Holiday and Vacation Survival Guide

When you’re trying to stay fit, it can feel like there are disruptions and temptations at every turn. How do you stay fit on vacation and holidays? What about travel, when you’re far from your home routine?

Here at Functional Bodybuilding, our team of coaches has years of experience getting their personal clients through these temptations. That means striking a good balance between enjoying life and also not feeling too far away from their health and fitness progress and goals. So here’s how Functional Bodybuilding coaches and clients are handling, well… life.

how to stay fit on vacation

Schmooze Through Parties

Schmooze your way through boozy parties without nuking your nutrition by following these simple tips and tricks from Coach Shanna:

One of my clients and I came up with a game plan for when he had about 3 solid weeks of 3 holiday gatherings a week for work that he had to attend. His goal was to stay on his nutrition plan as best he could and to not over do it on the alcohol. These were the tips that we came up with, so he felt like he was still working towards his goal during the holiday season.

Always go to cocktail parties on a full to semi full stomach

This way you don’t go there starving, wanting to eat all the things. You can be more thoughtful in your choices and not over eat on food that will derail you from your plan.

Try to limit your alcohol intake

Have one drink and then switch to sparkling water with lime. Sometimes at these gatherings there can be a bit of pressure to drink and my client and I came up with this idea as it could be a great disguise for an alcoholic beverage.

Plan an exit time ahead of the gathering

Often times these gatherings can keep us up a little longer than usual, and we still need to wake up at our usual time and be mentally acute the next day. Choose a time that feels right to leave and not cut too much time into your normal sleep hours.

Come up with a training plan that seems doable during this time

My client had a great awareness around the fact that sleep would be less, alcohol intake higher, and overall energy a bit lower. So we cut down his days to 4 days with Wednesday and the weekends off to recoup. This was just temporary, and he was able to get back to his normal routine once his holiday break started.

Travel Hacks

Coach Bri and Coach Dom have three themes to help you stay fit on vacation:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Prioritize protein and quality foods
  3. Don’t neglect the basics – hydration, sleep, and better digestion
how to stay fit on vacation

Here’s how this works in practice:

Planning Ahead

  • Pack as much protein as you can – at least two weeks ahead of your trip, order supplements and non-perishable snacks (see below for Coach Bri’s favorites).
  • Designate a carry-on or bag with all your food and supplements.
  • Come up with a few goals you want to achieve during your trip to help keep you accountable (see below for help to Pre Plan Your Priorities).
  • Google nearby restaurants or places in the airport to plan some off your meals ahead, and find the nearest grocery store to where you’re staying to pick up some perishable sources of protein when you get there.
  • If you’re staying in a hotel, ask for a fridge in your room.
  • Locate anything else you need to make achieving your goals easier – a gym, walking route, or other activities you can include family or friends in when you get there.
  • Pre-order a protein pack or protein-focused meal if your flight offers food – and don’t forget your return flight!

Prioritize Protein & Quality Foods

  • Day of travel – if you missed the opportunity to pre-order food, leave 10–20 minutes early and stop at a gas station or grocery store for extra jerky and nuts
  • Have a back-up meal/plan ready in case of flight delays
  • Add collagen to your coffee for an extra protein boost
  • Dining out – many restaurants don’t emphasize protein-rich foods, so order a double portion of protein where you can and beef up the rest with protein snacks.
  • Ask for no bun/bread options
  • Order a side of steamed veggies, when possible
  • In a diner or buffet, go for nutrient dense foods like steak, eggs, sausage/bacon & grits/potatoes over pastries, cereal, etc.
  • Avoid/limit exposure to poor cooking oils (ex. poached eggs are better than fried eggs)
  • Check room service for healthier options if the hotel restaurant isn’t cutting it

Don’t Neglect the Basics

Eating out, drinking water you’re not used to, and being off your sleep rhythm can seriously mess with your digestion and how you feel overall. So here are some small ways that add up big to help you feel better:

  • Hydration – bring your water bottle and refill after you get through security and when you land. Add trace minerals like LMNT to improve hydration and make your water taste more palatable.
  • In the morning Drink 16–20z of water upon waking and refill at every opportunity
  • Get some morning sunlight to help set your rhythm and promote better sleep
  • Chew each bite fully for better digestion – about 30 chews per bite – and bring awareness to what you are eating.
  • Sleep as much as you can while traveling. Your sleep quality will probably be lower, so focus on quantity of sleep.
  • Plan ahead what type of movement practice you will do each day. Aim for 10k steps minimum per day and get in a quick 20–30 minute workout where you can (see below for options).

Easy Protein Snacks to Take With You

Here are Coach Bri’s picks to pre-order before your trip, or pick up when you get to your destination if you have access to a fridge.



  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Deli meat – Applegate Farms
  • Adelle’s chicken apple sausages
  • Pearl (pre-packed on-the-go olives)
  • Bag of raw nuts – mixed


  • Legion Plant+ 
  • Legion Whey 
how to stay fit on vacation

Supplements for Hydration, Digestion, and Immunity

Pre Plan Your Priorities

Coach Keith takes a big picture view with his clients to look ahead and help them feel in control even when out of their normal routine. Here’s his 5 step approach:

  1. Write out a list of obligations from now through the next few months (be specific with things you need and want to do).
  2. Prioritize this list. Rank order them so that you know what obligations take precedence over others (be realistic so you can meet your expectations).
  3. Time stamp these with when and how long these may take you (be generous and leave enough space for yourself).
  4. Schedule and time block your calendar to fit in your tasks, in rank order of priority (the least priority tasks get thrown out if you simply run out of time).
  5. Execute! (Top priorities first, then move down your list for each day).

Set Your Intentions and Zoom Out for Perspective

Coach Marcus says:

What matters to you the most during vacations, holidays, and time “off” from your normal routine? 

You get to decide. Maybe you want to do more socializing. Maybe you crave being more relaxed and lazy with your family. Perhaps you want to double down on your health and fitness goals.

No matter what you decide and what matters most to you, YOU ARE RIGHT. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should or shouldn’t want.

Now, many of you want to strike a balance and hold your health as a priority while still enjoying many of the novelties and indulgent behaviors of holidays and time off. For this I like to zoom out and gain some perspective.

Example: Thanksgiving Through New Years Day

Let’s take the end of year holiday season as an example. From Thanksgiving Day through New Years Day, there are exactly 38 days on the calendar. During this time of year if you are 80% committed to your health and fitness goals, that means that out of those 38 days, you have 30 days where you keep yourself in check. That gives you 8 days to over indulge on food, drink more than usual, stay out later than you would like, and miss a workout.

Eight days covers a lot. It covers the major holidays, a few weekend work parties, some other social gatherings, and more.

So, what can you do?

It is good to remember that even on a day that you eat some food and drink some alcohol that is outside of your normal plan, you can still be compliant on your overall health and fitness success plan. Get in your steps, do a workout, eat enough protein, and account for the added calories by having a smaller breakfast and lunch, and a night of drinking is still a solid day.

My point here is that there are a lot of opportunities to WIN during vacations and holidays with your health and fitness while still leaving plenty of room to indulge and celebrate. You got this.

how to stay fit on vacation

3 Simple Things to Do if All Else Fails

counting macros for dummies

For Coach Anthony, staying simple is the best path to success.

He recommends just 3 things to focus on every single day while traveling, without sweating anything else.

Can you do these for 30 days in a row?

  1. 8–10k steps (30mins of walking)
  2. Eat 1 salad a day (10 colors a day)
  3. Eat 85% of your bodyweight in grams of protein daily (examples 200 lbs = 170grams protein, 150 lbs = 127.5grams protein)

Bodyweight Workouts For (Almost) Anywhere

Finally, Coach Adam is here to make it easy for you to keep moving. Hit these workouts anywhere when you’re short on time and equipment – also perfect for shaking the rust off after a cramped trip in the car or plane. Check the FBB Youtube channel for demo videos.

Option 1 (Sustainable Aerobic Cardio)

Choose a workout and do 5 rounds for time at a sustainable effort:

Workout 1
  • 10 Burpee Tuck Jumps
  • 20 L Crunch
  • 30 Jump Squats
  • 40 Jumping Jacks
Workout 2
  • 10 Full Squat Burpee
  • 20 Jump Lunges
  • 30 Mountain Climbers
  • 40 Bicycle Crunch (20/side)
Workout 3
  • 10 Burpee Skater Jumps (5/side)
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Switch Lunges
  • 40 Jumping Jacks

Option 2 (Bodyweight Resistance Training)

Workout 1 (Lower Body 1)

3–5 sets:

  1. Walking Lunges (or Reverse Lunges) x 8–12 reps/side; rest 30 sec
  2. Single Leg Glute Bridge x 10 reps/side @20X2; rest 30 sec
  3. Wall Sit x 30–60 sec;
    Rest 60 sec before going back to 1
Workout 2 (Lower Body 2)

3–5 sets

  1. Curtsy Squat x 8–12 reps/side; rest 30 sec
  2. 1:1/4 Air Squat x 10–15 reps; rest 30 sec
  3. Split Squat Iso x 15–20 sec/side;
    Rest 60 sec before going back to 1
Workout 3 (Upper Body 1)

3–5 sets

  1. Pushup; each set to failure @30X1 Tempo; rest 30 sec
  2. Prone Pillowcase Row x 10 reps; rest 30 sec
  3. Hollow Body Hold x 30–60 sec;
    Rest 60 sec before going back to 1
Workout 4 (Upper Body 2)

3–5 sets

  1. Pike Strict Handstand Pushup OR Down dog Handstand Pushup; each set to failure @20X1 Tempo; rest 30 sec
  2. Prone Y Raise Hold x 5 reps with a 3–5 sec hold at the top; rest 30 sec
  3. Forearm Plank x 30–60 sec;
    Rest 60 sec before going back to 1

Look Good & Move Well

For a structured training and nutrition plan tailored for your specific goals, request a free consultation to see how personal coaching can help. Or try Persist free for group training, including the Minimalist track with bodyweight and no equipment options (in addition to 3 training tracks with equipment for body composition, performance, and 60 minute strength & conditioning sessions). 

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