Simple Ways to Stay Fit During Holidays

          I know all too well the struggle of staying fit when traveling– this is the third year I’ve been on the road! As an ACSM certified personal trainer I often get complaints from clients about gaining weight over holidays. Once I started traveling for months at a time, I understood the struggle myself! There is no doubt…it’s hard!!!!!! Even though it’s not easy, you can do it! Here are some of the best tricks for staying fit anywhere in the globe. Add these to your daily routines when traveling and you will feel better both during and after your holidays!

General Travel 

          If you have a hotel with a gym…NO EXCUSES!  Consistency is really important and should not be overlooked. Commit to the same time every day  to workout for at least least 30 minutes. There will always be an excuse if you don’t set up a specific time and routine.  If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, find one nearby and ask about free trials for the week or payment options for however long your trip is. For budget travelers, I suggest finding a park or going to an outdoor community gyms that is free and open to the public. Some cities have free outdoor fitness equipment.

           I was on a tight budget much of my travels but found that personally the gym is worth the fee. If you stuggle like me to keep a routine without a proper gym, then it’s worth paying for a gym pass.  Make this part of your trip planning! When I go to a new place, I look at gyms and how far they are from where I want to stay, the cost, etc. Make this a priority and part of the fun! You’re likely to run into some pretty good looking locals AND you’ll be taking care of your body.

Beach Vacations

Puerto Rico June 2017

          These holidays are surprisingly simple to stay fit…because you have a beach!  Try to implement a beach routine every day. Swimming, Yoga, Pilates, and running are all easy to do on the beach and don’t require equipment. All you need is a towel!  To add resistance to exercises, get an exercise band. It doesn’t have to be these brands, but here are examples of what kind I mean. Any like this will work. 

Mountains or National Park Ventures

Hiking Mount Cook, New Zealand

          These trips are the easiest and best to take to lose weight or keep the fat off. If summer is coming and a beach body is the aim, take one of these rather than a partying or foodie holiday.  I hiked seven of New Zealand’s Great walks (famous overnight hikes) and have done countless other hikes throughout the world. The mountains elicit a sense of peace in a crazy world as well as provide a killer workout for every body part–especially when carrying a heavy backpack!

          Be sure to bring extra water and pack healthy snacks such as almonds, whole grain crackers, or mixed nuts. Avoid dried fruits and white carbs as they are usually full of preservatives and high in calories and sugar. Vacuum packed tuna can also be a good low calorie, high protein, light weight option for the hike. Happy trails!

Split, Croatia


          The the easiest and most practical way to stay fit on holiday is to mix fitness in with the sightseeing and fun. In a city or town, start walking and cycling instead of taking a bus or taxi. This is THE most effective way to be able to have that cheese, gelato, and wine but keep the fat off.  Much of the charm in a place is lost by taking a bus or taxi. You’ll save money, see the hidden gems, and get your workout all at once. Often I will spend the whole day just walking the city and discovering unnoticed secret places that I would not see with the bus, tram, or taxi.

Partying Holidays

          There’s no surprise that holidays involving drinking tend to pack on the pounds (or kilograms!)…especially for females. This is the most challenging types of vacation to keep the weight off due to the excess calories and hangovers leaving no energy or room for exercise.  If you’re drinking, try to eat small portion sizes during the day, drink extra water and stick to lower fat foods that have high fiber and protein. While fat itself is not bad, it does have the most calories per gram so it’s easiest to cut calories but cutting fat.

          Tracking weight is purely based off of calories in versus calories out. If you will be drinking, you will be consuming more calories, so you need to cut calories somewhere. Spend the day sightseeing, hiking, cycling, or doing something active when you know you will go out at night. When picking your poison, stick with clear liquors. Vodka and gin for instance, have fewer calories and will leave slightly less destroyed the next day.

          Beer is the enemy! AVOID AVOID AVOID. If you must have a beer, have ONE slowly. Drinking beer all night is sure to prepare your body for the winter season…….which is not the goal! Also avoid sugar mixers. Stick with a light tonic, water, shots, or sugar free alternative (Stevia sweetener is healthiest).

Family and National Holidays 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany July 2014

          You can implement the same principles into a staycation or a family holiday! Tis the season to exercise for a reason. Too many family dinners, sweets, and goodies! If a holiday is coming up, start thinking in terms of moderation–immediately. Some of my clients go into all-or-nothing mode and fail during this time of year and then give up. I explain to them that they should think of the body as a machine that needs to be taken well maintained so it doesn’t rust. The occasional treat in small portions will help to not have the highs and lows of going on a diet.

          I used to struggle a bit during the holidays because Dad always brought sweets home from work. In my experience, the most effective method of controlling weight over the holidays is to add walking, a family sport, dancing or another activity you enjoy to keep you moving. Make it part of the family tradition. For Instance, during every family gathering, my brothers, dad and I have a tradition of playing “family football” in the afternoons. So yes…we do have our family dinner but then we bond over a good (competitive!) game of flag football. Sometimes we would play tennis or basketball too. Find something the whole family can enjoy together.

          Still struggling or want to take off some weight? Take a class! Join the gym and pick out a group exercise class or two that you enjoy. You will make friends and most important, you don’t have to think about the exercise. You just follow the instructor and have a routine. Yoga can be especially beneficial to add to the routine as holidays can add significant stress to your day. Just 30 minutes!

          Exercise is an important part of staying fit but controlling portion sizes and trying to eat healthy MOST of the time with just a few small treats will keep your body strong and help maintain or lose weight. Diet is a very important part of weight loss/gain so make sure to consider this too in your vacation planning. I hope these tips help. What else can you think of that can help others stay fit on holidays? Comments Welcome!

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