We all know if you exercise regularly you’ll look a certain type of way. But what about the way you feel?
Benefits included and not limited to are improved mood (thanks endorphins!), stress-release, increased energy levels, clearer skin, improved brain function, better sleep, and even boosted libido.
So you’ve made a nice routine for yourself? Maybe even waking up bright and early to hit the gym and lift before work. Strapping on the running shoes and slipping out during lunch for an easy jog. Even taking an occasional yoga class in the evening to unwind before bed. Life’s a peach and your routine is dialed, but you’re headed to Italy real soon, and a little nervous about how you’re going to maintain everything while traveling.
Anticipating countless glasses of Chianti Classico while in Florence. Eating your bodyweight in carbonara and margherita pizzas. Low-key dinners with new friends. Finishing up with digestif’ with the intention of aiding digestion and calling it a night, only to turn into a marathon of nightcap, after nightcap, after nightcap. Mouth-watering croissants for breakfast and undeniable siestas to catch up on much needed sleep to recover from the previous night’s shenanigans. These are all wonderful things that I highly encourage you partake in. After all, no sane human can say no to a scoop of cioccolato gelato from Gelateria Romana in Rome!
There will be a great deal of walking and sightseeing. But it won’t always do the trick. Your routine has been tossed to the wayside, and the eating and drinking is catching up to you. Feeling low on energy, and maybe even – dare I say it – constipated. Nothing ruins a holiday like stubborn bowels. I only cross my fingers it’s a backed-up situation and not a mad dash to the bathroom every few minutes for your sake!
And I’m not here to put a raincloud over your vacation. In fact, I’m going to provide a few easy tips that will allow you to feel amazing while traveling.
Tip #1 Pack to Keep Moving
You don’t need to bring an outfit for each day. In fact, you can get away with a single pair of pants, a sports bra (for the ladies!), 2 pairs of socks, and a designated workout t – unless you’re the showy type who bares all while working up a sweat! The trick is to pack a single laundry detergent packets for a quick sink wash, hang dry, and BOOM! You’ve got clean workout clothes and zero excuses to not sweat.
If your tennis shoes are clunky wear them on your flight. Athleisure is in fact a style, so rock it!
Swing by a grocery store prior to your trip that has natural vitamins supplements. Stock up on probiotics for your tummy. They’ll break down yucky bacteria in your gut and help keep you regular while traveling. I recommend picking one that has at least seven strains for increased benefits. Examples of strains include streptococcus thermophilus which promotes healthy tissue in the small intestine and breaks down proteins in cheese (which you’ll be eating a lot of!), or bacillus laterosporus which fights harmful organisms that can enter your gut, or pediococcus acidilactici which prevents foods from not digesting in your gut and rotting.
Tip #2 Map Out Your Routine
Leading up to your trip, take just 10-15 minutes to look at your itinerary. Find days with limited travel and block off time in your calendar for a workout. It doesn’t have to be long, even 15 min of stretching can make a huge difference. Take time zones into consideration and set a calendar reminder with an alert.
Tip #3 Set Your Intention
Flights to Europe are long, and you’ve got time to kill! Use this time to set your intention. Put pen to paper by writing down what you want to achieve and how you’ll get there. By mapping out the exercises in advance you’ll be able to snap out of vacation mode more easily and jump into a quick workout, no problem. For example, you could do 15 min of stretching in the airport during a layover, 10-min abs after checking into your hotel in Rome, a 45-min run in Florence, 30-min of legs from the beach in Sorrento, and so forth.
Remember, it’s not about killing yourself while on vacation; rather, carving out a little time for self-care so you can feel amazing while traveling.
That’s it! 3 easy steps that will keep you on track. And don’t forget that Italy is famously known for its fresh ingredients, and there are loads of markets such as Testaccio Market in Rome or Cascine Market in Florence, for example, that sell fresh fruit and veggies. Do your body and solid and eat a green or two while vacationing!
You mentioned a 30-min leg day in Sorrento, how do I make this happen? Easy!
Warm up by running on the beach for 10 minutes and switch to jumping jacks for 1 min to get your heart rate up. Sand is difficult to run on and great at confusing your legs for a more challenging workout.
Step into a lunge, make sure your legs are far enough apart so your front knee sits directly above your ankle. Your legs should be wide enough so you can easily stand up straight and feel a stretch in your back hamstring. Never let your front knee hide your toes, this is poor form and can lead to injury. Slowly drop your back knee down to the earth, keep your chest up leaning ever so slightly forward, and lift your knee back up. Repeat for 20 reps. Finish with a challenge hold on your last rep by keeping your knee hovered just inches above the earth for 1-min. Switch legs to balance things out and repeat sequence. Rest 30-sec.
Next up, squats! Stand up straight, legs shoulder width apart, shoulders directly over your hips. Sit back like you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your chest proud and your shoulders on top of your hips as you squat. Do 20 reps. It’s sometimes helpful to wrap your hands around the back of your neck/head for good posture. Want to bring your heart rate back up? Do 10 squat jumps standing in place. Same as before, but this time add a nice hop off the sand. Rest 30-sec.
Time to test your balance with leg lifts! Balancing on one foot, lift the other leg an inch or so off the ground. Point your toes inward, facing down towards the ground, and slowly lift your leg up until it goes no further, and lower with resistance. Repeat 20 reps slowly on each leg. I like to keep the hand of my working leg on my glute so I can feel the muscle activating. Rest 30-sec.
Bring your heart rate back up one last time with burpees! Standing straight, feet shoulder width apart, drop your hands to the ground, either step or jump both feet back into a plank. Overachievers feel free to do a pushup before jumping your feet back in towards your hands. Either stand or hop up standing straight before dropping back down. Repeat for 10 reps.
Finish with a nice stretch session. You earned it!
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