I just returned from a vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, 45 minutes outside of Cancun. We were with Geoff’s family celebrating our yearly reunion and our matriarch, Jane Owen’s, 89th birthday. Aside from the gorgeous blue water, white sand, tropical vegetation and heat, one thing really stood out…the endless amount of delicious food and alcohol. There were over 9 restaurants on the resort with 4 of them being all-you-can-eat buffets. One was almost always open and footsteps away from wherever we were lounging. They even had a buffet open until 5:30 a.m. just in case you were hungry after going to the discotheque and couldn’t wait for the massive breakfast buffet to open at 6.
I’m most def not trying to be the “fun police.” Vacations are about letting loose, relaxing the rules and enjoying, but having a constant flow of food and drink can really undo all of the hard work you may have put into working out or eating clean. Whenever I go on vacation I allow myself to indulge in things I usually don’t eat, but I try to set limits and make sure I stay active. It is more difficult at an all-inclusive. Here are some things that really helped me from abusing all of the amazing food and drinks the resort had at every turn, while still enjoying my vacation to the max.
1) Lay Off the Fruity Drinks: This is a biggie! A large margarita, sex on the beach, or pina colada often contains more than 400 calories! This is more than a fast food cheeseburger and has more sugar than a Snickers bar. And what makes things worse is that the sugar + alcohol goes straight to your brain. The combo just makes you want to eat more. And since it’s fruity and all-inclusive people start drinking them before noon. It’s ok to have them once in a while, but it should be your major treat for the day. Instead opt for a vodka and soda water with lime, wine spritzer or light beer. When I wanted more sweet I asked for a vodka with half soda/half tonic and lime. Tonic is crazy sugar (more than a Coke), but the soda water dilutes it so it isn’t quite as bad for you. Note about wine. If you read my blog you know I’m a wine lover. All-inclusives are not known for their wine selections. They usually serve better wine with dinner than what is offered at the bar or after hours. So save wine for dinner-time.
2) Decide what you really want to splurge on: Is bread your favorite thing in the whole world aside from your loved ones? Maybe chocolate cake or creamy potatoes with cheese is your jam. Or fruity frozen cocktails (see point 1 above)? Choose 1 thing to splurge on during 1 to 2 meals a day. ONE! And have it after you’ve filled your entire plate with lean protein and vegetables. Finish your healthy fare of lean protein and vegetables and then go up to the buffet for your “treat.” Use a bread plate, not a dinner plate. Sit down and enjoy it fully.
3). Partake in local fare: Since we were by the ocean and I love seafood I ate it often. Shrimp, salmon, mussels and different types of light fish. Just make sure it isn’t breaded and of course that it hasn’t been in the heat. I also ate different Mexican dishes, but skipped the rice and tortillas.
4) Bring a Huge Water Bottle or Insulated Cup: The cups and glasses at an all-inclusive are small. To make sure you’re drinking enough water (and to transport your morning coffee) bring your own large option. I like Swell Bottles and Tervis Tumblers.
5) Get a Morning Workout in: Duh right? I have to list this because it is so important. Not so much from a burning calories perspective. Your time on the treadmill or lifting will probably burn less than half of a dessert or a margarita’s worth, but it’s more to create routine and body awareness. If I made the investment to workout in the morning I’m way more apt to make healthier choices when it comes to eating throughout the day. It’s also so mental for me. If I get a workout in it just helps my brain and my view of the day; I’ve accomplished something. Let me add that a morning workout doesn’t have to be crazy early like 5 or 6 am. You are on vacation. Sleep in and then once you wake up, hang with your man and have coffee. Make your workout the first thing on your agenda post coffee or breakfast. While in Playa del Carmen I usually got to the gym around 8:30-9:30. Any time after that and it was too damn hot in the gym, even with air conditioning.
6) Wear your Kicks to the Airport: I love looking at the Refinery29 and WhoWhatWear Street Style airport photos of celebs like Rosie Huntington Whitley and Gigi Hadid who look flawlessly put together while heading to their gates at LAX and Heathrow, but now that I’m a mom and my time is super limited, I need to feel comfortable. I wear stylish active wear (love Carbon38) and sneakers so I can get a little cardio workout in. I also do barre-type exercises using my Delsey carry-on spinner case as support while waiting an eternity at the baggage claim.
7) Pack for Fit: I’m not saying bring your yoga mat and weights, but there are tools that are critical to my motivation during a workout away from home.
- Gymboss Minute Timer: You can do anything for a minute. This allows me to focus on form instead of counting reps. I do all kinds of body weight exercises and treadmill speed variations using the GymBoss. My minute timer prevents me from getting bored.
- Count Me Healthy color wrap bracelet. I use this to count my interval training sets in between my cardio. I used my crystal Count Me Healthy to count my daily glasses of water and my gold galaxy bracelet to count my drinks (they go down easy!!)
- Exercise bands: They are inexpensive, a great way to create resistance, perfect for travel and a superior way to stretch.
8) Take Advantage of The Resort Activities: Seriously with the agenda of activities the resort had going on I felt like I was in the Dirty Dancing movie when Baby was taking dancing lessons and doing crafts. Every hour they had something going on from archery to dancing lessons, yoga on the beach, Zumba to water aerobics. Joining in always feels good and burns calories too.
I love to hear your suggestions. How do you stay fit while traveling? Wishing you a wonderful week. xx Chelsea