During vacation you want to put your worries aside; you just want to relax and have fun. You don't even want to think about working out; and forget about diets! You want to try some of the local food places, desserts, drinks, and so on. Then you return home with some extra pounds, feeling guilty about eating too much. I want to give you some suggestions so you can keep in shape and enjoy your well-deserved vacations.
Since my husband and I started our healthy lifestyle together, each time we travel to a new city, we try to stay active. So here are my suggestions on how to have fun and be fit during your vacation.
1. Location: Try to pick a hotel close to the city's main attractions so you can avoid taking taxis, and WALK while enjoying the surroundings and historic places. Our hotel in Madrid, Spain was close to a lot of great places so we walked to enjoy what the city had to offer.
2. Comfortable clothing: Take comfy shoes and clothing so you can go walking.
In Honolulu, we stayed at a hotel close to Diamond Head State Monument and Park. Instead of taking our rental car, we got some comfortable clothes and the hotel’s staff provided us with bikes to ride to the park. So before “hiking into history”, we had a great bike ride.
3. Avoid elevators: Take the stairs in your hotel, and at other main attractions in the city. Did you know you can burn up to 100 calories by walking stairs for 10 minutes?
4. Have fun time with your kids: Yes, you can enjoy a day in the spa. But it's so much better to spend time with your kids by playing in the hotel's pool with them, sharing a bicycle ride, playing volleyball or running with them at the beach.
5. Hotel fitness center: You can try waking up an hour early and go to the hotel’s gym. You don’t have to be there 2 hours, just be there with a game plan – try a short routine so you can be full of energy during the entire day. Or you can perform some sets of calisthenics and plyo movements in your hotel room.
During the America’s Game Expo 2009 in Philadelphia, the hotel had the worst gym ever (only 1 treadmill and 1 elliptical, with technical problems). So we decided to go to our room and perform circuit cardio training (similar to my favorite Jillian Michael’s DVD – Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism). It was a great workout!
Here I am at the game expo with my niece, and American Gladiator “Fury”. Fury gave us great tips about nutrition.
Sample of one of the circuits we did:
- 10 reps of burpees w/jump at the end.
- 15 reps of plié squats.
- 15 reps of jab, cross punches x 2 plus jump.
- 20 reps of 180 degree squat jumps.
- 20 reps of side hops.
6. Restaurants close to the hotel: If there are places to eat close by, you can walk to and from them. Some health experts recommend walking after eating because it can help your digestion. Playa Mayor was not that close to our hotel, but after we ate there, we walked a lot.
7. Fun Activities: You can check out activities in the hotel, or near by, like dancing, playing beach volleyball, and yoga classes. And if you take a cruise, some ships have rock climbing walls - it's a fun activity to try.
8. Swimming or pool aerobics: Swimming is a great low impact exercise that won't put any stress on your joints, even if you jump during water aerobics. It even improves endurance, builds muscle, and it is a great alternative for injured athletes to keep in good shape. I even read that Jack Lalanne ("The Godfather of Fitness") still swims daily, at 95 years old.
Ok, I confess…I don’t know how to swim. But I love finding a way to exercise in the pool, like during my vacation in Cancun. We played water basketball – it was fun! But I sucked at basketball too.
9. Drink water: While you are visiting tourist attractions, keep a bottle of water so you can keep yourself hydrated. We had our water bottles for that long hike (Diamond Head State Monument – Honolulu, HI).
10. Don’t you dare skip breakfast: This meal will give you energy to start the day. If they have a buffet, opt for fruits, yogurt, low sugar cereals, low fat milk. And, don’t forget about protein - if they have an omelets station, ask for egg whites with ham and veggies.
11. Control your food intake: Don't restrict yourself by avoiding local delights, but try not to overeat. Some people fill up on bread, a big appetizer, eat their entree plus a big dessert, and then they feel guilty and can’t even walk straight to their cars. If you want to enjoy an appetizer, share it with your family and/or friends; and for your entree, opt for something grilled with steamed veggies on the side. Ask if they have small portions. Also, a dessert once in a while won’t kill you, so enjoy one with a friend or your date.
My dinner at El Rincón Argentino when I went to visit my family and friends in my hometown – Ponce, Puerto Rico.
12. Find nature trails: Hiking is not only a great workout but you can enjoy the beautiful nature and take great pictures.
Before walking the Vegas strip, we decided to go hiking at Red Rock Canyon
13. Snacks: When you're exploring the city's attractions, take healthy snacks like a fruit, granola bar, Cheerios, and unsalted nuts; or take a ready-to-drink whey protein shake.
For a great snack, you can get some dried fruits (raisins, banana chips or cranberries), unsalted almonds, peanuts, cashews and make a trail mix.
Images – personal images from Maritza’s trips.