Drinking a cold beer while basking in the afternoon sun with no responsibilities or commitments on the horizon is one of the greatest joys of a vacation. But too many of those, and you might be returning home looking and feeling less like a svelte and glowing bronzed god/goddess and more like a beached whale with a bad case of indigestion. Having spent one too many holidays of my youth feeling like the latter, in the past year I’ve finally gotten around to establishing a vacation routine that allows all the relaxation without any of the guilt or discomfort. If you’re planning on traveling this spring break, read on for my must-pack items to incorporate a bit of health and fitness into your vacation.
1. Nutritional supplements.
My go-tos include a pre- and probiotic, digestive enzymes, cod liver oil, spirulina, a multivitamin, plant-based protein and maca powder, but I’d recommend researching your specific concerns to find what works for you. No, supplements will not make up for a diet of fried foods and processed sugars. But they can give your system a little boost, which can be handy when you’re deviating from your normal eating and sleeping habits. If nothing else, I would recommend investing in a good pre/probiotic supplement—gut health can make or break a vacation, TRUST. Most of my supplements are in pill form, which makes it nice and easy to just toss them down the hatch first thing in the morning and get on with my day. For those that are in powdered form, I’ll usually just buy a juice, add them in, give it a good shake and shoot it. Mmmmmm, health.
2. A functional swimsuit and/or lightweight workout clothes.
If I’m going on a beach vacation and know that I will be getting in the water, one of my favorite hacks is packing a swimsuit that doubles as workout attire. That means one that will stay in play through burpees, push-ups, squats, etc. If you don’t have a swimsuit that serves that purpose, you need to step away from the thong bikinis and string tops and get yourself one. The real bonus of working out in a swimsuit while on vacation is that you can wear it into the water, and everything is magically clean again. Sort of. And, if that really doesn’t appeal to you, throw in at least one workout ensemble.
3. Comfortable shoes.
Whether you are hiking volcanoes or just bar-hopping around a city, you should be aiming to clock 10,000 daily steps. Walking burns more calories than you’d think, is great for digestion and is one of the best ways to see a new place. So pack some footwear that you can step around in!
4. Additional workout accessories.
I always like to bring a resistance band when I travel. It’s super-versatile, and, even if I don’t end up using it, it won’t have taken up much space or weight in my suitcase. Plus, bikini competitors know it’s one of the best tools for getting that instant ‘swole’ look, and I am all about that when I’m on a beach break.
A water bottle also never goes amiss. You can fill it on the plane to make sure you stay hydrated and don’t get the dreaded plane bloat. And it’s also great (and economical) to pack your own bottle for city excursions and beach trips. Just make sure you choose a BPA free bottle!
5. Mineral-based sun care.
Ain’t nobody got time to shed like a snake while on vacation, so make sure to pack a good sunblock. But, if there is one thing that I can emphasize here, it is to avoid chemical-based sunscreens. Unfortunately, this is probably in the neighborhood of 85% of the sunscreens on the market, if not more, so make sure you find a good mineral-based sunblock and pack it before you leave.
The thing about chemical sunscreens is that they can often cause more harm than good. Chemicals like oxybenzone can seriously disrupt the endocrine system and cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to a whole bunch of other problems. They are also toxic to sea life. On the other hand, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the top ingredients found in mineral-based sunblocks, create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun, offering better protection while being gentler on sensitive skin and not disrupting hormones. Yes, many of them do give you a white cast. But it’s a small price to pay for wrinkle-free skin and happy hormones!
I leave for Tenerife next Monday and have already written my packing list because I’m prepared like that. And, if I don’t see the sun soon, I might actually go insane. Where are you travelling to this spring? Let me know what you’ll be packing to feel fit and fierce while on holiday!
Photo: Sarah Reinbold