What I Do on Vacation (Hint: I Don’t Worry About Exercise)
Fitness is a part of my life. It always has been, and it always will be. I’m just as obsessed with the next person about staying on task, being consistent, and not missing any lifts.
I can count on one hand the total number of times I’ve skipped a scheduled training session. Once was because I felt like I was infected with Ebola. Once was because of a massive snow storm which laid the smack down on us, and forced us to stay home for a few days (which then served as the impetus for me to buy a set of kettlebells). And once was because a friend of mine dragged me to a second showing of The Two Towers. Whatever. Don’t judge me.
As I’m typing these words, I’m overlooking the ocean and beach (see pic to the left), and the last thing I’m worrying about is that I’ve only exercised once in the past four days. That is, unless you consider walking to and from my beach chair to water to pee as exercise. If that’s case I’ve been crushing it all week. Like a champ.
You see, I look at vacation as, you know, vacation. Weird, I know. Sure, Lisa and I try our best to implement and encourage as much “damage control” as possible:
1. We raided Trader Joe’s before we left and brought a stash of nuts, beef jerky, oatmeal, LaraBars, and a bunch of other things that, I think, are TSA approved.
2. We’re staying in a room that has a kitchen, and the resort we’re staying at has a fresh market, so we’re more than able to cook our own healthy meals when we want. We don’t necessarily have to eat out every meal.
3. Moreover, as any fitness couple would do, we’ve “visited” the gym here at the resort once or twice. I say “visited” (in quotations) because each time we’ve gone it’s been nothing hardcore or extraordinary. We both move around a little, break a sweat, high-five, and then leave.
Here’s Lisa hitting up some easy deadlifts as part of a circuit we were doing. And yes, I took over the stereo. Holla!
By and large, however, our vacation has been more about reading, relaxing, going for a few walks on the beach, and, WARNING TO ALL PALEO NAZIS READING (put on your ear muffs), eating our fair share of fajitas and quesadillas. I.e., gluten!
I’m often asked what my advice would be for people who are traveling and would like to still stay “healthy” and to workout and stay while away.
For starters, going on vacation IS HEALTHY!! Just getting out of our monotonous, humdrum, everyday routines, and going away, is one of the best thing we can do for our mental (and physical) health, and I’d encourage people to do it more often.
But more to the point, here’s something I shared on TravelStrong.net recently:
To read the whole article, go HERE.
Depending on the length (lets just say for shits and giggles a week), it may not be a bad idea for most people to view vacation as a “built in” deload week. Chances are most people have been busting their butts in the gym for months on end and haven’t had much of a break anyways.
Who’s to say that vacation can’t be, you know, a freakin vacation! Let loose!
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to live at the all-you-can-eat-buffet the entire time, or that you shouldn’t make an effort to move around just a little bit (even if it’s to move from one side of the pool to the next).
I know when I travel I like to stay at resorts or hotels that have a gym. Of course, this can be hit or miss as some resort’s definition of a gym is a pair of mis-matched dumbbells, a treadmill, a few mats, and a rubber duckey.
For the most part, hotels and resorts recognize that a fair portion of their visitors live a healthy and active lifestyle and most make a concerted effort to provide a reasonably well-stocked gym. If this is the case, great! While you probably won’t be able to deadlift heavy, it stands to reason you will be able move around a little bit.
And even if they don’t have a gym, who’s to say that you can’t do other “active” things: sprint on the beach, play tennis, go hiking, swim, etc.
The point is this: I like to treat vacation as vacation. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t perform your 5/3/1 training session at the spa. Most likely it will be the best thing for your body to take a few days off.
However, I understand that that is a tough pill to swallow for many people – myself included.
I have to move around in some fashion. So try to make plans to stay at a hotel or resort that has access to a gym; or at the very least, try to think outside the box and understand that exercise doesn’t ALWAYS have to be in the gym.
In the end, it’s okay to turn it off.
$10 says taking 3-5 days off and not touching a weight will do your body (particularly your joints) good. Besides, if you take some precautions, maybe purposely overreach (i.e., kick the shit out of yourself) the week before leaving, those few days off from training will serve as a perfect way to supercompensate and come back even stronger.
But what it really comes down to is this…. Relax. You earned it.