Cruise to Fitness


Anyone who follows me on Twitter, Instagram, etc. probably already knows that I’ve been on vacation for the past 10 days.  It’s been HEAVEN!  In fact, it’s been so much fun, it’s going to be a rude awakening when I have to fly home tomorrow and get back to reality.

Now, we all know that vacations can be notorious for weight gain due to the massive pigging out changes in our typical routine.  They usually involve lots of eating out, no “real” workouts, and loads of snacking.  As for my particular vacation, I basically chose the worst of the worst scenarios when it comes to vacation weight gain temptations ….

a cruise!  Yes, you read that correctly, folks.  I put myself right into the path of all one can eat buffets, round the clock free room service, and a ship full of servers, bartenders, and room attendants all eagerly waiting on baited breath to satisfy our every whim.  It’s a proverbial mine field of temptation around every corner.  Our ship even had a Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s on-board!

All that having been said, facing all these daunting temptations doesn’t mean we have to let a cruise vacation derail our efforts toward a healthy lifestyle.  It’s not easy, but it can certainly be done.  Here are a few handy tips that can help those of you who also have cruise vacations planned in the future.

  • Limit your eating to just meal times.  I know this one is a challenge when there’s “free” food being shoved at you all the time, especially when we all want to ensure we “get our money’s worth” out of our cruise vacation.  I found that most of the between meal snack options were basically empty calorie foods like cookies, ice cream, etc.  Saving yourself those snacking calories will help make up for the richer foods you’ll likely be eating at your actual meals.
  • Avoid the elevators.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t something I could really do on this particular vacation.  Even though my knee is mostly healed from my recent surgery, stairs are still a bit of a challenge.  For those with healthy knees & ankles, this is a great way to not only burn off some of those extra calories, but also avoids having to wait in line for an elevator which is a major win-win!
  • Go for a daily run/walk.  Most of the major cruise ships now include a running/walking track on the top deck.  The ship we were on had a painted path for runners on one side and walkers on the other.  They even had the mile & km information painted on the path which was really helpful!  The path on the ship we were on was 1/4 mile, so it took four laps for each mile.  You can see it painted around the outer rail in this photo I took.

  • Take advantage of on-board fitness equipment.  Again, nearly all of the major cruise ships these days are equipped with pretty nice fitness centers.  The ship we were on had a nice variety of cardio equipment as well as weights for strength training.  I didn’t take advantage of it due to my knee, but they even had a rocking climbing wall on the back of the ship!

  • Plan active excursions when in port.  This one is actually pretty easy to do as many excursions seem to be somewhat active by their very nature.  I wore my Fitbit during the cruise and found that I was easily hitting over 10,000 steps per day when we were in port.  As an example, there were lots of great hiking opportunities on Mt. Roberts the day we were in port at Juneau, Alaska.  Other options might be things like kayaking, cycling, snorkeling (in warm weather locales), etc.
  • Check the daily cruise guide for activities on sailing days.  The cruise activity staff do a great job lining up things for passengers to do while on board the ship.  Many of these activities are actually fitness-related!  Some of the options we had included spinning, boot camp, etc.  They even had a 1 mile run/walk for charity one day to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

As you can see, with a bit of thinking and planning, it’s definitely possible to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle even when facing the daunting task of a cruise.  However, don’t get so caught up in all the activity that you don’t take time to relax and unwind, too.  Remember that you actually are on vacation and take time for a little indulgence as well, with old friends and new.  Cheers!

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