Tag: big world explorer

Travel Swellness: The best ways to keep fit during a Mexican vacation


Working out can be tougher when you’re away from home and out of your routine. Do you work out when you travel? Or does it depend whether you’re on vacation or traveling for work?

I don’t think it’s impossible to keep active while you travel. It calls for being regimented, though. For the past several years (this year was an exception) I’ve been in training for marathons almost entirely year-round with a busy travel schedule. Anyone who’s ever trained for a marathon knows that it calls for consistent training (I usually run three times a week, sometimes four, when I’m training, although I think many people run more often than that). I made it work by planning in advance and scheduling my long runs for before and after the trip, and fitting in my shorter distances or speed training during my trips since I typically have limited personal time when traveling for work, and certainly never 2-3 hours to fit in a long run.

On my recent vacation with Expedia.ca to Cancun, though? I had to listen to my body, and what my body (and mind) was telling me was that I needed a break. I was on the verge of burnout a few times this year. So while there were plenty of activities available at our resort, Finest Playa Mujeres; kite surfing, a bike tour, Zumba, and more, I opted to not flit from activity to activity — and anyone who knows me well know that that is my usual M.O.

It has been found that this type of vacation, one filled with activities and excitement to keep one stimulated can help you refocus, in fact. It might be a flurry of activity, but getting your brain engaged will help wake up thinking patterns you haven’t fired up in awhile — this according to a psychologist in Psychology Today. Your exhilarating vacay would serve as a way to reinvigorate that pep in your step.

But I knew that this was not what I needed this time around; I realized this when I did a quick search for surf lessons nearby…but could tell my heart wasn’t into it (and I really love surfing and usually try to grab the chance to whenever I can so this was really indicative of worn out I felt). And so, a light sched of fitness was what I had in mind. I played it by ear and while I surely lost some of my fitness, I’m OK with that;  it was just one week and it’s not as though I have a marathon I’m aiming to PB in shortly. While it’s important to pay attention to your fitness, it’s also key to be kind to yourself.

So my healthy vacay routine? (Sorry if you were hoping for a roundup of hardcore sweat seshes!) It started with getting plenty of sleep. This meant being in bed way before midnight (which never happens in real life).


Thanks to going to bed so early, I would wake up in time to walk on the beach to enjoy the sunrise and stretch a little. While it’s most certainly not comparable to my typical running regimen, I think it’s important to keep moving even if it’s something as light an activity as walking.


There are tennis lessons most mornings at the resort and we took advantage of the lessons. With the pro coach on staff, I learned that I twist my core too much with my swing, must work on that. The lesson incorporated cardio drills, too, such as running suicides — not easy in the Mexican sunshine! The heat always really wipes me out.

swimming laps at Finest Playa Mujeres

Finest Playa Mujeres also has a few very long pools, which are great for doing laps. While I’m still quite fearful of swimming in open water after my triathlon swim nightmare this summer, pools I can handle.


And, last but not least I went for very short runs on the beach. What can I say, I guess I’m a runner at heart. Beach running though is a first for me; running in the sand is tough since you’re always working on getting your footing so I usually avoid it (also because I’m usually scared of twisting my ankle with a goal race in my calendar), but hopefully it helped prep me for running in snow this winter. I’ll probably be ramping up my training this winter and through all of 2017, especially as I discovered while in Cancun that my name was drawn in the Chicago Marathon lottery.

Yes, it was a light fitness week…but it did me good. In any case, you can look forward soon to my tips on working out when you travel (including a Toronto-focused itinerary for visitors to my hometown!). More details on that soon…

When booking your vacay, research what activities are available at the resorts you’re considering when you’re exploring Expedia.ca and choose one that offers your faves. More tips on finding the right vacay for you here. And since how you fuel your body is all part of the equation, check out my approach on how to not ruin your healthy diet while on vacay here!

 With no more beach vacations on my calendar for the rest of winter right now, I’ll have to live vicariously through you. Looking forward to your beachy posts. What are you planning? (And didja know that vacation planning boosts your happiness?)



Leave a Comment December 28, 2016

Travel Swellness: How to vacay without letting the all-inclusive buffet and open bar ruin your diet


All of the guacamole, tacos, ceviche and margaritas, por favor!

What? Don’t tell me those aren’t your plans when you hit up an all-inclusive in Mexico! As if. Yep, that’s definitely what came to mind when I booked into my calendar my upcoming Cancun getaway thanks to the folks from  Expedia.ca.

I’m off to Playa Mujeres after carefully selecting a vacation on Expedia.ca and as you know, all-inclusive resorts are all about that over-indulging life. I think we all fall victim to wanting to get your money’s worth, and become gluttonous fools when faced with open bar and a buffet. 


So how to not let the all-you-can-eat buffet ruin your typically healthy and reasonable diet? I try to stick to the M.O. I do at home:

Start by assessing what’s being served at the entire buffet. If you just start at one end of the buffet, adding to your plate as you walk along, you may end up with foods in your plate you don’t enjoy as much as other dishes you come across later on. A quick walk-through (including the dessert table so you know if you need to save room for that) will prevent this from happening.

Serve yourself small portions. I used to take what would be a typical serving of, say, potatoes. But I often just want a taste of a dish, so I now serve myself one or two baby potatoes (meticulously scooping up just two as though I eat like a bird when I so don’t) rather than a ladle-full. It doesn’t make for a good foodie Instagram, haha, and I know I probably look like the kind of person who counts precisely how many almonds for a serving (it’s 23 almonds btw, these are the things you learn when you cover health and food…) , but if you only want a small taste, just a spoonful is just right. Also, if you want more, you can always get seconds. Better to take less to start with rather than over serving yourself and having it end up either in your belly because you’re mindlessly eating or because you feel pressure to eat your plate clean, or in the garbage.

If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. You’ve taken something from the buffet that wasn’t as tasty as you thought it would be. And maybe you were brought up to eat all the food on your plate, or maybe you feel rude or guilty with the staff seeing food that’s barely been touched on your plate, but that’s something you have to get over. I suppose it’s a bit like the Marie Kondo decluttering method but for eating; if it’s not bringing you joy, get rid of it.

Be as picky about what and how much you drink as you are when it comes to, oh I don’t know, who you date. Unless you’re a dating machine who swipes right all the time. Well, just be selective when it comes to your drinks, OK? We all know that booze is empty calories. And I remember my first few all-inclusive vacations, I drank sugary, frozen neon cocktails (because those were the only cocktails served)  from morning til night even though I found them generically sweet with little actual flavour and quite unappealing. That same trip, we stopped into a chic boutique hotel where we sipped mojitos by the pool bar–a proper mojito with fresh mint and top-shelf rum–and it was so refreshing and delicious and such a difference from the cheap drinks I’d been downing. Quality over quantity. If your resort serves incredible cocktails, well, you can try the drink-water-every-other-cocktail trick to keep your sugar and calories lower than it’d be if you were steady drinking daiquiris.



You are on vacation, though. So don’t be so rigid with how you approach your meals and drinking hat it gets in the way of enjoying yourself. We all deserve a treat now and then. You know I believe in a healthy balance when it comes to most everything in life. Also, when I start to feel like I’ve been over-indulging, it’s just extra motivation to go to the gym before parking myself in a cause longue, or going for a long walk on the beach. And in the end it’s just a week; a week of relaxing when it comes to your diet won’t be the end of you.

And, besides, guac is made with avocados, which is loaded with healthy fats (but that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and eat a mountain-size serving! Remember, I said a taste or two that you truly enjoy.)

My Expedia.ca vacation is booked (check out my tips on how to find the right resort for you here) and, although I’ve flown into Cancun airport several times to go to Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres, it’s my first time staying in Cancun, and I’m looking forward to fun in the sun with one of my besties. Any Cancun recos? I’d love to hear about them, and about what your vacay plans are. 

Leave a Comment December 1, 2016

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