Before you read this please notice that this post is called “staying sane on vacation” and not “staying fit on vacation.” If you want to know more about working out while you’re vacationing there’s plenty of other resources online.
One of the things I love about CrossFit is how it drives people to constantly improve. With the strong desire to improve comes the frustration of setbacks. Many Crossfitters (myself included) can feel disappointed with themselves after, or even during, a vacation. Let’s be honest, no one likes losing #gainz. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you enjoy your vacation guilt-free.
1. Realize that time away from the gym can be an advantage
If you want to learn about the physical benefits of rest, just Google: “importance of rest CrossFit.” I’m going to talk about the mental aspect. Sometimes a week or more away from the gym can help you think about your training differently. You have time to reflect on what you’ve been doing and can start to formulate a plan on how you’re going to attack the box when you get back. Maybe you realize you’ve been neglecting some conditioning work. Your free time on the beach or on the ski slopes can be a place where you formulate a plan to address that.
There’s also more to fitness than just physical movement. Find some good books about training and bring them along. Take the opportunity to learn about your body, movement, programming, etc. while you have the time. I would also encourage you to take a few days to totally forget about the gym. With a desire to improve comes a certain stress level. Chill out, have a few cocktails and enjoy.
2. Know that the gym will always be there, the experience before you might not be
Pho was just one of the carb heavy dishes I indulged in while on vacation.
I was inspired to write this post on the fourth day of a recent trip to Vietnam. I found myself contemplating turning down a delicious order or fried spring rolls and going for something low-carb. Suddenly a voice in the back of my head said, “what the fuck is wrong with you?” How many more times in my life will I be able to enjoy local Vietnamese cuisine like this? Once? Maybe Twice? Once I realized this I enjoyed every meal so much more the rest of the trip. When you’re home you can meal prep and workout to your heart’s desire. However, if you have a chance to eat pizza in Naples, tacos in Mexico, attack the casino buffets in Vegas or drink and party until sunrise in Brazil for Carnivale, do it. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to do it again.
3. Stay (somewhat) active
Sometimes you can find opportunities to workout in strange locations.
You won’t make any gains on the road, but you don’t necessarily have to accept your fitness falling off a cliff. If you don’t have access to a gym, there’s plenty of resources on the internet for hotel-room workouts you can do. You don’t have to pump out a one-hour session like you’re at the box. However, 10 or 15 minutes of air squats and burpees in the morning will do wonders for your mood and the difficulty might surprise you.
Try to get creative. You can use a chair for dips, stairs or step ups, water bottles filled with sand for some light weights or even your own suitcase as workout equipment. Is your travel companion light enough to carry or squat? They might be good for something other than just company! You can also try to pick one weakness and work on it for 5-10 minutes every morning. I struggle with push ups, so I tried to do 50 or more most mornings on my recent trip.
You can also make your vacation your workout. Get a step counter before you go. It’s a lot easier on your piece of mind after a day or walking around Barcelona or Madrid scarfing tapas and downing beers to realize that you walked 15km when you get back to the hotel room. If you’re at the beach try going for long walks or jogs up and down the coast exploring what’s around besides your resort. Better yet, make it a point to get out in the water and swim for a bit each day. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself to a few days of laying in the sun and indulging in the local fare, but make sure you move at least a bit. It will definitely nub some of the guilt.
I hope that these three simple tips can help you the next time you decide to take a trip. Safe travels!