Estimated reading time: 8 mins
Tip 1. Be realistic.
First of all, you have to weigh up the importance of your goal versus the holiday. For example, if you're midway through cutting for a bodybuilding show and are travelling overseas for 3 weeks (poor timing, but anyways...) your goal of competing is a high priority so you have some serious sacrifices to make and planning to do.
Lucky enough, most of you aren't prepping for a show so don't have a die-hard deadline looming over your holidays. Most of you have the desire to get fit, strong, build muscle, lose some body fat or improve your health. None of these goals has a hard due date. These are all an ongoing journey of improvement and can afford to be put 'on pause' for a week or so.
In your lifetime of improving health and fitness, you will never have a smooth run. You'll experience injuries, become unwell, work will get in the way, family commitments and so on. There are a million reasons why you can't be perfect all the time, and holidays are one of them. Look at the bigger picture. Will one or two weeks kill your goal? No. Will eating out of a container while everyone else enjoys Christmas lunch be worth the sacrifice of a good time? Definitely not! It's impossible to achieve perfection every day without sacrificing your quality of life.
My solution? Pause those goals over your holidays. This is progress. This is success. This is MANAGING your life to be the best you can while still LIVING.
Holidays are important. Even for those die-hard fitness fanatics who just can't stay out of the gym, taking a step back is good for you both mentally and physically. Time to rest, time to recover and time to ignite a giant burst of motivation to pick it back up when the break is over.
One or two weeks here and there won’t ruin your progress. Use the holiday break to remotivate yourself and then launch back into achieving your goals, refreshed and focused.
Tip 2. Set achievable goals over your holidays.
Your goals are important to you so we still need to plan to keep them in sight.
Determine what you are likely to achieve over your break. If you're spending the holidays with other people, unless they want to train with you, you're going to be nobody's favourite person if you choose the gym over them. Let's be real, it's a little bit selfish to cut 'together time' short because you want to get your pump on.
Make realistic plans to maintain your goals.
Get up early and train before the day's activities begin so:
You don't disturb anyone else (this could be at the gym or bodyweight outside).
You have the energy. Training after a big day of activities is tiring.
Go hiking with the fam/friends. This burns a TONNE of calories.
Compromise and train every second day or find times when your other half, friends or family want to do their own thing. Win-win for all.
Get everyone involved! Riding, surfing, obstacle course, get creative! If you have kids, this one's a sure winner.
Will you be in the mind frame to train? Holidays are about relaxing and you might find when you get there, you realise you need some time out. The thought of exercising every day makes you feel anxious and then drives you to say 'screw it. I'm not doing any'. A lot of people have the mindset they HAVE to train. They are a failure if they don't, they'll get fat or lose all their gains in a week.
If you are smart about this, none of the above will happen and you are definitely not failing if you decide to rest. Forcing yourself to train can make you resent exercise, ultimately resulting in the 'screw it' mentality. Again, this comes down to balance and what works best for you physically and mentally.
It is ok to have a break while on your holiday, it is a time to relax and recharge so don’t ruin it with a negative headspace.
Use your body when on holiday
For those who want to train while away - bodyweight baby! Bodyweight workouts are easy to find online. Here are a few examples I’ve created for you:
20 tricep push-ups
20 banded hammer curls
20 banded tricep pushdowns
Rest 2 mins
3 x 20 bodyweight tempo Bulgarian split squats
3 x 50 banded hip thrusts
3 x 30 heels elevated cyclist squats
3 x 30 jump lunges
3 x 20 single leg calf raises
5 rounds for time
30 air squats
60 Russian twists
Bodyweight workouts are perfect to keep you active on holidays. They often require little to no equipment and there is a nearly unlimited number of online workouts you can challenge yourself with.
Tip 3. Plan your training sessions
This is a simple tip but can be a massive time saver and time is of the essence while holiday training. Plan it before your trip and have those sessions ready to go!
Tip 4. Plan your events
Map out all the events or celebrations you have over the holiday. Pick the most important ones and make the choice to have a good time at these. The others can be about moderation. It is possible to have a good time without stuffing your face and getting wasted, remember that.
Trying too hard can result in a dismal time (defeating the purpose of a holiday) or push you to break due to restrictions. People try so hard to 'be good' and end up saying 'screw this' because it's too hard and then just let it all go. It doesn't need to be all or nothing. We have to be real here, and we have to live. Take the best of both worlds and have a good time in moderation.
Planning is the key to staying on track. If you know what you’re doing a head of time you’ll reduce the risk of going off track.
Tip 5. Make good food choices most of the time
Holidays are about relaxing and that does not involve meal prep. Come to terms with eating a little more than usual. As long as your being mindful for the majority of the time, you will be ok. Be prepared where possible, have food available if you can so you're not tempted or forced to get takeaway. This brings you back to moderation. Eating out every meal is likely to sabotage your bodyweight so have food prepared.
Readymade meals are everywhere these days and taste good.
Have a stockpile of good snacks.
Having foods available will force you to make better choices. Keep the chips and junk out of reach. If possible, don't bring them into your space at all. These snacks will keep you satisfied so you aren't starving by the time you go out for dinner and order the entire menu. It's all about being prepared.
If you have a fridge, use it!
You don't have to eat out for every meal. This is a common thing people do when they go on holidays. If your goals are important to you, take control here. Again, moderation! Go out sometimes, eat at home most of the times. You have goals to achieve so you will have to make some sacrifices.
Preparing some quick meals and stocking up on healthy snacks is a great way to reduce the temptation of eating too much junk.
Tip 6. Focus on Health
Tracking your food while on holidays can be tough, so shift your focus to general health.
Monitor protein intake. Try to have a serve of protein at each meal to ensure you get enough in your day.
Hit 5 serves of vegetables each day. Now, this one can be tough, especially if travelling. Always try, but if you can't you can take Green Fusion to keep your micro-nutrients levels up.
Eat 2-3 serves of fresh fruit
Drink about 3L of water
Be mindful of good choices over the day
You don’t need to overcomplicate it by tracking everything, follow these tips, keep it simple by focusing on your health, and enjoy your holiday.
Tip 7. Stay accountable
You might be on the other end of the spectrum and you're worried you'll blow out. Easy way to keep you on track – accountability! Tell your mates, tell your coach, tell the world and announce it on social media. The moment you make your goals known, the more you are likely to stick to your game plan. Nothing worse than telling people you are going to achieve something and never get there.
So, to sum it all up, it's about balance. Life is always going to happen so it's all about managing life well. Put the goals on pause and once your holidays are done, you can hit those goals hard again and continue on the path of success!
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About the author
Tammie is a WBFF Pro, Sports Nutritionist and Coach who always delivers 110% - so she was a natural fit in our fam.
Tammie’s love for everything health and fitness also show in her coaching. Over the last decade, she has coached countless women worldwide, helping them to move better, feel stronger, unlock their inner potential, and create confidence they didn’t know they had. Tammie is also a fully qualified Sports Nutritionist adding to her already extensive repertoire of coaching skills and services. Go check her out and give her a follow to see what she gets up to.
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Tammie's website: tammiesarkozy.com.au