This week I’m greeting y’all from the Atlantic shores of the Palmetto State. Every year since I have been alive, my dad’s side of the family crams into a beach house where all 19 of us genuinely enjoy each other’s company. We take turns going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, and cleaning up. It’s pretty cool stuff. One challenge I have found, though, is making sure I don’t go off the deep-end with the dips, cocktails, desserts, and snack-filled pantry. Yes, vacation is the time to live a little, but you don't want to dive face-first into a gallon of ice cream, either. After years of trial and error, I’ve mastered a guide to staying healthy yet happy while on summer vacation. Enjoy!
1. Do Your Research- Before hitting the road, do a bit of research on your hotel, cabin, or resort. This helps you prepare in advance and start thinking of ways to get creative with your fitness. Even the most basic of hotels these days have some type of fitness center (though it may be a treadmill from 1987 and a mismatch of dumbbells). Some resorts even offer basic classes like yoga, bootcamp, and water aerobics. Also, you would be amazed at the equipment options you can rent in most vacation areas. From bikes and kayaks to paddleboards and surfboards, there are plenty of creative ways you can add some activity to your summer vacation for a few extra dollars a day.
2. Go Native- In addition to knowing what amenities are available here you are staying, it is also helpful to get to know your surrounding community. Are there free yoga classes in a nearby park on Sundays? Are there hiking trails just a few miles from where you are staying? This research includes food options, too. Opt for seasonal, local produce and protein if possible. If you are on the coast, look for local fisheries (the shrimp is unreal here in SC). Out west? Get your wild game on (buffalo and elk are my jam). Don’t be afraid to experiment and embrace the local cuisine (you’ll never know that you dislike conch until you try it).
3. BYOE- Sometimes, options are VERY limited. When we go to my husband’s family farm in East Texas, it’s just acres of pasture and us out there. No yoga studios, no bootcamp classes, no bike paths. That’s when I just bring my own equipment. A jump rope is super portable and makes for a great cardio circuit. You can walk or jog just about anywhere (plus loads of equipment-free moves). If you are traveling by car, you can even add a few free weights or a yoga mat (towels work, too). If you have access to wifi, you can YouTube TONS of free online workouts, ranging from Zumba to TurboKick to yoga. If there’s no internet, you could bring a workout DVD.
4. Aim for 80/20 daily- With all of this talk of fitness, I need to be honest with y’all about food. WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH=WHAT YOUR BODY LOOKS LIKE. With this in mind, I know that if I down margaritas and paleo pie daily on my vacation, things are going to start getting fluffy fast. Am I encouraging you to eat celery and chicken breast the whole time? Heck no - deprivation on vacation is no fun. I try to find a balance everyday and allow myself a few goodies a day, not a few at every meal. Personally, I like to start off strong with plenty of protein, produce, and healthy fat at breakfast and lunch. Then, come nightfall, I prioritize what really strikes my fancy. A glass or two of wine, a few fried shrimp, and then I stick to plenty of veggies and protein. I’ve found if I totally restrict myself, I usually go on a bender at some point in the week (think half of pie gone in minutes…it ain’t pretty) that leaves both my body and self-concept wrecked. By telling myself I can have a few vacation yummies a day, I know I’m not being constrained and am free to indulge as I want.
5. Stay Hydrated- Whether you are tubing down the Brazos, chillaxing in Galveston, or roaming the Riverwalk, it is CRUCIAL you stay hydrated. While it is tempting to reach for a strawberry daiquiri or Diet Coke, the alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and artificial sugar will make the situation even worse. Dehydration can lead to crankiness and even mislead your body to thinking you are hungry, leading to the dreaded hanger (hunger+anger). Keep plenty of hydrating sips (see yesterday’s post peeps) and water-rich snacks (cucumber, watermelon, frozen berries) on hand to keep your body and brain happy.
With that said, I need to get my healthy breakfast on. Starting my day off with eggs, a protein smoothie, or even just an apple and almond butter helps keep my hunger at bay (which minimizes cravings later), stabilizes blood sugar (again, helps with cravings later), and keeps me feeling my best on vacation. Come Monday in the gym, I won’t be staring regret in the face, I won’t backtrack on my goals, and I won’t be judging myself based on what I did (or didn’t do) on my week off. Vacation should be relaxing, fun, and joyous, not a health-death trap. Make smarter choices and be well!
How do y’all like to stay healthy on vacation? What are your go-to healthy snacks?
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!