So we’ve just landed back from our holiday in Portugal. If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you’ll know there were ice creams, burgers, M&M’s and some very sedentary days. We most certainly let our hair down BUT there was also a lotta good stuff going on, here’s an insight into how we stay FITTER on holiday and few tips to take away on your own travels.
We outline the nutrition principles we follow here at Fitter Food for you on our Fitter 16 lifestyle transformation plan so do check that out for some insight into the Fitter Food principles.
And to anyone who is postponing signing up on the plan until the end of the summer please don’t. You could have an epic summer whilst still following Fitter 16.
We know that at some point over the 16 weeks on the plan you’ll have social events, weekends away and holidays in your diary, so we designed Fitter 16 to ensure you show up, have a great time and don’t disrupt your progress.
What I really want to discuss here is the fact a holiday is actually a great chance to be healthier, in fact, it should be easier, especially if you follow these 5 steps:
1) REMEMBER The Reason You Holiday
We have to start with this reason because many of you may have forgotten it and there’s a chance you spend your holiday derailing your health and waistline.
Of course, it’s absolutely to fine to break away from your routine and relax your usual nutrition or training habits whilst away.
To be fair the change in environment (less stress, more sleep and time outside) will have such a positive impact on your body physically that there’s every chance you can be more flexible and not experience any negative effects.
However, your body and mind have limits. If you start taking things too far and notice you’re feeling bloated, gaining weight or experiencing mood swings you may need to rethink and add back in some balance.
Sure it’s fun at the time but so is the freedom from your daily routine, responsibilities and the fact that you have the opportunity to do some cool stuff.
This is what you may have forgotten, that ideally, a holiday should feel enough.
Matt and I use holidays as a chance to slow down and savour things.
We feel so grateful we have the time to sit and sip our morning coffee slowly, watch the sunrise, paddle in the sea, people watch and just enjoy each others company, we spend time loving the simple, small things we never make enough time for at home.
If you’re holidaying properly and have other ducks in a row you should find it easier to make good choices most of the time and implement a degree of control.
On the other hand, if you struggle to feel content in the moment without something to look forward to there’s a chance you have some bigger issues to consider.
Your holiday headspace is a great chance to do some serious contemplation and reflect on WHY you feel the need to do this.
Of course you should have the odd indulgence but equally make a distinction between enjoying a little of what you fancy and looking to completely lose yourself in a boozy haze or sugar coma.
The latter is an escape from a reality you don’t feel fulfilled by and it sadly will manifest in health issues at some point if not addressed.
2) Pack Up Some Fitter Food and Go!
Our holidays are often a nice mix of relaxation and activity, during the daytime food is more about fuel as we’re usually out making the most of the different environment. We save money by doing a daily pack up and usually plan something more special for the evening where we’ll head out to a local restaurant.
We always opt for self catered accommodation so we can make up a cool box, it takes 10 minutes and usually includes some variation of the bags of salad, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, chopped cheese, fruit, tinned fish, boiled eggs, olives, avocado, nuts/nut butter, cured meat, cooked potatoes, rice/oatcakes, sea salt and balsamic vinegar.
In fact, our new favourite thing is almond butter and sea salt on cold sweet potato, Portuguese sweet potatoes are the BEST!
From an exercise perspective, the awesome thing about a holiday really is the freedom, you’re not desk-bound, tied to school runs and you don’t NEED to be anywhere.
You can choose where you want to be whenever you want which means there’s loads of room for movement, literally!
You can walk all day long if you want to, swim daily, do some sports or go dancing, holidays provide way more opportunities to do some enjoyable forms of exercise.
We often mix up beach walks, sightseeing runs, beach yoga, sea swimming, pool volleyball and will hit a gym if we feel like it. We like to have a go at any sports on offer, so far we’ve done surfing, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, landsailing and rock climbing on our breaks.
3) Intermittent Fast Occasionally
There are several reasons you might wish to throw in the occasional intermittent fast of around 14-16 hours and skip breakfast.
It can help implement a calorie deficit or energy balance which may be needed if you did have a little extra the night before but also from a convenience and cost perspective.
It lessens the need to think about or plan meals, which means more time to get out and make the most of your break.
Also, many European countries typically eat later, which means restaurants serve food later so shifting your eating window to later in the day might be easier.
Fasting isn’t for everyone, some people find it leads to cycles of overeating, some people struggle mood and energy wise without breakfast (another option is to eat an earlier dinner – although it might be tricky in countries where eating late is more typical).
It’s also not suitable if you have a history of disordered eating habits or are pregnant.
4) Ensure You Escape Daily
It’s essential you use your time away to escape your daily stresses.
As mentioned above that doesn’t mean you just get pisshed all the time, but equally, it can be tricky to slow down and switch off initially so finding something that occupies your mind helps.
A good start is detaching from technology with a digital detox.
Leaving your phone and laptop at home would be ideal although not always possible for many people, if you do have to take your phone output it on airplane mode (download your favourite music and Fitter Food Radio podcast beforehand of course) and if you HAVE to check emails for work purposes simply limit the window you do this and ask others to keep you accountable.
We run an online business and feel more comfortable checking in on things daily, there were a couple of occasions we could have sat working the entire day away but we prioritised tasks, covered the essentials only and filed to the rest in a “To do back at home” folder which meant we could sleep easy.
Our favourite means of escaping on our holiday was reading fiction books and biographies, we often read completely different genre’s and tell each other the abridged version.
We listened to our favourite comedians in the car and in the evenings watched season 3 of The Bridge – which we highly recommend. Not just because it’s amazing, but because there can be no distractions with a Nordic noir – you have to read the subtitles for a start.
5) Get a Dose of Energy Medicine
Now this can sound pretty alternative but listen up, your health is really all about cells, it’s what’s your made of.
Optimal cellular health requires you to be able to neutralise something called reactive oxygen species (sometimes referred to as free radicals).
These damage components of your cells, accelerate disease processes, drive inflammation and actively age the body.
Free electrons help to diffuse these reactive compounds, these can be delivered via antioxidants in your diet or another source is grounding the body, also known as Earthing.
When you connect to Earth and your skin comes into contact with rocks, grass, beach, soil or the sea you can change the balance of charge within the body by drawing negatively charged electrons from the ground and these help to counterbalance the positive charge that results from reactive oxygen species and exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (emitted via mobile phones and wifi).
Many people notice chronic pain or joint niggles tend to subside on holiday and this may be one reason along with the extra vitamin D from the sunshine and sleep.
Doing some exercise or yoga outside is a great means of multitasking, getting your daily movement and ‘earthing’ quota nailed at the same time. Alternatively just kick off your shoes and have a brew outside.
A Few of our Holiday Essentials…
And finally here are a few things (mostly products and supplements) that we always take along with us abroad.
Despite eating relatively well it’s rarely possible to eat locally and organically and there can be a significant decrease in our vegetable intake when travelling. As well as a reduction in the variety of food we eat as we’ll likely eat out more often, so these just support us in the meantime.
Quality Multivitamin – We take a multi to keep our basic nutrient needs covered, we use a quality brand that’s not cheap but when you consider the money you spend on highlights, waxing and duty-free it’s about understanding the overall value.
Omega 3 Fish Oil – Due to the fact we’re eating out more and consuming more vegetable oils (rich in omega 6) we take a quality fish oil to counter.
Renew Life FibreSmart Powder – Travel sometimes disrupts bowel movements plus the decrease in roughage can really affect your gut.
Protein Powder – Handy for hitting protein requirements, we will often just mix with water or almond milk and have as a quick snack or brekkie. We took Vital Health Pea Protein and Pulsin Whey.
Synergy Organic Spirulina – One of our favourite green powder for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection.
Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel – We use this for aftersun protection.
Trophics Sunscreen – a pal recommended Trophic as a natural sunscreen. It’s the first one we’ve found that applies well and doesn’t leave you looking like you’ve painted yourself white. you can buy it here.
Fitter 16 (Ha!) – Us and all our Fitties take the Fitter 16 principles on holiday and adapt them as per the guidance on the plan as a means of staying energised, happy, motivated, not worrying about weight gain and ensuring we have an epic time.