How to Stay Fit on a Cruise (or any vacation)

Travel exhilarates the soul.  Being a stranger in a new place, we grasp towards our instinctive senses: the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the tastes.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you are” -Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarian, 1825

Food feeds the soul.  One the best, and maybe one of the most important ways to learn about a culture is through their food; it tells everything about a culture’s identity, lifestyle, their community, and traditions.  And on a cruise (or any vacation for that matter) food is everywhere, and all the time.  9/10x guaranteed to be good, or great, or even fantastic-coming from either the 5-star dining on the ship, or the true Baklava from the stop in Greece.

With so much indulgence, it isn’t uncommon (in fact, probably more common than not) to come home with a little extra tummy peeking out of our favorite jeans.  Every cruise I’ve been on someone come back and complains about the 5, 10, even 15 pounds gained.  I have taught myself to stick to a couple guidelines to keep in shape while being able to enjoy myself-easy and effortless ways to stay fit on a cruise:

1. Take the Stairs

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Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

You’re probably thinking, “Effortless? What?”. I promise you, taking the stairs is a whole lot faster, easier, and definitely healthier than waiting for the elevator.  On every cruise I’ve been on, the elevator is a painstaking and awkward process; so many people trying to fit in such a small space that normally ends up stopping at every. single. floor.  A mere 3 could take up to 10 minutes verses maybe 1.5 min it will take to climb them.  It’s an mindless way to walk off the extra couple bites of cake, and when you do it constantly (which you will) every day, it could save you those 2-3lbs.

2. Abandon All Comfort

street food in Pamplona, Spain

Normally on the ship, they will offer dishes that are custom to the place they are docked, and also offer foods that custom to the guests…aka basic stuff you can get at home: french toast, chocolate chip cookie, pizza etc.  While it’ll probably be “gourmet” chocolate chip cookies, don’t waste your calories on the comfort dishes.  Expand you palate and take advantage of the local foods in port; it would be a sin not to!  Ice cream on the ship or real gelato in Venice?

3. Eat More Dessert

macaroons from a farmer's market in Nice, France

macaroons from a farmer’s market in Nice, France

I have a major sweet tooth; I would probably choose chocolate over dinner.  That being said, I tend to eat less of the main course, saving come calories, so I can splurge a little on dessert!

4. Excursions and Activities!

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walking though Venice, Italy

All cruises offer excursions in port, and many/most include some physical activity: biking through vineyards, swimming to the mud baths, or hiking the volcanos in Greece, walking through to sightsee in Florence, or running the trails in Barcelona.  While on the ship, take advantage of the free gym, the track, the pool, some even have ice rinks!  It isn’t hard to be active while having fun.

5. Family Dinners are Still Important

Beach picnic in Zakynthos, Greece

Beach picnic in Zakynthos, Greece

Many cultures eat family style: ordering multiple dishes to share among all of them.  Whether it is your actual family or not, eating family style allows you to try a taste of a variety of different dishes.  You’re not restricted to just one, nor obligated to finish the entire thing-and get to spend quality time with the people around you.

6. Do What You Want

Somewhere Deep in the Med

Didn’t make the daily run this morning? No big. Ultimately, it is your vacation; your time to take a load off and detach from the normal routine.  Listen to your body! Relax by the pool when you want to rest, take a walk around the top of the ship when the sun is setting, and stop eating when you are full.

Cruises are an amazing way to see the world, and wherever you go-let yourself be all there.  Live, Learn, Love Travel !

Much love,

Maddi

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