We asked well-known Irish personal trainer and fitness blogger Siobhan O’ Hagan (@ohfitness_ie) to give us her top tips for staying healthy when you’re on holiday. Here’s what she said….
It’s not the easiest thing to do, to head off on holiday without having a complete blow-out (and often totally undoing your pre-holiday getting-in-shape work). From the temptations of the hotel buffet to the lure of copious cocktails, holidays can sometimes leave us feeling a little worse for wear. But if you want to stay on track, and have a holiday that’ll leave you feeling and looking better than before you went, just bear in mind my top tips for how to have a healthy holiday, which still having a great time!
Okay, obviously I’m going to say this but anyone who’s followed me for a long time knows I’ve ALWAYS been a huge Ryanair fan, so this isn’t just lip service. They really do have the perfect combination of amazing destinations and low fares, so not only can you easily get to wherever you want in Europe whether it’s SCUBA diving in Malta or surfing in Morocco – but you’ll get there for less, so you have more to spend on a few surf lessons when you get there!
Ok so next you need to choose the perfect place. For me, somewhere like Las Playitas in Fuerteventura was the more perfect possible destination. Not only was I on a stunning, sunny Canary Island, but I was in a beautiful resort where the focus is totally on health, fitness, training, and sports. Surround yourself with people n your wavelength, and your life will be a whole lot easier. Stay somewhere where you can access all the healthy pastimes you love – whether that’s by staying in a surf camp or booking a week of snowboarding lessons. Book a holiday in a place that will keep you active, and that’s half the battle.
Even if you don’t have a hotel buffet tempting you every morning, it can be very easy to fall into the ‘I’m on my holidays I deserve it’ trap. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and you should definitely be able to relax and let your hair down when you’re on your holiday… but if you’re trying not to go overboard, you can eat smart by choosing to fill up on the good stuff.
If you go away with a bunch of friends who want to party and eat fast food all the time, it’s going to be an uphill struggle to stay on track with your own goals and motivations… there’s strength in numbers, after all. So choose your numbers wisely – pick travel buddies wo share your desire to go home feeling fit and healthy! It’s easier to get up early and climb a mountain if you’re meeting someone to do it together. It’s easier to fill your plate with healthy food when you don’t have to sit beside someone who wants cheeseburgers and cake at every meal.
I know, this sounds easier said than done – but if you can just drag yourself out of bed n on that first morning, before your body even knows what you’re doing, and get moving. It helps if you’ve chosen somewhere beautiful to go to – for me, getting up to climb this mountain was easy; the reward of watching the sunrise made it so, so worth it. If you can do that, if you can get up and get moving before breakfast, you’ve already started your day in the best way. And not only that but if there’s one thing that’ll keep you out of the bars at night, it’s being to wiped out to bother going in the first place!
It’s not always easy to keep up old routines in new situations – there may not be a good gym nearby, or you might not have your usual equipment and gear with you… there can be barriers to you doing exactly what you’d do when you’re at home. But as I said, ‘consistency over perfection’ matters here – if you can even approximate what you do at home, do that. It might be renting a bike instead of going to your usual spin class, it could be a good bodyweight workout instead of the usual weightlifting…. Just do your best to keep up the good work you already do at home.
This one is so important, and it can also be the most fun of all these to do! Holidays are the perfect opportunity to try something totally new, particularly if it’s too cold for you to do those things at home… that’s why I decided to try my hand at surfing when I was in the warmth of the Canaries! The thing about this is that you can get loads of exercise without it feeling like exercise, so it’s a particularly good idea if you’re not super fond of gyms and working out. Learning something new is always a good thing, and who knows, you might even end up with a new passion!
Yes it’s obvious, but it’s easy to forget too – and it’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re somewhere hot, doing lots of activity, and sleeping in air-conditioned rooms. Just make sure you drink lots and lots of water!
- Dee Murray