Balancing Fitness & Fun At The Beach (Advice From A Dietitian)

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What you’re about to read is the best diet and exercise advice for vacationing on the Internet.

(Probably.)

I’m actually writing this the night before leaving for the beach.

And since I’m newly single⏤I’m not gonna lie to you⏤I’ve been more conscious of my physique. It is what it is.

So I’ve decided I’m gonna keep things a bit “tighter” with my fitness regimen while away. (Don’t worry, I’ll still enjoy myself.)

What I’m doing is similar to what I’d recommend to my 1:1 coaching clients, so I thought I’d share it with you as well.

My advice: Save this somewhere that’s easily accessible in the future.

MY BEACH VACATION CHEAT SHEET

WORKOUT PLAN

Cardio every gym day for 20-30 minutes BEFORE weights. Why before? Because I’ll skip it if I wait until after.

Instructions: 3-5 sets each exercise. 60-180 seconds rest between sets.

*Day 1) Push Day (chest, triceps, side delts) 

1. Incline DB Bench – 8 to 10 reps

2. Deficit Pushups – Stop 2 reps shy of failure until my last set.

3. Tricep Pressdowns – 10 to 12 reps

4. Overhead Rope Tricep Extensions – 10 to 12

5. DB Side Laterals – “Myo-Reps”: 1 set of a hard 15 reps. Rest for 5 deep breaths. 5 more reps. 5 breaths. Repeat until fail. Push yourself!

6. Ab Crunches

Day 2) Pull Day (back, biceps, rear delts)

1. Chest Supported DB Rows – 8 to 10 reps

2. Assisted Pullups or Lat Pulldowns – 8 to 10 reps

3. Rear Delt/Upper Back Row – 10 to 12 reps

4A. Superset Dumbbell Rear Delt Flye – 10 to 15 reps

4B. Superset DB Shrugs – 10 to 12 reps (2 sec squeeze each rep)

5. DB Preacher Curls – 2 sets of 10

6. DB Curls – 2 sets of 10

7. Incline DB Hammer Curls – 2 sets of 10

8. RKC Plank – 30 sec+ hold

Day 3) Legs + Arm Day

1. Squat-To-Stand W/ Overhead Reach – 2 sets of 3-5 reps each arm

2. Heavy Goblet Squats – 8 to 10 reps

3. DB RDLs – 8 to 10 reps (3 second lowering phase each rep)

4. Front Foot Elevated DB Reverse Lunges – 12 to 15 reps each (one at a time)

5A. EZ Bar Cable Curls – 12 to 15 reps

5B. Rope Tricep Pressdowns – 12 to 15 reps

6. Side Plank – 30 sec+ hold

Day 4+) Repeat

*If I was a woman and wanted to bias my lower body more than upper, I would do 1) Lower (Quad-Focused) 2) Upper Body 3) Lower (Hamstring/Glute-Focused).

If you want some more example bodyweight or dumbbell only workouts, check this out.

My “Be-Less-Fat-On-Vacation” Diet 🌴 

9am wake up: 0 cal Monster/Coffee/Etc.

[GYM, if I want]

11am (or when hungry): Protein shake + lots of fruit

Beach: see below for alcohol choices

2pm Lunch: Deli meat sandwich with baked chips & Diet Coke – whole wheat bread, turkey, cheese, tomato, lettuce/spinach

6:30pm Dinner: whatever I want (wine, probably)

Midnight or so: protein shake/Greek yogurt and more fruit; alternate – PB&J

NOTES: strawberry and watermelon are fruit of choice due to high water content, lowest calories, and deliciousness factor. Also, low fat popcorn is the perfect salty combo. Basically, I try to use low calorie/high protein/nutrient dense “hunger buffers” all day long until dinner comes.

3 Healthy-ish Alcoholic Beverages For Summer Shenanigans

Kentucky Mule

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Diet ginger beer, to top
  • Garnish: mint sprig

Fit Vine Wine

Full disclosure: I haven’t tried this wine yet, but I’ve only heard great things. It’s a low sugar, lower calorie wine at affordable prices.

Honestly, I think this would be a great first sponsor for my podcast… 🤔 if you try this or have tried it ⏤ let me know what you think.

Buy them here.

Matt’s Fruity Beach Cocktail Of The Swole Godz

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Splash of rum
  • Larger splash of 0 cal Monster
  • Diet lemonade, to top
  • Yeti cup with ice

12 simple tips For Better choices at the beach:

1. Know thyself. If you don’t want to “stay on track” while on vacation ⏤ more power to you. You’re an adult and can make decisions for yourself. Going off track too much, however, will actually cause some people more stress. If it makes you feel better to workout and loosely track your food, I think that’s just fine too.

2. Focus on the fun, not how you look or how much you’re eating. You go on vacation to enjoy yourself, so, yeah. Enjoy it, dude. Do your best to be in the present moment and soak in the entire experience. This will reduce stress too, which can help prevent fat gain. (And, you know, good for general reasons.)

3. Control what you can control and don’t stress the rest. A week or two of vacation time will NOT hurt your progress much, if any. Muscle memory is a real thing and you will gain any muscle you might have lost quickly upon return.

4. Don’t eat like an asshole. Purposefully consuming copious amounts of food is usually a bad move. Seeing as how you’ll be uncomfortable and potentially want to burn it off later anyway.

5. Do your gym research BEFORE you arrive at your destination. It’s super easy to look up gyms around where you’re staying and they usually have a free pass to use while you’re there. But do it before, because when you’re there, willpower will be much lower after a few margaritas.

6. Balance your calories. If you’re eating a big dinner, eat less in the morning (mostly protein and veggies/fruit) and vice versa. I’ll feast at dinner time and then squeeze in a protein shake before bed (see diet above).

7. Do your best to avoid heavily fried and oily foods. I know this can be tough, but these are usually very high fat/calorie, so they add up quickly. If you really like these foods, like me, I recommend eating very low-fat earlier in the day to balance things out.

8. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is probably just a good idea.

9. Alcohol: use sugar free/diet mixers and avoid juices and sugary drinks. If you’re drinking a lot on one day, try to eat lower fat on that day due to excess fat being easier to store as fat. Also do your best to avoid eating large meals AFTER drinking as your body has to metabolize all the alcohol first, which can promote fat storage when combined with overeating total daily expenditure.

10. MOVE. If you can walk, go to the gym, ride bikes, anything ⏤ do it. Moving will help your digestion, general well-being, and counteract some calories. I like to wake up early and hit the gym before the beach a few days per week. I just feel better, I can eat more, and the beach pumps are nice.

11. THIS is an awesome resource to use while traveling.

12. When traveling, you want to aim for “good enough” choices, not “perfect” choices.


The Most Important Part: Returning Back To “Normal” Post-Vacation

People get this wrong, yet it’s so simple. (Admittedly, I’m guilty of this.)

We just enjoyed ourselves on vacation and, for some reason, think it’s time to punish ourselves. More fasting, more cardio, more restriction, and less positive self-talk. As if we need to compensate for enjoying ourselves.

This is wrong. But the right thing for us to do is extremely easy.

Just “get back on track”⏤whatever that means for you.

  • Hit your pre-vacation calorie goal
  • Eat more mindfully
  • Routined eating schedule, etc.

Not that it matters if you gained any weight on vacation (because that’s normal), but the weight you did gain was just water weight, glycogen, and added gut content (more food in your stomach). Not fat.

As long as you get back to your normal eating regimen, your weight will “stabilize” after about a week.

And also, who cares?

You just went on vacation.

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