Everyone needs to enjoy life and the way I choose to do that is by going on holiday.
Usually for everyone, apart from those people that base their holiday around gym facilities, a holiday means taking a step back from your race to get fit and eat healthy and it means a few days (sometimes longer) to really pig out and enjoy yourself.
I live by this rule but since starting this journey I’ve started adding a few new rules in to do some damage limitation when enjoying yourself on Holiday.
My Top Tips
- Don’t say no to treats while you are on holiday, you’ve paid to enjoy yourself and if you’re going to the home of Pizza and Gelato then it wouldn’t be right to avoid those foods. Just make sure you have an understanding of the food contents and that will help you make conscious menu choices where you can.
- Look for opportunities to be more active, what better way to take in the real vibe from a City than to explore it on foot. Buses and Metros are great for those long distance trips across town but if there is only on stop then why not walk and get lost in the atmosphere of the City while you’re at it.
- Still work out, if your hotel doesn’t have a gym then you can still fit in a hotel room HITT work out to keep you on track. It doesn’t have to be every day, I managed one hotel room workout on my most recent trip and it made me feel great and less sluggish when I got home.
So with those rules in mind let me tell you about Naples. My friend, Gemma, and I booked a City break to Naples based mainly on the desire to go to Italy and the ridiculous price of flights. I had hoped for a few days away in the Sun but the beast from the east at the end of February meant that the weather wasn’t quite what we had in mind.
We arrived early evening and caught the Alibus from the airport down to the Port of Naples. The bus ride in had both of us worried as Naples looked like a bit of a run down dump. We were staying near the port and the hotel was fairly easy to find. We checked in to the Hotel (Website can be found here) and it was fairly welcoming. I was highly amused by the fact that we had a red LED strip light above the window which made me feel like I should be in Amsterdam and dancing for my money.
We headed into the Old town as this was close to where we were staying and thought that the Historic Quarter would be the place to go for our first dinner. When we were walking around everything seemed run down, standard I guess as it was ‘Old Town’ but it gave us an uneasy feeling about the people around us and what the rest of the week would have in store. We wandered down side streets full of patisserie vendors and with all my new found will power I decided that a cup full of Profiteroles and cream was not the best idea on the first night and instead we stumbled upon a Pizza restaurant with a heated outdoor marque. As the popular saying goes… ‘When in Rome’ (Naples) I thought I’d do as the Romans do and order a Pizza. In the UK if I have Pizza its going to be from one of two places, Pizza Express or Dominos and so I was expecting really stodgy dough and to be uncomfortably full for the rest of the evening. Boy was I wrong! The Pizza dough was so light, thin and delicious.
Although I had every intention of doing a hotel room workout I opted for a lay in instead. The hotel breakfast was basic and continental so I opted for some ham, cheese and a Banana. As the weather was due to be rubbish most of the week we planned our activities around that. We started off walking up to Toledo metro station which was artistic and good for pictures. From there we had decided to go and visit one of the big churches and look inside. We jumped on the Metro but the station we’d planned to get off at didn’t actually exist so we ended up getting off at the main central station. That was a shock. The area around the central station was even worse than the areas we’d walked through the night before. I was definitely concerned that I may get stabbed or mugged. Luckily neither happened. We headed off in search of the Piazza Nationale as Google showed a lovely picturesque building that we thought would be worth a look. When we got there however we were greeted with a patch of grass and what looked like a skate park, cheers google…
We turned around and headed off in search of the church we’d looked up the night before. Once we’d got back into the historic quarter we felt a little more safe but a lot of the churches appeared closed. Finally we stumbled upon a church that also doubled up as an art gallery so we went inside and took in the beautiful architecture and a famous painting by some guy named Carravaggio. For lunch we wandered down a side street and into a lovely little restaurant and decided to enjoy their 3 course lunch menu. Bruchetta followed by Pasta with a tomato and beef sauce then a meatball in tomato sauce with mixed salad all topped off with a shot of lemonchelo. Needless to say we were both pretty full after the first main course!
After lunch we explored some more, saw an exhibition on the treasures of Naples and then headed back to the hotel ready for the evening.
As we’d had a pretty large lunch we’d decided to head out for a cocktail before deciding what to have for dinner. We walked in the opposite direction to usual and actually came across the much more modern part of Naples, Chiaia. We ordered our cocktails and to our surprise the waitress came over with a grazing plate of food. This made our decision easy. No dinner needed!
We then decided that we would head to another bar for more cocktails. This was my first experience of a speakeasy type bar. A bar that you wouldn’t know existed unless you were looking for it. From the outside it looks like a house. You ring the doorbell and they come and let you in. This was a fantastic experience for me, the cocktails were great and also came with some more snacks. Clearly this is standard in Naples.
Wednesday we visited Pompeii. It is fairly easy to get to by train from Naples but be warned, the trains are busy and full of dodgy people. There was one guy jumping from carriage to carriage and I definitely caught him eyeing up my bag. Luckily I am a sceptical person so had my belongings close to me.
When you get off the train at Pompeii station there are lots of people trying to sell you tickets and they are all the “Official” ticket place. You can buy your tickets on the gate and save yourself a few euros.
The ruins are beautiful and it is east to get lost in them without a tour guide or audio guide. Most of the time I have no idea what I was looking at. I did however take the opportunity to fit in some exercises. I managed a wall sit up against some ancient ruins and also ran up the steps of the amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was my favourite bit. We had a sandwich meal deal in the cafe for lunch, wandered around some more and then Headed back to the hotel. That evening we decided to stay fairly local as our legs were aching from all the walking we had been doing. For dinner I had Mozzarella and Prosciutto followed by Bolognese. The amount of Mozzarella on my plate was unreal!
I promised myself before the trip that I would do at least one workout while I was away. I’d set myself a plan that involved some HITT and some Abs and could be completed in a Hotel room. Today was the day I decided to do this. We got up earlier than usual and got ready to work out. I roped Gemma into completing it with me so I ran her through the exercises and correct form so that she would know what we were doing. I think that she may have wanted to kill me during the workout! I will include the work out below along with the time lapse video.
Thursday was the day the weather changed so we decided to use our time wisely and spend the day wandering around the harbour front and through the town. In the Sun Naples seems like completely different place. The water glistens and the people seem friendlier. We walked along the front, stopped for a drink by the castle and then walked some more until the castle was visible in the distance. As Naples is famous for its Pizza we stopped at a restaurant called 50 Kelo Pizza. I had a strange pizza, it was mozzarella and prosciutto ham but it had no sauce on the base and was covered in olive oil. It was nice when I ate it but I felt a little unwell when we got back to the Hotel. I put this down to the amount of Oil on the Pizza. A nap soon sorted that out. On the way back to the hotel, as the weather was nice we stopped for Gelato, I had two scoops. Stratichella and Kinder. They were so creamy and so naughty but like I said, holidays are a time to treat yourself, plus I had done a workout!
In the evening we decided to head down to the Castle for a nice meal. I had prosciutto and melon for starter followed by a creamy bacon, mushroom and courgette pasta, it was my favourite meal of the whole holiday. After dinner we went to a few bars for some cocktails and every bar came with its own assortment of grazing snacks ranging from nuts to crisps to pastries. I cant say no to food being in front of me so of course I tucked in, even after eating a starter and main for dinner!
Friday was our last day and we decided to take a tour of the underground city in Naples. Part of this included having to fit through a really tight tunnel to see the aqueduct. Experiences like this make me feel grateful that I started this fitness journey as the me from 3 years ago would have definitely got stuck trying to squeeze through the tunnel. Before the airport we had dinner, some more prosciutto and melon followed by bolognese. Its safe to say I love prosciutto and I also love pasta more than Pizza. I also treated myself to a slice of marble chocolate tarte.
Overall this holiday was a great experience for me. Knowing that I can go away and make healthier choices because I want to but that I can still demolish an ice cream if i choose make me glad that I am on this journey. I didn’t feel like I missed out and I feel like I kept active.
We walked over 46 miles in the 5 days we were there and did some extra workouts.
Naples itself I am still on the fence about. There are bits of it that feel very unsafe and run down but then there are hidden gems that make you forget about the bad bits. If you want to visit then my suggestion would be to go into it with an open mind and definitely stay down near the port rather than near the central station as the post area is nicer but also close enough to walk to the historic quarter if you want to.
My Hotel Room Workout.
30x high knees
20x star jumps
15x body weight squats
10x assisted press-ups
20x other side
20x 90 degrees
20x Russian twist
20x Jacobs ladder
|Google map of just one day of walking|
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