According to AAA, 107.3 million Americans will travel over the holiday season. We all have had our experiences with holiday travel. Some good, some bad, some UGLY. What we all have in common is the interruption of our health and fitness efforts during this holiday travel season. We are out of our routine, we may not have access to a gym, Grandma keeps giving you seconds (and thirds) of her delicious banana pudding. We end up arriving home bloated, exhausted, lethargic, and feeling oh so very far away from those health and fitness goals we were so committed to before we left. Here are 5 tips to keep you on track during the holiday traveling season.

1. DO A RECON: In the military, a unit normally doesn’t enter enemy territory without some sort of recon. This means someone took a look at the area, gathered information and made a smart plan of attack. Treat your travel in the same way: do a recon. Know where you are staying? Do a google search and check if there is a grocery store near your hotel. Contact the hotel and ask to have a room with a refrigerator. Find out if the hotel has a gym, and if so, what type of equipment. If not, what gyms are nearby or are there other workout options in the area such as running trails, crossfit gyms or yoga studios. Make sure to pack your workout clothes and running shoes!

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2. MAKE A PLAN: Make a plan in advance to swing by a grocery store on your way to the hotel and pick up healthy snacks and drinks for the room. Contact the gyms ahead of time and inquire about drop in rates or temporary memberships. Or, use your Fire Team Whiskey subscription to do workouts from your hotel room, because no equipment is required! Schedule your workouts for each day of your vacation so that it will not interfere with your other plans. Plan out your meals and snacks to ensure that you always have something available that falls within your eating plan.

3. PRACTICE YOUR ASSERTIVENESS SKILLS: Nothing is more awkward than being put in a situation to refuse a person’s hospitality. We suggest that you contact the family members you may be visiting ahead of time and politely ask that food that complies with your eating plan needs be a part of what they are offering. Or better yet, offer to bring a dish (that happens to be a healthy choice that you can eat) for everyone. When pressed to have something you do not want to eat, say politely but firmly “Thank you, it looks delicious, but I am just so full I couldn’t eat another bite.” Some may be more insistent than others, be firm and just say no thank you.

4. GET REINFORCEMENT: It is very hard to be the only one in the room not chowing down on mac and cheese, cake, pie and bread rolls. You may even get some snide remarks about you needing to eat “because your so skinny”, “you don’t need to lose weight” , or “you should live a little, it’s the holidays”. Ahead of time, ask someone who will be at the event to be your battle buddy. Ask them to stand with you and help support you during these attacks on your willpower. Your family member can say “Joe Schmo has been working so hard and looks fantastic. I can really tell that this new way of life is making him/her feel great. We should support Joe Shmo and not push her/him to violate that commitment that means so much to him/her.”

5. THE ONE CHEAT RULE: We are certainly not suggesting that you not enjoy anything “off plan” during your holiday travels. The trouble is, it is easy to completely annihilate weeks of hard work in a period of a few days. Make a goal of having ONE CHEAT per day during your holiday travel that would be normally considered off plan for you at home. One means one. Not my cheat today is having beer and you drink 7 beers. If you normally limit yourself at home to one drink, then your cheat would be an additional drink. If you normally don’t have desert at home, have a small desert. Be strategic about it so you truly enjoy it. This means you may have to pass up on a potential cheat earlier in the day in order to have a treat later that you were looking forward to having.

We hope these tips help you stay on track during your holiday travels. Don’t have plans yet? If you haven’t already heard, you can get free vacations for military families at Westgate Resorts during their upcoming Military Weekend Giveaway. Also, check out Westgate’s portfolio of military discount hotels if you’re looking for a deal on your next getaway. They have awesome deals on Orlando Vacation getaways! Have you ever been to Disney during Christmas? It’s amazing! Plus, it’s Florida, the place to be in the winter. Check out their hotel deals for Military Families!

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