You don’t have to leave your #fitlife at the departure gates when you go on holiday. Here are some ways to stay in tip-top condition even when you’re on the road.
So you’re finally going on that long-awaited, well-deserved holiday. But does that mean you have to abandon the regular fitness routine you’ve worked hard to maintain once you step through the departure gates?
A vacation can help to reduce stress, but it also can derail a workout regimen. And even some disciplined exercisers may find it hard to abide by a fitness programme when away from home. How many times have you packed your workout attire in your suitcase, only to never take them out even once during your trip?
Travelling doesn’t have to disrupt or make you throw your healthy habits out the window. Fit in a sweat sesh with or without equipment in cold or warm climate with these tips.
1. Pick a hotel with good fitness facilities and services
Many hotels these days no longer just offer a gym with some basic equipment. They understand that guests prioritise fitness even when they’re on vacation, and provide more comprehensive machines and equipment.
Aside from pools and tennis courts, some hotels, such as The Fullerton, also provide maps of jogging trails, and bike renting services (Park Regis Hotel). At Westin Hotel, guests can rent New Balance sportswear and then go on a 3km or 5km running route plotted by the RunWestin concierge. At Changi Hotel, the general manager himself conducts a complimentary bike tour for guests every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and bicycles are provided.
2. Go on a walking or bike tour
What better way to explore a city than by navigating its streets by foot? Not only will you get to reach your daily 10,000-step goal, you also get to experience the place like a local.
Another way to cover more ground? Rent a bicycle and freewheeling it around the city. Some hotels in major cities rent out bicycles and offer guided bike tours so you can do a spin class while hitting up places of attraction.
3. Do short, high-intensity exercises
Don’t worry about having to dial down your workouts during your holiday. As soon as you return to your normal schedule, you’ll bounce right back into your regular fitness level. Just don’t completely stop exercising.
Short bursts of high-intensity workouts a minimum of just two days a week can help to prevent your cardiovascular fitness from declining. The least you could do is go through two sessions of 30-minute HIIT workouts that reaches 70 to 75 per cent of maximum heart rate each week. They burn more calories in less time, so you have ample time to go sightseeing and get on with your itinerary.
Try adding 30-second sprint training sessions twice a week, and keep the high-intensity days two to four days apart. The time in between should be for rest and recovery, which is vital if you’re doing HIIT.
4. Try a new or local workout
When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do. So take on destination-specific activities such as sand-boarding in Perth, surfing in Waikiki, or rock-climbing at Yosemite National Park. You’ll not only burn a bunch of calories, you’ll also have way more fun than slogging it out on the treadmill.
You can book these activities through Klook, TripAdvisor or AirBnb Experiences — the latter offers activities conducted by locals who share their interests in sports and outdoor activities, so you’ll also get to make friends with the locals while you’re out getting your fill of activities.
5. Try out seasonal activities
Don’t underestimate the amount of calories you can burn just by getting involved in holiday activities such as sledding, skiing, skating, and trekking. If you’re going on a winter holiday, take advantage of the slopes and ski to your heart’s content — you’ll have so much fun you won’t even realise you’re working out. Staying close to a mountain or hiking trail? Go for a hike at dawn and get close to nature. Now that’s a rejuvenating holiday.
6. Choose your booze
If your travel philosophy is that every night is a weekend night when you’re on holiday, you’ll most likely end up drinking more frequently and larger amounts than you normally would.
For healthier drinking, ditch beer as it is high in carbs (it’s basically empty calories) and go for low-carb alcohol such as a dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, for instance). Avoid cocktails, mocktails, or spirits, and stick to vodka, whiskey, or tequila if you’re doing shots.
7. Stay hydrated
Wherever you’re travelling to — be it Dubai or Japan in winter — staying hydrated is of utmost importance. Work out how much water you need to drink with this general formula: multiply your weight (in kilograms) by 0.033. Drink up even more when you’re being active. Our cells require water to function well, and depriving your body of the most basic need will lead you to function at a sub-optimal level.
Plus, when we’re dehydrated, we sometimes end up eating more because we mistake our thirst for hunger. So apart from chugging down water, choose water-dense fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers and lettuce to keep your hydration level up.
8. Catch those Z’s
We get it — you don’t want to waste your holiday sleeping when you can do that at home. But a vacation is for you to rest and recharge, and you can’t be fully rested unless you, well, rest. If you skimp on sleep when you’re on holiday, you’ll probably return feeling like you need another one.
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain because our brain releases more ghrelin (i.e. the hunger hormone that stimulates appetite) when we’re up at night, making us feel hungrier and thus consume more calories at night.
Insufficient sleep also causes changes to your circadian rhythm (aka your biological clock, which regulates bodily functions), which can result in a lower metabolism, leaving you feeling sluggish in the day and not burning calories as quickly.
So make sleep one of your priorities when on holiday. Wake up at a reasonable hour, and try to pace out your activities to allow yourself enough rest time.