We’ve all heard about the "freshman 15." It’s that high school graduate you knew, or know of-perhaps it was even you-who left for their freshman year of college and during that first year packed on 15 pounds. New location, new foods, differing rest, school and work schedules, different friends and parties can all add up to an increasing bulge. As adults we can face this same dilemma when traveling or on vacation. We take a trip and everything familiar in terms of food, rest, work, relationships and workouts change, typically for the worse. Given that, if one isn’t careful, we can pack on a variation of the freshman 15, years after our actual freshman year.
How do we travel in differing time zones, have fun, enjoy the experiences, sample the local fare, avoid packing on the pounds, but not feel deprived? One of the best ways is to take the journey "fitness minded," with purpose, to stay in shape and not give back hard fought gains through poor food choices and blowing off workouts. Simple choices such as packing smart travel munchies for inevitable flight delays and layovers that can place you in the "famished zone," as airport eateries are not known for their healthy nutrition. If you pack small portions of smart, healthy foods you can stay satiated and beat the mass calories calling your name in the airport.
Destination fitness can be fun, new experiences due to differing gyms and the people in them at or near your hotel. It gives you an extra "pump" to go somewhere fresh and do what you do, when you take care of you. Most if not all hotels have some level of fitness spaces with equipment; may have dedicated fitness staffing or some level of broad-spectrum fitness programming. For the accountability and if available, consider budgeting for a trainer a few times while gone, to stay in peak condition. Ask your travel agent, "Does the location have a five star gym to go with its five star rating? If so, tell me about the facility and staff." Dig in a bit and you’ll find that staying "fitness minded" while away is achievable.
If your location doesn’t have an onsite facility, inquire about any proximal fitness providers as they may have a contractual relationship with one nearby. If none of that works, search out gym locations first, hotel second. Many times I have been able to find a cool gym and an equally cool hotel within blocks of one another and then set up the trip in that order. You have busted gut, poured out sweat, eaten judiciously, made trade-offs to get to the look and weight you have now. Why blow it on your trip and make the misguided assumption that it will be easy to lose the added weight once you return home?
Build in work out "appointments," reserving time for them within your vacation schedule. Eat sensibly, manage your party propensity re: alcohol consumption and you will win the battle of the bulge. Step away from the mini bar! Mini drinking, parting and lack of movement that gave us the freshman 15 back in the day? Problem is, we are older now bar equals maxi you. Wasn’t it a mini bar of sorts, the and getting the 15 off is a totally different proposition in our 30s, 40s and beyond.
Vacation and travel do not need to equate with overindulgence and little-to-no movement. "Fitness minded," means traveling with intentionality by coming home at the same weight and in the same shape-with a ton of great photos, memories and stories. Plus, you’ve learned the Freshman 15 already, right? RIGHT! Now just do it.