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How I Managed to Stay in Shape on My Trip to Jamaica

Tips for Staying In Shape While Traveling the World.

Muscles beach

While visiting the beautiful, picturesque island of Jamaica, I spent time with family, saw the sites, and ate some of the nation’s famous cuisine. A lot of the cuisine, actually.

After touching down at Montego Bay airport, taking a cab, and navigating rural roads that seemed to have more potholes than asphalt, I asked the driver to stop at a small hut serving cooked meals. I had the snapper with rice and peas, and washed it down with coconut water. One of the staff used a large machete to chop off the top of a coconut, inserted a straw into the opening, and handed it to me. While the cab driver continued the journey, I enjoyed my meal in the back seat. We were on our way to Sligoville, a rural community close to St. Catherine’s Spanish Town. That’s where many of my family on the island happen to be based.

For the three weeks I spent in Jamaica, I split my time between the homes of relatives in off-the-beaten-path rural parishes and a fancy hotel suite. I’m almost embarrassed to admit having over-indulged on everything including curry chicken and rice and peas, oxtail and broad beans, fish fritters and hard dough bread, and ackee and saltfish with fried dumplings.

Fortunately, I had the frame of mind to keep fitness in mind while enjoying the type of food I grew up eating. Otherwise, I’d have packed on too much weight. The next time you go on vacation and decide to let loose and enjoy as much local fare as possible, keep these fitness tips in mind.

  1. Personal Trainer

It’s easy to fall into bad habits while traveling. When I was in Jamaica, I split my time between staying with family and staying at a luxury hotel in the heart of Montego Bay. Since I find it hard to stay motivated to work out consistently, I decided to work with a virtual personal trainer. I booked the workout dates ahead of starting my vacation. So, it was a matter of setting up personal training sessions, putting on my workout gear, going online, and doing my workouts. It found it particularly beneficial to exercise after lunch or dinner.

  1. Hotel Gym

Another practical option was the gym facilities at the hotels I stayed. Using the treadmill, exercise bike, and elliptical machines, I could burn calories and stay in shape. Listening to my favorite tunes while I whipped up a sweat didn’t hurt, either. It’s easy to pack on the pounds while on vacation. Part of the experience is letting loose and enjoying the experience. I made a point of spending more time in the gym on days when my caloric intake exceeded the norm.

  1. Long Walks

This part was fun. Montego Bay has many great sandy beaches as you’d expect on a Caribbean island. And what’s better than taking long walks on the beach? Not much. Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the best beaches on the entire island. With the white sand under my feet and the beautiful turquoise water in the backdrop, I enjoyed taking long walks early in the morning and evening. It was the perfect way to get in some low-impact exercise, meet locals and fellow travelers, and take in the sites and sounds of the area. Back at my Great Aunt’s home in Sligoville, I enjoyed taking a particular stray dog that lived on her property for walks. I never felt in danger with this large dog serving as my faithful chaperone.

Since I have roots in Jamaica, traveling there is always special. But since I tend to over-indulge in the food I grew up eating, I’m mindful about exercising on my trips to stay in shape. As you can see above, exercising doesn’t have to be difficult. A virtual trainer makes training from anywhere easy, a hotel gym means you can work out conveniently, and going for long walks is a great way to explore. 

So, the next time you’re on vacation, don’t forget to stay fit while having fun.

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