7 ways to stay in shape on holiday!
We've all been there. We've all told ourselves "Ah screw it I'm on holiday, I'll deal with it when I get home" I've whispered those words to myself more times than I can count and the reality has always been that when I get home, the weight stays on. Until my next trip looms ever closer and only then am I motivated enough to lose the weight I gained last time... only to put it all back on again! and the cycle continues. During my travels through Europe however, this wasn't the case.
I found myself feeling pretty body confident even towards the very end of the trip, bearing in mind that this was a three month trip! so in all that glorious holiday time my body hadn't changed much at all. I'd maybe gained a kilo or two but definitely not more. I was flabbergasted at this because I hadn't gone easy on the food nor the alcohol! I travelled through Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and many more countries on that trip - almost every culture is defined strongly by their cuisine and I wanted to experience all of it so as you can imagine I dived straight into that heavenly pool of European food. The weight gain would be worth it, at least that's what I told myself.
But alas! three months of over indulging later and even after guzzling five litres of beer at Oktoberfest for three days there were still no love handles, saddle bags or muffin tops anywhere in sight. It was a miracle! the gods (maybe while I was in Greece) had blessed me with the gift of eating and drinking whatever I wanted with no repercussions to my bikini body... ah one can dream! But it did happen, and here is what I think I did on my trip to keep the weight off without even realising it at the time;
When I think back to my time travelling across Europe I can recall hiking a mountain in most of the countries I visited. It was never something I did begrudingly for the purpose of keeping fit, every hike was an opportunity to further enrich my experience of each new place and to be honest the physical benefits didn't even register. When I think back to it now though I remember each one being bloody hard work! I would have burned hundreds, maybe even thousands of calories each time I hiked so whatever I ate on those days would have been irrelevant. One of those hikes was in Switzerland, six hours of gruelling work! so if the opportunity to go hiking presents itself to you, take it! not only does it give you the opportunity to experience the natural side of a place, but you'll also be burning off the pizza you ate yesterday, and that kebab the day before... and those two, ok three, gelato's. *cue guilty expression
Hiking the beautiful Schilthorn trail in Switzerland, from Interlaken to Murren.
2. Do bike tours
This is another one that when I think back, I'm sure I did in every city. An average bike tour takes up half a day, lasting around four hours with up to three hours of cycling (an hour stop for lunch) that's a pretty solid cycle! cycling even just for one hour can burn up to 500 calories, depending on how much effort you're putting in of course but even so it's a great way to burn calories without even noticing. Each bike tour that I did was extremely informative, I learnt so much about each city's history whilst at the same time taking in the beauty of each place as we rode around. If you get a good tour guide they'll challenge you too, I remember on the bike tour I did in Munich we had to cycle up quite a steep hill, it wasn't a big hill but the incline was a killer! our guide challenged us to a race, promising the winner a free stein of beer at lunch. Naturally, driven by competition we all powered up that hill! I didn't win but I know I burned off breakfast. I recommend 'Mike's bike tours' if you're in Amsterdam or Munich https://www.mikesbiketours.com/ and 'Fat tire tours' if you're in Berlin, London, Paris or Barcelona http://www.fattiretours.com/ Both companies are awesome, the guides know the answer to everything and they make the experience really fun! it's inexpensive too at around €25.00-€30.00 each, not bad for half a day of laughter and learning. Did I mention you'll meet awesome people too? new friends, yay!
On a 'Mike's bike tour' in Munich
3. Walk literally everywhere
Forget trains and buses, if you can walk it then get moving! Not only do you get to take in the city/town more fully that way but you get the benefit of burning calories at the same time - say goodbye to those cocktails you downed last night! You also save yourself the cost of public transport, which in some cities will be a significant saving.
4. Play games involving body weight excercise
This is something you may not have heard of, and it really only works if you're travelling with a mate or a group of mates. The idea is; you choose one or two commonly used words (more if you're feeling like a challenge!) and those words become off limits. If you say one of the prohibited words then you have to drop right where you are and do ten push ups, or ten squats or whichever body weight excercise you have chosen as the penalty for screwing up. It's alot harder than you might think! as an example - my group of mates and I made the words 'mine' and 'there' prohibited. I don't know how many times I got caught out by one of my mates casually asking "whose water bottle is this?" "mine" ... DAMMIT! and then I'd be on the ground paying my dues in push ups! we rotated our penalty excercises, it was push ups, squats, and lunges so if one of us screwed up three times in one day we were getting a pretty decent workout! this game is also hilarious, if you manage to fool someone into saying one of the words in a really innapropriate place it's comedy gold. I got fooled right outside of the colosseum in Rome... yep there's a photo of me doing push ups outside the colosseum - in fact it's one of my favourite pics from my trip! Another time I screwed up in a busy street in Venice, so there I was squatting like a tool on the sidewalk. Similar to hiking, walking and bike riding you don't even realise you're exercising at the time, it's just a good laugh and makes for hilarious memories to look back on - with the added benefit of toned limbs!
Paying my debts outside the Colosseum!
5. Skip carbs once every two or three days
Quite often on my trip it would suddenly dawn on me that I'd eaten nothing but carbs and sugary foods for two or more days in a row! and by that stage - the realisation stage, I'd be feeling pretty crap. So after a few days of eating non nutritious meals I'd have a great big salad, and boy would I feel good after eating it. You can have a salad every now and then without missing out on the local cuisine. Salad for lunch, pizza for dinner, fondue for lunch, salad for dinner - get my drift? our bodies need a little bit of balance. After a couple of days without balance, eg; pizza for lunch, pasta for dinner, lasagne for lunch, pie for dinner - my body would be giving me all the signals to throw some greens in the mix. I'd feel bloated, tired, lazy, and my skin would begin to feel oily. After a healthy meal though I'd immediately feel rejuvinated, moral of the story? listen to your body.
6. Drink loads of water
By this I mean avoid drinking sugary fruit juices and fizzy drinks. That's one thing I avoided for the entire trip and a factor which probably played the lead role in keeping my weight in check. The only time I ever drank fizzy drink or juice on that trip was if it was a mixer on a night out. If I wasn't on the drink, which to be honest wasn't very often... then I was drinking water and only water, milk too of course but plain milk - that is not a green light to drink a litre of chocolate milk everyday people!
7. Avoid sugary/salty snacks on long journeys
I don't know what your travel plan is, but I journeyed from country to country by bus. Some of those bus trips were up to eight hours long and there were always a few stops along the way. We'd stop at a service station every two hours or so for toilet breaks. At these stops it's far too easy to pick up chocolate bars and crisps to snack on, but try to choose things like dried fruit and nuts or wholegrain crackers to snack on and keep the water flowing - as above, avoid sugary drinks. And of course make sure you stretch those leggies at each stop to get your blood flowing, the last thing you need is a blood clot ruining your holiday!
So there you have it peeps, my tips on keeping that travel weight at bay! hope it helps.
Over & out.
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