Going on holiday is one of the major stumbling blocks for people getting fit. I’ve heard the same old excuses again and again over the years:
• "I am going to ruin my diet while I am away',
• "I will be drinking every day"
• "I am just going to enjoy myself"
• "I am going to eat what I want"
• "I plan to do absolutely nothing the entire time I am away"
• "I won't have time to cook or prepare decent food"
The scary part about this is people have already decided they are going to fail before they’ve even got to the airport. With the holiday season around the corner, here are a number of strategies to keep you progressing towards your goals.
Of course you want to enjoy yourself when you’re away: you get nice weather, good food, no emails, and no one bossing you around (well, apart from the other half). But why should this amazing time away be the thing that stops you getting fitness results? Why do we add a negative to one of the most positive times of the year?
This is all about mindset. If you believe that you can go away and still be healthy and active, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve. The problem is, people have been programmed to see eating and drinking as a big negative, and forget about all the other stuff they’re doing.
Despite what people think, holidays can be a time where you make progress towards your goals rather than "maintain" or aim for "damage limitation", which seems to be the common strategy. You just need to plan, to set out a series of small goals before you set off, which will make things far easier to stick too.
Exercise: Try and do something everyday.
Exercise doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. A holiday gives you so many options to get some exercise in, but most people forget they’re actually exercising in the first place. Compared to a normal day in the office, the average person burns far more calories when they are away.
If you have access to a gym, then great, get your workouts in, but don't beat yourself up if not. Think about some other forms of exercise: walking, swimming, hiking, skiing, even water aerobics – these all count.
A challenge I often set my clients when they’re away is to get at four workouts in. If they don’t have a gym, I will set them a few bodyweight exercises to do before they go for breakfast and before they go to bed. Again, I don’t expect them to do this every evening, but it’s a great start the day.
Food and drink: Just have a think about it
I love food. I love to try things that are weird and different. I also love some of the amazing desserts you get abroad. Like most people, also love to have a few drinks, try the local beer, sink a few crazy cocktails.
The one thing I do is ask my clients to think about how much they’re consuming. The problem usually comes when there’s a buffet. For some reason, a buffet makes people go mad. Are you eating because you’re hungry or just because everything is available? As easy as it is to stuff your face with each meal, just have a think about how much you are loading up – do you need that amount?
Try tracking just one day on the Myfitness pal app: this will help you to see if you’re massively overeating and focus your mind on portion sizes. Drinking will tally up the calories, so try to consume less through the day – you’ll probably end up enjoying your holiday more if you’re not constantly fighting against a raging hangover anyway.
Mindfulness: The under-rated part!
A holiday should be the time to get away from daily stress. Just by switching off, laying in the sun, treating yourself to a massage, doing some yoga or ignoring the phone, you’ll be reducing your stress levels. There are many studies that show how stress can have an impact on weight loss. Mindfulness is so important for results and often overlooked.
Mindfulness is a big component to achieving results with our clients at No1 Fitness. We have introduced a new class to that looks at joint health and mobility and is completely different to anything else we do. This works brilliantly, because people realise how little control they have of their body and how little care they take on themselves. So many people leave the class feeling calm and de-stressed and it can really help them get results.
Take measurements before you go and get back into routine when you return
Lots of people will come back from holiday and feel like they have ruined or undone the progress they have made, often based purely on the scales. As I’ve mentioned before, find a few other ways of measuring, take some photos and a few measurements before you go and then do the same when you get back: you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it’s not all bad news.
Before you go, just remember that your holiday is not going to mean fitness failure. Focus on the positives, the extra movement and the reduced stress, enjoy your food and drink but employ moderation where possible. Relax and get back into the swing of things when you return.