Let’s take a quick moment and chat about summer vacations and our fitness, as we are well into summer and if you have let things slip, now is the time to pull the reins and take the control back.
I had a client come in for their usual morning workout and they were complaining right away about how bad their fitness had become, and they couldn’t understand why. I mean, they had only spent 2 and a half weeks driving across the country with their family, eating bad food and drinking way too much. Your guess is as good as mine as to how they got out of shape. Now we all know that you cannot exercise away a bad diet, and 18 days of over eating will lead to weight gain, no matter how hard you exercise.
The first step is to take back some control of your food intake. I understand that can be difficult when you are living on the road, but just a few simple changes will go a long way. If you are ordering fast food, skip the fries, opt for sandwiches over fatty burgers and if they have salads, order one but skip the dressing. If you are camping, skip out on the between meal snacks because if you camp like anyone I know, those snacks between meals do not consist of vegetables but rather something fried, that comes in a bag, and is coated with some sort of neon orange flavouring. If you are lucky enough to be on a more luxurious vacation this summer, and eating finer foods, just don’t overdo it. If you are having bread, skip the dessert. If you are drinking wine, make sure that the water is being consumed at a similar rate. Start yourself with a big, healthy breakfast and then try to avoid snacking in the day. Even touring around a city all week will not be enough to burn off an overindulgent menu.
When it comes to exercise, a little goes a long way. If you are camping, get out for a family hike and if you are hiking with little ones play a little game of tag along the way. A few sprints chasing your kids will be enough to get the heart rate pumping. If you are road-tripping, download a workout app onto your phone and do 15 minutes of exercise when you are stopped in a park for lunch. Or grab everyone you are travelling with for a quick circuit workout. Mix in some jumping jacks, squats, burpees, lunges and planks into a quick sweat session. You don’t have to do this every day but if you manage to exercise on half of the days that you are away your body will thank you when you are back at the gym. If you are staying in fancier places then take advantage of the amenities you have available to you. Use the gym and the pool and if they offer yoga or other fitness classes, take them up on it. My favourite way to exercise on vacation is get out for a run, especially if I am in a foreign country. There is something about being up early with the rest of the city that makes you feel as if you belong there and you are not a tourist.
A vacation isn’t an excuse to vacate from everything in your life, especially exercise, but if you do come back and your workouts feel harder than you remember, give yourself a couple of weeks to get back to where you were. Just make sure you are kind to yourself along the way.