How Not To Sabotage Your Workout Routine on Vacation.
Editor’s note: We are excited to publish this story from Beth’s cousin-in-law Scott Provost, who’s a personal trainer and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes. I have picked Scott’s brain a few times for tips about exercising and eating well, so when he offered to write a story about exercising on the road, I jumped at the opportunity to feature his advice here. You can read more about Scott in his bio following this post.
Story by Scott Provost
You’re finally on vacation. After all the waiting, hectic work schedules, the kids, housework and homework—in other words, the same old ROUTINE–it’s time to relax.
Relaxing, what is that? For me, it’s the absence of responsibilities and not going through your normal ROUTINE. I know, it’s an absent concept and may be highly unfamiliar, but believe it or not it does exist. So why is ROUTINE capitalized with heightened emphasis? Because the number one barrier to getting active, and staying active once the ROUTINE (O.K. I’ll stop that now, but always know that’s the main topic of this article) sets in, is habit.
You have a great habit of setting time aside a few times a week at specific times/days to get in your weekly physical activity, then you go on vacation to get away and relax; it’s a break from the monotony of life, and consequently your workout schedule. So, when you get home your habit is broken, you’ve put on a few pounds and now have to go through the crazy process of breaking yourself back into the routine again. It’s happened to almost everyone, including yours truly. So, how do you avoid this? Well, that is the million dollar question isn’t?
When you get home your habit is broken, you’ve put on a few pounds and now have to go through the crazy process of breaking yourself back into the routine again.
My answer: how can you not? It’s vacation, right? And you now have all the time in the world. Trust me, though, there is a way. What I’m about to tell you doesn’t include the usual vacation activities of hiking in scenic vacation spots, swimming, diving, biking, throwing your kids in the pool, surfing and, well, rafting down the lazy river. This is about keeping your habit on par (there’s another activity: golf) with planned physical activity also known as exercise. It’s about not breaking a habit that is going to require further energy, hassle and psychological distress to start back up again when you get home. Do you remember learning about inertia? Well, this is the same concept: a habit in motion tends to stay in motion, and a habit at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by another force which requires energy transfer and cognitive distress. Yes, that is my professional opinion evidenced by scientific fact.
After your travel day and everything that goes along with it—the flight, renting a car, getting to the hotel, finding a place to eat—your sympathetic nervous system (think adrenaline and stress hormones) should be running wild. Now is not the time to relax, though. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to relieve your stress. Go workout or run or do whatever it is you do. When you’re done, relaxing will have never felt so good and your body (and dopamine receptors) will thank you for it. The rest of the vacation, plan to exercise after you wake up, but, do not set your alarm to do it! You’ll hate yourself if you do, and it may be just enough to turn you off from exercising during your entire vacation.
So the key is to just get it over with, but be sure to put some effort into it. Once you have finished, you can get busy doing nothing or whatever is you like to do on your vacation. Even if you don’t have access to a workout facility, the good news is that you don’t really need one. Body weight exercises, external resistance—via books, bags, furniture, etc.—TRX straps, which are perfect for travel and home use, and sprint circuits all can be easily used to achieve your desired effect. Trust me, I could put you through a workout that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before with nothing more than a 10 sq. feet, a 4-inch round object and breathing techniques. The point is, you don’t need dumbbells, weights or a useless DVD trainer to get in a good workout.
Trust me, I could put you through a workout that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before with nothing more than a 10 sq. feet, a 4-inch round object and breathing techniques. The point is, you don’t need dumbbells, weights or a useless DVD trainer to get in a good workout.
Up to this point, I’ve been talking about the importance of keeping your exercise routine going during your vacation. But for those of you out there whose regiment revolves more around eating well than exercising, I’ve got some tips for you too, since eating and exercise are inherently linked and follow the same habitual paths. It’s no secret that keeping up with your proper eating habits while traveling can be extremely difficult. A little comprise with your meals, however, can go a long way.
My biggest tip for you is to save your pleasure eating for one meal a day. Theoretically and physiologically, lunch would be the best cheat meal of the day, but who doesn’t want to have a fabulous, uncompromising dinner? It’s much easier to plan a healthy breakfast and lunch than a dinner. So let’s cheat at dinner and be happy that we’re still actively thinking about our habits, instead of going through the before mentioned processes of failing to keep habits active.
Obviously, under optimal conditions you wouldn’t skip a beat from your normal routine. But this is vacation, so it’s important to be realistic. Focus on mitigating the consequences and getting your fill of vacation and relaxation, so you can come back satisfied, rested, and ready to continue facing reality head on. If you have any questions or thoughts, or would like some ideas on how to exercise or eat on vacation in accordance with your normal routine, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
Do you have a go to vacation exercise tip? Let us know about it in the comments!
Bio: Scott Provost is a strength and conditioning coach for athletes and has been a personal trainer since 2010. He has completed four internships with some of the best coaches in the Northeast and is currently finishing his B.S. in Applied Exercise Science, with a focus in strength and conditioning, from Springfield College, which has the distinction of turning out some of the most influential and successful fitness professionals in the country. His certifications include Personal Trainer from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, Level 1 Certified Kettlebell Athletics Coach, and in the fall he is testing for the highly coveted CSCS from the National Strength and Conditioning Association as well as the Level 1 FMS. Scott has also been published for his assistance with research on two separate studies.