split your meal with someone else at the table and order a small side salad to start. With this strategy, you will savor and enjoy every bite of food without feeling stuffed after the meal.
Plus, you will eat roughly 30-50% calories less than if you had the full meal to yourself. For instance, imagine ordering an 1000-calorie chicken parmesan meal (1,060 calories at Olive Garden®). Now, instead of eating 700-1000 calories of that meal, you are consuming a maximum of 500 calories with roughly 100 additional calories from a side salad topped with vinaigrette.
Can’t find someone who is willing to split a meal with you? Get a to-go box at the beginning of your meal and place half of the meal to the side for lunch or dinner the next day.
2. ORDER THE FISH
Most of us are spending vacation time near the shore. This means that fresh fish, shrimp, lobster, and crabs are easily accessible. Seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the healthy unsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also prevent heart disease.
As an added bonus: seafood is low calorie! A 4-ounce serving of tuna is roughly 150 calories, compared to a 4-ounce burger that runs between 260-350 calories (without all the fixins). Shrimp, lobster, crabmeat, salmon, rock fish, you name it — are all equally low calorie and heart healthy!
So, instead of perusing the menu for the heavy burger, steak, or pasta, try out some local fish for a delicious, light, and healthy meal. Also, these dishes are more likely to be served with a seasonal veggie instead of French fries or sugary slaw.
3. DRINK WATER
Even when you are not on vacation, drinking water is a total no-brainer! However, in vacation mode, it is super easy to sip down the sugary sweet drinks and ignore our water intake. Not only are these drinks typically high calorie, but they also can dehydrate you.
After each sugary, or alcoholic beverage, drink a glass of water before your next serving. Water can also help keep you full and deter heavy snacking that is typically paired with specialty drinks. This strategy will keep you hydrated in the hot summer temperatures, save you some calories, and save you some money!
TIPS FOR EXERCISING ON VACATION
Now that you are set to eat healthier while you’re away, you still need to keep up some physical activity. Here’s a shocking plot twist: Vacation might be the best time to get into a routine!
Have you ever noticed when you’ve reached your vacation destination, everyone seems to be exercising in some form or another? If you vacation at the beach, you immediately notice people riding bikes, walking on the beach, and running on the boardwalk. Same is true if you vacation to the mountains, as vacationers hike, ride bikes on trails, or kayak down the river. How about the aquatic aerobics class at the Caribbean resort pool? It’s usually packed with participants, who excitedly follow the instructor’s island-themed music and dance moves.
In all of these examples, there is one thing that most people have in common: everyone is enjoying themselves. That’s because they are on vacation and having fun! Exercising on vacation takes on a different feel than when we are at home. In a new environment and surroundings, exercise actually becomes enjoyable and relaxing. Vacation is a time to slow-down, relax, and take time for ourselves. It’s actually the perfect time to start a new habit: exercise!
Vacation could be the time where you find out what type of exercise interests you the most or maybe even find a new fitness hobby. Walking is a great start to any exercise regime. It can be done anywhere and takes zero equipment, besides a pair of good sneakers. Bike riding can be done on vacation, at home, and in the gym, as a low-impact option. Even kayaking or paddle boarding, which make you feel like you are on vacation, can be great exercise year-round (talk about an ab workout!).
Most importantly, use your vacation to be kind to your body, as well as your mind and find a new outlet in alleviating stress through exercise.
TIPS FOR DEDICATED GYM MEMBERS
What if you are an avid gym-goer? There is no better opportunity than vacation to come out of your fitness box and find a new challenge.
Changing up your exercise plan for the week just might be the best thing for your body and your mind. Humans are creatures of habit and tend to engage in familiarity when it comes to going to the gym. Many times, we tend to go through the motion rather than focus, be mindful of our movement, and take a few minutes to breathe.
When you are away from your gym, try new things that you have always wanted to do. Perhaps a bike ride will inspire you to try a cycle class when you return home. Or a visit to a beach yoga studio could lead to a regular yoga practice. A little change during vacation could impact your fitness routing, opening you to new ideas and making your body stronger along the way.
Being aware of your surroundings, enjoying feeling good, and doing something positive for yourself might be the best part of vacation. While you are away, we hope you take time to invest in yourself with great meals, new exercise, and a renewed purpose! When you get back, we'd love to help you continue your fitness journey. Use this Free Guest Pass to come check out Club La Maison!