3 Easy Tips for an Active Family Vacation

We're continuing the guest posts this week!  Yesterday's post was about the impact stress has on our bodies, and how to manage it (if you missed it, check it out here and be sure to enter The Food Dare giveaway!).  After talking stress, it seems appropriate to now talk healthy vacations!  Shannon Fujimura is a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador and she blogs over at Waits and Measure(ment)s.  She's guest posting today on her family vacation to Disney and giving us some great tips on keeping your family active while on vacation.  Check it out!

Hi!  I’m, Shannon from over at Waits and Measure(ment)s and I am honored to be guest blogging for Ellyn!  As a new Sweat Pink Ambassador, it’s been great getting to connect with a group of empowered women who care about their health and that of their family!  

3 Easy Tips for an Active Family Vacation

I am in complete denial that my vacation is over.  We spent a magical week at Disney with our girls and Tuesday was my first day back to reality.  What a truly amazing place Disney World is for the whole family.  With that being said, I have to say... as someone who is more cautious of my food/fitness choices as I keep earning more years, I was delighted to see the new menu options Disney this time around.  

Every year when we go on vacation the mentality has always been, “It’s vacation, we can cheat,” and cheat we did.  Giant portions, fried EVERYTHING, no early mornings on the treadmill, no late night walks with the pooch.  It’s been glorious to not count calories and think about everything for a few days.  But I have been noticing more this year than most that those carefree days are harder to come back from.  The sad fate is that as I get older my metabolism starts to get a little slower... gross!  I hate it!  So this year we had a family challenge.

Like a lot of people that get caught up in life, we tend to go through cycles of good health.  We go weeks at a time hitting the gym and religiously entering our meals into Myfitnesspal, and then we have weeks where we... well, don’t.  Sometimes life does just truly get in the way.  I’m not saying it as an excuse, but as a truth.  So this year the hubs issued a challenge.  We started about 40+ days before vacation with the idea that we would do some sort of moving everyday leading up until vacation.  And guess what, it worked!  We successfully finished what I called the #FitFujiFam challenge and we were in good shape heading out to vacation!

The key is to maintain that momentum though, right?  Right!  So, here are some tips I’d like to throw out there for you as you plan your next vacation. 

1 | Look at a map  

We did amusement parks, so it was fairly easy to plan out how we wanted to try to hit various rides and attractions.  Now, I am a true Fitbit addict, so we used that as our main measure of fitness for the week.  The nice thing with Disney is you can fast pass rides, so when we did ours we looked at where they were located and PURPOSELY, yep I said purposely tried to plan things on opposite ends of the park so that we had to make sure we were getting in LOTS of steps each day.  Now, this can be hard with little feet in tow, but I have to say my mini me rocked it out.  She did get carried some each day by Dad (bonus points for “strength training” for Dad), but overall she did a really good job.  She knows all about Mom’s Fitbit, so she was just as excited to see the numbers going up as I was!

2 | Check out the menus ahead of time  

We did the Disney meal plan, but we go through all the possible spots we want to eat and make sure there is food that the kiddos will like (we have one VERY picky eater), and that there is stuff we like, and that the overall experience is a good one.  One night we did the Princess dinner, where mini me got to meet 5 princesses.  A win for her... the win for us was the amazing salad bar and dinner choices.  My girl and I had the most ah-may-zing grilled pork chops with veggies, hubby had a delish looking fish and mini me got veggies and mac-n-cheese.  We also planned in days where lunches could be salads and lighter fare.  Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed dessert at nearly every meal, but it is that much sweeter when you can enjoy it without guilt because you know you earned it!

3 | Take advantage of hotel amenities  

After a long day of walking around nothing feels better than a cool dip in the hotel pool.  I know that some days you just want to crash into the hotel bed, and believe me, we did that some, but making sure to plan some pool time is great too.  It is refreshing on a hot day, and moving through that water is a way to work SO many muscles without feeling strained.  Even if you are just paddling around, you are burning some major calories and just feeling good.

It may not seem like much, but every little thing helps and with a tiny bit of pre-planning, you can easily stay on track AND enjoy your vacation all at the same time.  Trust me!  It’s so worth it in the end.

Readers: chat with us!  How do you keep your families active while on vacation?  Have you done any of the above?  If you've been to Disney, what's your favorite part?


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Shannon is a mom first and foremost, then a wife, then, well, herself!  Her girls and hubby are who inspire her to be the best version of herself that she can be.  Her ultimate goal is a happy, healthy life with no regrets, not just for herself, but for her family as a whole.

You can follow Shannon on her blog, Waits and Measure(ment)s, and also connect with her on social media here:
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My Adventures Around Australia Part 2: Kangaroo Island

Warning: LONG post ahead...

Welcome to part 2 of my Australia Adventure series!  Part 2 is all about Kangaroo Island - an amazing little island off the coast of South Australia that's full of wildlife, nature, and breathtaking views.  To give you an idea of where it is in relation to the rest of Australia...

Okay. So, Kangaroo Island (KI for short) is in South Australia, pretty much off the coast of Adelaide, which is where the main part of my trip took place.  We were very close to it!  The second map shows the general path of the tour bus, outlined in red, that took us from Penneshaw (far right tip of the island) to all the main tourist attractions.

The tour we went on was an all-day event starting at 6:45am and going until about 10:30pm.  So I set my alarm the night before for 5:45, and snoozed until 6am thinking I had another 45 minutes to get ready.  Well, I got a call at 6:15 saying our bus was downstairs and waiting.  Um, what?!  Needless to say I scrambled, didn't have time for anything other than throwing on some clothes and heading out the door.  That was a wonderful start to the day, but despite that I was really looking forward to the trip.  We took a bus from Adelaide down to Cape Jervis where we got on a ferry which took us to the island.  The ferry ride was a little wavy and took some concentrating not to get queasy, but I managed.  Straight off the ferry and onto the tour bus we went!  We had 4 main tourist stops along the way: Seal Bay, the Koala Walk, the Remarkable Rocks, and Admiral's Arch.  Keep reading for details about each! (Pictures are at the very end...)

TOURIST STOP 1 | SEAL BAY

Well it's obvious that we saw seals so I won't bore you with that detail.  I bet you might think seals are lazy creatures just lounging on the beach all day sunning themselves.  Yes?  Well I'll tell you they're not!  In fact, far from it.  According to our tour guide, once the female seal gives birth, she swims out to sea as far as 150km to dive for food.  Not terrible you might say, but get this: she dives for 3 days.  Straight.  That's 72 hours of non-stop diving to collect food, coming back up to the surface, and then diving back down again to collect more food for her pups.  Not to mention the long swim back to shore - I'd be utterly exhausted after that!  No wonder they sleep for so long!

TOURIST STOP 2 | KOALA WALK

This one was fun!  There was a little nature preserve filled with paths of trees where you could walk through like you were in a forest and look for koalas.  They were there, hiding in the nooks of tree branches just chillin', eating their eucalyptus and generally enjoying life.  Though I'm not sure they really enjoyed us pestering them with flashes of cameras, poor little guys.

TOURIST STOP 3 | REMARKABLE ROCKS (my favorite!)

Okay, this had to be THE coolest tourist attraction on KI that we saw.   The rocks, not kidding, looked FAKE right up until you actually touched them.  It was AMAZING.  The funny part was that these rocks were basically a cliff on one side, being on the edge of the ocean, and there wasn't a barrier to protect people from falling.  Our tour guide explicitly told us to be careful and use our own judgement: "Okay people.  There's no barrier between the rocks and the ocean.  People have fallen.  Use your judgement and don't be stupid."  Hah, okay... use common sense.  Got it.  In America, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen!  Anyway, these rocks were just stunning.  See the pictures below in the album.  The views, the scale of the rocks... you don't appreciate any of that until you're right up next to them.  I mean, jeez, some look like CAVES once you see how gargantuan they are with a person next to them!  They're 500 million years old (yes, that's true) and they're all granite boulders that have been cut, chipped, or otherwise carved purely by nature.  Breathtaking and truly remarkable, I'd say.

TOURIST STOP 4 | ADMIRAL'S ARCH (What? There's an "arch" down here?) 

Okay, for some reason this attraction wasn't too impressive to me, but it was still neat to see.  However, I wasn't too sure what we were supposed to be looking for when we were walking down to it.  An arch, you say?  Well, maybe that island over there could be considered an arch, but umm... not really.  We kept walking down these boardwalk paths getting closer and closer to the ocean, seeing sea lions and other animals along the way, and still no arch.  "Where IS this thing?!"  Didn't help that I think I missed the tour guide's explanation of what we were looking for and what the thing was.  Finally we walked down a few flights of stairs and turned a corner and there was the arch.  It's a pretty sight, especially when the sun is shining.  The archway itself was carved out all by the sea and wind - no man-made tourist attractions here!  Though I'm not too sure where the Admiral comes in...

PICTURES!


And that about sums up my trip to Kangaroo Island!  Once done at Admiral's Arch, we made our way back to the ferry, and then to the bus, which took us back to Adelaide.  We didn't get back to the hotel until about 10:30pm, and my god I was tired.  But the trip was worth every minute - a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 (the best part) of this series - my adventures in SYDNEY!!  You'll hear about how I spent my birthday on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, how we went to the "manliest" of beaches, got a sunburn, toured the Opera House in the rain, and much more.  Hope you are enjoying this series!  Until next time, stay happy and healthy!

My Adventures Around Australia - Part 1: Adelaide

As most of you know...

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... I traveled to Australia a few weeks ago for my full-time job, and boy it was a BLAST!  I have so much to share that I'm breaking this up into 3 different posts.  I'm not too sure where to begin the first one except at the very start, so here it goes.  (Warning: LONG post ahead!)

I traveled to Adelaide, South Australia for some training we were doing at the University of South Australia Centre for Sleep Research.  It was such a privilege to be able to travel halfway across the world for work!  I was nervous to go overseas because I'd never done so before - I wasn't sure how customs/immigration worked, nor did I know what the heck I was getting into with the time difference!  (It all worked out, though.)

1} WHAT TO PACK?

The first thing that crossed my mind was what to pack (of course - what girl doesn't think that??)!  It was challenging since I was going from below freezing temps to the dead of summer and back again.  I was also concerned about getting my workouts in while I was away (more on that later).  So here's what I packed in my carry-on to help:

   DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with any of the brands listed here.  I am not compensated for this post - This is just a compilation of products that I use on a regular basis purchased by myself.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with any of the brands listed here.  I am not compensated for this post - This is just a compilation of products that I use on a regular basis purchased by myself.

1 | Lululemon Post-Practice Cardi - one of the best for traveling! A warm, cozy, cotton cardigan that's roomy, has pockets, and covers your butt.  Perfect.

2 | Resistance Band Set - I brought these with every intention of using them (and didn't), but still glad I had them in case a hotel room workout was in the cards (it wasn't).

3 | Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 running sneakers - sneakers are a must-have for walking around the airport.  These ones support my feet nicely and are quite colorful, which I'm all about.

4 | Thermos water bottle - I like to bring a reusable water bottle on my trips so I can stay hydrated and save money.

5 | Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf - this scarf is amazing!  You can wear it SO many ways, and it also serves as a blanket for those chilly airplane flights.

2} GETTING THERE AND EXPLORING:

Okay, now for the good parts.  The flights took FOREVER, but once I made it to Adelaide, it was beautiful.  It's summertime there, and the skies were bright blue with the sun sparkling down on the sidewalks.  I was there for work mostly, so that took up a lot of the weekdays, but on the weekends we went to some beautiful wineries, toured gorgeous gardens, and saw what the city had to offer.  The University campus was absolutely beautiful and the walk to and from was nice.  They had a gym that I fully intended on using often, but only did once at the very end of the trip (oops).  I'm not beating myself up over it though (more details below).  We played pub trivia one night and won second place (and went back the next week only to get fourth -- bummer); we took a stroll through the botanical gardens on our way to the National Wine Center; tasted some Australian spirits (can you sense a theme here?); and just had a great time being in a different country halfway across the world.

3} MY FITNESS UPKEEP (or lack thereof) & MEAL PLANNING:

Alright.  I'll be honest with you.  I didn't really keep up with my workouts as much as I intended to while I was away.  You know those bands that I packed in my suitcase?  Didn't pull them out once.  Thought about it, but thinking about working out doesn't count.  Those sneakers?  Only got worn in the airports and once more when I went to the University gym.  Speaking of that gym, I fully intended on going at least a few times a week, you know, for maintenance workouts.  Well, I went once.  At the end of the trip.  Oops.  It DID feel great, and for that reason I wish I'd gone more, but I'm not beating myself up over it at all.  I can work out at home anytime I want - when am I ever in Australia?!  That's right - never.  

So, what did I do about the fact that I wasn't working out?  I tried to eat as healthy as I could.  Sure, there were the occasional burgers and fries (or as they call them, "chips"), but overall I tried to stick to low-fat foods full of protein.  Salads were a rare sight unless you made your own, so leafy greens weren't exactly eaten as much as they are when I'm home.  What did I have?  I bought bananas, apples, greek yogurts (luckily I had a mini fridge in my hotel room), some bread and peanut butter, eggs to cook in the microwave, and some prepackaged meals with the least amount of sodium possible.  When we went out to eat, I tried to choose dishes with chicken or fish for some protein and got a side salad with almost everything.  It certainly wasn't my ideal diet by any means, but that's okay.

Let this serve as a reminder to you as well - don't beat yourself up over not being perfectly on track.  No one can maintain a perfect diet or workout regimen 100% of the time.  So now that I'm back, I'm eating healthy again, cooking my own meals, and getting back on track with my workouts (and teaching classes!).  I do notice a change in my endurance and strength, but I know I'll get that back eventually.  You will too!

4} PICTURES!

Okay, I'll shut up now and let you look at the pictures!  There will be lots more where these came from in parts 2 & 3 of this series, along with some other awesome adventures that I'm counting toward staying active while on the trip.  Enjoy! 

5} HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED TO AUSTRALIA OR SOMEWHERE ELSE ABROAD?

Where?  How did you stay healthy while traveling?  I'd love to hear your adventure stories too!  Leave a comment and tell me all about it!  Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of this series - my adventures around Kangaroo Island!  Until then, have a happy and healthy week ahead.