I am currently on a 6-week long trip in Southern Spain. Predominantly, it is a personal trip with family, but working is also part of the routine. I love visiting my former residence of Spain, as well as traveling the world and getting know such beautiful places the world has to offer. However, traveling used to cause quite a bit of anxiety with my newly found FIT lifestyle.
Being a former “fatty” and “Foodie”, when I started out in the fitness and competition world, travelling became something new, a new stress on how to maintain my fitness goals, and still try and enjoy the ride. So many questions popped up while preparing for a trip; How would I find time to train? Won’t I lose my hard earned muscles if I don’t pick up a weight for more than 2-3 days? What about food? Will it be possible to stick to 6 small meals, eat “clean” and avoid the tempting new food combinations, exotic flavours and unknown foods? How will my body react?? Don’t even get me started on alcohol….how could I possible join in the lunch time tapas and wine hour daily with my “OB-FIT-SESSION”??
Many may be reading this right now thinking how crazy I am, while I am sure many others can relate to some degree. Travelling for more than a weekend takes some planning, both physically, but more so mentally.
My Spain trips used to be very structured during my extreme fitness days, including daily trips to the gym where beautiful family moments were missed, missed family get-togethers with Sangia and Paella, because I didn’t want to be tempted and many midnight strolls lost to the moon, where my husband and daughter would enjoy their homemade ice creams, comparing their flavours, all to come back from vacation, feeling like I had little “vacation”.
The past few years, the anxiety has lifted, and mentally I prepare myself for more of a balance. A balance that includes a daily indulgence, a modified Spanish lifestyle and outdoor hikes or citywide walks that include the whole family. I have learned that muscles don’t “fade away” or turn into fat without using weights. I have seen that with the smaller daily indulgences, your clothes still fit. I have also given up a 6-pack for a family pack; my tribe, my all. My family will be with me through it all, my 6-pack? I already have tons of pictures to prove to myself that I had one. The rest is more important….for me.
These are some of the things that make MY vacation balanced,
I wake up each morning without the stress of the alarm clock, meetings, the morning rush to the school bus, etc. The extra few ZZZ’s make my body in a prime state to want to MOVE. Each day I “ask” my body what it wants that day. This usually depends on the night before and if there was wine, or not. Some days this daily ritual will
look like a stroll along the beach, in which I make sure it lasts a good hour- this is a perfect time for my husband and I to share future plans, dream big and plan our day. Other days, my body is itching for a little more “OOMPH” in which I find a hill or stairs and set a goal….10 sprints up the 100 stairs, walk down. Repeat. The endorphin rush is AMAZING!!!! Find a local gym. This is good as a back-up if you are away as long as I am, but my rule of thumb is usually under 3 weeks? Outdoor bodyweight, walks, sprints, pushups, core and walking lunges is enough for me. Just make sure you move….your body deserves it!
One indulgence daily (inclusive of alcohol) – not 10
I used to be the “all or nothing” girl, living on vegetables and fish OR loads of ice cream, chocolate, cheese and more. The deprivation-binge cycle is just another form of control and extreme behaviour that I knew I had to nip in the bud. The past few years, after much trial and error, self- love and mentorship, I now have found that intuitive eating works for me. While on vacation, I chose a daily indulgence for myself. A glass of wine at lunch and dinner, an ice cream at midnight with my daughter, or fried prawn cakes…depends on the day, the moment and my cravings! The issue with vacations usually, especially “all you can eat”, is that the tendency is the saucy dishes, pastas, breads, fresh made pastries all washed down with a glass or two of wine, and some fancy margaritas. I have learned in the past that getting into your bathing suit, having energy to move and feeling good from the inside out is more important than a food hangover.
My Basics From Home
I remember in my former “fit extreme” days, that I would need a whole suitcase just for the powders, supplements, pre workouts, rice cakes, and such to make sure that I stayed on track. Not only was it not practical, but the supplement routine on vacation, never really let me take a break from so much routine and structure…which after all is the beauty of a vacation.
Taking a break from certain supplements for a month is actually not a bad thing. There are certain supplements that with time our body gets used to. Cycling them in and out, taking a rest and seeing how your body reacts when re-introducing them is not a bad idea at all! I know for example, that when travelling to southern Spain, the “blue” fish, rich in Omega Fats is abundant. Daily sardines, anchovies, seabass and seabream is eaten to ensure that my essential fatty acids are met. I eat from a new wide variety of foods, which allows me to take a break from most supplements. I do however bring with me the following:
1) About Time Fruit and Nut bars – these bars are my go to while at the beach, post gym or stair sprint and all around when feeling hungry between meals. The perfect combination of protein, carbs and fats keeps me full, happy and did I mention they taste amazing? The shelf-life is awesome, and the lack of “melty” chocolate allows them to be the perfect snack in the hot temperature of Costa Del Sol…..no beach bag messes for me!
2) AUX – the vitamin complex B’s as well as the beet root extract is my usual pre workout while back home….but here in Spain, I use it to conquer my late nights (dinner is usually had around 11pm), I had it to my water bottle, and sip on it throug out the morning on the beach.
3) Protein Pancake Mix – Yes, I can make my own, but why not “JUST ADD WATER” to the amazing About Time mix? My daughter loves them, and it allows her to think she is having a “treat” for breakfast, while having a serving of protein, something that proves hard for a non-fish lover in southern spain. Having a flavour from home for an 8 year old also makes it comforting for her. Did I mention my Spanish Family thinks they are amazing?!?!
4) Herbal (non-habit forming) Laxative…..lol….traveling, time changes and dietary changes make for this an essential basic from home to travel with! Make sure when using the occasional laxative that it is something natural and smooth. Our family likes Aloe Vera extract.
Well, I am happy to say I am 4-weeks into this amazing life-changing trip, and my clothing still fits, my heart is bigger than ever, my soul is full and my stress levels are at zero. Finding the balance of food/family/fitness/peace and enjoyment is not an easy one, everyone’s will look different and mean something different to them. Hopefully some of the tips will help you out on your next vacation and you too will find that travelling and keeping balance is not that hard with a little mental prep and openness.