it’s easier than you think…
I’ll be honest with you. This week is vacation week, so I’m rushing through this blog post so I can jump into the sea by a gorgeous beach that I’m currently lying on. So in the spirit of things this week’s post will be on exercising on vacation.
First off, vacations can be absolutely great for your health. The effect of bringing stress levels down, taking stock and generally relaxing on your overall well-being can’t be overstated.
I can back this up with firsthand observation too: I am finally on vacation after what feels like forever, and I am feeling AWESOME.
But one of the unexpected benefits of this vacation is that it reminded me of the disruptive effects of vacations on routine. A lot of my clients frequently tell me that sustaining the will power to train and eat right during and right after vacation is not easy once you take away the weekly 9-5 routine and all the structure that goes with that.
Truth be told, for fit and well-conditioned individuals, one week of indulgence won’t really have a big impact – but 2 or 3 weeks of complete exercise and nutrition neglect definitely will.
So with that in mind, let me share with you how I managed to keep up my exercise routine in the midst of a highly relaxing beach vacation.
First, I need to give you some context.
On average, I train twice a week: 35-45 mins sessions each time for a total of 70-90 minutes per week of high intensity strength training. I generally eat well through out the week and try to minimise the amount of junk food that I eat on a regular basis (Yes even I eat junk occasionally. I’m only human!)
But when you are travelling, it’s difficult to find much food that isn’t total junk. My first day of vacation was mostly spent sitting on my backside transiting from port to port, surrounded with bad, processed foods and really nothing else around. Not ideal, but a guy’s got to eat. Even so, I definitely felt the need to compensate for this lost day, even if I was on vacation.
I started the second day waking up to a beautiful sunny day and I could’ve very easily go back to sleep, lounge around, watch TV, jump into the pool or surf the internet. Instead, I decided to knock one of the two training sessions I needed to do this week off by heading outside to the grassy patch, no wider than a building corridor, and doing the first half of my ACT class. I was dreading it for the next 15 minutes as I mentally prepped myself for it, but in the end, I completed the workout in 20 minutes, and let me tell you, it was as gruelling as any class you guys have been to.
Feelings of soreness and fatigue were overshadowed by an even greater sense of relief and accomplishment as I knew I would feel after the 25 minute workout.
A few days later, I hit the resort fitness centre and although it was limited in equipment, I used what was available for a weight training session that was full body and hit all the main body areas. The total workout time was 30 minutes.
So far so good. Total training time spent on vacation: 55 minutes. And it actually made me enjoy my vacation even more knowing that I didn’t lose a week of training. They weren’t my best training sessions ever, but when I was training, but the urgent desire to get it done and over with ASAP was certainly a great motivation when I got going! It was still at a high ‘enough’ level of intensity to slow down the atrophy effect. Just enough for me to return to Shanghai and get back on my normal routine.
I completed the workout in 20 minutes
This is a good strategy because as described in my previous blog, in life, there will be highs and lows. You need to weather through the lows so that you can hit the highs again. Health and well-being is a long-term game, so you need to have a long-term outlook to match it.
That’s the beauty of high intensity training sessions. They are so efficient and effective that I don’t even need to spend an hour a week exercising – and on vacation, an hour is A LOT!
See you in class!