This is a guest post from Ashlie Bales.
Remember going to college and being warned about the freshman 15 aka the 15 pounds you seem to immediately gain as soon as you show up. The freshman 15 is nothing to the traveler’s 20. Often I wave goodbye to a friend and two weeks and many calories later I arrive back with some excess luggage tied to my body. Luckily there some awesome techniques for staying skinny while still having a blast.
Can you imagine being a beer lover and ordering water when you attend Oktoberfest? How about sitting down to a four hour, seven course meal in Italy and just having a small salad? No one wants to go on their dream vacation and miss out on the things the city is famous for just to avoid gaining a few pounds. On the other hand, you do want to fit into your jeans on day 7 of that dream vacation. The good news is that there are ways to have crazy amounts of fun and not gain a pound. Well maybe one, but not 15!
Most people view vacations or travel as time to let loose and not worry about weight loss or eating healthy. And that’s totally fine, everyone needs breaks from time to time. But what if you travel often? Or maybe you have an important event right after vacation and can’t afford to gain a ton of weight? There are a couple different ways you can maintain or even lose weight when traveling and most importantly still have a good time.
Consider Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in both the fitness community and among weight loss experts. There are varying methods for this but the one I like the best is structured around an 8 hour eating window followed by a 16 hour fasting period. In my opinion the best way to structure this is to have your eating window from noon to 8 p.m., then fast from 8 p.m. until noon the next day which is when your next eating window begins. Following this strategy is very helpful for keeping your calorie count at a reasonable level. Some people have three small meals during their eating window, others have one large meal. It’s up to you.
This method does involve skipping breakfast which in my opinion is vastly overrated. But, if you can’t survive without breakfast, just make your eating window from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. This means you will have to hold out all afternoon and night before eating, but some people love this method.
Hotel Room Workouts
Everyone has grand plans of hitting the gym a couple times while on vacation. It rarely happens. There is too much fun to be had. So here is a simple 15-20 minute routine that can be done anywhere and will remind your body that you still care about it.
10 squats (all the way down)
10 clap pushups (or as many as you can do)
10 lunges (5 each leg)
10 single leg squats (link on how to do them)
30 second plank
Is jumping on the bed part of the work out?
Go through this workout 5 times resting only after doing all 5 exercises. Try and decrease your rest periods as you progress. For example, day 1 rest 90 seconds between sets, day 2 60 seconds and so on.
Run Forest Run
My running strategies have changed dramatically over the years. When I was younger I would pound the pavement (or treadmill) hour after hour. That’s not happening anymore. I’m all about efficiency now, especially while on vacation. If you are dedicated enough to run, consider sprinting. 6-10 100 yard sprints will do wonders for your metabolism. And just in case you didn’t know, sprinting 100 yards is really tough, you will have a new appreciation for football players needing oxygen after a 100 yard sprint when you are done with these. The best place to do this is a track. Simply sprint the 100 yard straightaway, do a recovery walk on the curve, and then sprint the next straightaway. I have made many athletes whine and cry doing this workout, so don’t expect to be great right away. The most important thing is that these are sprints aka running as fast as you can. Not jogging, not “running”, sprinting.
Maybe not the best stairs to run…
*Bonus workout – Instead of sprinting on a track find the biggest hill you can and sprint to the top. Challenge your boyfriend/girlfriend to a race and make it fun. Walk down and then sprint up again! Other options include stadium stairs or at the risk of looking like a crazy person, run in the stairwell of your hotel.
If your destination is in walking distance, do it. (I’m assuming you aren’t vacationing in war zones, if so, don’t walk.) Walking can have major benefits to weight loss, especially when it’s over an hour long. So a half hour there and a half hour back will be great for you. Remember, sitting takes years of your life, so walk anywhere and everywhere.
The most important thing to do while traveling is to enjoy it! Eat something you have never eaten, climb a mountain, go out on the town rather than sitting in your hotel room. Chances are you won’t be back so enjoy the new environment!