It’s that time of year many of you are taking vacations and doing a lot of traveling. Our fitness often takes a backseat to lounging on the beach and indulging in processed foods.
Just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean your health and fitness has to take a vacation too. Here’s the deal. Vacations, down time and a break from the norm is necessary for your overall well-being as well as your health and fitness, but, breaking from healthy eating and physical activity can cancel out the benefits of the R&R you get. It’s like trading one stress for another. Use these tips and you may even take your fitness to the next level this year.
- Your cells and your bodies processes do not get to take a break. They continue to work 24/7 in a attempt to keep your body in a state of homeostasis (a state of balance and where your body functions optimally and is able to ward off disease processes). If you take a break from eating clean and exercising, your body then has to kick into high gear. Everything has to work harder and you essentially are swapping out your normal work stress for another kind of stress. Either way, you are treating your body in a way that ages you faster. Keep this in mind when you make your choices on vacation.
- Break out of your typical workout routine. It’s important that you are active on vacation, but, you don’t have to do the same routine you do when you are home. I write travel workouts for my clients that they can do anywhere and it hits all the important parts, but, it’s short and sweet. It addresses their issues to keep them injury free and participating in the activities they love. Although it is ideal, it isn’t necessary to have a trainer write you a program. Connect with your body and do the exercises that make you feel strong and ready to conquer surfing, volleyball, hiking, biking, or whatever activities you are going to do on your vacation.
- Know your food triggers. If there is a particular food that triggers you to over indulge in other foods, it’s a pretty good idea to steer clear of it. Enjoy what I call intelligent indulgences. Have deserts or other foods that you don’t normally have, but, in moderation and make them higher quality. Rather than spending $20 bucks on a bunch of junk, spend $20 on a food to indulge in that is higher quality. You spend the same amount of money, and, yes, you will have less. The point is, you shouldn’t be indulging a ton anyway. When you do, make it totally worth it. Either way you spend $20 bucks.
- Try and keep a somewhat normal sleep schedule. Lack of sleep is a form of stress. Stress raises bad hormones and keeps them floating around in your system. This kills the homeostasis that I talked about above.
- Don’t over-schedule yourself. Again, this causes stress and well, stress causes aging and disease.
- Be present and check in with yourself. Vacation is a great time to figure out what you really love to do. When else will you be able to listen to your own brain without work issues swirling around? Check in often. Ask yourself “Am I enjoying this?” “What do I want to do right now?”
- Nap. Guilt-free naps are awesome. Short naps are so good for you. You will be refreshed and ready to take on all your activities.
- Leave expectations behind so that you can be in the moment. This kind of works in conjunction with #5 and #6. Expectations get in the way of being aware of what’s happening in the present moment and you can miss out on the fun of the moment if you are thinking about what your vacation should be like. Enjoy the moments.
- Use the freedom from schedule to learn to eat when you are hungry. The majority of our lives today are all on a schedule. Meals, appointments, work, school, activities, TV shows, etc. All on a schedule. This shuts down our awareness of true physiological hunger. Get it back while you are on vacation. Eat only when you are actually hungry. When you get back from vacation, try and keep this going. If a meal is scheduled and you aren’t hungry, don’t eat.
- Take a vacation from your vices. You know what I am talking about. TV, phones, tablets, gaming systems, Social Media, make-up & beauty products, high heels, driving, fill in the blanks with whatever you spend a lot of time on that in the grand scheme of life, is not important. You don’t need these things to have fun and re-charge the batteries.
The important thing is that you get outside of the norm without compromising your health and fitness. It’s pretty simple really. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though. I came up with these tips based on my own trouble with getting out of my usual routine. I used to schedule gym trips and bring all my workout equipment on vacation with me. Now I bring a few of my favorite workout tools. My workouts consist of what makes me feel awesome and strong to participate in the activities I love. I also used to get to the vacation destination and not know what to do with myself without work and a computer. It would take me 3 days to get to the point where I realized it was okay to relax and in fact it was necessary. Use these tips on your summer and let me know how it goes. If you have some tips of your own, please share with us what they are.