By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 11:28, 01 April 2020
So, you’ve been dieting for 12 weeks and got in great shape for your holiday; you could even say you were chuffed when you saw yourself looking back in the mirror this morning.
But when that early morning airport alarm goes off what’s the first thing you do? Let the reigns loose, hit the airport at 6am for a big builder’s breakfast, a pint of fosters, and a family pack of Haribo.
Now it’s day one at the pool and you feel bloated, lethargic, and are already creating bad relationships with food as you switch from one extreme to the other.
Here, Ben Haldon, Head Coach at My Coach School, gives his advice for how to have a great holiday, without months of hard work in the gym going down the drain.
“There are loads of misconceptions around holiday health, but staying fit while you’re abroad is actually much easier than people realise. Despite what others might say, your muscle isn’t going anywhere and certainly isn’t going to turn to fat if you don’t hit the gym every day.
That being said, before diving into your holiday like one long rampant binge, think about how much work you have put in prior to this, and allow yourself a healthy transition into your holiday.
“Diet is really important, and while we all need time to relax and unwind, this doesn’t mean gorging on the hotel buffet at all hours. Try eating a little later in the day.
Having more calories to play with later in the day means you can enjoy more food for lunch and dinner. It’s a bit like a child with pocket money – don’t use up all of your cash (calories) straight away or you will be left short later on.
“Dosing up on high-volume, nutritious foods such as fruit will keep you feeling full, so try mixing these into your holiday diet throughout the day to avoid going overboard at meal times.
Eating slowly will also help you to stay fuller for longer, so regardless of what you’re eating, take your time and enjoy it…it’s not going anywhere!
“If you’re a fussy eater, or not sure what the food will be like when you get there, take something with you that you know you can rely on at home.
Protein bars or a portion of whey protein powder are really easy to pop in your suitcase, and great options and will make it easier for you to keep hitting your protein goals too.
“The final thing to remember is the importance of H20 (no, fishbowl G&Ts don’t count!). We all know that we should be drinking lots or water each day, and this is doubly important on holiday as the humidity and heat can cause you to dehydrate much easier than when you’re at home.
“Ultimately, make sure that if you want it, eat it, and don’t regret it! You’re on holiday after all – make sure you have a balance with your life and don’t miss out on trying something you wouldn’t usually get at home.
“On the flip side of the coin, if you’re worried about how to enjoy your holiday without letting go of the full-time diet and training regime, there are some really simply training options available to you.
“The first thing to remember is that you are on holiday and you don’t want to over-do it. It takes 2-3 weeks for the body to start losing muscle tissue, so if you can’t get to the gym for a week it’s really not going to kill you.
However, if you’re just a fitness fanatic who loves the way that training makes you feel both physically and mentally, then make sure you look before you book – lots of hotels have gym facilities on site or nearby if you absolutely can’t go without.
“Being on holiday is a great way to get creative – use your surroundings to build in workouts where you can. There are hundreds of bodyweight exercises you can make use of, so head down to the beach and get started on a circuit.
Pick four or five exercises and complete them in a circuit for ten reps of five rounds with a minute rest between each round. If you feel that you need something more, there are lots of small, lightweight training aids available that can easily fit in your suitcase. A skipping rope, or resistance bands for example are both good options.
“Remember that all movement is good movement, so, to keep body fat down, rather than spending all day in the gym make sure you get our an explore and walk where you can rather than taking taxis. You could even try out the old swim and tan combo to keep you in shape whilst taking advantage of that illusive vitamin D supply.
“If you’ve been training and dieting for some time, your body will thank you for the rest or the shorter sessions. See if as a time to enjoy some lighter training to keep the engine ticking over and allow the batteries to recharge.”