How not to get fat on your next cruise vacation

Rough estimates by fitness instructors show that most cruisers gain an average of 1-2 pounds a day. If this statement scares you from taking your next cruise vacation, read this article first. On my recent 2-weeks cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of The Seas, I interviewed Maurice Van Rijthoven, a 30-year old fitness instructor from Netherlands. He oversees the VitalitySM Spa and Fitness center, the largest floating fitness area ever built. This 6,000 passenger vessel also boasts 30 restaurants and bars. Clearly, this is not your destination for weight-loss, but its possible.anthem of the seas

Located at the middle of deck 15, the SeaPlex is a large indoor gym with a full-size basketball court that can be converted into a dance floor, a flying trapeze school, a roller-skating arena, that converts to a bumper cars playground. The “SeaPlex” also features the SeaPlex Dog House food truck and table tennisair hockey and foosball tables on a second-level mezzanine.

bumper cars on Anthem of the Seas

The Spa and Fitness Center are located on decks 15 and 16, offering beautiful views of the surrounding seas. On embarkation day, Rijthoven gives a tour of the gym and spa. This is the best time to sign up for classes as they tend to fill up. Daily class offerings start at 7am and include yoga, pilates, stretching, spinning, body sculpt and more. The spin class emulates a Tour de France type of challenge for the 16 bikers participating. Some of the classes require a fee to attend.

For those who like to freestyle it,  the gym is well stocked with TechnoGym equipment, and includes practically everything one may need for a total body workout, including cardio, weights and a stretching area. The outdoor jogging track is 1/3 of a mile, with an uphill feature, and a great way to get your daily run. But you need to go early morning or late in the evening, as it gets crowded with sunbathers during the day. gym at anthem of the seas

There is also a bootcamp you can sign up for if you need a little group motivation. Generally, 8-10 guests participate in a daily regiment with a personal trainer that keeps them in shape. Rijthoven tells me that on an average, 20-30 people sign up for one on one personal training sessions during the cruise. Roughly 10% of cruisers use the gym facilities, which is tragic for Rijthoven to witness as he overlooks some of the finest equipment on sea.

“The biggest mistake people make is overindulging,” he says. Vacationers think its ok to eat and drink whatever they like, because they are on holiday. They wouldn’t ordinarily pack in these many calories in their normal diet. Rijthoven offers workshops throughout the trip educating travelers on how to properly balance having fun and keeping fit. A personal consultation – Eat more to weight less measure your metabolism rate and advises a diet plan accordingly.

For those who want to make a drastic change in their physical wellbeing, he advises a Detox program that travelers can do once they get back. This helps them remove toxins from within the body, and allow it to better absorb nutrients.

One of the ship’s restaurants, Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro offers spa cuisine created by author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook series, Devin Alexander. The menu boasts dishes that are under 500 calories for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a wide selection of salads, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, as well as dessert.

For those who forget to check in with the fitness regime regularly, you may get messages delivered to your door or your tv screen reminding you about the special classes being offered each day. Rijthoven advises that if all cruisers found it in their schedule to exercise one hour daily, whether it is running, attending a class, or training on your own, they won’t end up gaining weight from their vacation.

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Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer, who has traveled to 80+ countries across 6 continents. She is also the founder and editor of 'Go Eat Give' and author of 'Beato Goes To' series of children's books on travel.