Everyone wants to feel confident on holiday, but achieving a beach body is more about healthy attitudes than golden skin and toned abs. The feel-good effects of exercise, healthy eating, and positive thinking can prepare you to hit the beach feeling better than ever. Get the most out of your holiday with these tips:
Six weeks before your holiday
1. Before launching into a new health regime, establish your ‘why’: are you looking to change your body composition or your boost energy levels? Defining your holiday goals is the first step to making them happen.
2. Seek expert advice. Now you’ve defined your ’why,' Personal Trainers and Nutritional Therapists can give you the ‘how,' fine-tuning your efforts for maximum results.
3. Avoid drastic exercise and diet measures. Establishing a realistic plan will help avoid unsustainable and unrealistic plans or goals.
4. If you have rosacea, acne or other skin conditions irritated by sunlight or heat, speak to your dermatologist or GP before you go, who may be able to prescribe cosmeceutical remedies unavailable over the counter.
5. Make yourself accountable. Connect with groups of like-minded people who inspire, motivate and support you to reach your goals.
A week before you go
6. Prep now. Relax later. Stock up on healthy, portable snacks, so you’re never caught ‘hangry’ in unfamiliar territory.
7. Try an instant tan for an immediate confidence boost without the sun damage.
8. Amp up your skin’s defence with a skin supportive supplement combining vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and biotin to protect from within. Eat antioxidant rich foods such as vegetables, fruit and green tea.
9. Stock up on sun cream to prevent short and long-term skin damage. Look for a broad-spectrum cream, that protects from both UVA, which causes premature ageing, and UVB, which causes burning. As well as SPF, check for a star rating, which is the measure of UVA protection. Three to five stars is usually sufficient.
10. Feeling anxious about stripping off? Send a message to your sympathetic nervous system that everything is fine. Taking deep breaths, and saying calmly and quietly, ‘thanks, but you’re not needed right now,’ to your anxiety can kick it into touch.
While you're away
11. Eat local. Explore local delicacies for a fresher, seasonal, more expertly prepared meal.
12. Consider combining meals if you’re getting up later or having a lazy day on the sun-lounger. Brunch and an indulgent evening meal should see you through.
13. Top up on food rich in beta carotene and anti-inflammatory properties such as tomatoes, oily fish, nuts and seeds to help heal sun-damaged skin.
14. If you’re sampling the local vino or cerveza, supplement with Milk Thistle to reduce the damage to your liver caused by the free radicals it produces when metabolising alcohol.
15. Limit the crazy cocktails to avoid hangovers. A few glasses of wine with a meal or a clear spirit with a light mixer, interspersed with plenty of water is a wiser choice.
16. Hydrate. Check this pee chart to track hydration levels.
Bored with water? Top up with vegetable juices for vital nutrients or coconut water for an electrolyte boost.
17. Cool sunburned skin for at least 45 minutes to minimise blistering. Don’t pick peeling skin or burst blisters. Hydrate with oil-based moisturiser which won’t sting broken skin.
18. Take a travel pro-biotic to regulate your digestion, protect against bad bacteria and reduce risk of traveller's diarrhoea: look for one containing non-pathogenic yeast.
19. Bypass the bloat: swap refined white carbs for wholegrain, reduce wheat and hydrate regularly.
20. Try mindfulness to prevent overeating and aid digestion: rather than worrying about the calorie content of indulgent holiday foods, immerse yourself in the experience by eating slowly, without distractions, taking note of every flavour and texture to give your brain the time to recognise signals that you’re full.
Your summer holiday may only last two weeks, but the health and wellbeing boost can stretch for much longer. From fine-tuning your nutrition and exercise to improving your mental health, this is an excellent opportunity to develop habits that will nurture your mind, body, and spirit all year round.
- Mary Cotter - Nutritional Therapist
- Chloe Corney - Personal Trainer
- Dr Unnati Desai - Dermatology Specialist and GP
Last updated Monday 20 May 2019
First published on Thursday 2 May 2019