How to (sort of) Keep Fit on Holiday

I’ve just got back from a two week family holiday in northern Tenerife and my pre-holiday ideal of myself returning as a tanned, toned, spot free, luscious locked, chilled out vision of gorgeousness hasn’t quite gone to plan. So apologies, this post isn’t quite as it seems; I won’t be telling you about how it’s easy to fit in the odd 10 minute HIIT session by the pool, or how it’s sensible to always chose the salad option from the hotel buffet, instead I’ll tell you what actually happens when you go on holiday!

I, as I am sure many others are, was filled with motivation and huge plans to continue some form of exercise whilst on holiday. I planned to get up and go for a run before the rest of the family woke, to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with the early morning and to return as the others awoke all smug and self righteous knowing that I had done it for the day. I even packed my running gear, Fitbit, running trainers, easy to hold water bottle, sorted out my phone so Strava would work abroad, all of which I have never ever packed for a holiday before, so I was well and truly prepared…well all that is apart from one teensy weensy thing. I forgot to pack my self-confidence, my get- up-and-go and my will power.

What Happened?

Let me paint you the scene…

It’s 4 days into the holiday, I’ve settled in, got my bearings and grabbed a couple of morning lie ins, now is the time I should really venture out on that run. Running gear laid out next to my bed, so as not to disturb the kids too early in the morning, I was actually kind of looking forward to running somewhere different.


I wake up naturally, look at the time on my phone and it says 5.45am, which means it’s actually 6.45am because it’s done something weird and decided to put itself back an hour, but that’s fine cos I know that’s what it’s done and 6.45am is the perfect time to get out and pound the pavements. The room is dark, but we have black out curtains so I think nothing of it as I creep to the bathroom with my things and get dressed. I sneak out of the room, taking care to close the door as quietly as I possibly can, and head off down the corridor.

It’s eerily quiet, but then who else in their right mind would be up at this time on holiday anyway?

So, again, I think nothing of it.

That is until I get to the foyer, glance out of the windows and realise that it is still dark outside, to the point that the stars are still out. We’re talking pitch black, middle of the night, as night as you can possibly get NIGHT!

runninginthedarkI feel confused – hang on why’s it dark? I know my phones wrong, but it’s not that wrong…what’s going on?!

Then I feel silly – what if anyone sees me? Arghhh they’ll think I’m some kind of weird middle of the night freak runner, who only ventures out under the cover of darkness to avoid having her strange running style mocked by other runners.

I hastily retreat back to the room before any of the hotel staff spot me, open the door as quietly as possible, take off my trainers and slink back into bed in my running gear, vowing to try again another day.

Which, of course didn’t happen!

As it turns out, it doesn’t start to get light in Tenerife until about 7.30am, so I wasn’t far off. But boy must it suddenly get light quickly; those stars must literally blink off and the sun pops up. I’ll be honest, I need a kick up the backside to get me out running as it is, but when something like that happens my inner gremlin scores a few points against me and this was one of those occasions when I let it win just a bit too easily.

Gremlin convinced me not to try again and instead told me to “Relax. You’re on holiday, have another one of those Mojitos and forget about it”.

Cue holiday larding!

As a family, we like to try out the local cuisine in as many different restaurants as possible, so we tend to steer clear of the all-inclusive options. This time was no different, we stayed on a bed and breakfast basis meaning we had the luxury and convenience of having the first meal of the day on our doorstep and then we could do as we pleased for the rest of the day. This also meant we wouldn’t get sucked into the mentality of eating way, way too much at a buffet every evening, to feel as though we were getting value for money – why do people do that?!?

There you are my friends, a proper valid tip to help you keep off the pounds on holiday…

TIP: Don’t go all-inclusive!

But, and this is a big old BUT, what about the breakfasts?

Gotta love a hotel breakfast right? Sooooo much choice – fruit, full english, cereals, cheese, meats, pastries, breads, pancakes, omelettes. Yum! And I am totally a breakfast loving girl so holiday breakfasts are way my thing. When else is it deemed acceptable to have a three course meal for breakfast? Cos that’s what we did and it actually makes me feel sick to even think about it now as I wouldn’t even dream of having two healthy courses at home let alone 3 lardy ones.

Oooo oooo I feel another tip coming on…

TIP: Don’t have a three course breakfast!

And how did I justify these three courses to myself (other than the fact I was on holiday) because one of those courses was a bowl of fruit and that made it OK.


I know, ridiculous right. How on earth can a ‘starter’ bowl of fruit, tinned might I add, balance out the ‘main meal’ of egg, sausage, beans and bread roll and the ‘pudding’ pastries?

Answer: it can’t.

churrosBut we all (well most of us) do it every single time we go away and it’s simply because the food is there, because we can see it, because we can smell it and because we haven’t had to make it that our brains trick us into believing we’re still hungry and the only way to satiate that hunger is to pop in another doughnut. Yep, you heard me, doughnuts for breakfast – wow!

As the holiday drew to an end, I was sick to the back teeth of that breakfast and I managed to wean myself down to a bowl of fruit and a small bacon roll. But the damage had already been done; a few days of eating Churros dipped in hot chocolate and you might as well sellotape blocks of lard to your thighs.

I know I’ve put on weight this holiday, my clothes are definitely tighter and I feel sluggish and chunky, but rather than put myself through the torture of stepping onto the scales and punishing myself for my downright piggy gluttony I’m going to do something about it. I don’t know the stats, but I’m fairly certain most of us return from our hols with a transferal of pounds from our bank balances onto our bellies and bums; it is a holiday after all.

If August was my month of indulgence, September is my month of fitness.

Having returned from hols Wednesday evening, I knew I had to get right back into my old routine so I went out last night with my fab running group (runnyhoneys you rock!) and although it was tough, and I moaned (a lot!), and I felt as though I was waddling along with slow, concrete legs, I not only did it, but I somehow managed to run the furthest I’ve ever run. I’ve also signed up to the New Forest 10k (my first ever 10k) in just over a week, and have the pleasure of joining the #cocotarget competition winner on the Target Human Performance Fitness Holiday at the end of the month. Oh and I’ve stopped my 3 course breakfasts and am no longer drinking sangria every evening; instead I’m doing September’s Dryatholon and steering clear of the hard stuff to help my training and to give my liver a bit of a break.

That’s my post holiday fitness and diet plan all mapped out, but what about you? I’d love to hear your holiday pig out stories and how you’re going to go about getting back into a healthy fitness and food regime, so send me an email or comment on my social posts to help us all ease our holiday guilt.

And as my gift to you let me share this final tip with you:

TIP: Don’t stress it!

You only live once, enjoy yourself, eat, drink and be merry and remember that a two week blip in your diet and fitness plan really isn’t the end of the world.


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  1. says: Steve

    Hey Becky!
    I appreciate your honesty most of all. I do agree with you, the goal of traveling should be to immerse oneself in new cultures and cuisines.
    It’s mighty unfortunate that we often times vilify food, then return to continue lamenting ourselves for it. As you mention, it’s not the end of the world (as long as it does not take over our healthy eating routine).
    Cheers to enjoying the best life has to offer (in sensible moderation)!
    Thank you!

    1. says: Becky

      Thanks for your comment Steve, always lovely to get some feedback. What kind of a life is it if we can’t relax the rules and have a bit of fun and a taste of the good stuff every now and again, right? Hope you enjoy the rest of what our site has to offer πŸ™‚

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