I first started lifting when I was in high school, and as such, I'd go on family vacations fairly frequently.
I loved spending time with the fam, relaxing, sitting on the beach, and eating goldfish by the box....the family sized box.
I had read in fitness magazines and heard around the gym that "taking a week off here and there is good for recovery, and will actually improve your performance when you go back...bro".
So when I went on these vacations, I would completely take off from exercising, and eat anything in sight. It was basically an excuse to binge and slack.
I remember lawling around on the beach, snacking on cookies, goldfish, and beer (once I was 21, of course), while sunburning myself into an oblivion.
Ahhh, it was the good life.
But, I also remember that upon coming back, instead of feeling recovered and ready to workout, I would feel lackadaisical, put off going back to the gym, and have lost at least a little progress while I was away.
As it turns out, taking a week off entirely is not actually the best thing for recovery, and does not improve performance when you go back.
Adequate recovery is important, but that is better achieved with active recovery or deload's. Not lying around eating, drinking, and doing zero exercise for a week.
Who'd have thought?
Now I don't do that anymore. After realizing that taking time completely off was really just setting me back and not helpful for recovery, I started implementing a few strategies that I could use to keep getting in better shape, even while I was on vacation.
Goofing off at the beach
Now when I go on vacation, I still allow myself treats and time away from the gym. But, by putting just a little time and effort towards my workouts and nutrition I am able to keep making progress, get stronger, and leaner while enjoying the holiday.
It is important to plan ahead if you want to succeed with your fitness goals while on the road.
Check and make sure you'll have access to a gym where ever you are going.
Personally, I love checking out different gyms in new places, so I'll find one around where I am staying and get my lift on at it.
Most hotels will have gyms too, and if not you can plan some body-weight workouts to do in your hotel room.
Nutrition is important too, so stake out some grocery stores near where you are staying so you can stock up on a few healthful items once you are there.
You can also look up a few restaurants with healthy options in the area too.
Pack some healthy items, like protein bars, jerky, or fruits. This is especially helpful if you have a long trip in the car or plane and need something you can grab easily.
Taking action and formulating a plan ahead of time is key for success. Don't neglect this part!
Once You Arrive...
Try to hit the store and stock up as soon as you arrive. That way you'll have plenty of nutritious food for your whole stay, right from the get-go.
When at restaurants, don't feel bad about requesting some healthy items. When on vacation, I usually pick a few meals to have just for pure enjoyment, and at the others I stick with my typical nutrition goals. That way I can enjoy myself, but not go completely off the deep end.
Execute the workouts you planned, and you are all set!
While you should definitely allow yourself some flexibility and enjoy your vacation, don't do what I used to do and just use it as an excuse to completely slack off.
With a little preparation and effort you can keep working towards your fitness goals and still have a great time on your trip.
Click here to download the Nutrition and Exercise On the Go tip sheet that we give our clients when they go on vacation. It has all of these tips outlined, with a few bonus ones as well.
If you have any questions feel free to email me.
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