As we hit the midway mark of the summer I, like many of you, am readying to take a long vacation with my family. I am likewise concerned, as you may be, about how to get my workouts done while on vacation. While I am always full of well-intentioned commitments to exercise while on holiday, it may surprise you to know that I too experience a significant drop in my motivation to exercise while enjoying my time off.
So what can we do to maintain our fitness goals while on vacation? My first suggestion is to be okay with not working out. That’s right, I said it’s okay to skip a week. In fact I frame my workouts (my own and for my clients) in 6-week intervals with a mandatory week off before a new routine starts. This allows for complete recovery and rest and readies the muscles for new abuses. I thus, try to time my vacations with that week off, or shift things around to allow for it.
However, it is worth noting that a large percentage of people find they do not gain more body fat while on vacation as they are moving more than they do during a usual work week. Between swimming, walking, hiking, or even dodging through crowds at theme parks, you will likely burn more calories than you do during your average sedentary job. Now of course there’s the extra high-caloric intake that also comes along with vacations – more cocktails, sweets, and fried or exotic foods are common – but again if you’re moving more than usual, you might at least break even.
Depending upon your destination, try to schedule at least one thing per week that is physically different than your norm: i.e., a snorkel trip, a day-long hike or river raft trip, a walking exploration of pyramids or volcanos, or just a family game of beach volleyball. One “excursion” like this can utilize muscles in a way your body isn’t accustomed too, and the caloric burn of that will benefit you greatly.
Another suggestion is for you to reserve 30-minutes every day for focused movement or exercise. If you’re walking/hiking more than usual, take a half hour before bed to stretch your muscles (improvise some yoga or pull up something on YouTube). If your vacation days are more sedentary (just sitting by the pool), then commit to a 30-minute visit to a gym or a class (offered at many resorts or on cruise ships), follow along with a YouTube exercise video on your phone, tablet or laptop, or bring your own resistance bands and attack your muscles in the comfort of your hotel room.
My last piece of advice I can share with my fellow vacationers is this: RELAX. Life for most of us is hectic and stressful and relaxation is a huge component in your body’s ability to stop holding onto excess body fat as well as maintaining a good immune system. So let your brain unwind, don’t eat complete crap, and if possible throw in a few workouts and your vacation will be successful and your fitness goals don’t have to suffer any setbacks.
Now go enjoy that holiday/vacation!
When I was a child (decades ago) we were taught in school that the United States was created to be the “land of opportunity.” A place where you could live free from persecution for being different or believing in a different God, and achieve your dreams of building a business which would provide you flexibility and financial security. People worked hard but also enjoyed a nationwide observance of Sundays off, a week at Christmas, and summer vacations where we drove cross-country and played together as a family.
Things sped up, and now we are a Country obsessed with being operational 24/7, sleep/rest be damned. With society on the whole working longer hours, having too many obligations and distractions, and entire generations of families that live for their measly 1-2 weeks of paid vacation, it’s no wonder high blood pressure and depression are on the rise with both adults and children.
In case you didn’t know, the US is the “only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday” according to USA Today. “By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation. Austria, which guarantees workers the most time off, has a legal minimum of 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays each year. The average private sector U.S. worker receives 16 paid vacation days and holidays. One in four Americans does not have a single paid day off.”
Don’t even get me started on how many children are not afforded enough play time compared to the “olden days” – with school times starting earlier and running longer, homework averaging two hours a night for most middle-school kids, and four hours for high school, and then there’s an average of four to ten hours a week spent on team sports involvement or music/dance study – it’s no wonder kids have little time to actually stand outside and simply play.
All of this is tragic to me. But clearly my weekly blog and virtual soapbox is not going to change this. But what change I can encourage is that of personal time management to allow play time to be a part of your, and your kids’, weekly schedule.
One of the fundamental aspects of my business Dane Life Fitness is to help my clients carve out time where they can be artistically creative (using the right sides of their brains) or regularly play with their children (or adult friends), whether it be a card game or biking together, etc. Just some time spent on a weekly basis where they can let go of all the mental issues that stress us out (and the physical results therefrom). This play time is essential to a healthy internal and external life, as well as providing huge benefits to the core function of a family.
So whether or not you have paid vacation time, I challenge you to pick up an artistic hobby, a group sport or activity, or at least plan (and achieve) a weekly trip to the park to play catch or frisbee with your kids or adult friends. I also suggest you find a way to take at least one week a year to do something that is not just visiting relatives in another state (unless you find that relaxing). You need to get away and decompress. Your kids need do that too!
So enough staring at a computer screen – GO PLAY!
Summer vacation time is upon us and many of will head out for relaxing tropical times, scene mountain retreats, or whirlwind city tours. Regardless of where you vacation, exercise is still essential. Ideally you will keep your muscles toned and calories burning through hiking, swimming, and miles of exploratory walking, but if you still desire a muscle training kind of workout, I herein offer my do it anywhere workout.
This workout relies solely on body weight so no equipment is necessary, and can be done in a small amount of space, indoor or outdoor, and is about 20 minutes long. Perfect for your vacation needs. So print it out, take it with you, and enjoy!
DLF’S DO IT ANYWHERE WORKOUT
10 Burpees w/push ups
15 Incline push ups (against a desk or wall)
20 Air squats
Rest for 1 minute – then repeat x 3
10 Triceps push ups (from knees)
15 Jump Squats
20 Mountain Climbers
Rest for 1 minute – then repeat x 3
10 Prone Alternating Arm & Leg lifts (palms & feet on ground in push up start position)
15 Prones to Planks
20 Stationary forward Lunges
3 30-second Prone-Iso-Abs (planks)
Rest for 1 minute – then repeat x 3
Below are photo examples of all the exercises listed. Have a great summer vacation!