Hands up if you’re familiar with this scenario: You’ve booked a beach holiday and with three months to spare, you hit the gym religiously and eliminate carbs from your diet. Come take off your body is as lean and as strong as an NBA player during playoffs. Cue pool-side photos, hashtagging wanderlust, and beach parties with your pecs out. Then day five happens. You’ve pigged out on three convenience store meals in the middle of the night, spent mornings passed out hung over a lounger, and have sunburnt body parts.
But what if it were completely possible to enjoy being on vacation without sabotaging all your hard work? They key is balance—indulging in moderation so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out, yet keeping your body in check. Next time you take a break, remember these FHM.com.ph commandments to fitness on retreat.
1) Make a workout playlist
We’re not talking about a Calvin-Harris-David-Guetta mix on Spotify. We’re talking about YouTube workouts. There are videos online targeting different muscle groups at varying length, so you can create your own watch list depending on what your schedule and surroundings allow. We recommend checking out Jordan Yeoh’s 5 minute abs blasters or if you have more time, The Body Coach has some great 15 minute tabata sessions. These can be done in your hotel room, on the beach, or in a park. They’re short and intense, so go all out each morning and let a 10 minute workout start you day. After that, you’re off the hook.
2) Plan a fitness activity into your vacation
Fitness doesn’t necessarily mean boring, so plan an activity that will get your heart rate up and body moving. Maybe you’re away with pals, so bring some gear and suggest some beach volleyball. With your girlfriend? Maybe she’d be up for a hike across a scenic mountain. Travelling alone? Try setting your alarm earlier and squeezing in a 30 minute sunrise jog. There are ways to enjoy new surroundings actively, so don’t spend the whole trip lazing around or travelling by taxi—mix it up.
3) Stretch it out
We often forget the importance of stretching, which not only prevents injury but also improves our flexibility and posture. Yogasphere suggests that backpackers do regular side-to-side neck stretches in order to release tension in the sternocleidomastoid muscle as it takes on the strain of heavy luggage, and in the evenings to try the cobbler yoga pose to open up your hips if you’ve been hiking around with extra weight. There are times you’ll be wandering around a resort with nothing to do so why not freestyle some of your own yoga moves or have a yoga inspired photo shoot.
4) Put some strategy into eating
Try and stick to the rule of eating healthily two-thirds of the time, and treating yourself the other one-third of the time (that’s one splurge meal a day if you’re having three, and just over one and a half if you’re having five). This reduces holiday cravings and means your balance of good and bad tip towards the good side of the scale when it comes to food.
When eating out, remember to order meals that have a good balance of proteins and fresh vegetables, and watch out for anything with a lot of sauce, such as curry. Stock plenty of nuts, fruit and nutrition bars in your hotel room so that you have something to snack on when you get home—because let’s face it, you’ll always regret that Family Mart microwave hot dog when it’s finished.
5) Drink alcoholic water
Obviously drinking non-alcoholic water is the best option, but who doesn’t want to get a little merry on vacay? Water will keep you hydrated and minimise the hangover, so we suggest making it part of your holiday drink. Whisky water is a delicious go-to, or if you need some bubbles then make vodka soda and lime your poison. That’s barely any cals and the same amount of liquor to be lit for the night. No need to compromise on that six pack, either.
6) Don’t forget your face
The sun, dirt, and wind from the outside can have harsh effects on our skin—especially the skin on our face which is always exposed. Come back from vacation looking better than when you set off simply by taking a couple of minutes during your trip to refuel your pores. Grab a couple of face masks, moisturize, and above all, wear sunscreen (very important if you’re the pale type like us!). We might be from a sunny country, but when you’re on vacation your time in the rays is significantly increased and different countries have different degrees of UV radiation.