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Vacation Fit: How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Jun 6, 2013
This time of the year many of us find ourselves gearing up for that big summer vacation, whether a trip to some tropical locale or an extended weekend. Too often we approach diet and exercise on vacation with reckless abandon...meaning what diet and why exercise?! Many take a vacation to relax, and for some of us, exercise isn't that relaxing. However, you can be healthy and still enjoy your time away. Let's take a look at how you can stay on your healthy path and live it up at the same time.

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Moderation, Moderation

I love vacation. We hit up Hilton Head, S.C., every year around Memorial Day to kick it with good friends and family. And if you've ever been to the South, or New York, or wherever your destination is, people like to eat. I could eat barbecue four times daily for a week. My heart would hate me, and so would my cholesterol levels. That's why the first key to not getting derailed from your fitness goals on vacation is eating in moderation. By avoiding overeating and eating a lot of nutritionally poor food, you will remain less lethargic and more active on your trip. The same principle applies with alcohol intake. It's OK to have a few tropical adult beverages, just not 12 every night of your trip. Your liver and waistline will thank you.

Active Activities

On a family vacation you may not find much "alone" time--so it will be tough to get a 45 minute run, spin class, or weight session. That doesn't mean you should take a whole week off from being active. Similarly, just because there's no gym near your locale doesn't mean you can't get a meaningful workout. I encourage vacationers with and without families to engage in activities that can be fun and help you keep on your fitness goals. Biking the beach, nature walks, strolling around the boardwalk, kayaking, you name it. All of these fun, vacation-y activities can be a great substitute for your daily treadmill session. Incorporating the whole family makes it more enjoyable, and less likely that your significant other will be angry that you left her alone with the kids on vacation for an hour because you can't miss leg day.

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SHORT ON TIME? HERE'S A COMPLETE WORKOUT THAT WILL ONLY TAKE YOU 20 MINUTES!




Use Your Surroundings

If you're not into the family vacation thing, but are still away for some R and R, my advice is to embrace the surroundings you're in and get active on your vacation because...why not? How often can you take a run on the beach in Hawaii? Or stroll into a world-class fight gym for a kickboxing class while in Las Vegas? Most popular vacation spots have some sports or authentic exercise attraction that just begs you to try out. Who wouldn't want to walk nine holes at a legendary golf course, or take a core-centric workout and learn to surf? If you're a snow bunny, skiing can be a great aerobic and anaerobic exercise that you can build around your winter vacation, too.

It really isn't all that complicated to stay relatively healthy on your next vacation. A little foresight goes a long way in staying active, avoiding the gluttony of great cuisine, and using your beautiful vacation surroundings to motivate you into enjoying a beautiful, relaxing, and healthy vacation.


Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous professional, collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields, including professional and arena football players, Mixed Martial Artists, elite runners, international soccer players, and more. 

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the owner and operator of Funky Fitness PA, a personal training studio, in home personal training and personalized fitness planning service. Ryan's work has been featured across the US and the globe, working with clients in all facets of life. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can check Ryan out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, or you can reach him at funkytimefitness@gmail.com.



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