8 Seriously Fun Ways to Stay Active on Your Summer Vacation

When you picture being on vacation it almost always involves being someplace sunny where you can be completely stationary in a lounge chair whilst staring at Instagram-able scenery with an ice cold cocktail in the foreground. Let’s go right now, right? It sounds perfect!

8 Seriously Fun Ways to Stay Active on Your Summer Vacation

Give yourself at least one of those completely lazy sun-baked days, but keep your body moving, too. An active vacation is far more memorable, gives you less to feel regret about upon your return home, and is your truest way to experience a new place. Build in as much time for moving around as you have planned for lounging. You’ve earned both, it’s just all in your perspective!

#1 Share a Bike — Find a bike share station near your hotel or Airbnb and use that for commuting around town and between local attractions. They usually require a nominal fee and give you a chance to experience the city in a new way.

#2 Shop the Farmers Market — Every vacation should include a trip to the local farmers market, each is its own unique experience. Plus, you get to rack up your steps per day count while shopping for fresh, local produce, honey, salsa, and other edible souvenirs.

#3 Run a Race — Point to a spot on a map and you’ll find a place having a 5K, 10K or fun run. Check with your concierge or local events calendar and hop into a weekend race before you take in a hot brunch spot.

#4 Take a Dip — Whether you’re at the beach, the mountains, or Grandma’s hometown, find a local watering hole and swim a few laps.

#5 Paddle Your Way — Where there’s a swimming hole there’s a place to grab a water craft. Try standup paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing or another water sport that is as much a workout as it is a seriously fun sport.

#6 Take a Hike — From nature trails to forests and mountains to beaches, you’re rarely someplace that doesn’t have a hiking trail. Convene with nature, really get away from it all, give yourself a most memorable workout far from home.

#7 Shake Your Groove Thing! — If the nightlife is calling while you’re away, then don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes. Find a salsa club, local dance studio with open nights, hit the local club, or grab a concert — all will leave you drenched in dance floor sweat!

#8 Just Workout — No matter if you’re into CrossFit, yoga, Pilates, Spin, or strength training, there’s a gym to suit your style in any town you’ll visit. Check out the local offerings and try something new.

Doesn’t that sound like much more fun than just sitting? That’s because it is fun! Once you’ve spent even part of each day checking one of these items off the list, you’ll be ready for the cocktail on the beach in a lounge chair with that book club beach read you’ll be to napped-out to actually read! Pack your Enell — which takes up minimal space in your luggage — and you won’t have to sit the sideline for any activity that pops up!


What You Can When You Can Should be the Golden Rule of Fitness

Are you an all or nothing person? As in, you either give something your absolute attention or best, or don’t do it all. It’s a common misconception within fitness and wellness that you either put everything into it, or leave it alone.

That mindset is how we end up with millions of people who don’t do any exercise at all. It’s how we end up with millions of people who don’t eat a better diet. It’s how we end up with millions of people who feel like they can’t keep up, so why try.

It’s for this that #WYCWYC (pronounced wick-wick) was born. It stands for What You Can, When You Can — Healthy Living on Your Terms.

“The wycwyc way isn’t about changing your life overnight: it’s about knowing that the road to improvement is paved brick by brick, step by step, and by simply doing what you can, when you can.”

wycwyc

So what if you can’t get to the gym for an hour (or more) every day. So what if you had to fast food it instead of brown bag it. So what if you didn’t have time to make a perfect batch of cupcakes for the class party. You’re doing the best you can.

You’re doing … what you can, when you can.

The idea spread like wildfire in mid-2013 when Roni Noone and Carla Birnberg — strong, influential voices within the fitness blogging space — started wycwyc’ing. They were all too familiar with waiting until a situation was absolutely perfect to workout, eat right, or make time for themselves. They were also all too familiar with the power of small changes. Their commitment to living in the moment and doing the best they could when confronted with each choice took off and turned into a hashtag campaign on social media that has, as they say, gone viral.

In fact, the WYCWYC philosophy has garnered so much support and following that you can now pick it up in paperback; the What You Can When You Can book.

Their philosophy is about recognizing that you’ve done your best, you make compromises when you need to, and that ultimately that’s enough. It all adds up to big progress.

  • Maybe you missed your step class? No sweat. Take the family for a walk after dinner.
  • Perhaps you don’t feel like dragging yourself to yoga, but riding bikes to school with the kids will lift your spirits.
  • Your family is seriously craving pizza for dinner. Go for it… just walk or bike to the nearest restaurant instead of having it delivered.
  • Beating yourself for bingeing on half a season of shows on Netflix? So move while you watch. Triceps dips, jumping jacks, planks, push-ups, and so much more can be done right in front of the TV.
  • The dinner party has rolls and chocolate cake; so you don’t take both. You compromise and leave the bread and splurge on dessert.

WYCWYC is for everyone who takes the stairs instead of the elevators, walks past people riding up the escalator, parks in the furthest spot in the lot, crunches on apples instead of potato chips, drinks water to cure boredom not hunger, and plays driveway basketball with the kids instead of going to spin class … and is OK with all of it.

When you join the WYCWYC movement, you give yourself permission to be flexible, to stop drowning in unattainable perfection, and to be a real life human.


Clean Eating You Can Actually Understand

Eating has become too complicated. Allergies, sensitivities, trendy ingredients, trendy nutrients, this diet, that diet… no wonder no one can figure what to actually put in their mouths.

When it comes down to it, just eat clean. It’s a facet or tenet of most eating plans out there, but it gets dressed up and covered up by a bunch of other more marketable phrases, like locavore. Clean eating is a mindful approach to food — eating real foods, those that are minimally processed, fresh when possible, and free of junk ingredients like dyes and chemicals. It’s food the way nature intended! It’s how our grandparents ate.

What is clean eating? Clean Eating You Can Actually Understand

What you end up eating are whole foods — fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, whole grains, fish, poultry, eggs. These foods naturally contain the macro (and micro) nutrients you need to fuel your body. These foods deliver optimal nutrition, satiate with fiber, and even satisfy with fresh, simple flavor.

Eating in this style will give you the energy you crave, the focus you feel you’re lacking, the nutrition your immune system needs, and a host of other disease-fighting, health-boosting benefits. Even your hair, nails, and complexion stand to benefit.

Makes sense, right? When we “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” as Michael Pollan prescribes, our diets are free of most impurities and our bodies are allowed to operate in the way in which they were intended. You don’t necessarily need to count calories, but maybe pay more attention to your macros — carbohydrate, protein, fat. Every food is comprised of these macro ingredients. While every person’s body and physical needs are different, a good rule of thumb is a division of 40/30/30 percent for the day, respectively. The MyFitnessPal app does an excellent job of tracking these macros for you.

How does this actually look on your plate? Consider a daily meal plan like this:

Breakfast 

Hard boiled eggs with oatmeal topped with fresh berries and nuts

Snack

Cottage cheese with fresh peach slices

Lunch

Greens (kale, spinach, baby greens) caesar salad with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables

Snack 

Baby carrots and hummus, or our Apricot Sunflower Protein Balls

Dinner

Grilled fish like salmon or cod, baked sweet potato topped with olive oil, and steamed broccoli

Beverages 

Limit soda (especially diet), fruit juices, and other sugar-heavy, processed drinks. Your body needs water, which can be drank pure or via hot or cold unsweetened tea. A little coffee won’t hurt, either!

Sweets

Your go-to candy bar or ice cream fix isn’t exactly clean, nor is it off limits. Consider the moderation rule and treat yourself on occasion. Or make healthier swaps. Trade a milk chocolate bar for a piece of 65% dark chocolate. Swap that pint of ice cream for true frozen yogurt — stir up your favorite Greek yogurt before dinner, place in the freezer, and enjoy an indulgent FroYo later!


13 Awesome, No-Brainer Snacks That Fill You Up with Minimal Effort

There’s a great Michael Pollan quote that always causes pause:

If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry. 

The point being to ask yourself if you’re truly experiencing hunger, and if that’s the case an apple will absolutely fix the problem. The apple is the best grab-and-go snack. There’s no prep, there’s no need for dishes or utensils, and there’s no waste (outside of a biodegradable core). Sometimes we’re so hungry — even hangry — and we can’t spare the extra brain cells to put so much as a PBJ together to get us through. Fortunately, there are no brainer snacks, like the apple, that require so little of us and give so much back.

No matter what your reason is for grabbing a quick little bite, try one of these snacks that you don’t even have to think about. These are things you could walk into any drugstore, grocery store, or well-stocked pantry or desk drawer and grab. They require minimal effort and practically zero clean-up, all the while shutting down our internal hunger monster before it needs its own anger translator.

13 Awesome, No-Brainer Snacks That Fill You Up with Minimal Effort

Handful of nuts — Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, or pecans, crack those shells and enjoy a protein boost. About a handful is one serving.

Clementines — They even sell these with kids meals at Chipotle, now! These tiny oranges take only a few seconds to effortlessly peel for a sweet treat.

Yogurt Cup — Make sure it has all of the probiotic goodies — like most Greek yogurts — and isn’t chock full of added sugars. We’ve even seen people turn the foil lid into an on-the-go spoon!

Protein Bar — Seems obvious but don’t overlook these in your blind hunger rage. Everything from apple pie to chunky fudge brownies gets mimicked inside all of that protein.

Raisins — Tiny lunchbox packs of raisins make for a super simple and satisfying little snack. Lots of fiber and vitamins to, ya know, keep everything moving.

Cheese stick — Unwrap and eat! Doesn’t get much easier than this, plus it pairs well with everything. Cheese and apples, cheese and carrot sticks, cheese and crackers…

Squeezy Fruit — It may look like baby food, but those trendy squeeze packs of pureed fruit and veggies can really satisfy when you’re in a pinch.

Peanut Butter — Keep the single-serve packs in your purse or desk drawer for a quick treat you can eat straight from the pack. Or, put it on apples, cheese, crackers, carrots…

Granola Bars — Once again, any version that looks like more than a candy bar is a completely acceptable snack. Look for dried cherries or other fruits, nuts, and even some chocolate chips.

Bananas — Much like the apple, it practically feeds itself to you. It’s especially tasty with some of that peanut butter you may have on you.

Chocolate Milk — No really, a brand or homemade that isn’t completely filled with sugar is actually a highly recommended recovery snack for athletes. One indulgent glass will perk you right up.

Popcorn — Those little bags of pre-popped popcorn are the perfect little whole grain snack you can eat anywhere. Totally filling, not to mention fun to eat.

Baby Carrots — Crunch and munch all you want because there is nothing to this snack. Pair with the peanut butter, cheese stick, or even a tiny to-go cup of hummus or those guacamole squeeze packs. It’s alllll good!

What’s your favorite easy snack?


The Best Proteins to Fuel Your Post-Workout Recovery

Everyone knows the workout fueling rule, right? You’ve got to fuel the car before and after a road trip… and your body is the same! Keep it optimally fueled and your engines will rev the way you want them to.

The Best Proteins to Fuel Your Post-Workout Recovery

Key here is proper fueling both before and after your workout with “fast” and quality proteins and carbs. Before a workout, that little cheese stick and apple slice snack will provide the fuel needed to really get after it in the gym. Following the workout, that snack will help your recover, especially when you get it into your body ASAP!

That’s what Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift to Get Lean and creator of the Women’s Strength Nation, advises her clients. Eat immediately after your training session is complete. This is even more important based on how intense or how long your workout was.

For instance, if you CrossFit for the 27-or-so minutes, that’s a really short but very intense workout. “It’s critical to get fuel in ASAP,” said Perkins. Likewise, this applies if you’re doing a ten-mile run — low on intensity but high on time.

She explains that “all foods can be measured based on how fast they are digested (or assimilated) within the body.” So which snack should you choose?

Perkins outlined the best protein sources based on how fast they digest and break down, giving your body the good stuff, sooner.

Fastest Proteins for Post-Workout Recovery

  1. Whey Protein Powder
  2. Egg White Powder
  3. Egg Whites
  4. Dairy: Skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
  5. Fish
  6. Light Meat: chicken and turkey
  7. Dark Meat: chicken and turkey
  8. Red meat: buffalo, bison, lamb

Her number one recommendation, which happens to be the fastest protein, is whey protein powder. Take this via shake or bar, but either way, it’s the protein source that’s going to deliver that recovery refuel the most efficiently. Not a big eater around workouts? She says you can totally have half a bar before or after, or do the same with a shake.

Be careful with dairy. Straight cheese isn’t her her favorite option, as it has fats. When choosing milk, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese, you want less than 4% (or skim) fat.

Really want to treat yourself? She has “love, love, love” for chocolate milk and thinks it’s a “fantastic” recovery snack.