We all need a break from triathlon training and racing and just to get away. But, the one issue that always comes up is how best to keep up with our fitness and this is about the whole family and not just the triathlete. We often find ourselves throwing our hands up or getting lazy, even though we really don’t want to. Deep down, we know we need to get in some fitness and darn, don’t we always feel better once we do. We’re not talking swim, bike, and run, though. We’re talking staying active, eating well, and enjoying ourselves all wrapped into one.
Here are some vacation tips to help you stay fit, eat well, and still have fun while you’re away…
Location, Location, Location
There are two main factors when it comes to location; one is the actual physical location or destination and the other is the accommodations. The destination can be a city, country, beach, or mountains, as long as there are ample activities and outdoor space. Renting a home in Vancouver on the water to do storm watching is not an option, but a trip to Iceland is totally doable.
For example, New York City has some of the best walking and running areas around. From Central Park to Riverside Park, you can walk for miles. And if visiting the beach, you can kayak, swim, paddle board, or engage in a ton of other water-focused activities. Remember to also take the stairs when you can and walk instead of taking a taxi if within a decent distance, although I can say we have walked from South Street Seaport to Central Park in NYC before.
We then need to consider accommodations. Picking a hotel with a gym and/or lap pool is always a bonus. If you’re at a resort, you can often even request equipment be delivered to your suite, like free weights or an exercise ball. If renting a home or villa, you may have a concierge service or local company deliver the equipment you like to have around.
Make the time for fitness. Plan it into your day. We often get up and go for a walk before breakfast just to get it in and get it done. Two big DONT’S. First, do not make fitness a priority over family activities. If you must work out no matter what, get up early and get it done so as to not take up family time.
Second, do not think it has to be done the way it is at home. Make adjustments if needed. For example, travel with a swim harness that can be hooked up to any pool and you have your own endless pool. You can also get creative and adjust your workout to fit into a family activity, like rock climbing and most water sports. You must consider the quality of the time when on vacation, especially if you’re with the kids. The vacation is about the whole family and not the triathlete!
This is one fitness activity we try to work in no matter where we are. It not only provides an amazing fitness activity that the entire family can enjoy together, but also gives you a perspective of the area. Even in big cities, you can find hiking and green spaces nearby. We love hiking so much, we plan many trips and vacations around having the ability to hike each day or so. There are even many destinations, such as Greece and Italy that the hiking alone is why we take the vacation.
We often find ourselves in new cities or at locations with different fitness activists than we are used to. When in a large city, take advantage of Groupons, City Class Passes, and even the YMCA or other gyms with guest passes. The Class Pass in New York City will give you a variety of options to purchase. For example, you can purchase a 5 class pass and try 5 different fitness activities all over the city. Who knows, you may discover a new way to workout.
We have also found that when traveling internationally, many different places have both traditional and new activities that can be considered fitness to try. Take advantage of learning a new type of yoga or even a different type of rowing.
The ability to have access to good, clean food to fuel you and not mess with your system is a priority to maintaining fitness on vacation. There is never a reason to not eat well. We always make sure when we vacation that we have access to fruits, veggies, and a variety of local favorites and Farmers’ Markets are our first choice. There are places we travel that we need to make a stop at a grocery store to get snacks and some foods to make sure we maintain balance. But never, I repeat never, get sloppy with fueling yourself on vacation. Yes, you can enjoy dessert and a cocktail, but fast food and fried foods should be consumed in VERY limited quantities.
Being able to have the right mindset on your vacation will make it easy for you to get in your fitness and help keep the other people you are vacationing with happy.
How do you manage to stay healthy on vacation or do you even try?