Summer is upon us, which means plenty of time in the great outdoors. The sun is shining, training building and races fast approaching. It’s a great time to be alive! But there’s an event on the horizon which can either be an absolute gem, or one which can spell disaster: The Family Summer Holiday!
Most 'normal' folk who've stumbled across this article will be baffled: how on earth could a summer holiday spell disaster? In their eyes, it's all booze, burgers and burnt bods - what else in life matters?
Keep fit this summer with our award-winning sports nutrition
Of course, there's a place for those in everyone's summer holiday but most of you reading this will value the mental and physical benefits to being healthy and active. Thus, a family holiday can be troublesome if you're trying to keep a diet on travel, train towards an event or hit a goal this autumn.
Now, if you’ve planned well, then your family holiday may come soon after a marathon, long cycle challenge or triathlon - perfect! You can fully immerse into the holiday vibes and pay back some of those lost hours when training came first. Plus, you can unabashedly go to town on the breakfast buffet guilt-free!
This advice applies whether you're travelling with family or a group of friends
Alternatively, it may be that your family holiday sits in a rather inconvenient period when you'd like to be focusing on getting fit and / or maintaining healthy habits. Regardless whether your touring in Tenerife or sailing around Sardinia, there's plenty of ways to keep in track while also maximising your family summer holiday.
I appreciate I'm directing this towards those with families, but it could be that you juggle your work, social and training life on a daily basis and are heading away with some mates on holiday. I that's you, and if you too would like to keep some semblance of health and fitness going on holiday, these tips should help:
Keep fit on family holiday #1 – fasted training
The benefits of adopting fasted training during a holiday are threefold:
- The physiological benefits
- The simplicity of low intensity
- The time benefits
The physiological benefits of fasted training are well researched and include enhanced fat burning during exercise, increased endurance and increase in growth hormone. For more benefits, read this.
Getting up and out first thing in the morning has the added benefit of enjoying beautiful sunrises in new surroundings
Training in a fasted state (ie, when your glycogen stores are low) is easiest first thing in the morning pre-breakfast. But it must be kept low intensity. This is not the time to smash a high intensity swim, long tempo run or hard weights session.
The time benefits, however, are probably the greatest reason fasted training fits well within a family holiday. Unlike at home, when you’re getting kids dressed and fed and facing the daily commute, getting up and out for an early morning swim, power walk or run is great for the soul...and a brilliant way to explore new surroundings.
Keep fit on family holiday #2 - strength training
A family holiday is not the time to work on your endurance - going for a three hour low intensity bike ride isn't really the best move. But working on your strength is time-efficient, super effective and can involve the whole family.
Whether flat beach or dunes, running on sand is always tough
Here's a handful of ways to get strong:
- Hit the hills. A good hill session need be no longer than 30-minutes start to finish. Whether you've got short hills which only take 15 seconds to ascend or longer 5-minute ones, create a session where you run hard uphill and recover on the descent. Get your kids and friends involved by setting them a goal to achieve too
- Run on sand. I'm guessing most of you will spend at least some time on a beach this summer, and sand is the ultimate stength training terrain. Hill reps on dunes, or bare foot jogging in soft sand is really hard...it doesn't take long to get a sweat on and build that strength
- Circuit training. Any combination of squats, press ups, burpees and sit ups makes for a time-efficient, effective strength session. Use whatever you have around you - benches, stairs, trees, kids playground - and get creative to use your bodyweight as resistance. This is another great opportunity to get the kids involved - have them sit on your back while you do press ups, or join you on the monkey bars at the park
Keep fit on family holiday #3: Nail your nutrition
Be tactical with your buffet strategy
Of course, physical training is important if you want to keep in shape on holiday, but the greater gains will come from nailing your nutrition. As I mentioned earlier, this is a time for booze and buffets but deploy a few of these tricks to keep (mostly) on track:
- Periodise carb intake. Go heaviest on the carbs in the morning, have a smaller portion at lunch and keep them minimal in your evening meal
- Increase protein intake. Try to have a portion of protein with each meal
- Go big at breakfast. You'll eat less during the day if you fill up with slow-release, healthy carbs in the morning
- Have a plan at the buffet. The buffet is one of the joys of a holiday, but if you don't want to return 12kg heavier, you'll need a strategy. Allow yourself a couple of pastries only if you have a big bowl of fruit and yoghurt first and then wait 5 minutes before tucking into the baked goods
- Keep hydrated. We’re talking water, mainly. Alcohol is fine, of course, but make sure your H2O levels are topped up to keep your body composition where you want it
Take a bag of Ultimate Daily Greens on holiday and you can rest assured that, whatever else you eat, you know you're hitting your nutrient quota