Client Profile: Staying fit on vacation

Let’s be honest. When you travel, it’s easy to indulge and let go of the workout plans. Last week we talked about things to do to be fit in Halifax and the local area, now we’re going to talk staying fit while out of town.


Here’s a story from one of our clients:

I recently went to Newfoundland- the place of beautiful hikes and also, hearty eating. Ever had a touten? Let me tell you about toutens: all the carbs. They are Newfoundland’s fry-bread, salty and soft in the middle, dense with carbs. Served with a side of delicious, sugary molasses, it’s the best treat! Well, it was hard to resist this carby-goodness. “When in Rome,” no?


This was my first time to the island and we were only there for four days. Visiting my friend’s family, we arrived on the West Coast of Newfoundland, and were greeted with some good home-cooking. But wait… this isn’t just about our over-indulgent adventure. We were there for more: to hike and camp.


It was a drizzly day when we entered Gros Morne National Park. We had decided to do Green Gardens first. This hike was rated “moderate.” Now, I lived in BC and I have done my fair share of hiking. But, I was a younger, more nimble version of myself. This hike gave us a run for our money. Luckily, we were fighting for daylight so we had to hustle. Up a hill, through the bush, over the muck, and finally, after almost two hours of straight hiking, we hit the water: the most beautiful cliff. We were perched on the edge of the rock, surrounded by sheep (an unexpected but welcome surprise) with huge winds, and it was worth it. We took photos and then booted it back (to be clear, the return was steeper) as we still had to set up the tent. We were dying. It was by far, one of the most challenging hikes I have ever done. But here’s what I learned:

  • Being in the moment: When you are moving, and I mean, really moving, you are in the moment. It is the best way to be present, even if that means you are focused on not slipping in mud or how hard you are breathing. It’s respite from the world.
  • The motivation of time-crunch: Sometimes, having something like a time or deadline is motivating. When you’re travelling, you are often crunched for time, so squeeze in some movement when you can. You will never think “that was a waste of 15 minutes.”
  • Stretch: I have a bad back and was so worried leading up to this trip that my back would give out. That night, in the dark with a headlamp after setting up the tent, I laid out a towel on the picnic table and had the best stretch of my life. The next day: no pain. I firmly believe had I just gone to bed in a tent, the next day I would have been out of commission (and we had two more hikes to do!)
  • Get the hard stuff out of the way: We started with the hard hike and worked our way to the easier, less intense hikes. We only had two days of hiking, and even though that first day we were pressed for daylight, we both agreed that it was nice to have felt the accomplishment of getting a really challenging hike under our belt.
  • Rest: The second day, both tired, we pulled off next to a beautiful beach, and napped. Yes, we wasted daylight sleeping, but we both were able to do more because we needed some rest.


What does this story teach us: Indulge! But also, treat your body to some movement. And challenge yourself. You don’t need to be in the best shape of your life or have all the time in the world to make the most out of a new location and experience a physical challenge.