How To Not Gain Weight While On Holiday — AKA Fit Travel!

Holiday the Women's Health way


Amy Hopkins |

The easiest way to halt weight gain while on holiday is to find (or create) an experience where you get to have all the pleasures of paradise and all the inspiration to get sweaty in one space! “Fit Travel” is exactly that!

And that’s what I did when I went to Mauritius…

No Visa Needed

Abundance. Indulgence. These are the words that the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort & Spa in Mauritius brought to my mind. Just a five-hour flight from Cape Town (or four from Joburg), Mauritius is the closest piece of tropical paradise that made me feel like I’d left African shores for foreign pleasures. Unlike Bali or Thailand, the humidity is not too intense. It’s hot and fresh at the same time. At least that’s what it felt like to me when I landed, mountain bike in tow, ready to take on the Mauritius Tour Beachcomber (MTB). Four stages in three days.

Solo Travel To A Honeymoon Island?

Explore an island I’ve never been to before by bicycle? What an exciting opportunity! My only hesitation, travelling alone to what is typically known as a honeymoon destination, was that I’d feel a bit lonely. But, walking past couples canoodling among coconuts and kayak stands, I realised I felt so at peace. There’s something quite liberating about travelling solo.

Shandrani Beachcomber offers plenty intimate nooks and tiny bays, so I really experienced that “private escape” so often craved and very rarely fulfilled on holidays. And as nice as it would have been to fill those poolside couple beds with another human being, I found great pleasure in stretching out and taking up as much space as possible. Savasana on steroids. With resorts the size of small villages and gargantuan crystal pools, Beachcomber Tours offers incredibly generous packages. Once I arrived, I just sat back, relaxed and indulged…

The Paradise

Unlike the odd safari I’d done, the Shandrani Beachcomber all-inclusive package includes treats like bottomless French Champagne from 6pm. I would choose over a 6am gamedrive beskuit any day. Especially when it’s sipped at sunset after a snorkelling trip to see wrasse among the seagrass. The sea is warm, but not bathwater temperature. Instead, you feel the fresh currents sweep in as they gently kiss your body with their cool touch. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a morning of hard riding, as I soon discovered.

What I didn’t know about Mauritius is that it’s an adventure-sports destination as much as it’s a romantic getaway. And I don’t just mean the scuba diving, wakeboarding, sailing and kayaking that’s included in your hotel stay. I mean the hiking, trail running and cycling. I got to see and traverse incredible volcanic terrain, feel the quiet of shady forests, get caressed by sugar cane, cross rushing rivers and meet a fabulous mix of locals and foreigners. And I made friends fast! The race briefings are all done in French, so on day one I was asking fellow cyclists to translate our instructions into English.

READ MORE: 5 Awesome Travel Destinations Every Fit Girl Will Love

The Sweat

What I loved about the Mauritius Tour Beachcomber (MTB) is that you can participate in all four stages or join in for one or two – and there’s a kid’s race as well, so it’s very inclusive.

S T A G E 1 : 6 8 . 5 K M , 8 3 1 M  E L E VAT I O N *

We were transported by shuttle to the north of the island at Victoria Beachcomber, Pointe-aux-Piments. This stage is about familiarising yourself with sugar-cane fields and one big climb (expect to push your bike for a bit), which starts 10km in. After 23km (and some Insta pics of the spectacular views), a steady and occasionally quite rocky descent begins into more sugar cane fields before nearing the airport and finish line.

S T A G E 2 : 4 1 . 7 K M , 4 3 5 M  E L E VA T I O N *

A short, flattish stage with some sugar-cane groves and beautiful indigenous forest. You pass through the villages of Cluny, Mare Chicose and Riche en Eau.

Stage 2

S T A G E 3 : 2 5 K M , 1 8 4 M  E L E VAT I O N *

The night race consisted of five repeats of a 5km loop through forest, sand and a speedy tar section. Make sure you have a powerful front and back light (and that they’re charged!). Additionally, you can wear a head lamp and team up with someone to create more light. Thrilling!

S T A G E 4 : 6 0 K M , 7 7 0 M  E L E VA T I O N *

The last day explores the South-East side of the island and offers beautiful trails and views with two big, but very doable climbs before descending into the familiar airport section (a sign that the end is near!).

*Distances and elevation according to my Strava records.

READ MORE ON: Cycling Fitness Fitness Advice Mountain Biking Trail Running