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Stop the Fatcation: 6 Tips to Prevent Vaca Weight Gain

Fatcation/fatˈkāSHən/ (n) While on vacation, you do more getting fat than sightseeing.

I just got back from a fatcation, I mean vacation. 😉 Vacations can be scary for dieters, but just because you go on vacation doesn’t mean you have to take a fitness vacation too. You can still have a ton of fun, try new foods and “cheat” while not completely losing your mind – and your progress.

Here are 6 tips to help control your vacation eating – and help you bounce back quickly once you get back home.

tasting1. Taste, don’t gorge. More is not always better, but when you are on vacation, it’s fun to taste foods you normally don’t eat. Key word: Taste! Grazing all day is actually better than pigging out a couple of times a day. When you are on vacation, share plates and appetizers so you can taste more, but eat less.  

2. Be picky. Just because something is sitting on a plate in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I actually ordered 3 meals that were a disappointment to me. After I tasted it and discovered it wasn’t what I hoped, I just opted to skip it altogether because it wasn’t worth the calories to me. If you are trying to lose weight, it pays to be picky. If it’s not worth 1-2 hours in the gym to burn off, then it’s not worth eating.

 hotel gym3. Make room for more calories. When I say “make room”, I’m talking about making room for more calories. We typically consume a lot more calories on vacation than we do when we are back in our normal routine at home. However, many times people workout less. If you are watching your weight, account for the extra calories you are eating and try to stay active so you can “afford” the extra calories. Whether you hit the hotel gym, go for a jog, or you just try to walk everywhere instead of taking a cab, increasing your activity while on vacation will help you decrease your chances for vacation weight gain.  

4. What happens on vacation stays on vacation. What I mean is, the overeating, drinking, laziness, etc ends when your vacation ends. It’s very easy to let your vacation habits come home with you. Instead, make a mark in the sand and decide to jump right back to your normal routine as soon as you get back. So, as soon as you get home, hit the grocery store and start planning and cooking for the week so you are ready to eat clean again.

oops5. Forgive yourself. I’ll be honest, I feel fat as a cow right now. That’s how I FEEL. Is that reality? No. I know good and well there is no way I can erase months of training and hard work in just a few days. Can it set me back? Sure, but if I hit it hard (with both diet and training), I’ll be right back where I want to be in no time. That’s the reality. No matter how bad you feel, forgive yourself. Realize, it’s just a vacation. You deserved the break and, often times, you will even hit it HARDER when you get back. Ironically, it’s those kind of cheat days that can make you double your intensity and the drive you need to take your routine to a new level.  

fitness goals6. Set new goals and guidelines. In order to reach a goal, you need to have a goal to strive for. Once you’ve set a goal, you need to plan to get there and that requires setting some rules. Often times people set some pretty stiff rules but they have just as many exceptions as they do rules. For instance, they diet and train hard all the time except for special occasions or weekends. The problem is, many people have a lot of special occasions. Between dinner dates, birthdays, Holidays, events, etc – someone can easily have something that interrupts their routine every week if they are ont careful. My suggestion is to not allow for any cheating for 3-4 weeks so you get a really good powerful start. Then schedule one cheat day. Then go right back at it. Once you get closer to your goal, your cheat meals can be closer together. Setting rules like this keeps you accountable and on schedule to reach your goal.

Vacation from Work – and Diet

It’s been so quiet here at PFITblog for the last week. Why? Because I was on VACAAAATION!! Woo Hoo! But now I’m back and I’m ready to type until my fingers bleed! 😉

NPC Southeast Classic

Carnival CriuseAfter our Team Max group (pictured above with me in the center) competed in the NPC Southeast Classic on April 6th, Steve and I jumped on a cruise ship and headed for Mexico. To be honest, I was a little nervous about going on vacation. Not because of the recent Carnival cruise disasters, but because I was afraid of the enormous amount of food I’d be facing and I didn’t want to blow all my hard work. Cruises are known for their never-ending buffets and all-you-can-eat gourmet meals.

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterOn prior cruises, I remember the amazing food and knew I’d be tempted to go crazy. Surprisingly, either my taste buds have changed or my emphasis on food has changed. I honestly missed clean eating and was craving a simple grilled piece of meat and steamed vegetables. Everything was so oily and saucy. The chefs were clearly not concerned about my waistline.

Searching for the “Food High”

Everyone does it – it’s the search for a new “food high”. That’s that moment you’ve tasted something new or more amazing than ever before. The problem is, when you aren’t dieting, that food high can be harder to reach. But, when you eat clean (simple, healthy whole foods), you taste more of the actual food you are eating and rely less on all the sauces and fillers to entertain your tastebuds. As a result, even a little goes a long way. However, if you are eating rich foods all the time, you almost need even richer foods to wow you. It’s almost like a drug. The more you are used to, the more you need to taste to get your food high. However, if you eat clean, it takes very little to excite you.

ALBERTO'S Although I admit, I had enough chips and salsa to kill someone, the other thing I missed was smaller portions. Since I ate more than I would at home, my belly was constantly fuller. I am not just talking about my stomach, I’m talking about my entire gut. The more you eat, the more you digest. This alone makes you feel fat, even if you don’t gain one pound of fat. I tried to graze all day, but when it came to Mexico, I couldn’t stop eating the guacamole! ha!

three amigos restaurantAfter a day exploring Cozumel and tasting every pico, salsa & guac they had on the island, we ended at Three Amigos Restaurant, where we finished the night eating even MORE chips – and posing in this fun Three Amigos prop (left). 🙂 Left to right: Dawn Borders, Christopher Borders & the last happy face is ME!

Lastly, sometimes it’s just best to say no. I don’t know why we feel the need to try everything. It’s almost like we are scared of missing out. I believe it is healthy to have limitations even when eating out or on vacation. Despite how much food I DID eat, I still had rules and still tried to improve my choices. For instance, I had 1/2 a burger with no bun, I tasted some fries but didn’t finish them. Cozumel MexicoI ordered some spinach stuffed mushrooms but didn’t eat them all. I tasted desserts but only ate what I loved and ditched the rest. Most mornings I skipped over pancakes and greasy breakfast items for egg white omelets, ham and fruit. I still had PLENTY of goodies, and STILL overate, but my “going crazy” still had limits.

So, here I am, back at home sharing my experience with you. Although I am no longer on vacation, part of my vacation came home with me –  and it’s time to shed my vacation fat and jump back into my healthier routine.

See: “6 Tips to Recover from Fatcation“!

Bonnie Pfiester

Do you take a vacation from your diet when you go on vacation? Or do you still try to be good?

3 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

This weekend Steve and I went to Disney for a mini-vaca. Epcot had their Wine and Food Festival, and Steve wanted to go to Texas de Brazil for his birthday dinner. So, since we didn’t want to feel bad for the extra calories, we hit the hotel gym every day.

With every holiday and special occasion, there’s always food – lots and lots of unhealthy high-calorie food you normally don’t even look at, much less eat. This month it’s all about stuffing, pumpkin pies, turkey and high-cal gravy, casseroles dripping in cheese with french fried onions on top. Needless to say, dieters should be worried. Thanksgiving IS coming – and so are the extra pounds unless you prepare for it.

How Bad Do You Want It?

If you really want to eat all the Holiday fare, then you better get to work, because you either have to work FOR the STUFFing or work the STUFFing OFF if you don’t want to gain weight this year.

1. Work More. Have you seen homeless people holding up “will work for food” signs? Well, that’s you! You can afford to eat a little more than you normally do, or eat things you wouldn’t normally eat, if you make room in your caloric budget for them. This means, if you know you are going to eat an extra 1,000 calories over the weekend, plan on doing 2-3 more cardios that week to make room. You will literally be working for food. The problem is, most people actually workout LESS during the Holidays – not more. This is why so many of us gain weight during this time of year.

Steve, getting ready for a killer workout in the hotel gym.

I know, I’d guess your first response to that statement is that you are too busy during the Holidays to workout. However, that excuse really doesn’t really work. You’ll likely have enough time to watch TV, stalk people on facebook, or read this blog, among other things. You just need to prioritize.

If you are too busy, then be more purposeful with your workouts. Put cardio and/or full-body fat-burning workouts as top priority, and only do weight training if you have time. The key to a successful healthy holiday season is burning calories. It only takes 30 minutes to get a good sweat on. Are you really going to try to make up a good excuse of why you won’t invest 30 minutes of your day on your health and happiness?

2. Eat Less. If you truly don’t have the time to workout, treat eating like your bank account. You can either afford it or not. If you haven’t been working out to make room for the extra calories, then don’t eat the extra calories. If you can’t workout, you’ll have to be more strict with your diet – IF you don’t want your weight to slip. You can still sample some of your favorite foods, but just like you manage your bank account, you have to manage your calories and make sure you can afford each bite. (TIP: Track calories at

3. Balance. Of course, balance is key. The best situation is to maintain your workouts and eating patterns as best as you can, and apply the above to the few days you are out of your routine. Remember, what you allow to hit your lips during the Holidays will last you weeks on your hips if you aren’t careful.

What’s the other alternative? Weight gain. If you aren’t willing to workout and watch your calories, then expect to gain weight. If that’s OK with you, and you don’t mind joining the millions who make weight loss their New Year’s Resolutsion come January, than go for it. OR you can be a step ahead of the rest of America and stay fit and trim (and feel GREAT) this Holiday! 🙂

20-Minute Workout

45 Seconds Air Squats
15 Seconds of Rest

45 Seconds of Push Up & Knee to Elbow
15 Seconds of Rest

45 Seconds of Burpees
15 Seconds of Rest

45 Seconds of Bicycle (Oblique) Sit-Ups
15 Seconds of Rest

1 Full Minute of Rest 


TIP: Take the workout up a notch by counting reps for each round to encourage a faster pace. Try to beat your time each time you do the workout.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take Your Workout on Vacation

Working out is pretty easy when you have a gym nearby, but exercise takes a little more creativity when you are in the middle of nowhere – and we put this to the test just recently while on vacation.

When Steve and I were in the mountains with our friends, we wanted to burn off some of the extra calories we were consuming. While our friends scouted out the terrain, Steve started looking for heavy objects to use as fitness tools.

They grabbed medium-size rocks for shoulder raises and propane tanks for squat presses. They used heavy lumber to put on their shoulders for walking lunges and used rope for climbing and repelling. Before we knew it, we had a whole outdoor gym ready to make everyone sweat.

This is one advantage to functional training, like our BCx boot camp program. Since we don’t rely on weight machines to sculpt physiques in boot camp, our clients learn plenty of exercises they can do at home – or, like our friends, their home away from home.

The more functional exercises you learn, the more creative you can get with your workouts, no matter where you are. Even the smallest hotel gym can give you the space you need to create an effective workout if you have a good exercise library in your head.

Here are 5 tips to staying fit on your vaca:

1. Get a lay of the land. Look for surrounding paths, streets and trails. If you can drive on them, clock miles and create a route.

2. Make some fitness tools. Turn two one-gallon containers of water into 8lb dumbbells. Rocks, firewood, large containers of laundry detergent and even luggage can be used as used as weights.

3. Invest in small fitness tools. It’s great to have some portable fitness equipment, like jump rope and Bodylastics bands, that travel well and work great too.

4. Pack your tennies. There is one thing you need if you want to work up a sweat no matter what you do – a good pair of tennis shoes. I brought my Spira stability shoes, which are versatile and great for running too.

5. Plan ahead. If you want to have a good workout while on vacation, do some research before you hit the road. Google area gyms and look for cool tourist activities that keep you moving. Pick out a few workouts you can take with you, like the ones we create online for or

Even if you go on vacation, that doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation from your workouts too!

Here is the workout Steve, and his friend Brian, did in the mountains.

The Workout:
– Sprint Uphill
– 10 Burpees
– Climb Rope up 20 foot cliff
– Sprint Uphill
– Carry 20-40lb Objects
– Jump the Ranger
– Race Downhill
– Lumber Lunges
– Climb Rope

DIET: 7 Ways to Cheat Smart

Back in the day, when Steve used to go off his diet he would say he was “taking the gloves off” – meaning, no more rules. In sports like boxing and hockey, taking the gloves off means they are about to throw down. No rules, no ref, anything goes.

Well, that’s how Steve and I used to cheat – we’d take the gloves off. However, over the years our eating has changed drastically. Although we totally still cheat on our diet here and there, even cheating is done in moderation.

Vacation or Diet Vacation?
I think too many people “take the gloves off” like we used to – especially when on vacation. They go on vacation and they don’t even try to eat healthy. On the contrary, people often cram as much crappy stuff in their body while on vacation “just because they are on vacation” – as if they’d never get the chance to cheat again.

Sure, you should be able to have some yummy meals and treats on vacation – I’m not suggesting you have to “diet”. What I’m saying is you should still practice self-control and balance. Whether it’s trying to still maintain healthy portions or mixing in healthy meals with cheat meals, eating just to eat shouldn’t be an option.

Our Dumb Rules (AKA: Lame Excuses)
We humans make some of the dumbest diet rules. We have certain occasions we “allow” ourselves to “take the gloves off”.  We cheat when we celebrate. We cheat when we go out of town. We cheat when it’s a Holiday. We cheat on the weekends. We cheat when we’ve had a hard day. Honestly, sometimes we cheat our way through a whole week because of circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we continue to cheat after several days of cheating, because we’ve been so bad. Really? Is that an excuse? I’ll be bad today just because I was so bad yesterday? Yep, that’s how some of us think and act. How stupid is that?!

Going Over the Limit
We do the very same thing when with spending, especially on vacation. We buy things just to buy things. After blowing it one day, we often blow even more money (and debt) the next day – and many times it’s on stupid stuff. I mean, do you really think you’ll hang that ridiculous Mexican sombrero in your house? Probably not, but you sure will be paying for it, along with all the other junk “that you had to have”, for a lot longer than it took to buy ut. The same goes with diet. You may not be playing by they rules, but the rules still apply – and, believe me, you WILL pay.

7 Ways to Cheat Smart & Win the Fat Fight

You can splurge, taste, play and feel good to – IF you learn to cheat smart. Here are a few ways to enjoy great cuisine without losing your fight with fat.

1.) Only eat what you love. How many times have you eaten something just because it’s in front of you? How many times have you cleaned your plate and the meal wasn’t even that good? Save your cheat calories for only foods you absolutely love.

2.) Make good choices and healthy tradeoffs. Think about what you like the most. Do you want the appetizer more, or the dessert more? Instead of having every course offered, narrow down the choices to what’s most important to you.

3.) Divide your cheat meal up by cutting high-calorie foods in half. If you want to totally splurge on your favorite high calorie dish, don’t overeat too. You can enjoy that deep fried dish, or pasta swimming in alfredo, but save calories by not eating it all in one siting to avoid more calories stored as fat. The good news is you get to have your favorite meal twice!

4.) Choose one: over-eating or over-calorieing. I know, it’s not a word! What I mean is, if your idea of splurging is overeating, then eat healthy. If your idea is eating a high calorie cheat meal, then eat less of unhealthy meals.

5. Plan to cheat. One of the best things you can do is plan your cheat meals out. If you are jonesing for your favorite cheat meal for dinner, eat healthy during the day or do an extra cardio. Save calories on other snacks and meals to allow more room to cheat.

6. Eat for fuel. Remember, what you eat today is how you will feel tomorrow. So, if you’re planning to hit the beach and you want to look good in your bikini, or you want a ton of energy on vacation, you may want to eat how you want to feel – and plan your cheat meals around that. My sister learned this the hard way when we went to Busch Gardens after eating pancakes. Steve and I had a ton energy and she crashed after only 2 hours of being at the park. If you want to feel good, you may want to choose your biggest cheat day for the last day of your trip.

7. Cheating  can be depressing. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy on vacation. Cheating can really mess with your head. You can mentally feel fat and ugly, causing bad mood swings and emotions. If you want to feel confident and comfortable, limiting crappy meals can make you a much happier camper.

Subscribe fore more tips and motivation!

Photo of Bonnie Pfiester by Misty Lundeen

Exercise is Just More Fun in Mexico!

As many of you know, we had the privilege to lead Mexico Body Camp, a luxury wellness retreat at El Dorado Royale.WOW!! What a FUN trip to Mexico with the Sears FitStudio & My Destination Wellness team! Below is Scott Herman, Me, Steve Pfiester, Alfonso Moretti (AKA: The Angry Trainer) and Andrea Metcalf.

Every day was filled with fitness activities – boot camp on the beach, sunrise yoga, pilates, MMA kickboxing and trainer workshops. The resort was simply amazing, making pretty much any exercise there dreamy! I’ll be posting photos on my facebook throughout the week so be sure to check them out and writing more recaps and sharing Mexico fit tips.

If you are looking for a wellness retreat, stay tuned because this won’t be the last. Not only do we lead retreats at Gloria Estefan’s beach resort, we will be planning another dreamy fitness vaca with the FitStudio trainers – and likely another chance to WIN! Stay tuned!


Keith, from Visible Air, was on location the entire time shooting video for FiStudio, which you will be seeing soon. He captured all the sweat and plenty of fun! Thanks Keith!! You ROCK!

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
Steve had a hard time concentrating on his lines with the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders watching. That’s OK, because he returned the favor and had a perfect view during pilates to watch them during THEIR swimsuit shoot! …but somehow I don’t think they were as distracted as he was. ha!!

Back in Action!
Now that I’m back in the states, I’ll be get back to blogging and motivating my peeps! Tell me what YOU would like to hear. Diet? Workouts? Motivation? My inquiring mind wants to know! …as soon as I get your feedback I’ll get back to work!

Hope you all have a fantabulous week!!!

LAST CHANCE to Go to Mexico with Us!


FitStudio is giving SEVEN lucky winners a one-of-a-kind fitness VACATION FOR TWO at the plush El Dorado Royale Spa Resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. That’s 14 people who get to spend time with us in Mexico FREE!! CLICK ON THE BANNER TO ENTER!

FitStudio Body Camp: Mexico

Come join Steve and I, along with FitStudio trainers:

The Angry Trainer (Alfonso Moretti), as seen on Fox, MTV & NBC
Andrea Metcalfauthor of Naked Fitness, as seen on the NBC Today Show
Scott Herman, as seen on MTV’s Real World of Brooklyn

Get your body beach ready!

Choose your FitStudio fitness program & get ready with the trainers you’ll be vacationing with:
BCx Boot Camp with Steve & Bonnie
Real Strength with the Angry Trainer
Better Beach Body with Scott Herman
Naked Fitness with Andrea Metcalf


Book Your Vaca with Us!

Don’t want to take your chances? Book your all-inclusive fitness vacation TODAY – and if you WIN, they’ll REFUND your money! You can’t beat that! Click on the banner below to get more information on your personalized vacation!

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