How Fitness Experts Stay In Shape While On Vacation

Collage by Danielle Moalem

Some top tips

Whether you’re taking a month this summer to road trip, heading out of town for a week-long business trip, or just going on a two-week vacation and don’t want to think about the three-times-a-week spin class that you’re leaving behind, you don’t need to give up all of those fitness gains you’ve been making. An occasional week off from working out makes perfect sense, but wouldn’t a vacation be more satisfying if you didn’t come home feeling bloated, less energetic, and terrified of getting back to the gym? With just a few minor tweaks to your “vacation protocol,” you can master the art of serious R&R without giving up your healthy habits and #wellness. A few experts chimed in on their favorite ways to stay sporty while taking some downtime.

Work fitness into the fun
Obviously, a sweet cruiser bike riding down the boardwalk makes for excellent Instagram fodder. But a few extra pedal strokes can turn the super-relaxing activity into a bit more of a workout. "It's easy to be motivated to go out and explore by bike or by foot when you are traveling in beautiful and warm places,” says pro cyclist Allison Tetrick. So if the opportunity presents itself, pedal instead of driving. "In a new city for work and don't want to leave without seeing that one famous site? Make it your excuse to jog there, or rent a city bike,” says Tetrick. "You will be happy you got to enjoy the new place and you could even multitask while doing it. My favorite thing is to explore a new area on a bike. You can just smell and see so much more than you can in a car.” (Walking an errand or walking an extra block to the beach is also good!)

Something is better than nothing
"When you only have 30 minutes to get your workout in, take that 30 minutes,” says Tetrick. The same applies for 10 minutes—even five minutes spent doing planks counts! "Even if it is short, you will still feel better later that you made the time,” she adds. There are tons of quick workout videos available out there, but even a quick mile-long jog or a quick set of push-ups will make you feel more pumped. While everyone pushes those quick video workouts, sometimes they can be a lot more hassle than they’re worth, when internet connectivity is an issue or you’re time-crunched. Just do the tried-and-true moves you know are going to make you sweat: jumping jacks, push-ups, planks, mountain climbers… Think back to sixth-grade gym class, put on a favorite pump-up song, and get to it.

This is pretty self-explanatory, right? But just in case: Drink water! Lots of it. It's the best thing to do for every part of your body regardless whether you're exploring or working out.

Eat a decent breakfast
Vacation is usually the time we overindulge throughout the day, and that’s fine… But start with a healthy breakfast like a scramble with spinach, mushrooms, and peppers and maybe even a sweet potato hash if you’re feeling fancy. That way, you’re getting a good dose of protein, plus a couple servings of veggies, enough fat and carbs to last you until lunch, and a meal that’s healthy enough to help counteract some of those ice cream-for-lunch days.

Do a few minutes of yoga every morning
Starting with a healthy habit sets you up for a better day—sounds a little corny (a lot corny), but it’s true. I’ve realized that my morning routine really dictates the healthiness factors during the rest of the day. Starting with a 15-minute set of planks and sun salutations (while watching GLOW on Netflix, not humming a meditative mantra, if I’m being honest), is enough to feel a bit more limber, sneak in some core work, and get a bit of a sweat before sipping coffee. Pro triathlete Katie Zaferes says she tries to do a full workout as early as possible. “That way, you don’t have time to make excuses or choose other more ‘fun' vacation things to do during the day evening,” she explains. "Usually if I wait until later, it’s a lot more difficult for me to get motivated to do my workouts when other people are vacationing."

Make wellness a goal
Your vacation isn’t going to be worth much if you come back feeling worse than before you left. And when work trips leave you drained, it’s harder to jump back into office life. "Make yourself a priority,” says Tetrick. "When traveling for work, it can be easy to become consumed with your mission there. Don't forget to make yourself a priority to get active. Your body and brain will thank you, but maybe not at the moment that alarm goes off to give you those extra 30 minutes for your workout.”

Travel prepared
Your checked bag may not make it. That’s why Tetrick never travels without a carry-on stuffed with her workout essentials. "If you lose your luggage while traveling, you will at least have a pair of running shorts, a T-shirt, and running shoes,” she explains. "You may not look fashionable, but you can go hit the streets, treadmill, or trails until your luggage arrives.”

Take time off
Staying fit also means knowing when to back off. “Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it’s worth skipping the training to enjoy quality time with family and friends,” says Zaferes. "Weigh the pros and cons, and if you don’t get a workout in, don’t dwell on it. Enjoy the moment that you have, enjoy the vacation, and enjoy time with others.” And a more exploratory or fun workout might present itself later in the day anyway: Even if you’re a runner who’s training for a 10K, a paddleboard session with your sister or a long walk with your significant other can be just as rewarding—and as good for you—as the sweat session that you had planned.

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds



Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.