Keep Fit On Holiday (And Still Have Fun!)

Belle About Town talks to personal trainer Ricky Matharu about how to keep fit on holiday and still have fun

As I slipped on my shorts for the return journey from a family holiday in Tenerife, I couldn’t help but wonder whether they had somehow, miraculously, shrunk since I hung the up in the hotel wardrobe ten days earlier. Ha, who am I kidding? After ten days of all inclusive gluttony which yes, even occasionally included a Cava for breakfast, and almost always a dessert with dinner, it was pretty clear that the pounds had piled on in a short space of time, and no amount of ‘but I went swimming every day’ excuses were going to get me out of that one.

So once I got back I did what most people do and hit the gym in a desperate attempt to fight the recently formed flab that had accrued around my waistline. No, I hadn’t gone from beauty to blimp in ten days, but I certainly was certainly finding most of my outfits a little more snug.

At the gym I spoke to Personal Trainer and lifestyle coach Ricky Matharu, hoping for some info on quick fixes and also preventative measures so that next time I come home with the same (slightly wobbly but overall reasonably presentable) bikini body I went out with. Ricky told me: “Leaving the all inclusive buffet table feeling stuffed and bloated just isn’t pleasant or even necessary. Sure, you’re on holiday and this should be an opportunity to let go and enjoy yourself, but a few simple tricks can enable you to eat whatever is on offer, and enjoy it. The key is, just enjoy it slowly! There’s no meeting to rush to or deadline looming, so you can really take your time to enjoy your meal. Most food choices are automatic and mindless – but on holiday you can savour every bite. Put your fork down in between mouthfuls and soak in the atmosphere. Your stomach will have more time to alert your brain that you’re full and you’ll automatically eat less. You can cut the amount you consume by 20% just by eating more slowly.”

Here’s what else Ricky suggested for my next break:

Drink loads of water –  Lots of walking and hours spent outside in the sun can dehydrate you incredibly. The flight alone will dehydrate you from the altitude.  Take a reusable water bottle and fill it up after you pass through security. This way you’re drinking throughout the flight and don’t have to wait for the cabin crew to come round a drop you a dribble in a plastic cup!

Combine sightseeing with exercise: Look out for guided bike tours on Viatour, go for long strolls along the beach (sand is 2.2 times harder to walk on than concrete so a barefoot walk will have your legs working harder!), or research the route of the local sightseeing bus, then walk it! 

Keep things in moderation: If you tend to eat more at night, then keep your breakfast and lunch on the lighter side.  If you know you’re going to have a few cocktails in the evening then moderate your intake during the day. It’s all about balance.

Work out before you go out:  If you normally workout daily then try to go to the gym half the amount of days you are away.  A holiday is a time to enjoy yourself so make sure you do, don’t feel like you have to hit the gym at 7 am to feel good about yourself! If you’re not a gym regular then don’t feel pressured to go, just do a plank in your room before your shower morning and night,  take some resistance bands and do five minutes of stretches and lunges, or if you have a suspension trainer with a door stop this can easily be taken with you too. Just ten minutes a day will make you feel a whole lot better and set you up for the day, taking away that guilt when you do decide to have that extra Sangria. Going for a swim in the sea is great exercise, but a quick doggy paddle to the pool bar doesn’t count!

Have the willpower to stay on track: Yes, it’s easier said than done, but you’ll feel so much better coming home from holiday knowing you enjoyed it yet didn’t gain a pound, rather than coming home half a stone heavier and having to work it back off.  Just a few changes in holiday habits and attitudes can really make a big difference. 

  • Ricky Matharu is a Personal Trainer and lifestyle coach available for one-to-one PT sessions or online mentoring through the Precision Nutrition mentoring scheme. To contact him and book your consultation, click here.
Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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