Today I write you from 39,000 feet in the air on my way to the United States from Italy.
For the past 10 days I have been traveling throughout that beautiful country. Long story short: my mother turns 60 this year and she wanted to go to Italy to celebrate. Luckily enough, the timing worked out for about 10 family members!
As I was preparing for the trip, I had many people tell me how I would gain a lot of weight, and it would be impossible to maintain a healthy diet, not to mention vegan or vegetarian.
They were incorrect . . . for the most part.
Had I been determined to be 100% in accordance with my personal dietary preferences, I could have done so. But anyone who is determined can accomplish his or her goals.
I approached this trip as an opportunity to relax, let lose, and take a few days off. However, I had two main concerns:
- I did not want to upset my stomach with tons of dairy, eggs, or meat. My tummy is not used to these substances, and I didn’t want to spend my vacation in discomfort!
- If given the opportunity, I wanted to make healthy choices. But I also wanted to be flexible with my meals in order to try new things and because I did not want to inconvenience my traveling buddies!
I prepared for vacation by keeping a close eye on my workouts and diet in the weeks leading up to leaving. In addition, I packed tons of fruits and veggies for my plane ride. I also decided that I would try to workout 5-6 of the 10 days on vacation, and I would attempt to avoid eating tons of bread and pasta. Nevertheless, nothing ever goes as planned . . .
Here are 4 things I learned about staying healthy on vacation:
1. If you find a fresh fruit or veggie market, go shopping.
When staying in a new place, you are often uncertain of where to buy food. And when in a different country, you may not have constant access to the Internet, so you are basically left walking around or asking for help.
Therefore, when you pass a supermarket or fruit stand, go crazy! Buy apples, bananas, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, or whatever they have that suits your fancy. This way, you will have something to snack on when you get hungry, and you won’t be tempted to buy pastries, gelato, or fast food. (Plus, in addition to saving on calories, you’ll most likely save on money!)
2. Order more than a salad for dinner.
I made this mistake the first few times. You think you are being healthy by ordering a salad, but by the time you are finished with your tomatoes and olives over ice burg lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette, you are still quite hungry. Then you end up trying to find something to eat in the hotel vending machine at 1am.
Now, some places do have good salads that are full of satisfying vegetables, fruits, and proteins. But to be on the safe side, make sure that you are ordering enough food for yourself. I would suggest getting some roasted potatoes and veggies if you are looking to have a healthy dinner, and add some fish or chicken if you eat meat!
Side note: Even if you are trying to eat semi-healthy on vacation, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of trying the pizza, the pasta, the gelato, or the desserts. It’s called vacation for a reason, and you want to feel as if you enjoyed yourself! (See #4).
3. Find time to do something active.
Being on vacation and maintaining a planned workout routine are two things that do not go together. However, being on vacation does not mean becoming a lazy sack of potatoes.
Luckily, my trip through Italy involved many walking tours, and even a biking tour through the hills of Tuscany. According to my phone, I walked 10 miles or more on many of these days!
In addition, I made a point to workout when I could. I went for runs in Florence and Rome. (I had to be careful that I didn’t roll my ankle on the old sidewalks made of bricks and stones!) I also did hill sprints when I had a hotel gym.
My favorite workout was at the Amalfi Coast. I stayed with my family in a villa that had 7 bedrooms and bathrooms and four floors! It was on a hillside with an insane amount of stairs. Here was my workout:
- Sprint up the stairs, walk down, do 10 pushups
- Sprint up the stairs, walk down, do 9 pushups
- Sprint up the stairs, walk down, do 8 pushups
- Continue till you do only 1 push up
My legs and calves were sore for 3 days.
However, the point I need to make is that I worked out on the days that I could. On days where we had a lot of traveling or touristy events, I had to skip my workout. Unless I wanted to get up at 5am on vacation!
I tried to stay flexible and realize that this trip wasn’t about my fitness routine. It was about spending time with the people I love in a beautiful place.
4. Realize that you deserve some time off.
I am aware that I sometimes workout too much. My typical day is spent in a gym coaching classes or training clients. I am constantly demonstrating exercises, I’m on my feet most of the time, I bike back and forth to different gyms, and I usually spend between 1-2 hours working out myself.
That’s a lot of stress on the body. By the time I get home, I don’t want to move.
I was oddly looking forward to the plane ride and traveling so that I would be forced to sit still for many hours. And I think I needed it! Besides the large amounts of walking, I took the first 4 DAYS of my vacation off from exercising! I haven’t done that in years!!
If you live a healthy lifestyle and maintain a workout routine for most of the year, you should take some time for yourself. Everyone deserves a break once in a while. Plus in doing so, you allow your body and mind to reset so that you are more productive once you are back in the real world.
Therefore, take a vacation! Eat some pasta! Drink some wine! (Yes, I am actually telling you to do this!) Just have your health goals in the back of your mind so that you can get back at it once you are recharged and ready to go.
Oh, and did you know that you can squat literally ANYWHERE?
Have more questions on how to stay healthy while traveling? Feel free to reach out and ask!