Lately, however, as I've gotten more and more into fitness, I've had to add a different element of concern to my travel plans -- how will I stay healthy during my trip?
The last thing I want to do is undo all the hard work I've put into living a healthy lifestyle. Let's face it, a lot of times the last thing you want to do is hit the gym when you're abroad (especially because at one time I was barely hitting the gym when I was at home)!
There have been many trips where, with the best intentions in mind, I've packed my workout clothes, only to return home with them still neatly folded in my suitcase plus a few extra pounds attached to my waistline.
So, is it possible to stay healthy while on holiday? Does it mean sacrificing touring time and culinary delights or can you have it all?
I think with a bit of planning, it's possible have a fabulous holiday without sacrificing your waistline.
1) List the things you refuse to compromise
You've got to choose what you absolutely want to do (notice that it is want to do and not have to do) and what you're willing to sacrifice. Is there a particular food that you have been waiting to try? Do you want to drink wine with every dinner meal? Is there an all-you-can-eat buffet you've been waiting years to try? Figure out what you absolutely want to have - no negotiations - and then recognize all the other things you're not as crazy about.
For me, especially when heading to Vegas where there are so many great restaurants, I've chosen the few that I want to try. For my other meals, I know that I'm going to have to be extra conscientious about what I choose. I know that I have to watch my portions. I know that I should ask for dressings on the side. I know to ask for things that are baked/steamed vs. fried.
These are things I know -- and they're easy to do.
2) Plan to do something active at least every other day if not daily
The main thing that has changed as I've gotten healthier and more into fitness is that I actually look for training opportunities. Lately, my gym clothes are the first things I set aside for my suitcase because I know that I'll want to get a few workouts in (plus working out does wonders for jet lag). Aside from using the hotel gym (and I do choose hotels that have a decent gym), since I've gotten into CrossFit and MMA training, I've looked for places where I can go to train - sometimes the first visit is free, other times there's a nominal amount to pay for a day pass to try out a gym. It's intimidating at first, but I've always felt welcome wherever I've gone.
If going to the gym or training center is not your thing, try to find some activities that you will enjoy. If you're on the beach, take half an hour to go for a stroll - I found that walking in the water is really challenging. Rent a bicycle, choose a hike, go on a walking tour --- there are so many opportunities out there.
3) Make a list of exercises you can do in your hotel room
Even though I love to exercise, I do find it difficult to motivate myself to do an in-room workout. I can go to the gym or training center, no problem -- but to get out of my comfy bed in order to do push ups or squats -- ugh, it does take motivation.
However, again, it is possible, and I have done it. Last year, when I knew I would be traveling for 7 weeks, I write down 20 different bodyweight workouts that could be done in my hotel room. They're different circuits that I can do each day - not requiring any equipment or much space. Even though it takes a bit of motivation to get started, having the workouts already written out for me definitely helps. I just choose a card and get to it. Usually I'll be done within 20 minutes -- and then I have the rest of the day ahead of me to enjoy.
4) Do a bit of research
It seems like breakfast is always a challenge for me -- what do I eat? It is so easy to grab a coffee accompanied by a pain au chocolat .... but I know I don't want to do that. Last night I spent time looking at the room service menu and checking out the menus of nearby restaurants. I've found that there are plenty of choices out there. Some places will require me to made a few modifications, but still, I know where I can go to enjoy a healthy meal.
The bottom line is -- it all depends on how badly you want it. Take a bit of time, figure out all the healthy choices you've got, and build your holiday around them. It doesn't mean you can do the fun things you wanted to or taste the foods you've been looking forward to ... just be sensible and stay active.