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Staying on track with exercise and healthy eating can certainly be a challenge when your routine gets disrupted.  I moved to British Columbia 5 years ago from Ontario and I travel back to visit my family at least once a year.  I know what it’s like to try to maintain some normalcy in terms of my exercise regime and meal choices while still enjoying my trip. Whether you are traveling for business or vacationing for pleasure, here are a few things to keep in mind that should help you stay focused.

Be prepared.  Bring along exercise bands (elastic tension bands with handles) in the event you can’t hit the gym, so you can still do resistance training.  They’re easy to use, lightweight for flight travel and they come in several different tensions.  Believe it or not you can perform a variety of exercises for lower and upper body and the bands can be used both indoors and outdoors.  I have found these bands very handy and inexpensive so if you are a traveler they are a must to staying toned while on the road.

Pack motivation.  In my exercise travel kit are my skipping rope, swim suit and running shoes.  All three of these items take up minimal space and offer you cardiovascular options when there are no elliptical machines, treadmills or stationary bikes within reach.  You can skip, power walk or jog almost anywhere and most community centers or hotels have a pool so doing laps might be another activity of choice.  The biggest thing to remember is that if your body is conditioned and you exercise regularly before embarking on vacation, maintaining is actually quite easy.

Don’t take it too easy.  It’s okay to decrease your workout intensity (but not stop) for a week or two and not loose everything you have worked so hard for.  Our cardiovascular fitness tends to diminish the fastest so by doing heart pumping cardio at least three to four days a week while away you can easily maintain your level of fitness.  Again, remember that vacation or travel is most often temporary and you know you can get back on track once you arrive home.

Still watch what you eat and drink.  One thing I find very difficult while traveling is choosing healthy foods (and I don’t think I am alone in this!).  More often than not, we are surrounded by fast-food chains and over-sized portions wherever we go.  When choosing meal options at a restaurant a few easy things you can do to keep the calories and fat down are to ask your server for the salad dressing on the side, choose grilled meats over deep fried and eat 1/2 of the portion for one meal and save the other half for the next day.  Alcohol is also another major culprit of hidden calories.  Each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories.  Indulge wisely, especially if you like the fancy drinks like pina colodas or daquiris- they contain the most calories per serving when it comes to alcohol.  Wine on the other hand has much less calories and actually contains antioxidants, so in the end proves to be a better choice.

Plan ahead.  I am so used to preparing food at home that I find fast-food and pre-packaged travel food so unappealing.  Unless you are going to a five star all-inclusive destination you need to plan ahead.  When preparing to fly to Ontario (a full eight hour day on and off planes) I will prepare as many healthy snack options as I can.  Things like raw veggies, hard fruits, home-made sandwiches, rice chips and protein bars all travel well.  I usually scope out the best grocery stores or health food stores within the general vicinity of my destination.  This helps relieve the stress of deciding what type of food I’m going to eat once I arrive.  With a little planning maintaining your health while on vacation can be a little less daunting.

Remember to ENJOY your trip and just do the best you can.  Being pro active and planning a few things in advance makes traveling more fun and less stressful!

Bon voyage everyone!

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