Do you worry what to do with your healthy living routine when you go on vacation?
I just returned from a 2 week summer holiday with my family.
After eating whatever I wanted and not exercising for 2 weeks I probably shattered every health and fitness commandment.
But you won’t see me doing the “cardio confessional” slaving on the treadmill feeling the food guilt for the rest of the summer.
After years of sticking to my fitness routine I have a plan that allows me to enjoy my vacations and get back on track the minute I throw the luggage back in the house.
So I am going to share with you the Fit Father Formula to have a guilt-free vacation this summer while not erasing all of your hard work in the gym and in the kitchen this winter.
1. Forget Food & Fitness
Personally this is the option I prefer, but it might not be for everybody. Once a year I allow myself to break free from healthy eating and exercise for up to 2 weeks for our summer vacation. Any other intermittent breaks during the year last only a few days or are for unexpected events. Eating REAL food and doing efficient exercise 90% of the time allows me to do this and actually get stronger and leaner year after year.
2. Daily Dining
Pick ONE meal or snack during the day that you will enjoy the most depending on your planned activities for the day and have it guilt-free. Brunch breakfast with the family, ice cream at the park or wining and dining in the evening. You don’t have to make it pure junk everyday, take the opportunity to try fresh local recipes wherever you are staying. Visiting Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada, the lobster capital of the world, I tried the fresh local Lobster with Thai Noodles and it was amazing! With your activity levels not as high as normal one large meal and small healthy snacks of nuts and fruit during the rest of the day will keep you on the move with craving the next meal.
3. Relish the Routine
If you feel the guilt from straying from your workouts are worst than the food itself then stick with it. Living a healthy lifestyle is super simple to maintain anyway by eating real food most of the time and having a “treat” meal once a week along with 3 short weekly workouts. Sprints on the beach or bodyweight workouts at the park are great ways to add spice into your workouts while combining, family, fitness and fun.
Because those things are something we don’t want a vacation from…
Then, a little too quickly it seems, it’s OVER!
You had a fun-filled vacation with your family and you are now up to your eyeballs in bills, luggage and laundry. Not to mention you have to return to work.
So here is my 3 step quick start guide to getting back to clean living AFTER your vacation.
Workout, don’t wait! Get that fat burning furnace going again with your workouts. Even though we still weren’t unpacked, the next morning after we got home I pulled some workout clothes out of my luggage and hit the gym for a quick workout. If you take up to 2 weeks off from training like I did for summer vacation, ease back into your workouts slowly. Cut your weights and reps in half for the first week or so to avoid debilitating soreness.
Shop and Chop. Even before I hit the gym the next morning my wife and I hit the supermarket to restock our house with REAL food. I like to call it Easy Eating. 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and nothing out of a box or can except maybe beans and oatmeal. Lots of lean meats, nuts, fruits and veggies. I was so sick of restaurant food after vacation, so I use that extra motivation to get started right away and not only shop for lots of good healthy food, but chop it in advance to make meals in minutes.
Fast for Fat Loss. I was turned on to the health benefits of intermediate fasting a few years ago. I was highly impressed with the physical and mental benefits of fasting for just 24 hours once a week or periodically like after letting your diet go during vacation. So after having my final vacation meal for lunch at a restaurant on the drive home I decided my stomach could use a break from food after the pounding it got on vacation. So I fasted for 24 hours, drank lots of cold clean water and broke the fast after my mid-morning workout starting with a Super Shake of whey protein, mixed berries, spinach, greens powder, plain yogurt, and a banana. Then had a veggie omelet with an orange shortly after.
Despite what the late night infomercials want you to believe a weekly caloric reduction through diet and exercise is still the ONLY proven way to lose fat, no matter how you do it.
So there you have it. Your vacation survival guide to have a healthy holiday this summer.
Remember, it’s not what you do from June to July that counts, it’s what you do from July to June that really matters.
Sean Barker is a busy dad who finds time for family, fitness and fun. He likes pumping iron as well as producing it, as a heavy equipment
operator in the iron ore mines. He is ALSO a nationally certified personal trainer who writes for Fit Parent and Inside Fitness magazines and is the author of The Dad Fitness System at www.DadFitness.com. Sean also has a Dad Fitness Blog with tips, thoughts, and humor on being a fit dad at DadFitnessBlog.com.