So I had a very un-personal-trainer-y Christmas vacation this year.
I only worked out once over the 4 days I was gone.
I ate a ton of crap.
I didn’t drink enough water.
Now that I’m back, I am right back on the wagon again, but I realize that when I hit up Paris in 3 weeks (INSANE!), I’m going to have to stick to my guns a lot better than I did this time around.
Seems like I’m not alone, either. While I was away, I received an email from a reader named Joanna, asking if I would consider doing a post dedicated to sticking to your workout regime while on vacation. Joanna’s been doing an amazing job turning her life around this year: she’s lost 34 pounds and has been one of my greatest supporters at the site!
I love getting post requests from readers, so I jumped right on it. This one’s for you, Joanna!
Here are some tips for keeping yourself on track while you’re away from home, whether it be for vacation or on business. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of not working out and letting go of your commitment to healthy eating. With these excuse-busters, you don’t have to worry about either.
This is what I should have done, but ignored while I was away. And this is why my pants are now tight:
Make Your Schedule Before You Go
Look at how many days you are gone, where you will be staying, and the best time of day to get away for 30 minutes or so.
Here are some useful tips when mapping out workouts:
•Aim to work out at least every other day. This is a modest goal for those of you that feel like working out every day or 5 times a week (for long vacations) is out of the question.
•Your workouts don’t need to be longer than 30 minutes! Read my post over at Vic Magary’s site. It’s called Lift Like A Girl, but it applies to men as well. In order to get a really great workout into a short period of time, you need to kill it. Go balls-to-the-wall heavy and fast (with good form, of course). Expect to spend 30-45 minutes with warmup and stretching afterwards, then get right back to your vacay!
•Decide where to work out. If your hotel has a gym, great! If there’s a gym close by, awesome! Get a day pass. If you don’t have either option, there are still a lot of bodyweight moves that you can do as long as you have some space. Try The TV Workout or the workout mentioned in Lift Like A Girl (mostly bodyweight). Think about investing in a jump rope; $10 for a cardio machine= rad. If it’s cold outside, work out inside, even if it’s not the type of workout you’re used to. It’s good to switch up your routine every now and then.
•Alone on business? When you’re going in and out of meetings all day, the last thing you want to do is hit the gym afterwards. So plan to do short workouts in the morning.
Not interested in leaving your family or friends for half an hour? Read on…
Make Working Out An Event For Your Whole Family
On family vacations, some people feel guilty leaving for even 30 minutes. Some people take vacation so that they can be closer to their family or friends. Here’s an idea: get the whole crew in on it!
Why not take this chance to share the positive things you’re doing with those you love? Take them on a walk, hike, bike ride, surf lesson, or even run. Show them how to do a proper push up. Play tag with the little ones… or with the older ones. Take the dog on a walk.
There are so many opportunities to make exercise a bonding activity with your loved ones. You can teach the little ones how much fun being active can be! Set a great example for them to look up to as they grow up!
Consider this a chance to make memories.
I remember for Thanksgiving one year, we all went out to play baseball with my cousin, Aunt and Uncle. It’s one of the most memorable events from my childhood.
Who knows? Maybe you can make it a tradition. Maybe you can enlighten a friend or family member to the fact that working out doesn’t have to be a grueling experience; it can be fun!
Remind Yourself Why You Do It
Here’s a tip I’ve used before:
Think of a word or two that motivates you to achieve your goals. For example, you might be motivated by words like strong, lean, or sexy. Get even more specific and think of the root of why you made those goals. Here are some specific suggestions for a few people I’ve actually trained:
Do it for Vera - a bride had bought a Vera Wang dress for her wedding in 6 months and wanted to make sure she looked amazing in it.
Guns – a client of mine had never been able to achieve toned arms like she has since she started working out with me. This one word gets her working harder (or at least laughing) every time I say it. She knows that she loses all this progress when she slacks off.
50 pounds – I have a client who has lost 45 pounds since she began training with me. She started with a goal of 50, so after the next month or so, I’ll have to think of something new to say!
Injury-free – I train a die-hard runner who’s main goal is to stay injury-free while running regularly. So far so good (knock on wood). He knows that the program I’ve put him on is what’s kept him strong, limber, and at his peak of endurance.
These cues most likely won’t work for you because they’re so personal, but at least you can get an idea of how specific words can motivate you to get up when your alarm goes off, rather than press snooze over and over again.
Think of your words, write them on a post it note, and stick it on whatever you use as an alarm before you hit the hay at night. The first thing you’ll see when you go to hit snooze are those words staring back at you. Try ignoring them when they’re staring you in the face.
A note: switch up your words when you find they no longer motivate you. When I was on diet pills, I used to think “size 2, size 2!” but now that I’ve overcome my self-loathing, I lean toward (don’t laugh at me) “strong inside out.”
Many people make vacation their excuse to eat wayyyyy more than they do normally. One simple trick can help keep you honest with yourself so that you don’t regret that extra pant size when you get home.
Just like I wrote in How To Stop Eating And Start Listening, slowing down is one of the most important steps to keep yourself from overeating.
Enjoy the conversation at meals. Pay attention to the food you’re eating- how is it different than what you normally eat? If you don’t like something, don’t eat it! If you are full, put down your fork and keep sipping your water.
There are a lot more tips in the post mentioned above that come in real handy on vacation. Check them out! Hell, print them out and read them on the way to your tropical destination! Beat them into your subconscious so that they become second nature to you.
I went to the gym this morning and my oh my did it feel good. My body missed being active.
I ate well all day today and my body seemed to run more smoothly- no sugar crashes or excessive anxiety like this weekend.
When it comes down to it, you choose to stay healthy for a reason. Does that reason disappear when you go on vacation? Do the effects from taking unhealthy actions “not count?” You know the answer to those questions. So don’t ignore them like I did this weekend. Take responsibility and OWN them!
What would you add to this list of tips and actions? Do you think these are feasible? How did you fare this year?
Looking forward to hearing from you all!