Weight Management Tips: How to Keep Healthy and Fit While on Holiday

We all need a holiday from time to time; holidays are good for the soul. They are for unwinding, relaxing, and having fun. They are also a time when we overindulge in food and/or alcohol, which is a main reason it’s so easy to gain weight. We all think that it’s hard to keep the weight off while we’re on vacation, but that is all in our heads.

With the right mindset and amount of effort, you can keep the weight off and maintain your trim, fit figure throughout your holiday.

1. Limit your sodium and sugar intake.

This is one of the hardest things for us to do during a vacation because, while we’re relaxing, de-stressing, and taking the free time to catch up on life and enjoy it, we cave in to temptation.

I’m sure you’ve told yourself, “Screw it. I’m on holiday,” while strolling through a bakery and eyeing all of the delicious pastries that are on display. Or, “I’ll get back into my fitness routine and lose these extra pounds when I return home.”

I know the feeling because I’ve been there myself. I’m just as guilty for shirking my health and fitness goals in favor of pleasure.

Here’s the thing though: It’s completely okay to indulge a little. That’s what holidays are for, right? You simply cannot deprive yourself of everything. That said; eating pastries and other sugary or salty foods every day will only pack on the weight and leave you feeling energy deprived. As the saying goes, ‘Everything in moderation’. Do enjoy a few treats, but at the same time, be mindful of how much sugary, highly processed foods you are consuming.

2. Book a place where you are able to cook your own meals.

The best way to ensure a healthful holiday is to book a vacation rental that includes a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. That way, you have full control over your choice of food and what to season it with. Delicious and nutritious home-cooked meals will give you an opportunity to spend more time enjoying your vacation rental. You’ll also save money that way.

3. Make Exercise part of your daily routine.

You don’t have to exercise at a gym while you’re on holiday, unless you’re staying at a hotel that has a gym and the gym is your go-to for exercise. You don’t even have to attend a gym in order to get a good workout for that matter. You can just as easily get out, explore, and enjoy the surrounding landscape in the place you are visiting.

Here are some ideas for physical activities that are fun to do:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Walking or jogging
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Paddle boarding
  • Rock climbing
  • Fitness classes
  • Archery
  • Tennis

Of course, the availability of outdoor activities depends on where you are vacationing. It also depends on your fitness level and on what you enjoy doing.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can also exercise in your vacation rental. There are several fitness programs you can access on your computer or tablet that are free and you don’t need any equipment in order to get in a good workout.

4. Don’t pack your days.

You’ve decided to spend your holiday in a different town, possibly – and most likely – in a different country, so quite understandably, you want to explore and drink up the experience and thrill of being somewhere different. You want to make it the best holiday you’ve ever had. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to not pack your days with activities. While you want to explore and have fun, keeping yourself too busy will drain your bank account and your health. On the go means more takeout, more dining out, and less rest.

Holidays are meant for a balance of fun and rest. If you can create this balance while on vacation, you will be better able to maintain your health and weight. You will also be better able to maintain this balance once you return to your regular schedule That’s because you’ll feel recharged, energized, and you’ll have the mental clarity to maintain this balance in your everyday activities.

Think of the ‘holiday fun-rest’ balance as a new habit to adopt and adapt in your work-life balance.

A Takeaway

It’s easier than you think to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle while on holiday. It all depends on you; how you plan on spending your holiday and the activities you want to do. With the right mindset, self-control, and a little planning, you will be able to keep the weight off and maintain your fitness goals.

What it Takes to be an Elite Group Fitness Instructor

On the first day of the group fitness instructor’s class I took at InfoFit in Vancouver in June 2019, my instructor said, “There are many mediocre instructors, but the elite instructors are the ones who are very busy and well sought after.” 

Teaching fitness is a lot of fun, you get paid to work out, but if you want to be the best, then you have to put the work into it. He then posed the following question to us: “You have to decide: do you want to be a mediocre instructor, or do you want to be an elite instructor?”

Even though I haven’t been teaching fitness classes since the COVID lockdowns began, I still keep this in the back of my mind because, at some point in the future, I’d like to get back into teaching fitness classes.

So, what differentiates an elite group fitness class instructor from a mediocre one? An elite group fitness class instructor does the following:

1.   She makes every participant feel welcome, regardless of that person’s fitness level.

2.  Creates an environment that is positive, inclusive, and promotes team-spirit. Instructors who set realistic, relevant goals for all participants and encourages them to work towards achieving those goals as a group, enhances participant adherence as well as enjoyment.

3.  Provides progressions and regressions of every exercise to accommodate participants of all fitness levels and encourages them to listen to their bodies.

4.  Puts participants first and isn’t simply getting paid to do his or her own work outs.

5.  Offers corrective feedback whenever necessary, but does so without singling out a participant and always follows up with a word of encouragement.

6.  Is well prepared, on time (or, if possible, at least a half an hour early for set-up), and enthusiastic.

7.  Doesn’t gossip about other instructors, leaves all personal problems outside of the classroom, and doesn’t choose favourites.

8.  Dresses appropriately and never wears clothing that is too revealing (like those short-shorts or low-cut sports bras), too baggy, or dirty.

9.  Uses music that is motivating and appropriate for the type of fitness class being taught, but not jacked up to a level where the instructor has to yell in order to be heard.

10. Checks all equipment that’s being used and removes any equipment that may be defective.

11. Always has a back-up plan just in case things go wrong. For example: the power goes out during or before class, the sound system doesn’t work, or it rains on the scheduled day of an outdoor boot camp.

Teaching fitness classes can be a heck of a lot of fun, but with it comes much preparation and experience.

So, in answer to my instructor’s question: ‘Do you want to be a mediocre instructor or an elite instructor?’ I most definitely want to be an elite group fitness class instructor. That’s because I’m passionate about health and fitness, but also because I firmly believe that everyone has a right to participate in a fitness program of their choice and feel like they belong. 

I want to motivate and inspire others to enjoy physical activity (both inside and outside of the gym) and perceive their fitness goals as a lifelong journey of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle as opposed to just simply getting a toned and leaner body. I also want people to see exercise as means to learn new skills, forge new friendships, alleviate stress, and to just have fun.

An individual’s personal satisfaction and level of enjoyment with my future exercise programs will be well worth the effort I put into it.

 

Online Workouts Versus the Gym: Pros and Cons

Nowadays there are so many types of exercise programs that are designed to meet every person’s need and lifestyle. With the continual advancement of technology, you don’t have to frequent the gym: You can work out from the comfort of your own home in your spare time. Both options can be rewarding and will enable you to achieve your fitness goals if you stick with one or both options and are consistent. Though, like with anything, there are pros and cons to both.

The Gym

Pros

–  Most gyms offer a variety of fitness classes, like Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, HIIT boot camps, and others which gives you more to choose from if you don’t want to run on the treadmill or lift weights.

– You meet other people at a gym, which opens up doors of opportunity to forging new friendships.

– You have a chance to train with an instructor or personal trainer who will offer encouragement and help ensure that you perform every exercise safely and effectively with the right posture and technique.

Cons

– Gym memberships are often expensive and so they are only worth it if you are firmly committed to a program more than once or twice a week.

– Fitness classes or allotted discount hours at a gym may not fit your schedule if you have young children or are a busy working professional.

– Weight machines and treadmills can get boring after a while, especially if you have no workout buddy.

Online Workouts

Pros

– There are a wide variety of online programs and apps that you can subscribe to or download onto your tablet or phone.

– Online workout programs are more affordable than a regular gym membership. Some fitness pros even streamline a variety of their workouts on YouTube for no cost.

– You can work out anytime and anywhere, an ideal option if you’re a stay-at-home mom or if you live in a remote area where there are no gyms nearby.

– You have the opportunity to connect with personal trainers and other fitness enthusiasts around the world.

Cons

– It can be hard to motivate yourself to tune in and work out, especially if you’re by yourself or feeling exhausted after a long day at work.

– We all know that technology is finicky. It doesn’t always work when we want it to work. The WiFi where you live may not work properly or not at all for whatever reason. You can get yourself moving and do all the exercises without access to your program, but it’s even better when you’re doing it while watching an instructor over a streamlined video.

– Working out at home can be lonely.

– There is no instructor present to give you feedback on your posture and biomechanics. You can watch the instructor demonstrate each exercise, but you’re ultimately teaching yourself how to do each exercise. To perform a set of exercises with proper form and technique can take longer to achieve when you’re attempting to perfect it via an online workout program than it would if you were doing that same workout program at a local gym.

When it comes to exercise — as with anything — we all have our preferences. Keep in mind that your pros may be someone else’s cons. Bottom line: Do whatever workout you enjoy doing and that best suits your lifestyle whether it’s at home or at a gym.

SMART Goals for Weight Loss

Now that it’s spring, summer is just around the corner. If you haven’t done so already, you’re probably wondering – and fretting – about how you’re going to lose weight and tone up in time for the warm weather. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Just like anything else, however, weight loss takes grit, determination, hard work, and perseverance.

Some fitness pros and ‘so-called’ nutritionists will claim that a certain diet or exercise program will guarantee results within 30 days. We’ve all heard of those fad diets, right? While that may work for some people, especially those lucky ones who were blessed with a naturally high metabolism, it doesn’t work for many people and you’ll only set yourself up for failure if you try to set those goals for yourself.

A much more realistic approach to weight loss is to set SMART goals for yourself. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable (or achievable), realistic, and time-bound.

Specific

You study yourself in the mirror and you don’t like the shape of the person staring back at you. Don’t despair because you are definitely not alone. We all do this from time to time because we’re our own worst critics.

However, a desire to lose some weight and tone up isn’t a bad thing either. So, while you study your reflection, you decide that, in order to feel better about yourself and to feel better in general, you need to lose about 25 pounds. Now you need to figure out how you are going to lose the 25 pounds. What specific steps are you going to take in order to achieve this goal?

Pick up your journal and write up a plan. If you’re really stuck for ideas of how to start your weight-loss journey, consult a personal trainer. A personal trainer will be able to give you the guidance you need in order to succeed. However, if you don’t have the funds to pay a personal trainer, read books on fitness and nutrition.

Measurable

Now that you’ve made a written plan and have embarked on your weight-loss journey, how are you going to measure your progress?

Many people will photo document their progress by taking before and after photos. A word of caution here: Do keep your goals in mind, but don’t let the ‘results’ dominate your thoughts. Instead, focus on the journey and celebrate each milestone you reach, however small it is. Remember that fitness is a lifelong journey. It won’t end once you reach your weight loss goals.

Other than photos, you can also keep a food diary, or download an app that counts steps you’ve taken or calories you’ve burned during a fitness class. These are great ways of measuring your progress also because they enable you to track what works and what doesn’t work for you.

You can, and should, weigh yourself at least once a week and record everything in your journal. Just be mindful not to become obsessed with the scale.

Attainable

How will you know when you have attained — or achieved — your goals? What does 25 pounds lighter look like and feel like to you?

This is where photos do come in handy. You can look up past photos of yourself and compare them to how you look in the present. The scale will also give you a good indication of where you are at on your weight-loss journey.

Though, keep in mind one thing: As you will also likely be incorporating strength training in your exercise routine, the scale won’t give you a completely accurate count of your weight. That is because muscle weighs more than fat.

Realistic

The best approach to your weight-loss goals is to be realistic about them. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends losing 4 to 5 pounds per month for optimal health. Granted, you can exceed that by shedding a couple of extra pounds per month without compromising your health.

Just don’t expect to lose 25 pounds in two months. Do expect that, with a nutritious diet and regular exercise, it can still take up to five months to achieve your desired results. That is actually the healthiest approach to weight loss and you will feel much better in the long run.

Time Bound

Now that we’re coming to the end of April, you think that it’s high time to hit the gym and start dieting because you want to don a bathing suit this coming summer and feel good in it. With the right diet and exercise regiment, you can realistically accomplish this goal within this time frame. How much weight you want to lose, though, will determine how hard you will have to work in order to achieve the desired results in time for summer.

When you begin your weight-loss journey, setting a time frame for your goals, whether it’s for an occasion or not, is important because it gives you more drive and purpose. It also keeps you organized and grounded.

Now, there are some things that you need to be aware of.

Weight loss isn’t as simple as you’d like to believe. The human body has its ‘sticky’ points. In other words, there are certain areas of the body that tend to accumulate more fat. For men, it’s primarily the stomach. For women, it’s the abdominals, thighs, and arms. Why us women carry more visceral fat? It’s because our bodies were designed to carry children. Those areas are the most frustrating because they are the hardest areas to lose and tone up.

Another thing to keep in mind: Weight loss and management is eighty percent diet and twenty percent exercise. If you’re exercising more than four times per week and are still having problems losing weight, chances are you are still consuming too much processed and sugary foods.

Regardless, you may feel at times like you’re not losing any weight, even with all the changes you’ve made to your diet. If and when you do feel this way, take a moment and have a word with yourself. Remind yourself that nothing worth pursuing comes easy. Also remind yourself that you are doing this for you, your own health, and for no one else. Tweak your diet and your exercise regiment if you have to, but don’t give up. You got this! You’re stronger and more capable than you think.

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