5 Tips for staying healthy on holidays

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1. Don’t give up the gym

Don’t use your vacation as an excuse to give up exercise completely. The smallest bit of exercise could really impact your progress and really contribute towards your energy levels too. If you make any sort of effort, you’ll come back feeling a lot better!

When I book a place to stay while abroad, I make sure that the hotel has a gym if it all possible. By doing this, it is a lot easier maintain my fitness regime in some shape or form. Otherwise, I take my running gear and take off on an exploration in the local area. Even if you’re stuck in a big city such as London or New York, the local parks are always a pleasure to enjoy running through. If running isn’t your thing, use these open area’s to do weight-free training using your body weight. Learn some new forms of fitness that are adaptable anywhere and you’ll have no excuses!


Top Tip : Fitness aps such as MapMyRun will track your distance and calories burned in your workout which is a great guideline when you’re not doing your usual distance/time/pace etc.

Keep in mind it is generally not always possible to do the exact training you are used to but dedicating time to working out while abroad will really pay off. Something is better than nothing – give yourself some leeway but definitely don’t give up completely. Your return ‘back to reality’ while be a lot easier knowing you haven’t jumped off the bandwagon.


2. Pick the right foods first

It is common to succumb to the holiday treats – after all, a holiday is a treat in itself, right? Most touristy destinations are filled with money making, saliva creating, weight gaining appealing food choices. Try getting through a week in Ibiza without ordering a kebab after a night out on the town or a city break in Brussels without a Belgian waffle! It’s tough, but be very picky with your choice of ‘treats’ and try not to be easily influenced.

calories in fast food

If a breakfast buffet is included in your stay, use this as a way to stock up on a healthy meal first thing which will make you less likely to order nacho’s by the pool at 1pm for a ‘snack’. Choose eggs, lean meats, natural yogurts and fruit. Avoid the obvious : pastries, breakfast cereals and fluffy white loaves of bread. Feed yourself full of the right food while it’s available.

The same goes for dinner. Choose the meats and vegetables and say no to bread on the table. If it’s in front of you, you are more than likely going to eat it! Perhaps allow yourself to have some every second night if you feel as though you are missing out. A small, demi-baguette contains 360kcal before adding butter, not to mention is converted into sugar (fat) the minute it hits your digestive system. Unless you’re heading off for a run, you’re going to store this right around your mid-riff. Not as appealing as that baguette looked in the bread basket, eh?


3. Watch your liquids

We all know that alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and for the majority of people, a vacation is quite centred around poolside drinks or frequent nights on the lash. Bare in mind that not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories but it has negative on your system in terms of long-term weight-loss (causes fat storage) and your overall general health, especially if its binge consumption.

After a night out, you may have consumed 6 drinks (lets say for arguments sake) If this is a spirit and coke, you’re looking at approximately 1,134 (50kcal for a vodka, 139kcal for a can of coke) in one night. Drinking like this for 3/4 days in a row (minimum!) equates to another 4,536 calories on top of your normal daily intake of food, a week of holiday drinking would bring you up to 7,938 calories without eating one bite!

sugar content

Adding to the alcohol, think about the cocktails and juices available to you. Orange juice, although it might be natural, contains so much sugar which converts quickly into fat on your body if not burned right away. Some cocktails can contain 400/500 calories a pop too.

Fill up on water and avoid sugary filled cocktails. Try not to drink every day and when you do, opt for something low in calories such as vodka, soda water and fresh lime.


4. Bring a picnic

I always, always, always have food on hand wherever I go. Healthy food that I can trust. I take protein bars and powder in my suitcase when travelling and always plan ahead for my next meal. Top tip : Never get on a plane hungry or without a packed lunch if it’s a long flight!


Healthy food on-the-go is near to existent in most parts of the world. Rubbish food is cheaper and more convenient but as long as you keep your appetite at bay with a healthy snack you’re less likely to succumb to the golden arches at McDonalds in the airport or the toasted cheese ciabatta from the nearby cafe stall. If you’re stuck with only a nearby shop to feed yourself with, seek out fruit, nuts, popcorn and maybe a brown bread sandwich. Otherwise, order a salad at a fast food restaurant with dressing on the side if you’re really desperate.


Top Tip : Quest Bars are really handy as they contain 20grams of protein, only 2/3grams of naturally occuring sugars and are really filling. I order mine in bulk from BodyFirst.ie and keep them as a backup to keep hunger at bay.


5. Drink more water

With alcohol consumption, your body is naturally dehydrated. Any sort of hot climate will worsen this so to keep your energy levels up and help yourself recover, ensure you are drinking 2/3 litres of water a day at least.


When your body is dehydrated, our minds can often signal signs of hunger causing us to overeat. It also dries out our skin, makes us feel lethargic and gives us headaches. To get more out of your travels, be sure to measure your water intake so you know you’re getting enough to keep your body operating better and help it recover better too!


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Stephanie O'Quigley