Last week I went to Cancun with friends to celebrate our upcoming graduation from veterinary school. It was an all inclusive resort, meaning all of our food and drinks were included, aka unlimited food and drinks at all hours! The most dangerous combination when you are celebrating with friends and wearing a bathing suit!
For most of the week, we just laid around on the beach, not moving. Occasionally, we would get up and swim in the water, but usually our adventures from the beach were for breakfast, lunch, and our snack. Not the best situation. Servers constantly came around to see if we needed anything to drink. Making it harder and harder to be good!
I know myself and know that I have no self control when tempted. The best thing for me to do is to keep myself out of the danger zone. It is really easy to be laying in bed at night telling yourself, tomorrow you are going to be good, not snack and eat no dessert, but the other side goes, hey you are on vacation and celebrating.
Here are some things I learned over the week!
- Make time for the gym // I like to start my mornings on vacation with a workout. For me, it means I definitely got it done. Who knows what fun activity may happen later, and I never want to miss out because I need to work out. I tend to eat better if I have gone to the gym and worked out because it kicks starts my morning!
- Walk through the whole buffet // Most all inclusive resorts have a buffet restaurant. I get totally overwhelmed with all the options and before I know it, my plate is piled to the sky with food. Then, you look at your plate and say you won’t eat it all, but you might, and maybe you will even go back for seconds. Planning out what you want to eat can really help you limit what you are going to get.
- Gym with friends // As always, you are more reliable when you have someone counting on you or encouraging you to go. Make a plan with a friend to go to the gym, exercise on the beach, or attend a workout class! Some of us went to a water cycling class where the exercise bike was actually in the pool under water.
- Pick your drinks carefully // I don’t drink much alcohol. There are very few drinks I actually enjoy drinking and I stick to those. Unfortunately, the ones I love are made with so much sugar. At the beach, it is so easy to fall into drinking margaritas and daiquiris and anything else beachy, but these drinks aren’t great for you. Limit these drinks and pick something else to drink along side.
- Exercise outside // I am not great at working out in a gym. I spend way to much time worrying about everyone around me watching me then actually getting a good workout in. Those “weird” exercises I do at home make me uncomfortable and I can’t do them in the gym. I also loathe running on treadmills for more than 10 minutes (but unfortunately you can’t always run outside in strange places). I began moving my exercises to a location either on the beach (which was extra hard) or just a remote grassy location. I was more secluded than at the gym, making me less self conscious, and it was a beautiful view!
I took a lot of sweaty elevator selfies after the gym! Please share any tips you have!
Dizzy and I love to spend as much time outside as possible. It is really hard while in school because often I am at school for twelve hours a day, leaving little day light on either side. I also love to go mountain biking. I try to mesh Dizzy into my free time with what I like to do as much as possible. When I tried to take Dizzy biking a few weeks ago, I ended up tearing up her feet and she had trouble walking for the next few days. I felt terrible! I have been working on a way to take Dizzy biking again, safely.
Here are some things I am looking into!
- Keeping Cool // One thing Dizzy and I have trouble overcoming is the heat. She has so much fur and such a thick coat causing her to overheat so quickly. I am not going to shave her, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I only pick trails where there is easy access to water so she can go swimming and stay cool. We also pick cooler days or go in the morning, before the days get hot.
- Booties // Our last Australian Shepherd, Splash, loved to go biking, and he could really keep up. However, he and Dizzy have the same sensitive feet, making it difficult to take them! I have been looking into getting Dizzy a pair of boots to protect her feet. I found these Ruffwear Griptex Boots that have good reviews. I am just worried that they may slide off. I had taken Dizzy before and we had never had a problem, so I am on the fence of getting her a pair of boots or starting training slowly to build up her feet.
- Bells and Lights // Dizzy is a sweet dog and gets along with everyone, but I know dogs can be intimidating to people or other people’s dogs may not be super friendly. I like people to know she is there. Dizzy and I used to do search and rescue and she had a great vest with lights built it and bells attached. You can hear and see her coming, which is great! Here is a great high visibility harness to make sure your dog is visible!
- Building Strength // Dizzy has become quite the couch potato over the last few years because I have spent so much time in school. We go for long walks, but that is not the same as running six or eight miles hard. She definitely can’t keep up like she could a few years ago. This is where I am so jealous of Oakley, my brother’s dog. He can go for eighteen miles easily! My plan is to take her out for short rides, starting at just two or three miles and increase by about a mile a week. What I want more than anything is for Dizzy to have fun, not have her drag exhausted and be reluctant to ride!
- H20 and Snacks // Bringing plenty of water and snacks for us both is important. It is so easy to get stuck on the trails for longer than you planned (thanks to mechanicals). You also never know when you are going to have an off day and need the extra push. Just like how you need a snack or two for extra energy on a ride, you dog partner does too! I usually just bring granola bars along with me and share some with her. You can also pack some dog specific treats in your pockets. Your pup may also need a little extra food for dinner that night after these long rides!
I have always wanted to try Pure Barre. I never really understood what it was and spent a lot of time researching. When I was home on break, I asked my friend Caitlin if she wanted to go! She is always in for a work-out class and was a great person to go with. We had to not look at each other in the mirror because we would laugh, but it was so much fun to go with a friend!
Here is what I have learned after my first Pure Barre classes!
One // Before your first class, spend some time online learning the lingo and watching the video. Get there early! Your instructor will go over how the class works, how to set up, and go over the lingo and what it means. It was awkward while everyone watched, but so helpful.
Two // Definitely wear leggings and and a tank top. you feel comfortable in. They recommend sticky socks, and I would too! I didn’t have a pair for my first class and really regretted it. I spent a lot of time sliding my feet across the carpet during planks and not doing the workout.
Three // The warm up is not a warm up, it is hard work. I was expecting some nice stretches and light work. I was so wrong. I was sweating within seconds. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the whole class after my first warm-up.
Four // You probably won’t be able to do everything and your instructor will correct you. There was parts of the work out that I couldn’t do. The planks are long and my arms and abs got so tired. I had to put my knees down, but it leaves rooms for progress. The movements are controlled and have slight position adjustments that matter. The angle of your hip makes a difference. I didn’t realize how the little movements really make a difference in what muscle or muscles you work.
Five // Have fun! The more fun you have the more you will get out of it. The room is small and tight when the room is packed. Having fun makes it more fun for everyone. Working out is a time to let out the stress and let loose, not get stressed about the work out.
I have recently started running again. When I first started running in high school, I was always running with my teammates and rarely ran alone. Then, when I started running by myself, it became eerie and I had a hard time. I just seemed to lose the motivation and discipline I had once previously had. I love running for the fact that you can let things fly through your mind and de stress, but I hate running because it gives you so much time to think. That is when I started running with music to pass the time.
My running playlist tends not to get changed or updated because I just forget. I remember when I am running and never remember when I get home. Now that I have been running more often, I needed to update it to keep me moving. I love songs that are upbeat and motivate me to keep going. The tempo of the song really affects my stride and pace, so the faster the better! I also enjoy listening to songs that mean something to me, that have a good memory attached. For some reason, it really helps me to keep going. My playlist also has to be way longer than whatever work out I am doing. I have a habit of skipping songs like crazy!
Here are the top songs from my current running playlist!
Any recommendations? Throw them my way!
When I am at school living in Philadelphia with my brother, Heath, I fall into such a good eating routine. One of the main reasons is that he is there. As soon as I get something I shouldn’t, he politely tells me that I shouldn’t eat it. He tells me that there is “a ton of sugar in that” or “that really isn’t as good for you as it seems”. He keeps me honest. When I leave that bubble, whether it be just to clinics where he isn’t or out with my friends or at home, I tend to fall into bad habits. I have gotten so much better at avoiding my old downfalls.
I started this whole plan for myself for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I am moving out and in with my sister, and we tend to bring out the worst in each other in terms of eating habits. We will OK the other to eat that extra cookie or eat the after dinner dessert we don’t need or go to Starbucks just twice in one day. All things we don’t need, but that we do anyway because no one is looking. The other reason is that I am going on vacation with my friends to celebrate us becoming veterinarians. We are going to an all inclusive hotel in Cancun.
I have been eating really well, working out consistently, and losing weight. I feel great about myself, and I don’t want this to change in the upcoming weeks. You can always justify why you think you need that extra drink/snack/treat when you are celebrating, but that really just opens you up to continue to struggle and lose you way.
Here are some things I do to try and keep myself on the right path while on vacation and celebrating these upcoming weeks!
- Bring healthy snacks // In my suitcase, I am going to pack some healthy snacks that I can eat whenever. For me, I enjoy eating granola bars, my favorite are Nutrigrain bars. If I can bring some of these along, I can have a healthy snack available. It helps to avoid the Wawa run where you run in and grab a pack of M & M’s because I have my snack with me. If you are driving to your destination, you can bring some fruits or vegetables along the way too. Other things I like to have are trail mix and nuts, like cashews.
- Bring a water bottle // It took me a while to grasp this concept, even though everyone kept telling me about it. Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty. Bringing a water bottle allows you to always have fresh water on hand and might help you to avoid that soda, alcohol, or extra coffee run. Make sure it is empty before crossing security.
- Avoid being oh so hungry // I am one of those people who goes and goes and then suddenly realizes that I am way beyond hungry. When I sit down for dinner, I end up eating everything in site, aka the whole bread basket. Then, if you are me, I eat my entire meal and am stuffed! Try not to let yourself get that hungry! This goes back to my first point of keeping snacks. Maybe eating that small snack will help to tie you over to your meal and prevent you from eating it all!
- Make time to work out // Most hotels have a gym for guests to use. I know running on a treadmill is not always fun, but it is often the safest place to exercise. (My dad and I once went for a four mile run which turned into an eight mile run when we got lost in Hawaii. We ended up way too hot and dehydrated and cranky.) Hotels often have weights and medicine balls to help you do other exercises other than cardio.
Rely on your friends and family you are traveling with to get everyone to the gym for a workout! It helps to keep you honest and not just snooze your alarm when everyone makes a plan. Most likely, they want to get there and are struggling to stay motivated.
- Do you really need that dessert? // My family loves to celebrate on vacation. Many times, we got south to the beach and love to eat their key lime pie and compare across the trip. But, do you really need it? Instead of everyone getting a dessert, try sharing with a friend. Or instead of eating a whole meal, share some appetizers and then go out for ice cream. Also, be careful because sometimes the habit of eating dessert every night caries over to when you get home.
- Watch what you eat in the airport // What you eat in the airport can set the tone for your whole trip. Most options in the airport are fast food, candy, and junk food, none of which are good for you. Many airports now have some healthy food options for you to choose from, just choose wisely! You can often bring some healthy snacks with you through security, no liquids of course, that can help you get through the trip and save a ton of money. While it can be an easy way to pass time, eating in the airport is tricky!
- Get in some strength training // I went on vacation with my mom to Charleston a few weeks ago for the Bridge Run. We were running Saturday and spending the rest of the time out exploring, so I wasn’t concerned about being active. We even biked over 35 miles on Sunday. My mom of course ad to think of one extra thing to keep us motivated, she brought a medicine ball in her carry on suitcase to do her morning ab exercises. It was an easy way to get in some strength something amongst our cardio, not that you have to bring a medicine ball, but there are always ways to workout that aren’t cardio options! I like BBG workouts because you can do them usually do the workouts without equipment. A beach is a great place for squats, crunches, and pushups!
How do you stay motivated while on vacation?
I had the most inspirational start to my week. I was fortunate to get to watch my friend kick the Boston Marathon’s butt! I flew up to Boston on Sunday night after spending Easter with my family. After a little bit of a hectic plane departure (sitting on the tarmac for over an hour waiting to get off), I got to my friend Katelyn’s apartment.
We got up early the next day to drive her into the city and see her off to the buses for the start line of the race. Our goal was to make it to as many spots along the route (hoping for three) to see her go by. We made it to two spots and the finish line to cheer her on! I was so happy to have friends in Boston to help get us around. It would have been really confusing otherwise!
Katelyn is one of the people who sets amazing goals and actually reaches them. Each time we saw her throughout the day, she was smiling and so positive. It was so great to be there to cheer her on. She is someone that I wish I could be more like. I love her to death and am so lucky to have her in my life.
The most amazing site was the finish line. People were trucking along to get to the finish. Some people were hurting and others were flying by. Runners pulled out their phones to take pictures and videos of the finish line. The crowds were going crazy. It was such an amazing experience and I am so glad I got to experience my first Boston Marathon.
I flew out early the next morning. I was so inspired by this day that I spent all my time looking up marathon information- what marathons were in my area coming up and how to qualify for Boston. We’ll see if this bucket list dream can get pushed up the list!
School is super stressful and doesn’t leave many hours to worry about your health and fitness. I know I am not the only one who goes to school before the gym opens and leaves after it closes. Or sometimes you have to plans and commitments and loved ones/pets counting on you and can’t go to the gym after school/work. It also stinks to pay for a gym membership you only use once a month. It isn’t worth the money at that point. You end up eating junky food and not being your best self. The rut just keeps getting bigger.
I found that I needed a way to do some workouts without going to the gym. I needed a way to feel sore and accomplished in a short period of time that I could do at any time of day. I hit google to help me figure out what was next. That is when I found the BBG program. It has three strength conditioning and three cardio workouts per week. I am able to consistently do cardio by riding my bike on the trainer, but I needed it for the strength work. These are thirty minute workouts that you can do almost anywhere!
The workouts need weights and a medicine ball and a way to do step ups. Some other equipment is also needed, but I usually just fudge it when I am at home without it. I got weights and a medicine ball off Amazon because it was hard for me to get to a store. These workouts really work your arms, legs, and abs. It really does a good job of making you feel sore the next day. I also felt like I noticed results quickly when I do the workouts consistently. For example, I barely could do push-ups when I started and often had to cheat to my knees. Now, I can do fifteen push-ups in a row. Progress! No matter how big or small, it is progress.
I usually do these workouts in my living room with a yoga mat. My dogs are always so helpful, licking my face as I do pushups or ab work, making it just a little harder. The time flies by with TV on in the background. Since being home more recently, I have been working out outside, which is so refreshing!
My favorite move is the commando, where from a plank position you move to a push-up position and back to a plank position. It works your core and upper body. It always seems to be at the end of the work-out when my arms are shaking. I work on these almost everyday, regardless of whether I did a full work-out that day or not.
This program comes as an app on your phone, which is great because it is always with you! If you are on vacation and traveling, visiting a friend, or whatever, this workout can be done. Keeping you on a schedule and consistent. I highly recommend it if you need something to kick start your summer body!