Travelling and fitness don’t always seem to go very well together. It’s hard when you’re exploring a new place to keep up the regular routine, and while I try to visit hotel gyms it’s always going to be a bit of a disruption. And so what? Apart from fitness, travelling is one of my great joys in life. I work to travel, simple as that. So when the boy whisked me off on a long weekend to the beautiful city of Bruges the focus definitely was not on working out, but instead on exploring a real fairy tale of a city, eating good food and drinking Belgian beer.
So this edition of Travel Fit may seem to be a bit of a misnomer. There was no gym at the quaint little B&B we stayed at. Though there was a protein filled omelette to chow down on every morning. Knowing in advance that there were no gym facilities meant I squeezed in a few extra sessions before we went away so I was still on track with my workouts and could leave the gym guilt out of my suitcase for the five days we were going to be away. Now, not working out does not necessarily mean it wasn’t a ‘fit’ holiday. Bruges, if you’ve never been is just a gorgeous city to walk in and so I easily got my 10,000 to 12,000 steps in a day to keep calories burned up. Climbing the famous Belfry was a great little cardio workout too with 360 steps to the top for those breath-taking views of the city.
And high calories burned means more food! Prior to going away I’d been mentally struggling with my calorie deficit a little Now, it’s not extreme at all what I’m on, but having a little diet break can work wonders when you have a bit of dieting fatigue. I didn’t go crazy, and I certainly wasn’t eating bulking levels of food, but I still vaguely logged (without my trusty food scale of course!) and I didn’t focus on macros. What I found when I broke everything down when I got back was that actually, I subconsciously lowered protein to eat more yummy carb-laden and high fat foods. I’m talking waffles, beer and chocolate of course, because who can visit Belgium without indulging in those?!
A perfect way of adding a little fitness twist into a visit to Bruges, apart from walking, is to hire a bike and head out of the city. I’m a vocal non-cyclist normally – the last time I rode a bicycle was after a bottle of wine down a hill, in the dark heading back to a hostel from a vineyard in Myanmar. But, the boy managed to convince me that a half-day bike ride would be a fun way to bring in some active minutes and so off we went to find the medieval town Damme. Considering my initial apprehension, my confidence on the bike grew fairly quickly, and it wasn’t long until we were racing along the side of the canal. The route to Damme is truly idyllic, with the canal on one side of you and stunning windmills lining the other side of the path. Once in Damme we of course needed to refuel…a bowl of bouillabaisse with plenty of crusty bread and a Belgian beer definitely did the trick. What is it with me and cycling under the influence?! The route back is simply the same way along the canal, this time though we got to watch the swim section of a triathlon. Cycling may not be as horrendous as I built it up to be in my head, but I certainly preferred watching to participating; no triathlons on my horizon thank you very much.
Overall, it was a really foodie holiday. We found some delightful restaurants in Bruges away from the tourist trap. Recommendations if you’re planning a visit are definitely Bistro Pro Deo, a tiny little 20 cover restaurant serving traditional Belgian food ( I had the steak tartare, and it was so good), Gran Kaffee de Passage which was full of eclectic décor and old style candle holders I could barely resist slipping in my bag and The Belgian Pigeon House serving delicious food in a cosy cellar setup. Our absolute favourite though was Réliva, a chic, modern little restaurant serving beautiful, organic dishes. Boy went veggie, while I opted for the roe deer steak with quinoa and forrest fruits. It was utterly divine. A great shout for vegetarians and omnomnomnivores alike.
So, perhaps not my most ‘fit’ trip. The trip was about good food providing a good mental reset for my dieting, and just being active by being out and about exploring a beautiful city. Sometimes fitness isn’t necessarily about working out, but about finding a happy healthy balance; our romantic visit to Bruges was just perfect for that.