Holiday Nutrition

Holidays are a really good test of whether or not you think of your daily nutrition as part of your normal lifestyle or whether it’s just a “diet”. Something that you are just grinding through, a means to an end. 

Is what you’re doing a lifestyle or a “diet”?

Do you sit around all day eating crisps and drinking beer? If the answer is no but you do this on holiday then you haven’t made health and fitness lifestyle. It’s still a “diet”. 

People who have a “lifestyle” approach eat pretty much the same abroad as they do at home. We like eating like that! Successful Reach client Natalie does. Claire Flex Food and Fitness does. I do. We go all-inclusive but we still eat pretty much the same things. Maybe a little bit more inclined to have a desert. And probably drink a bit more alcohol. But pretty much the same types of food all the time, whether we are abroad or at home. When we go all-inclusive we are just getting it cooked for us instead of cooking it ourselves.   

I am going all-inclusive again this year but I will be eating very well. The reason I am going all-inclusive is not so I can pig out on pizza and chips, it is so I don’t have to have the inconvenience of going out for dinner or cooking. I will still be eating pretty much the same kind of things. I will just be having someone else cook them for me! 🏆💪🏻🙌🏋

The trick is to find a lifestyle approach incorporating nutrition and fitness that works for you every day, regardless of whether or not you are on holiday. One that you enjoy and is no effort to sustain and makes you happy while being realistic about your goals and how you’ll achieve them (obviously there is a direct connection between how “on it” you are with your nutrition and training and how fast and how good your results will be). 

What if I do see it as a means to an end?

  • Does this mean you can’t have a drink? No!
  • Does this mean you can’t do exactly what I want? No!

All it means is acknowledging that the more you deviate from what will help you reach your goals, the more it will hinder your progress. If you are prepared to sacrifice a couple of weeks that is fine. But what usually happens is that attitude spills over into other areas so it’s a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks there so you end up making a quarter of the progress over the year that you could’ve actually made. 

Is this a problem? Again, no! 

As long as you are okay with the fact you are trading off speed for a more relaxed approach. When you see these 12 week transformations you would not believe how much they are training and eating. It is very gruelling! 

So, can you undo six months’ hard work in two weeks? Probably not. The hardest part is that if you adopt an all or nothing approach you will put weight on, you may get demotivated, you may get out of the habit! So the biggest danger is that you will find it a lot more difficult to pick it back up when you get back. Two weeks turns into two months and before you know it you’re back where you started.

Tips for holiday nutrition

  • If you go all-inclusive then fill up on the good stuff at mealtime and avoid grazing on junk round the pool. 
  • Try to continue to log your nutrition. Its good practice and a learning opportunity when you don’t have the labels in front of you. 
  • Pick your battles. If you are having three meals a day for 14 days that is 21 meals. You could either have a desert some days with your evening meal or you could have a couple of blowouts. Just be sensible. 21 opportunities to eat well. If you can get it right 17 times out of 21 then you have done well 80% of the time and still have had a few cheeky cheat meals!
  • Be sensible with your alcohol calories. A few calories here and there every day adds up. Choosing lower calorie drinks such as vodka lime and soda can save 3000 calories over a 14 day period (based on 5 halves of lager a day vs 5 vodka, lime and soda).


Single drink
Vodka lime & soda (low cal lime) 70 cals
Gin and slimline tonic 70 cals
Vodka lime & soda 90 cals
Prosecco 90 cals
Gin and tonic 102 cals
Half Stella 114 cals

Night out (5 drinks)
Vodka lime & soda (low cal lime) 350 cals
Gin and slimline tonic 350 cals
Vodka lime & soda 450 cals
Prosecco 450 cals
Gin and tonic 510 cals
Half Stella 570 cals

Final thoughts 

If you have honestly made health and fitness a lifestyle then shouldn’t need a holiday from your nutrition or lifestyle. Wherever you are, home or away, you can enjoy the same things. If you do need a holiday from your nutrition then you are just on a “diet”, it is not a lifestyle.

If that’s not you’re thing then is it okay to treat holidays as a break? Sure! You can choose which ever approach you want, as long as you are honest with yourself and manage your expectations accordingly. 

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Dan Sroda
Dan Sroda is a Personal Trainer based in Birstall, serving Leeds and Bradford.

As the owner and lead trainer at Reach Personal Training, I am responsible for the philosophy of the business and overseeing client programmes.

My mission is for Reach Personal Training to be synonymous with a long-term, real-life approach to health and fitness. We help our clients to integrate health and fitness into their busy lives. We don't do fads. We don't do crash diets. We do "Fitness For Life".

I have a family. I’ve always worked (and not always in the fitness industry). I have housework and shopping to do. I have a REAL life. So I know what it takes to balance a real life with a sustainable approach to health and fitness.

If I can do it then anyone else can too. All you need is the desire to make eating healthily and keeping fit a priority in your life. An hour a day, thirty minutes a day, even fifteen minutes a day of exercise, supported with a healthy diet based on whole foods, is all it takes to make steady long-term progress towards looking and feeling fantastic.

I have a few simple values upon which I have built Reach Personal Training. Only personal trainers who share these values will be part of our team.

- Friendliness. Just be a genuinely nice person, it's dead simple and it's the best way to live. Smile as much as possible and try to see the best in every situation.

- No fads. No pseudoscience. My background in academia makes me question everything. There is so much nonsense in the fitness industry, mainly because some people are in it to make money so they'll believe anything and questioning it will mean they can't believe in the product. We are different. We do what works. We use science to create our programmes and we never put profit over effectiveness. You will NEVER find Herbalife or Forever Living in our studio!

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