It's almost officially summer and many of us are planning vacations or trips. We're all familiar with the initiative to get that "bikini body" by summer time, but what do you do to keep all your hard work or what if you never got that body you were aiming for? Does summer mean the end of the hard work or does it mean an excuse to not keep grinding? The answer to both of those is a resounding NO.
A tidbit from my prior non-healthy past: I was in a constant state of dehydration. I rarely drank water. I was a sweet tea & Sprite gal to the max. I could easily put away a large Chick-fil-A sweet tea, plus a couple Sprites at work, plus more sweet tea at dinner. Water? Maybe half a glass. I will never forget getting a physical to be cleared to travel out of the country and they would not clear me until I came back more hydrated. Came back a few days later, and they still would not clear me because I still was not drinking enough water. The nurse in charge yelled at me in a hallway full of other nurses, doctors, and patients. That would be the start of a very long journey to where I am today. Why am I telling you this story? Because, I'm sharing my top tips to stay healthy and on track while traveling and the first one is...
You guessed it. Drink water. Trust me, you will come up with dozens of excuses for not but none of them are going to fly here. I will stress this to help you keep this tip: bring your own water bottle. My two favorites are Thermo Tank (my favorite for the summer/hot environments/long days of traveling) and Nalgene (easier to fill up/great for quick trips and car rides) - bring it everywhere. Most airports have a designated water bottle refilling station.
Traveling will dehydrate you quickly so it's incredibly important to stay hydrated even more than normal, especially if you are in a climate different than what your body is used to or if you are doing more physical activity than a regular day.
When I am traveling all day or going to be in the car all day traveling, I come prepared. I have an insulated bag designated for healthy snacks - this is crucial when you're on a long road trip because you will be tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant or go ham at the gas station if you are not prepared. Be prepared. Try to stay away from the sugary snacks (even too much natural sugar can be a bad thing - remember, sugar is still sugar) and keep your protein and healthy carbs in focus.
Some of my favorite travel snacks are:
• Lara bars
• Apples with a travel size of peanut butter
• Nuts (macadamias, almonds, walnuts)
• Low/no sugar granola
• Cheese sticks
• Hard boiled eggs
3. Move Each Day
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I'm on vacation, I'm not working out!" I would have a lifetime supply of Starbs. Yes, you need to relax and rest on vacation, but you can still move your body and be active. Maybe that means getting at least 10,000 steps in or visiting your hotel gym for 20-30 minutes or taking a stroll around a new neighborhood or trying a new activity or workout class. Make it fun!
My favorite thing to do is go to a workout class when I'm out of town - for me, it's fun to try something new when working out while I'm traveling. I am not suggesting you go to the gym for an hour and a half - but, I do suggest staying active a little each day. Again, look for new ways to be active! I promise you will come home feeling better than if you hadn't!
4. Save the Treats
Eating while traveling or on vacation may be our biggest downfall. All the guidelines we carefully follow at home are often tossed out the window. Alcohol may be continually flowing, you may eat bigger portions than normal, and you may eat things you wouldn't normally eat. Instead of having an excess of everything, choose one thing you really want to enjoy - and have it! And, don't feel guilty about it. But, eating every single thing you want every single time you want it will quickly yield negative results and may leave you feeling sick and ultimately, unsatisfied. So, choose wisely!
5. Vacation is Temporary, Your Health is Not
For me, the worst feeling is coming home from a vacation and feeling worse than when I left. Overindulging, not being active, not drinking enough water, etc. can leave us feeling defeated and even sick.
It's important to remember to practice good health habits even on vacation or when traveling - because those times are temporary, but your health isn't. You get one body and one opportunity to take the best care of your health that you can.
My approach to fitness is all about balance. I fully believe you should enjoy this beautiful journey we call life - and that means eating chocolate and pizza and having a lazy day! But, all within moderation. A healthy, strong body is more important than a number on a scale or what size clothes you may wear. The quality of your sleep, the longevity of your life, the quality time you spend with your family - this is what life is about.