Our holiday has come and gone, and as I packed my suitcase for the final time this past Sunday I told Fraser my one regret was packing so many workout clothes, seeing as we hardly managed any “true” workouts throughout our vacation! Note that I didn’t say I regretted not working out; while it made getting back into the swing of things a bit more challenging this week I wouldn’t have traded any of the time spent with my family, friends, and Fraser for the chance to get in one or two extra sweat sessions. That said, as someone who enjoys regular exercise and usually prioritises at least a few workouts while on holiday, I wanted to share some tips that have helped me maintain some semblance of a routine on past trips of mine!
- pack lightly: as I said, I wished I hadn’t packed as many workout clothes since I didn’t wind up using most of them, but even if I’d taken none with me it wouldn’t have made a huge difference weight-wise. Your trainers, socks, a few bras for the ladies, and a handful of workout clothes are all you need! I packed my KT tape and massage stick as well in case my shin splint flared up again, but unless you’re recovering from an injury or need to take your lifting and running shoes with you because the gym you’ll be using while away requires it, leave any excess at home. Instead of shoving your yoga mat into your bag, sign up for a yoga class in the city you’re visiting. Bonus if you have access to a washing machine while on holiday, as you can cut the workout clothes packed in half!
- plan a little ahead of time: if you’re staying in a hotel with gym facilities that’s wonderful, but if you have to get creative with your workouts it’s best to know what your options are so you aren’t stressed about it (holidays are meant to help you unwind, remember?). Many cities have bicycles you can rent which provide a great means to see the city-just make sure you know the rules of the road if you do that! Even learning where to go for runs can ensure you enjoy your workout and holiday as a whole. Map a route on MapMyRun’s website or ask any local friends for their favourite trails
- find active activities: along with general planning, depending on where you’re visiting you can plan for a slightly more active holiday! Fraser and I planned on going kayaking and playing a round of tennis with my mom and brother in Florida (sadly the humidity beat us on that one…) and many places, even if they aren’t in the heart of a major city, have active offerings
- get a feel for where you’re visiting: depending on where you’ve chosen to vacation, you may be unnecessarily worried about your workouts. Set training programmes, such as for triathalons or half-marathons, aside, if you’re walking a city or lounging on the beach you’ve got everything you need to get your exercise in. On our one full day in London Fraser and I walked 17.8 kilometers, including using the Underground…for reference, a half-marathon is a hair over 21 km. Beachside holiday? Instead of stopping when you’re waist deep or simply counting on the salt water to keep you afloat, take a solid half hour or hour to tread water, swim about, or toss a frisbee about
- 50/50 balance: for daily life I try to keep an 80/20 balance of healthy eating; I’d love to be one of those people who rebuffs all refined sugars and carbs for a diet of greens and protein, but I’m not doing body competitions and I. love. chocolate. Although I find a way to eat mostly healthy day-to-day, as it helps my athletic performance and keeps me feeling better all around, on holiday I let that balance slide a bit. Your body will naturally crave healthy foods if that’s what you usually eat, so if you want that scoop of sorbet or an extra glass of wine, that’s okay! You can always pick up some fresh fruit at a local market or order a salad later, the key is to not stress so much about your diet that you can’t enjoy yourself. If you’ve got a dietary restriction like my friend Katy, make it part of the adventure! We had a grand time hunting down gluten-free eateries in London and got pretty creative in Dublin when we couldn’t find a dedicated GF restaurant there
Above all, enjoy yourself! If you’re one of those people who can’t go a day without exercise, embrace the challenge to incorporate a workout into exploring your new surroundings. If, like me, you’re okay with temporarily adjusting your diet and workout balances, trust your body to tell you what it wants or needs. Whether that’s a relaxing day in the sun or a greek yoghurt instead of bacon, eggs, and waffles for breakfast…that’s up to you! At the end of the day it’s your holiday and the last thing you’ll want is to come back and realise you spent more time in the gym (or thinking about the gym) than you did truly appreciating wherever it is you’ve spent well-earned money to travel to.
Any tips I missed, or that work particularly well for you?? Comment below!