Vacation Travel & Staying Fit CAN Coexist, Here’s How

Above: Vancouver, B.C. – Here we come!

Ahhh vacations… Sweet, sweet vacations. Who doesn’t love a nice getaway? Whether it’s a two-week adventure or merely a long weekend away, vacations are good for the soul.

However, when one is trying to stay the course on a healthy eating and workout program, vacations can be a temptation-filled minefield, full of reasons to sleep in and blow off a workout or order that delicious dessert. And don’t even get me started on the hotel cocktails!

Above: ‘US’… both turning 60 this year and just getting started!

So It was with much excitement and more than a little trepidation that I packed my bags for a wonderful 4-day birthday getaway to beautiful Vancouver, B.C. this past weekend with my equally beautiful girlfriend. Would I completely blow all of the hard work I’d put in and waste the progress I had achieved over the past eight weeks on my journey to better fitness?

On the one hand, I didn’t want to go backward in my fitness goals but on the other hand, life is short and this WAS my 60th birthday celebration after all! It was time to party!

Fortunately for me, my girlfriend is very health-conscious and a great supporter of my goals so she was a good sounding board and helped keep me in check while I was still able to enjoy myself. The trick to finding that healthy balance while traveling, I found, is in the preparation.

I am learning very quickly that when it comes to attaining and maintaining one’s health goals, much of the recipe for success boils down to MINDSET and PREPARATION.

This is especially true while traveling. The mindset for me this time came pretty easily. I know how hard I’ve worked these past eight weeks and I wasn’t about to throw that all away just for the sake of a few days of gluttony, no matter HOW much fun that might be. I had already made up my mind before we ever boarded the plane that NO MATTER WHAT, I would work out at least 3 of the 4 days we were away.

Plus, when it came to eating, my mantra was definitely ‘all things in moderation’. I intended to taste the local delicacies and raise a glass (or two) on my birthday, but I was determined not to say “screw it” and strap on the feed bag. Nope. Not this time. With my self-imposed marching orders in hand, here are the simple steps I took to make sure I achieved my goals:

My ‘Steps to Travel Success’

Above: Gym at the Loden Hotel – Vancouver, B.C.

  • Choose a hotel with a great gym:
    Besides picking a hotel with a central location close to all of the sites of Vancouver, I also kept an eye out for one equipped with a great gym/workout facility. So much of the progress I have enjoyed during this transformation definitely can be attributed to weight training. I wanted to keep that momentum rolling during our getaway. The hotel we picked did not disappoint! The net result? I was able to get in two productive weight training sessions and one sweat-inducing HIIT cardio session. Mission accomplished.

Above: This is how we roll(ed)!

  • Incorporate some physical activity while exploring the city:
    I was determined to think outside the box this time when it came to choosing what to do during our stay. The goal was to pick an activity we wouldn’t normally do, plus by getting outside of our comfort zone, we might find we loved doing it AND reap a little physical benefit in the process. On this front we hit it a home run! Vancouver has as one of its many attractions the famous Stanley Park, located smack dab in the heart of the city. Stanley Park, which is actually larger in size than New York’s iconic Central Park is ringed by wonderful walking and biking paths and has long been a must-see for tourists and locals alike. It didn’t take long for us to say “LET’S GO!” With the help of two trusty beach cruiser bikes, compliments of our hotel, we were off on a wonderful journey around the park which lasted close to two hours and became the absolute highlight of our visit. A treat for the eyes, and heart-healthy to boot!
grilled king salmon

Above: Birthday dinner done right! King Salmon topped with caviar plus grilled veggies

  • ‘Cheat Eat’ Responsibly:
    This was probably the hardest hurdle to overcome while traveling. How to enjoy myself while eating out but not go completely off the rails the entire trip and undo all of the good my newly-revised eating program has done over the past 8 weeks. My battle plan was to cheat wisely. Instead of having a drink with every dinner out, I managed to limit myself to 3 drinks total over the 4-day stay. This allowed me to still celebrate my birthday but not pile on excess empty calories with sweet alcoholic drinks. The same held true for eating. I didn’t deprive myself and in fact enjoyed three small desserts during our stay. However, to counterbalance that, I also purposely ate less carb-loaded meals, choosing proteins and vegetables instead. Plus, I knew my time in the gym during our stay would also help to balance out the scales. Or so I hoped!

The Proof is in The Numbers

I am happy to report that the preparation paid off and I gained only two-tenths of a pound while we both enjoyed an AMAZING vacation break and never once felt deprived! I call that a win!

Randy Sloan

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