Everyone loves a good holiday, but that’s no excuse for you letting go of your diet or fitness routine. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to holidays, the last thing I think about is keeping up with my workout routines. I am usually on a seefood diet (I see food, I eat it). For the majority of people I know, the month leading up to a beach holiday is all about going on a very restrictive diet and hitting the gym like there’s no tomorrow just to get a few pounds off and feel more comfortable in a pair of shorts.
If you’ve been bitten by the fitness bug once again and would prefer to keep that momentum going on holiday, there are a million ways to do it without having to rely on a below par hotel gym to keep you active. For anyone going on a sunny holiday this summer, here are some of my tips for ways to stay active on holiday without lifting your beer being your only bicep workout.
Tip 1: Find a proper gym
Is there anything worse than your hotel saying it has a gym onsite, only to find a room with a few treadmills and tiny dumbbells? If you like sticking to a routine, do a little research on local gyms. You’ll find plenty of photos on Facebook and Google of gyms near where you’re staying that could be the best place to get a specific workout in. Many gyms near hotel-heavy tourist areas usually offer weekly passes for guests, so you’re not spending an arm and a leg to work on your arms and legs.
Tip 2: Beach workouts are hard, so do them
If you think you’re good at running or doing circuits, try it on the beach and see how much you still need to up your game. Working out in the sand is incredibly hard. Because you’re moving on ground that constantly changes shape, as opposed to the treadmill or gym floor, your entire body has to keep readjusting position to keep going. That causes muscle fibres in the legs to really fire up, with parts of your lower back and inside legs getting a shock that they need to work.
Workouts on the beach can be gruelling but so much fun at the same time. Even if the idea of going off on a run by the tide doesn’t sound enticing, this simple sand circuit workout I found on a rugby blog is surprisingly good. After just 30 seconds of burpees, you’ll be cursing the beach.
Tip 3: Go activity mad on holiday
Exercise comes in many forms, and nowhere is that more obvious than when you’re trying to surf for the first time, are going hell for leather paddling in a canoe or trying to go uphill on a mountain bike in 30 degrees heat.
Holiday companies like Mark Warner and Neilson now specifically offer sun-soaked activity holidays which specialise in getting you away from the pool and doing all sorts. These kinds of holidays are great if you’re usually a bit sceptical about trying new sports, especially watersports like sailing and paddle boarding (the latter of which can be a great core stabilisation workout). I’ve seen companies offering everything from water polo and tennis lessons to scuba diving and fencing. Have a look at what possible hotels you might want to stay in offer, but don’t outrightly advertise, and you could see yourself with a new holiday hobby.
Tip 4: Keep Your Diet Plan
Holidays are prime for slipping into bad habits. We don’t want our hard work getting fit to go to waste. We’ve all been there after a few tipples perusing the McDonalds menu in another language to see what subtle differences we’re going to find and order. I’m a big believer in sticking to your diet while on holiday, or at least trying authentic food that you know will be fresh.
Avoid going anywhere near restaurants that offer chips with everything or have pictures on the menu. Do a little exploring and find local restaurants that use locally sourced veg and meat that you know is going to knock the socks off your taste buds, especially if you’re staying by the coast where there will be plenty of seafood spots on the beach.
Tip 5: Buy a proper water bottle
Do you have a reusable water bottle you carry all the time? Take it with you on holiday. When you’re not used to the heat all day, you’re going to be sweating more, and that means your body will be crying out for water. And even though a tall glass full or ice and a slice of lemon for your bottle of coke is absolute bliss on holiday, stick to drinking a good amount of water every day. It will keep you refreshed and curb any urges to snack on those giant sized crisp packets throughout the day. I recommend reading the NHS Guide about drinking water on holiday too.
Bonus Tip: Try an early night
Before I sign off, there’s one last tip that might sound weird, but trust me on this one. If you’ve been going out every night on holiday, take just one night in the middle of the week to stop and do absolutely nothing after dinner and go to bed early. A little shift in your body clock is a great way to reset on holiday, especially if you’re the type of person who has trouble sleeping and seems to be up to all hours on holiday.
A little kip and then an early morning run will do wonders.