Staying active on a normal workday is more achievable than ever. Smoothie bars are open at every corner. Lunch boxes contain balanced portions of protein, fibre and minerals. The schedule of most working girls squeezes a yoga class between appointments or a quick session with a personal trainer after work. It seems like we’re doing it so well until… we go on holiday.
Is a healthy holiday possible?
We go on holiday and something happens… Our body clock slows down and we can’t wake up before midday. We’re outside of our comfort zone. There’s an exotic place or a new city to be explored. Happy hour cocktails each evening bring mornings with hangovers. We eat food we wouldn’t even look at on a normal day. Suddenly our whole well-being seems endangered. We come home so exhausted that we need another holiday to recover from the first one and an urgent detox plan!
This doesn’t need to happen to you on your next getaway! If you stick to these 7 tips for a healthy holiday, you can actually return home supercharged.
Plan in advance
There is a reason every fitness pro would tell you “Failing to plan is planning to fail“. When choosing where to stay, make sure the venue can accommodate your healthy habits. Does the hotel have a spa or gym? Or maybe you’re hiring a villa with a pool and outdoor space where you can keep active? Check if the place offers breakfast or self catering apartments where you can make your own.
This is a very simple rule to avoid eating the same old food. Allow yourself to try what the locals eat. Most corners of continental Europe have fresh seasonal food. Don’t fill your plate with beige, but choose a more colourful meal instead. Opt for variety of veg in green, orange and red. Top it up with a healthy protein source and balance out with wholegrain.
Keeping your body topped up with water is vital any day, but is especially important if you’re walking under the blazing sun. Make sure you drink at least 2 liters of water throughout the day. I find it very beneficial to make a huge pot of unsweetened green tea in the morning and fill my gym bottle with it, adding ice to keep it cool in the summer. On top of the so needed hydration, green tea boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories – perfect if you’re out and about sightseeing.
Enjoy a treat
You’re on a holiday and you deserve a treat – whether it’s a glass of wine in the evening or a hot French fondant. Take what your heart wants. Just don’t overdo it. You can’t taste everything in one go. My main recommendation is don’t eat sweet before you go to bed. Have the desert at lunch rather than dinner.
Now that you’ve allowed yourself your guilty calorie pleasure, make sure you shake it off. Meet the morning sun with your favourite yoga stretches. If the gym is your thing, have a light breakfast and hit the free weights afterwards. When you’re sightseeing around the city, cycle or walk instead of taking the bus. If you prefer spending the day around the pool, do a little cardio in the shade or swim, rather than dive onto the lounger the whole day.
Imagine placing your yoga mat under an olive tree in Tuscany and overlooking a vast vineyard or doing your HIIT session up and down a hill. Exercising outdoors is proven to burn more calories than the same workout indoors. Uneven terrain, wind resistance and temperature differences add to the challenge. Not to mention that you can also enjoy the view. Just don’t forget to add an SPF.
Rest is just as important as training. Sleep is crucial as it allows your body to recover – by repairing ligaments, muscles and organs. So allow yourself a good nights sleep and if possible, why not an afternoon nap somewhere in the shade.
Follow these simple rules for a more healthy holiday and you may find yourself coming home in even better shape than when you left. Plus, you would have visited a new place, tried new food and pushed your body closer to your goals.