6 Tips To Eat, Feel Fit & Fresh On Your Beach Break

Ahhhhhhh, summer vacation.

A chance to show off the fruits of your hours of labor in the gym while kicking back on a beach chair, tropical cocktail in hand, inspiring the envy of all your followers on Instagram with one perfectly-lit, perfectly-coiffed and perfectly-flexed shot. But, NEWSFLASH: not only can that week of inactivity and eat nothing but sugary treats wreak havoc on your hard-earned abs, it can also leave you feeling sluggish, sick and depressed.

Knowing how my body reacts when I treat it like a dumpster while on vacation, I decided to try something new on my most recent eight-day beach holiday in Almería. Although I relaxed some of the structure of my normal eating routine—no kitchen meant no self-meal-prep—and definitely did not spend 1+ hour per day working out, I adhered to more intuitive eating (turns out, I naturally crave A LOT of greens) and movement. The result? A week of leisure and indulgence that didn’t leave me feeling like I needed a post-vacation recovery period.

Here are my best health and fitness tips for having your cake (or dairy-free ice-cream OM NOM NOM) and eating it too while on a beach break.

1. Prepare your own breakfast.

travel fitness eat
Photo: Sarah Reinbold

This is the one meal that you can pretty much put together anywhere without access to a kitchen, and, what you eat in the morning can have a major impact on your energy and mood. For me, consistency is key. I eat some form of oats every day for breakfast when I’m at home, which is why it made sense for me to pack along a full vacation’s-worth of homemade chocolate sea salt granola (mindblowingly good recipe from minimalistbaker.com). I picked up fresh fruit from a frutería and dairy-free milk from a health food store, and breakfast was ready in under five minutes every morning.

2. Seek out lean sources of protein and TONS of greens.

travel fitness eat
Photo: Sarah Reinbold

Lots of people I know (myself included) are crippled with digestive woes while on vacation. The departure from normal eating habits plus the tendency to indulge in high-fat and high-sugar treats can confuse your body if it’s not used to that type of eating. My advice here is to not veer too far from what you’d eat in a typical day at home. For me, that meant stocking up on lots of veggies and steering clear of dairy or anything fried. There were definitely a few days when I leaned a little too hard into the seafood (pulpo and chipirones and gambas, oh my!) and I could feel that my system wasn’t totally happy, so I responded with extra fresh produce the following day. But if you go to Almería and are the seafood-eating type, OH MY GOD it is paradise.

3. Snack wisely.

I love a cold beer on the beach as much as the next guy, but too many destroy me for the rest of the day. A beer or two plus hydrating raw fruits and veggies, as well as a handful of raw almonds (great for increasing your skin’s natural sun protection) kept me relaxed, satisfied and energized at and after the beach.

4. Indulge when you want to!

travel fitness eat
Photo: Sarah Reinbold

Do you ever find yourself eating or drinking when you’re not even hungry while on vacation? Vacation munchies are real, and it’s no coincidence that my vacation alter-ego has been nicknamed the ‘food troll’. Not all vacation indulgence is bad, but it’s good habit to ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, if you’ll enjoy the food or drink you plan on indulging in and how you’ll feel after. If this self-check gives you the green light, go for it! I had an epic seafood pasta, pizza and Aperol Spritz dinner in Mojácar that I will be dreaming about for the next year until I can do it again.

5. Incorporate movement into your daily activities.

travel fitness
Photo: Sarah Reinbold

Swimming is a no-brainer while on a beach holiday, and I particularly loved jumping the waves at Montsul in the Cabo de Gata. It’s low-impact, refreshing and great for the skin!

Hiking to new beaches was another great way to keep moving while exploring new terrain. Most days, I clocked in at around 10,000 steps!

travel fitness
Photo: Sarah Reinbold

6. Do short, equipment-free HIIT workouts.

I love to exercise first thing in the morning because it boosts my energy all day and increases my appetite (which makes me appreciate all those delicious vacation noms even more!). In case you don’t know where to look for vacation-friendly routines, I’ve created one for you! It takes only 30 minutes, can be done anywhere (on the beach, perhaps?), uses an optional fitness band and will leave you all kinds of sweaty and glowing. Check out the video at the top of the page.

1 minute plank on elbows

Circuit 1 (Perform each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 before moving on to the next exercise):

Butt kicks

Push-up w/ 4x plank jacks

Squat touch-down jack

Double leg lift w/ ankle crunch

Burpee w/ 8x mountain climber

Tricep dips

High knees

Repeat 1x.

Circuit 2 (Perform each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 before moving on to the next exercise):

Squat in-and-outs

Side plank knee-to-elbow

Side lunge w/ knee drive


Reverse lunge w/ knee drive and bicep curl (*Use band or weights)

Lunge jumps

Single leg bridge lift

Repeat 1x, switching sides.

Sarah Reinbold


As founder of Fresh to Death Fitness Madrid, Sarah loves to kick back and relax on one of Spain's breathtaking beaches with a craft beer for the ultimate laid-back vacation.

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