Often when travelling or being away from home on holiday, it feels as though all structure and rules go out the window: routines get jumbled, sleeping patterns change (glorious lazy mornings of sleeping in become the norm), it becomes alright to have that “second-breakfast” (and lunch, and dinner), and spoiling yourself with local cuisine and sweet treats are almost expected. Being away also means more periods of leisure and inactivity (unless you are hiking or sight-seeing, obviously).
We then feel that we have earned our time off
– and rightfully so – and as such, pretty much anything goes! The problem comes in when you get back from your time away feeling sluggish, and berating yourself for allowing bad habits to take over your progress. Getting back into the swing of things is usually quite a challenge then!
There is good news though – I want to share with you that
it is possible to keep up your fitness levels and healthy eating routine while travelling,
and still enjoy some much-needed time off. In fact, you may even enjoy yourself all the more knowing you don’t have to feel guilty about it. So, let’s look at the actual issue that lies at the heart of this challenge.
Routine: We humans are creatures of habit, and the moment you mess with our routines, we tend to throw our hands in the air and simply surrender to the chaos. It usually takes quite a bit of extra effort to rectify when you have deviated from your normal routine (much like a baby who is unsure of what to expect when their normal routine is disrupted), and even more so when you are out of your home environment and don’t have access to your usual resources.
Travel and routine are not necessarily two words that you would associate with each other, but by deciding before your time away how to manage a routine, and committing to this decision, it is entirely possible to recreate your usual patterns as much as possible. By still making exercise a fixed daily activity – despite being away from home – you will still remain in your routine, and still reap the benefits of it. This may mean getting up earlier or going to bed a little later, but in the long run,
these sacrifices will be worth it!
Travelling provides a whole load of reasons not to exercise. Be it that there is no gym at your hotel, or that you don’t have the budget to expand on additional perks where you will be staying, or that the late nights out enjoying your holiday means you get to sleep in, or even if it is as simple as wanting to rest and indulge yourself after months of hard work, these are still excuses. I know this because I myself have used them allbefore too. In retrospect, I did find solutions though to these very same excuses.
Okay, so your hotel may not have a gym, or you may not have additional costs for gym memberships in your budget – no problem. You don’t actually need a gym! Bodyweight exercises are perfect for travelling; you are your own mobile resistance-training station, and with a well-thought-out workout plan using this as a basis, you will not miss out on your progress in the least. Similarly, staying active is easy when you are sight-seeing and walking wherever you go. You get to experience the local culture and lifestyle whilst on foot, and at the same time, you are burning calories.
As far as late-night parties or events go, sure – you do need your time of fun, and you do need the rest that follows. But at the very least, plan a workout session every second day to retain your fitness levels and help you stay on top of your game.
There’s nothing wrong with a night out,
but be sure to balance it with a healthy workout when you have the chance.
My personal weakness is the excuse of needing to rest and indulge myself, having earned it. While it is most certainly true, don’t throw all of your hard work in striving towards your fitness goals out the window.
Stay active in some way or other,
and even if you aren’t training as hard as you do back home, do something. You will find that it helps increase your energy levels whilst you are away, and when you get back home, you will be thankful you chose to stick to some kind of exercise too.
A little personal anecdote: when I went away, I was quite afraid that my family and friends would laugh at me for exercising regularly during our holiday. Well, the truth is that they initially did laugh. Most didn’t expect me to stick it out, but when I did, I gained a whole new fan club with some of them even joining me in my quick exercise sessions. It felt amazing to have accomplished this, and I found that I enjoyed my time off all the more.
From this experience I also learned that by committing to stay active during a time away, I didn’t eat as much or indulge in as much junk food, as I remained focus on my goal and needing the right fuel in my tank. Although I did experience local cuisines and treats, I was still able to button my jeans by the end of the trip, while some of my counterparts were definitely struggling. Whilst others were feeling sluggish and tired on our holiday, I had more energy and could really absorb the experience of being in a brand-new place with clarity and excitement, and I didn’t suffer so much when retuning home and having to get back in my regular routines.
Getting back to the gym is great, but a bodyweight-training session on the beach, or a jog in the sun can be just as satisfying, if not more so.
Here is an example of an easy hotel-room, beachfront workout that you don’t need any equipment for:
Do 5 Sets of:
- Jumping Jacks x 30
- Push-up x 15
- Reverse lunge x 15/leg
- Plank x 30 sec
- Squat x 15
- Cross Crawls x 15/side
In closing, when on holiday, remember that you are doing it for yourself, and that by sticking to your routine, that also is for yourself. So as I said in a previous blog, be kind to yourself, and most of all, have fun!