Regardless of whether a goal centres around fat loss or muscle gain, summer –in all its beauty– can have unfortunate side-effects that throw us off track.
Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you mitigate summer holiday over indulgence.
Fear not, the fun-police are not on their way and this is not a blog piece about avoiding all alcohol and delicious food. All it is a few observations of what I’ve seen around the Mediterranean's favourite holiday spots and small changes holiday goers could make whilst having very little impact on the overall enjoyment of the holiday.
Realistically holidaying will inevitably lead to indulging. And so it should; this is what for many of you the reward for being desk bound for most of the year and surviving the cold winter months.
Tip 1: Wine will generally make a hangover worse due to the sugar it contains and its also higher in calories- as is beer.
Solution: drink a good, light blush rosé (Brosé if you’re a dude) with a few ice cubes in it. Most Rosé drinkers will tell you they do this on a hot day anyway. Anything from Provence is the best IMO. However, I’m no wine connoisseur so take my recommendation at your own risk.
Providing you’re somewhere warm the ice will melt quickly watering down the alcohol making the bottle last a lot longer while keeping you hydrated, and remaining delicious.
Tip 2: Any spirits mixed with sugar will make your hangover (and waistline) worse, so choose tequila mixed with soda and a fist full of fresh lime. The soda is hydrating and the large volume of fresh lime provides electrolytes. This is known as a DT margarita, or NorCal Margarita (nothing to do with calories - it was allegedly popularised in Northern California).
Yes, you could substitute the tequila with vodka – although vodka pales in comparison in my opinion, unless it’s used in an espresso martini or Bloody Mary.
Additionally, I heed you not to blame good tequila on a bad experience you had in your early 20s just because ‘Jose Cervero’ (possibly the worst tequila there is) was at the scene of the crime at 2am one morning. This is blatant alcohol profiling and discrimination.
Other that being aware of the calories that the various drinks contain, the most important thing to do is mitigate the hangover to ensure you’re active and feel good the next day. You only need to do 2 things.
1) Get 8 hours sleep
2) Drink a litre of water before bed (unless you’re the disciplined type that will drink water throughout the night along with alcohol).
Be a bit more active.
Don’t get me wrong, I realise it’s a summer holiday and for some that means total relaxation. I’m not suggesting you do an early morning 2 hour hike to check out local scenery every morning. I do have many friends who do this on holiday, but I don’t understand those savages either.
What I am suggesting is just do a little bit more than you would normally:
Swim a bit longer, or more frequently. There's no Great Whites in the Mediterranean after all… At least until this year anyway.
Hire a paddle board and scope out the length of the beach via your bi’s and tries.
Pick a nice lunch spot a little further away
Whatever you do, remember anything is better than nothing. Additionally we all know from experience, provided you drink a ton of water, hangovers do start to improve if you get up and start to move about... (most of the time).
For those that have used intermittent fasting (IF) during the weeks at work, you’ll generally find it easy and very convenient to use on holiday. For the uninitiated IF or Time-Restricted-Eating is where you plan to eat your daily intake of all food within a smaller window (generally 8-10 hours), and fast for the remaining 14-16 hours the day.
It’ll allow you to resist the temptation of that breakfast buffet as well as sleep in. Although breakfast buffets look great, generally they house very low-quality foods due to the amount of waste they create and also have a tendency to set you off on an overeating pathway all day!It also means that the meals you do eat in the 8 hour window can be larger in order to account for a full days calorie needs.
Just remember that if you only stop consuming alcohol or food at 3am, your fast begins only then (not after your earlier dinner). This would mean that your next meal to break-the-fast wouldn’t ideally be until 14-16hours later at 5pm or 7pm, potentially a challenge but not if you are sleeping until early afternoon anyway!
(For those on any of Primebody's 12 week plans, they will be familiar with Intermittent fasting already, but if you'd like to read more, please head to this blog - How and why Pr1mebody works)
There are 100's of food swaps I could list here, but what fun would that be going into a holiday? So I’ve listed the most common ones I see that are easier to avoid and I’ll make the biggest difference:
Locally sourced fruit on holiday definitely puts London’s summer fruit game into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, London does OK, but there’s a reason M&S best selling nectarines come from Spain.
Being so close to the source of so many of the best tasting fruits, I still see so many people drinking ‘freshly squeezed’ fruit juice at buffets or lunch.
Exceptions could be understood for vegetable smoothies (which contain the pulp and fibre and very little sugar) in an effort to up the nutrient intake on holiday- BUT fruit juices should one of the biggest temptations to avoid. In my opinion they seem so pointless when you can experience deliciousness as nature intended.
I would be pretty cruel to say eat no fresh locally made bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar while anywhere in the Med - it’s definitely one of my vices while holidaying. In fact, many people who notice bloating and other reactions to eating bread in their day to day lives find good quality 'holiday' bread no problem. Most likely this is due to its quality ingredients but there is a theory it also relates to our overall stress / pro-inflammatory states we live in when in ‘work-mode’.
Regardless, it’s easy to overindulge. If the mountain of bread comes out before dinner and you’re ravenous*, try drinking a few glasses of water as soon as you sit down to limit your intake or ask for less bread but with some olives to help put the bread-brakes on.
*this is even harder if you’ve been fasting up until that point. I know how this feels. You don’t need to go completely without but just eat consciously.
Eat fresh fish as often as you can. Again, you’ll inevitably close to a source of the freshest fish one can eat. It’s still one of the leanest proteins you can eat and the fats it will contain are brain boosting anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.
Thanks for reading. A big part of the Primebody philosophy is nutritional guidance which is an integral part of any body transformation or for reaching your goals. I am always happy to give advice and please download my '7 Golden Rules to Pr1mebody' below to learn more about some of the strategies used in my programs.