It’s school holidays again and a lot of our clients have taken their families away for a break. It is so important to take a break from your everyday routine and to recharge the batteries. I’ve just returned from a lovely break with my family in Queensland. I hadn’t realised how much we all needed a break!
The holiday featured all the usual suspects: a bit too much booze, less than ideal food, and no access to a gym. I really identify with the pitfalls of being on holiday, so I am sharing with you today a few ways to keep on top of your health and fitness habits while you’re on holiday.
Notice the word “habits”. I may regret saying this, but I don’t believe that you can do that much damage to your health (in the obvious ways) in a one or two week period. Sure you may stack on a kilo or two, might have overloaded your body with junk and lost some aerobic fitness and strength.
If you get straight back on track, those problems are easily solved and are really just part of the ebb and flow that is the ongoing journey we take with looking after our bodies (hint: it never ends!)
The big problem to me is that I see people going completely off track on their holidays and undoing healthy habits that they have worked really hard to establish. And then, when they return from the holiday, instead of getting straight back on track, it triggers a month or longer of continued unhealthy eating, drinking and missing sessions at the studio. That’s when you can really do some damage to your health that can be harder work to undo.
The trick to avoiding this is to not completely throw your healthy habits out the window when you go on holiday. After all, if holidays are scheduled rest periods that we need for our health and wellbeing, they need not trigger a week of rebellion.
So how do you maintain some vestige of routine on holiday when the odds feel stacked against you? Here are some tips:
- Consciously choose what is really worth splurging on. This is probably my favourite trick for enjoying the good things in life within the framework of a healthy lifestyle, whether at a restaurant or on holiday. You can enjoy a little bit of everything you want, but just not all at the same time. It is crazy to be avoiding dessert and cocktails on your holiday, but just pick one. Really fancy a cocktail? Go for it, but maybe so no to dessert that night. If the chocolate soufflé is on your mind, skip the bread basket and have a lighter main, then really savour your dessert.
- Get up early and get a walk or run in. It will give you some time to yourself and leaves the rest of the day to relax. You haven’t really experienced your destination until you’ve done a sunrise. It also sends yourself a message that you have taken care of yourself and your health and sets the tone for the rest of the day.
- Discover your destination on foot or on a bike. Look for ways to avoid taxis and buses as much as possible. A true exploratory walking holiday can see you being far more active than you are in your everyday life, despite the lack of formal workouts.
- With your kids? Make the most of your trip and really connect by spending lots of time in the pool, at the beach. Really getting in the moment and just playing with your kids can be some of the best training you can do. On my recent holiday with my family, my four year old and two year old kept me running around or playing in the pool all day. And it was the best time to really connect with them and give them the gift of my full attention.
- Use express sessions. If you are staying in a hotel with a gym, try this 15 minute workout. If you have no equipment, set yourself a short circuit of bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges and hovers. Pack a skipping rope and complete a 1 minute set in between body weight exercises. Get creative with what you have in your hotel room, and be satisfied with the knowledge that any activity you do will be good enough. I have been known to do exercises using chairs, suitcases and wine bottles for weight – a little embarrassing, but it gets the job done!
- Look for holiday activities that get you moving – surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, snorkeling, horse riding. Make sure it’s something that you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
- Try something new. If the resort offers yoga or tai chi and you have never tried it before, this is the time to give it a go. Any activity that gets you moving and has you committing time to your health is going to do you the world of good.
- And remember the biggest tip of all. Whatever you do or don’t do while you’re on holidays, get right back on track when you return. Don’t let a week of indulgence turn into a three month prelude to Christmas.
For those of you on holidays, have a fantastic break! I look forward to seeing you back on track, in the studio, bright and early, the day after you return!