Working out on Vacation: Part One
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Hey! Don't be all oh HELL NO Mia I do not want any bullshit trying to convince me to exercise on vacation because I will not do it.
Don't X me out yet. This is relevant to your life because we're talking about working out while traveling for business too. I got it all here for you. There is nothing I couldn't give you if you would not deny me. *Gives you the heart of the ocean*
Still with me? I promise I'm better than Cal. Sweet. The vacation conundrum is how I know that most of us in the health world are not doing well enough at our jobs. I have devoted and excellent clients who will go on a four week trip and I'm like awesome! Did you get some exercise in Rome? It must have been so cool to take a jog on those tiny streets! And they're like yeah...I didn't do a single thing.
Sigh. We trainers are trying so hard to serve up exercise tacos to help people realize they actually enjoy this stuff and it's actually doable on your own and instead everyone goes away and they're all REAL TACOS AND NO RUNNING PLEASE.
People hate exercise so much that an actual part of vacation is *not* needing to exercise. "I can't wait to get to Bermuda and not have to do cardio ever again muahahaha." Everyone—including avid worker outers—thinks it sounds awesome to sit on their ass for two weeks. (LOL what even is a two week vacation tho.)
Yes, I get it. You're vacationing. You want to relax, you don't want obligations, exercise feels like an obligation, you want to feel like you're letting go and living your life by eating all kinds of delicious things and drinking all kinds of blue drinks and not giving a shit about planks and squats. I hear you. This is the flip side: If vacation is the time meant to treat your body, if it is the time meant to indulge in everything that makes your body happy, then exercise simply must go on the list. Your body soaks up exercise like a Sea Monkey and rolls around in it like a dog in the grass.
You don't want that? What, it sounds better to try to cram a workout in at 6am when you're working fifty hours a week (LOL what even is a forty hour workweek), caring for kids, trying to cook dinners, and keep up with Stranger Things? No way.
To many, the idea of skipping workouts while on break sounds...good. My dream, for all my beloved readers, is to ferret out the place inside you where the idea of skipping workouts sounds...bad. (Unrelated: did you know ferrets can be trained to use a litter box? Clever little catweasels.) You deserve a rest, but not so much rest that you're unable to bounce back.
There *is* some part of you which thinks that skipping workouts for no reason is bad and we want to find it and exploit it. Usually, all this takes is a mental reframe, even if that takes a while. In this blog, in my book, on all platforms, I'm gonna try super hard to get you to reframe this.
I'll argue that vacation and traveling is the very best time to work out. Working out while away is like petting puppies, breaking bubble wrap, and cracking icy puddles all at once. Just an intensely satisfying experience. If you're on a relaxing trip, you can sleep in, do a leisurely forty-five minutes of sweating, and then head out for coffee and breakfast hijinks before the day even starts. And if you're on a work trip, what better way to escape shitty small talk with shitty people every morning of your shitty conference? If it's me I'm gonna double my treadmill time just so I can avoid Becker and his intermittent fasting and his butter in his coffee.
Your body soaks up exercise like a Sea Monkey.
In my experience, there are two reasons people don't work out while they're away. 1) They're off location, so even if they wanted to move, they wouldn't know what to do. 2) They don't want to spend their vacation doing something unenjoyable. Can't argue with either of these. But what if you knew what to do and how to make it enjoyable?
You better stick around for parts two and three of this blog.
In the meantime, however, you can start practicing some of your mindset. To me, the best way is to make sure that you find time on some Saturdays, Sundays, days off, or your normal couch evenings to work out. Keep doing what you're already doing during the week, but the point here is to do a workout on a day when it's uncommon for you. Walk, run, go out dancing, try out a new gym in your area, fight with light sabers, do yoga on YouTube, it's all good. Just try to get some exercise on a day that you usually reserve for "I don't have to work out today."
Making a conscious decision to spend free time (rather than scheduled time) at the gym removes every atom of obligation from the equation. You don't have to go to the gym right now; you want to go. It's the same psychology of using the Manual mode on a treadmill rather than an automatic program that just changes the hills and speeds for you. The difference is that you're choosing to start running on a hill, rather than doing it because that's what the machine is doing next. This makes a huge difference. You have a free day of the weekend and you're choosing to use part of it for fitness.
Give it a try. Next thing you know you're gonna be in Aruba, finishing your workout like