6 Simple Tips to Stay Fit on Vacation

6 Simple Tips to Stay Fit on Vacation

Taking time off for vacation is a healthy thing.  Let’s keep it that way. Many will scream, “but hey this is vacation” and they will proceed to wreck their body, intended or not. However, many will come back from vacation looking and feeling better than ever because that was their intention. I assume that since you are reading this your intention is to stay fit on vacation or weight loss on vacation.  So set your goal and follow through with these six simple stay fit on vacation and weight loss strategies on vacation.



  1. Set Your Goal – Stay fit on vacation or achieve weight loss on vacation.
  2. Pack Your Supplements – You will need your favorite protein bars, shakes, nuts, supplements, and vitamins.
  3. Workout gear – Pack at least one set of workout clothes and running or cross-training shoes.



Timing – Continue to eat every three to four hours and don’t skip meals.

Calculate Time -You will be eating out often so it is important to remember your timing when traveling to each restaurant and you may also encounter lines to be seated. Also calculate the time from when you sit down and order until your food arrives at your table.  Normally I would plan to be on my way to the restaurant up to an hour in advance.

Special Ordering – In order to get what you need and not what you don’t need then it will be important to tell your waiter or waitress specifics such as things to put on the side and ask questions about how things are cooked i.e. grilled or fried, steamed or sautéed and make substitutions such as steamed vegetables for rice pilaf or salad instead or mashed potatoes. Prepare to spend a little extra for substitutions, but you are worth it.

What kinds of foods – If you are at a tropical location then go for fish and vegetables. If you are not at a tropical location then stick to lean sources of protein and order vegetables or salad with it.  Grilled chicken on salads is always a simple go-to meal at most restaurants.

Don’t eat the rolls and send back the chips or at least push them away from your reach.

Portion Sizes and leftovers – If you wouldn’t eat that much at home then don’t do it now! Leave the leftovers behind and remember it’s not waste – it’s waist!

Dessert – It’s vacation I know, but if you are going to eat dessert then just skip dinner.

Keep some protein bars or shakes with you for when it is inconvenient to sit down for a meal or when a meal is delayed.

Feeling deprived or empowered?

It’s all in what you tell yourself.  If you tell yourself you are being deprived, well then, you are and you will not enjoy yourself.  If you tell yourself that you are empowered by your solid vacation food choices then you will feel like a million bucks!



Avoid alcohol.

Remember your new healthy lifestyle.  Gulping down drink after drink doesn’t fit into your new lifestyle.  Stay committed to looking and feeling great.

If you do drink:  Weight loss ends and weight gain begins!

The damage you may do is not so easily undone when you get back so…

Choose simple cocktails that are clear such as vodka soda (not tonic) or a White Wine Spritzer vs. foofoo drinks such as Margaritas or Pina Colada’s.

  • Vodka Soda – 64 calories 1 oz. shot of most common vodkas and 3-4 drinks can be 192-256 calories.
  • Margarita – 500-plus calories and more than 60 grams of sugar.
  • Pina Colada – 450 to 650 calories think coconut cream fat and up to 90 grams of sugar.


EXERCISE– of course you are going to exercise!

How often?

Goal:  Weight Loss – Every day 30 – 60 minute workouts.

Goal:  Maintain weight – Every other day 30 – 60 minute workouts.

What kind of exercise?

The simplest form of exercise on vacation is to run, jog, or brisk walks depending on your current fitness and conditioning level.  You can just put on your gear and run out the door in minutes whatever time of day it is.  It’s also a great way to see the local scene whether it be the beach or downtown Denver.  If you prefer a treadmill and the place you are staying at has one then use it.

Since your goal is staying fit then cardio is king on this trip. So keep it simple and leave the weights for when you get back home.


FRIENDS, family, significant other, spouse

Some may be supportive and that’s great.  WooHoo!

Some may give you some resistance and who knows maybe use the “selfish” word.  What they really mean is that either you are going to make them feel guilty by taking care of yourself while they indulge and use vacation as an excuse or maybe they sincerely feel that they aren’t going to get to enjoy your company and that your new found love of exercise is going to take over their vacation.

Either way, if you take a calm moment to help them understand it is important to you to keep up your routine and that it will help you enjoy your vacation even more with them, rather than announce “I’m out of here “slackers” while tying your sneakers and running out the door.  You will likely be more able to enjoy your workout and their company when you return.

Alternatively, you could offer to them that they can do it with you and who knows, maybe it could be the start of sharing healthy habits that could go home with you or it could possibly lead to a really lousy workout full of whining and moaning and later altercations.  Definitely a risky move, but hey it’s your call.



Stay in a rental house or condo instead of a hotel.

You can do some shopping to stock the fridge and get exactly what you need as soon as you land at or drive into your destination city.

You can make sandwiches or wraps and pack them for when you are on-the-go.

You can cook when it is convenient and when it’s time for you to eat. This actually is great for saving money too!

Your first meal breakfast is in the bag!  On time and just the right calories. Breakfast can either start you on the way to your goals or derail you completely for the day so waking up and eating within an hour will be pivotal in your goal of losing weight or maintaining weight while on vacation.

You know that every meal you eat at your rental should be right on target for your calories because you know all the ingredients.


With a little preparation and the right mindset you can have fun and stay fit on vacation.

10 Ways to Measure Weight Loss – Don’t Become a Slave to the Scale

10 Ways to Measure Weight Loss – Don’t Become a Slave to the Scale

10 Ways to Measure Weight Loss So You Don’t Become a Slave to the Scale

You’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to start a new fitness plan. For the majority of clients who begin training here at Shape Plus, the #1 goal at the top of many people’s list is weight loss.

Whether someone is looking to lose 5 lbs or 50, the number on the scale is often the focus each week. For clients who strictly adhere to our program, the question is not if, but WHEN they will eventually reach their weight loss goal; however, what happens when the number on the scale doesn’t move as quickly as you would like it to (or what if the weight loss stops)?

There potentially are a number of reasons why your progress slows on the scale, but a weekly weigh-in is simply ONE way to track your fitness journey. Here are 10 VERY significant signs of personal progress which do not include a scale.

  1. You become more in-tune with your body

    You feel better, even great after working out. Your energy level has increased and your overall outlook and attitude toward fitness is more positive. Many people even claim that their craving for junk food has gone down, and they also become aware of how their bodies respond to HEALTHY eating (Not dieting!).

  2. You can tackle everyday tasks

    Things like getting in & out of the car, walking or hiking, playing with your children or grandchildren, suddenly are effortless. All of these are deemed extremely important because it is REAL life.

  3. Your clothes fit differently/better

    Your skinny jeans, old suit, or bikini for the beach are all definite ways to see how far your body has come. The size of your fingers can even change, and we have many clients who can get back to wearing their wedding rings again!

  4. Your sleep patterns improve

    Unless you have a gnarly caffeine habit or some serious underlying sleep disorder, daily rest and recovery is positively affected by clean eating and regular exercise. In short, clients often say they “sleep like a baby” the night following a workout. And who doesn’t love a good night’s rest?

  5. You are in better control of your nutrition

    You feel empowered when you are not intimidated by food choices. Whether it’s a date night, business trip, or a Broncos game, you know that you have the knowledge to make the best possible choice in every situation.

  6. You look different/great in pictures

    With all selfie and filter jokes aside, photos are a very effective way to measure your progress. The majority of clients who train with us for a while can hardly believe the difference once they see their starting pictures. Pictures don’t lie!

  7. Your Measurements have changed

    Many people have drastic changes in their waist-to-hip ratio, as well as decreased body fat. These types of improvements greatly affect the way that you “look”, and is also a good indicator of what’s going on INSIDE of your body.

  8. Your overall strength/power has improved

    Setting PRs on your Bench Press or Deadlift, improved cardiovascular endurance, increased speed & agility are all very important when it comes to your training program. This also includes sports specific improvements which are too many to name.

  9. You’ve met personal goals

    It is always great to scratch those accomplishments off the list. Whether it’s hiking a 14er, trying out for Roller Derby, or entering your  first Triathlon, consistent focus & reaching your goals helps build self-assurance. You trust in yourself, and you are confident that what you are doing is working. And gosh darn it, confidence is SEXY!

  10. Your overall health has improved

    I saved this one for last because it is MOST important. In regards to personal fitness, the greatest compliment that you can get is from your Physician. Improvements in blood pressure/blood glucose numbers, perfect triglyceride levels….nothing is more important than an excellent report card from the Doctor. Bone density, flexibility, balance, fertility, and even chronic pain issues are often improved when you start taking care of your body.

None of the above can be measured by standing on a scale, and remember to utilize these tools when monitoring your progress!

Overcome Exercise Excuses in 30 Days

Overcome Exercise Excuses in 30 Days

We all have great exercise excuses for not working out that day, but no matter how good that excuse is, you still didn’t do it! What it really means is that you’re not any closer to your goal, no matter how good you think that excuse is.

Even after someone has made the decision to get in shape and has started to make incredible changes, like drastic nutritional improvements and exercising more frequently, excuses creep up that keep you from making the next right choice for yourself.

One of the techniques that I have used with some clients to combat excuses is what I call the 30/30, and it has been very successful. 30 minutes of cardio, for 30 straight days. Simple but not easy.

In doing this my clients face exercise challenges that arise and learn how to combat them.  But just as important, they learn to trust themselves to follow through with what they say they are going to do.

This story was co-written with Jane and chronicles her challenge of completing the 30/30 and overcoming exercise excuses.

It Started With the No Excuses 30/30 Challenge

After about two weeks of personal training with me three times per week, I challenged one of my clients to do 30 minutes of cardio for 30 days in a row. No matter what got in her way, no matter what challenges came up, Jane was to get in 30 minutes of cardio for 30 days. She accepted the challenge.

Day 8 – Tested – No Excuses Made

Eight days into her 30 days, I told her snowboarding didn’t count—which at first, seemed like a punishment to her. It was the dead of winter and since she wasn’t in that great of shape…yet, the idea of riding for a day and then somehow doing cardio afterward seemed extreme. Likewise, getting up thirty minutes early to run before she went snowboarding seemed unreasonable, as well. But, when it came time to go snowboarding, she hit the gym before she went.

Day 16 – Tested Again – She Made No Excuses

About 16 days into her 30 days, she came down with a cold. So, she took long walks until she recovered.

So far she had overcome

  • Snowboarding and cardio
  • A cold and cardio
  • Some cocktails with friends and woke up hung over, but she still hit the treadmill. Hung over and cardio

She was beginning to see that nothing could get in her way!

Of course it took planning

  1. Go for a run before work or after?
  2. If she should hit it before training with me or after?

She had to set herself up for success—figuring out specific times in her week that allowed her to achieve this goal.

Day 24 – A Big Day for Excuses

At day 24, she had to attend a funeral. Obviously, this isn’t something she could plan for. The funeral was in another city and the hotel she was staying in didn’t have a gym.

Winter was in full bloom, so the roads were covered in ice, making running outside dangerous. The day of the funeral, she had to drive five hours and leave at 5 AM to make the ceremony.

After arriving, she headed to the funeral grounds, which was supposed to require a thirty minute hike. Perfect, she told herself. I will get my cardio in that way. The hike ended up being twenty minutes. The funeral lasted six hours.

Failure and Excuses

Afterward, she was so exhausted that she immediately fell asleep and awoke after the temperature had dropped well-below zero. She conceded to not doing thirty minutes of cardio that day. I tried, she thought, but the cards were stacked against me.

Jane left early the next day, got her cardio in when she arrived home and didn’t feel bad about her failure the day before. She knew I would understand.

When I saw her the following Monday, I asked her how she was doing and how the funeral was. She told me about what she had been through and without missing a beat, admitted that she had missed a day of cardio because of it.

What? You Don’t Understand?

Jane seemed utterly surprised by my response. I told her she had failed to meet her goal of 30 minutes of cardio in 30 days, because our goals aren’t flexible.

I couldn’t give her a pass on this, because she can’t give herself a pass either. The point is, she is learning to trust herself. She said she would do something and she didn’t.

It’s not easy to gain your own trust

Nobody ever said it would be easy. Learning to trust yourself to do everything you say you will do is a huge part of the battle and the struggle.

In the past, she said she would work out, she said she would lose weight, she said she would get to it, and she didn’t.

If she gave herself a pass because of a funeral, then giving herself a pass when other things became emotionally trying in her life like

  • Fighting with a spouse or family member
  • Losing her job,
  • Fertility Problems
  • Any other Medical Condition

Or having positive important things on her plate such as a

  • Wedding
  • Promotion
  • Pregnancy
  • Vacation

They could all easily start to count as days off or excuses not to stick to her plan. If holidays, bad days, important days and vacations start to count as days off, you can easily see how she’d slip back into poor habits.

Soon, she’d be telling herself, it’s Monday and I don’t like to work out on Mondays. Then, where would she end up?

Standing up for her goals

Was I being hard on her? Yes. But, it doesn’t mean I didn’t sympathize with her pain or the challenge she faced. More importantly, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t on her side.

I was being her biggest advocate, because I wanted her to take care of herself when she most needed to take care of herself. I was the one standing up for her when she wasn’t standing up for herself.

Jane then challenged herself to the 30/30 and blew right past it!  She went well beyond the 30 days and didn’t stop until she hit 30 minutes of cardio for 47 consecutive days.

She learned she could trust herself and now knew she could do whatever she set her mind to doing! What a freeing thought right? Just imagine it. Now make it happen!


No excuses no matter what

We can all tell ourselves a million excuses, reasons, explanations or matters of fact about why we don’t meet our goals. We can convince ourselves in an infinite number of ways that we are justified in our excuses.

There’s always something, right? Just because it’s hard, maybe the hardest thing you’ve ever been through, doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed. But, it has to start with you.

You have to be the one that makes it the most important thing.

Exercise Excuses run the gamut

It can be something as small as not wanting to mess your hair up. “Sorry, I’m washing my hair,” is that joke we all laugh about; the excuse for not doing something, especially a date. But, it’s an exercise excuse that women, mostly, actually use not to work out.

The surgeon general even put out a warning about it in 2011 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/surgeon-general-calls-for-health-over-hair/?_r=0. But, nobody seems to be laughing.

It’s a ridiculous excuse in every other situation, but in terms of one’s health, it’s become an actual problem. How could we let hair stand in our way of happiness? Excuses can be big, too, like Jane’s was. But, they are all excuses.

They all boil down to the same thing: failure to get closer to your goal.

You make time for so many other things so why not exercise?

Think about all of the things you make time for. Think about all of the things that you believe are the most important things

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Loved ones
  • Work
  • Hobbies

Think about all of the ways in which you excuse yourself from tending to your own needs to make time for these other things.

When you take care of yourself you can better help others

One thing that people find truly illuminating when they start to take care of themselves is that they start to be able to take care of other people better.

That might mean not showing up as much for someone who has become dependent on you. That might mean forcing people around you to solve their problems instead of expecting you to do it.

You’ll be surprised as you make more room for yourself, health and wellness, how much more time you will have for the other things you find important and at how much more valuable that time becomes, because you’re happy.

You will make more of your time when you’re happy more of the time.

That idea might not make any sense to you at the moment. At the moment, you might be struggling to understand how you’ll juggle everything and feeling a bit cranky about it. That’s okay. Once you’ve decided to change your entire life, in ways that are completely unimaginable to you at the moment, you will overcome exercise excuses and reap all the benefits that come with it.

Before you invest in Home Gym Equipment

Before you invest in Home Gym Equipment

With the fitness and health industries booming, people in Denver are trying to find more convenient and cost-effective ways to stay fit. Should I get a personal trainer? I could sign up for a general membership at a local gym… or just get some home gym equipment & work out at home. The possibilities are endless, which makes the decision-making process quite difficult. Here are some things to consider before you invest in home gym equipment.

While many people are self-disciplined and can get the job of working out done on their own, there is a vast majority of individuals who can barely show up to a 24hr gym even after a ridiculous chunk of money is sucked from their bank accounts month after month.

For some people, hiring/keeping a personal trainer may seem “too expensive”, so the most logical solution to that would be working out at home.

On average, each American household spends approximately $130 on sports & exercise equipment each year (this includes treadmills, exercise bikes, bands, foam rollers, exercise balls, etc.). A multipurpose gym station or single piece of (quality) cardio equipment can range anywhere from $600-$5000 dollars.

If you make this one-time investment, then your home workouts will save you loads of cash, right?

WRONG! Actual Data from Consumer Reports indicates that nearly 40% of home gym equipment is never used–even on their date of purchase and the purchasers didn’t even feel confident that they would actually use it.

Here are the three main reasons why you should NOT go the home gym equipment route

  1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – While it may seem like a good idea, initially, it can be difficult to create the ideal area in your home to workout.

    This is especially true for anyone who lives in an apartment or town home. You realize that there is not adequate space for the enormous Concept2 rower, or you can’t jump around too much (with Shaun T’s Insanity video) because it will wake your neighbors. Not to mention your couch looks so appealing halfway through the workout. After a while, that workout equipment in your home turns into this expensive, space-sucking laundry rack, which eventually ends up on Craigslist as “Pristine Condition, Like New, Hardly Used”.

    I know this as fact by personal experience, as I picked up a spin bike on Craigslist for only $60 bucks by someone else who NEVER used it.

    Save yourself the torture of running inside your basement like a hamster on a wheel. Buy a nice pair of running shoes or a REAL bike & get outside!!! Not only will you benefit from time well-spent in nature, but you can save that space in your home for a quiet, comfy well deserved Lazy-Boy.

  2. LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE – When you see people moving, it will make YOU want to move. When you are with people who are working hard in the gym, it is inspiring & motivating.

    As a Personal Trainer, I have heard every excuse in the book as to why people “can’t workout”, even when they have access to equipment right in their home. (My favorite being, “I had to shovel dog poop”).

    Fact of the matter is, it’s quite difficult or nearly impossible to stay motivated when there is no energy/movement around you. And the proof is in the pudding. That very same spin bike that I used six months ago for rehab after ACL reconstruction is currently sitting in my office/guest room. Why, you ask? Because, it’s far more FUN to share a tortuous cardio-fest at the gym with other people who are working out just as hard as you are.

    When you are training at the gym, you can focus on the task at hand with no possibility of interruptions. For me, that means I do not have to contemplate the decision-making process between completing 40 minutes of cardio or Mani-Pedi time with my daughter. Time spent with your children is priceless, and you shouldn’t have to choose.

  3. RESULTS – This one is the most obvious. The number one thing I hear from returning clients is “I do OK on my own but the workouts at home are not as effective because you push me much harder than I would ever push myself.

    “Whenever there is any question of intensity regarding workouts, the end result will simply not be the same. Most people will instinctively try to stop during the most intense part of their workouts, and that’s why it always pays to have someone there who really challenges you.

As personal trainers, it is our JOB to push our clients to a point where they would never push themselves, and from a training perspective, THAT is where the magic happens.

High quality, effective training yields the best results, and that is what we are all working toward. The cost of hiring a personal trainer is always an important consideration, and many people feel that having home gym equipment will save them tons of cash. Just keep in mind that treadmill in your basement will not ask to see your food journal…Choose wisely!

6 Tips to Stay Fit at Thanksgiving

6 Tips to Stay Fit at Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! A time for humble thankfulness, but for some it is the great overindulging, spending time with people who may make you want to stuff your feelings with food and alcohol holiday!

Thanksgiving is a happy time, but it can also be stressful.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, we will have lots of laughs, but at times I want to strangle them especially when they start nagging or what we now call “Fitness Shaming” about my lack of pigging out on all the goodies at the table like they are. Just like anyone else, it would be easy for me to just start eating a lot of junk and possibly drink too much alcohol to stuff those feelings or appease those around me during this holiday.

Here are 6 tips I have developed to stay fit at Thanksgiving! (more…)