How To Stay Fit On A Cruise

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Walk it out (of course) ...

Lose Weight On A Cruise?

It's doable, but it takes some dedication, willpower, and adherence to these steps.

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... remember, there are ways to work out on every ship ...
... even in your own cabin.

By Abby Ellin
Originally appeared in September 2014 issue of Virtuoso Life

Before a recent 12-day Crystal Cruises’ sailing, I made a deal with myself: I’d return home thinner than when I left. There must be a way, I thought, to healthfully navigate cruising’s notorious all-you-can-eat buffets, afternoon teas, and – lest we forget – booze. Who wouldn’t rather come home from vacation feeling relaxed and recharged instead of bulgy and bloated? Here are a few tips that helped me disembark feeling fit – and wearing clothes that fit too.

1. Get help.
Within my first hour aboard, I marched (no elevator!) up 12 flights of stairs to the fitness center, where one of the ship’s two personal trainers gave me nutritional guidance and told me that, while the Crystal Symphony offers lighter menus in certain restaurants, all its chefs were happy to make whatever I wanted (grilled or steamed fish, for instance, instead of fried).

2. Move it on the ship …
Cruise ships have gyms for a reason. I signed up for spin classes, aqua aerobics, and Pilates. I also purchased four one-on-one personal-training sessions ($240 total), along with three group boot-camp classes ($40 per half hour). As well, the ship provided weighted vests and poles, which passengers can borrow for a power walk on Deck 7 (four times around is about a mile).

3. … and at ports of call.
When given the choice of an eight-hour bus ride to a magnificent old Indonesian temple or a hike in a gorgeous Malaysian national park, I opted for the latter.

4. Speak up.
My stateroom minibar was loaded with beer, wine, spirits, and soft drinks. I asked the butler to remove the contents except for water and a few Diet Cokes. Every afternoon, he delivered a snack, and when I told him I was watching my food intake, he was happy to bring only fruit.

5. Avoid temptation.
Willpower counts, but studies show that other factors do too – including avoiding temptation altogether. If you can’t pass the candy store without purchasing mountains of jellybeans and coconut clusters, change your route. The same goes for the midnight buffet: If you can’t handle it, don’t go.