How to Stay Fit and Healthy on a Tropical Vacation

Maintain your fitness amidst all-inclusive food and drinks.

Updated on August 15, 2017 15:08 pm

how to stay fit, exercise and be healthy on a vacation

Article originally published in Edited and published with permission.

When you’re relaxing on the beach with a piña colada in one hand and a great book in the other, your fitness goals are the last thing on your mind. Here are some simple ways you can stay fit on your next tropical holiday.

Skinny Celebrations

With endless delicious drinks a sip away, you might be tempted to consume more calories than usual on sugary sodas and juices. While the fun tropical beverages may taste great, they will wreak havoc on your diet and waistline. Let yourself indulge on the first day and enjoy the specialty drinks the bar has to offer but stick to these healthier choices the rest of the week.

  1. Learn the word for diet: Ask one of the local bartenders to teach you the name of your favorite diet soda. Then order this drink to avoid the added sugar and calories.
  2. Fruit and fizz: If you aren’t a fan of diet soda, ask for your drink to be mixed with seltzer or soda water. Toss in some fresh fruit or citrus slices to give your cocktail some added flavor.
  3. Light beer: Most resorts will carry a variety of local and imported beer. Ask to see the menu and pick out a low-cal brew to cool off with.
  4. Channel your inner Bond, James Bond: Most martinis are low in calories, so if you can’t find a diet or low-calorie mixer, have the bartender shake-up your favorite martini.

Get Involved

While most resorts have gyms on-site, the thought of taking up precious packing space with sneakers and workout gear is unnerving. Even if you opt for extra sundresses and shorts, there's no need to fret. You can still get a great workout at your resort or on your cruise ship just by taking part in any of these daily activities:

  • Dance Classes
  • Aqua Aerobics
  • Snorkeling
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Barefoot Running

Beach Workouts

Take your vacation up a notch with this full-body, calorie-blasting, beach workout:

what are some beach workouts infographic

Heat Protection

If you’re heading outside to do a workout on your tropical vacation and aren’t used to the climate, make sure you keep these six things in mind:

  1. Stay hydrated: Always have a water bottle nearby when you are exercising in hot weather. Adding the element of heat to your workout means your body will lose more water than it would in your regular gym routine.
  2. Decrease intensity: If you aren’t used to working out in the heat and humidity, you will notice that they can really slow you down. Scale back the intensity of your workouts to accommodate these new elements.
  3. Dress appropriately: Opt for loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. The loose clothes will improve air circulation to your skin and keep you cool while the light colors won’t absorb the heat as much as dark ones. Toss on a ballcap and sunglasses for added protection.
  4. Sunblock: Even if you are just heading out into the sun for a quick workout, you can still get a burn and sun damage.
  5. Before 11 and after 3: Know when the sun will be at its hottest and avoid working out during those hours.
  6. Know your limits: If you start to feel dizzy, light-headed, extreme fatigue, or nausea, it’s time to stop. Listen to your body when you are working out in a new climate. If you don’t feel right, stop, drink some water, and find an air-conditioned room.

tips for working out in the heat infographic

Tips for the Buffet

The buffet—the best part of any vacation. This is the place where dreams are made and fitness goals can be quickly forgotten. Avoid falling victim to the buffet by following these simple guidelines:

  1. Take stock: As soon as you arrive at the buffet, walk around and see all the options you have. Once you are aware of your meal choices you can make a final decision on what to eat. This will reduce the temptation to keep going back to the buffet to see if there was something you missed or forgot to try.
  2. Plate size: The large plates not only let you take more food, but they also skew your perception of portion size. To avoid overeating, grab smaller plates and bowls.
  3. Grab a tray: Having a tray to pile your plates on gives you the ability to take stock of your food choices. When people feel restricted in their options, they tend to go for the items they really want, versus what they should be consuming (dessert wins over the garden salad when you only have room for one plate). The tray also allows you to do a quick scan of your plates. It’s going to be very obvious if you’re missing extra greens!
  4. Hide out: Once you have your meal, sit as far away from the buffet as possible. By not having the food in sight you won’t be as tempted to get up for seconds or crave more. We tend to eat more of what is in our line of sight so if you can’t avoid viewing the buffet, sit closer to a healthy section.
  5. Dine and dash: Schedule an activity immediately after your meal. Knowing you have to work out will make you more cautious about your food choices and portion sizes.

resisting the urge to overindulge at buffets infographic

Vacations are for relaxing and having fun, so don’t be too hard on yourself for missing a couple of workouts. Follow our maintenance tips and enjoy your holiday. The gym will be waiting for you when you come home.

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