My Nutrition and Fitness Routine on Holiday

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woman and baby in front of beach scene on holiday

Enjoying some quality time with my baby on our holiday.

I recently returned from a week in the Caribbean, where I took in the beauty and warm temperatures of St. Martin, Anguilla, and St. Bart’s. For many people, beach holidays are the ultimate excuse to eat like crazy, drink like a (drunken) fish, and lie supine on the beach for hours at a time, pausing only periodically to reapply sunscreen.

Holidays can be a great time to get away from it all.

Does a sunny vacation mean that you leave your nutrition and fitness regime behind too?

YES! Or NO!

It’s really up to you.

What?!

Are you surprised that I’m NOT telling you to exercise every morning in the resort gym before hitting the beach and ask the resort’s chefs to serve you up only chicken breasts and broccoli for the week? Don’t be. My system is all about living your life and enjoying all the variety of foods and activities (even when it’s just lying prostrate on the beach soaking up the vitamin D) that this world has to offer. You can still be fit and healthy, and have a sexy, lean physique while you enjoy indulgences. By the way, that goes for daily life and not just for vacations. I stayed at an All-Inclusive resort and usually ate at a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I didn’t do much damage to my physique during the week I was away.

Are you wondering how I did it?

Here’s the scoop:

What Did I Eat?

Breakfast – Sure, there were the usual breads, cereals, pancakes, waffles, and other sugary, carb-rich foods available. I skipped them. What’s the point? I don’t eat those at home (the occasional protein pancake is the exception) and I didn’t particularly have any desire to indulge in them this time. I stuck to many varieties of eggs:  cheese and tomato omelettes, fried eggs, eggs over easy, scrambled eggs, whatever I was in the mood for that morning.

Gotta get that protein in! I then added cheese, olives and veggies I found at the salad bar and some tropical fruit like papaya, pineapple, and passionfruit.

Lunch – The midday buffet wasn’t particularly appealing, so I kept it simple. I found the chicken and fish, added whatever veggies I could find, indulged in fried plantain, and added plenty of guacamole and salsa on the side.

Dinner – I ate plenty of lobster tails, fish, and some stuffed crab, usually accompanied by any roasted veggies that were available or things I really enjoy, like hummus, eggplant, and artichoke.

Dessert – I had dessert. Every night. I skip the starchy carbs in the morning and midday and enjoy a celebration in the evening. I tried a sample of most of the desserts on offer each evening, and finished off with ice cream topped with plenty of liquid chocolate from the chocolate fountain (yes, this was as amazing as it sounds!).

How Much Did I Exercise?

Not a lot. I went to the gym mid-week to do some weights and rehab exercises for my hip issue, so that I could handle all the walking we were doing while sightseeing on the islands. That’s it.

Know Yourself

If your holiday is only a week and you intend to go nuts in the food department the whole time, will you be able to get on track as soon as you get back home?

If you’re new to your particular nutrition plan and it isn’t second nature to you already, going completely off the rails for a week might destroy your progress and your momentum.

A week of overindulging won’t take all your results away (although you can inflict some damage if you try hard enough), but if you can’t get back in control on your return then you’ve done yourself an injustice. If you’re the type that can get right back into things as soon as your plane lands on home soil, then a week of hedonistic vacation won’t cause a problem.

My personal solution is something in between.

I still avoided most grains, as I usually do, and made sure to have plenty of protein with each meal. I don’t like greasy food so I avoided that as usual too.

I like to try local specialties if they interest me, even if they’re not something I’d regularly eat.

Life’s For Living

Yes, I could have eaten “clean” for my entire holiday.

Then I would have missed out on the many tasty servings of the Caribbean speciality of fried plantain. And that chocolate fountain.

I could have gotten up earlier (not that I slept in…I have an infant!) and worked out every day according to my current regime. If I’d worked out every day, I would have been absolutely exhausted because of all the extra walking I was doing every day. I would have burned through the hard-earned muscle I’ve built.

Now that I’m back home, my usual routine is back in force.

I’ve got my scheduled weights sessions. I still have dessert, but not every night like on vacation.

I love how fitness and nutrition fits into my life…whether I’m at home or away.

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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