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How to stay in shape, active and healthy on holiday

Staying fit and healthy is a year-round commitment. Unfortunately, that seems to wane around this time of year… Guest author, Mariska du Plessis – of mariskafit.com – shares her top tips to staying in shape this silly season.


Let’s be honest, we tend to let go a bit and pick up a few cms around the waistline over the December holidays. Summer holiday means ice cream, on-the-go meals, a drink or two. Christmas means plates and plates of your favourite food – no holding back.

Taking a break from your fitness routine is a must during December – for your body and your mind, especially if you’ve been following a strict eating and training regime throughout the year. However, it is very important to try and make the healthiest choices possible to avoid picking up weight or becoming a bit more unhealthy.

Here are my top tips on how you can stay active, healthy and slim during the holidays and festive season, but still have fun and indulge a bit.

1. Don’t stop exercising

Even if you don’t go to the gym, make sure you do something every day to burn off excess calories. A 20-minute bodyweight training session to kick off every day is more than enough. Or take a walk or jog on the beach. Try yoga or Pilates. Just stay active.

If possible, try to walk to all of your destinations while on holiday (if it is safe and if everything is relatively closeby). Another option is beach sports: volleyball, badminton, throwing a frisbee around – these are all fun activities that will burn of excess calories and help you stay slim and active.

2. Make better food choices

If you know you’re going to indulge, make better decisions and practise portion control. If you know there’s a big ice cream waiting for you at the beach, plan the rest of the day’s meals and reduce your carbohydrates slightly to allow for the sugar intake.

Practise moderation. Allow yourself one unhealthy or  cheat a day but only if you stay active that day. Make better choices: instead of waffles, eat protein pancakes. Instead of a milkshake, drink a protein smoothie.

3. Stay hydrated –

– Especially if you are planning on spending your days in the sun and if you are going to be active in the heat. Take a bottle of water with you everywhere, and try to get in at least 2 – 3 litres of water a day.

4. Don’t skip meals

When you do, you’re more likely to reach for the unhealthy stuff. Plan your day’s meals and stick to them as much as possible.

5. Don’t skip the protein

Use supplements to ensure you get in enough protein if you can’t have a meal.

6. Rest

This is extremely important for your body and especially your mind. If you are planning on being active, make sure you get in enough sleep every night for optimal health and recovery.

7. Relax

Going on holiday is meant to be a relaxing experience. It is an opportunity to rejuvenate your mind and body. Don’t go away just to rush around like you would every other day of the year. Take time to relax and let your mind rest. Do yoga, meditate, go for walks, read a book, colour – these are all great ways to switch off your mind.

Do as much as you can this holiday to look after yourself and rest so that you are rejuvenated and ready to take on the new year. The above tips will help you make better decisions that will help you stay active, slim and healthy, and keep those unwanted cms and kilograms at bay.

Follow me on Instagram – @mariskafit – as I share my vacation workouts every day from the 15th of December.