Foreward: I wrote this blog post while I was away on vacation about a month ago, and at that time, my colleagues and I had not yet "officially released" our most recent venture: the Adaptation Fitness Urban Retreat running in Toronto June 1st - 5th 2015. This urban retreat is a great way to dedicate some of your 'own time' to reframing your wellness goals and programming. I think after you read this post you'll come to realize that training while your on a vacation or staycation is really beneficial; its an investment in your fitness and health. The Adaptation Fitness Retreat has the added benefit of introducing you to some amazing resources you can access on your wellness journey in Toronto! There are bios for both of my colleagues Paluna Sanataria and Nathalie Niddam on my 'Guest Contributor's' page, and scheduling/registration details on the 'Shop Small but Mighty' page. Just something to consider! Check it out, its going to be an amazing week that will get or keep you on track to reaching all your wellness goals.
I recently had two precious weeks off from my crazy schedule – as a Chiropractic student, personal trainer, CrossFit coach, NTC trainer and an individual that enjoys being strong and well-conditioned, I keep myself pretty busy. I was super stoked to have two weeks to myself to train and relax; in fact, I branded by time off as a #traincation – 2 weeks where I could be selfish and focus on my programming, goals, training and recovery. I spent my second week off in Las Vegas with my hubby, and as we were preparing for our trip, we were both surprised by the number of people who asked us if we were going to take time off from training and splurge on junk food while we were away. Now, I recognize I’m a little bit biased, as training is a way of life for me, but here are a few good reasons why I think it makes sense to turn your vacation into a #traincation:
I’ve said in some of my previous posts, and I firmly believe that you’re only as strong as what you can recover from. In our everyday lives, training, especially a hard session, can sometimes feel like one more thing we have to get through in a day. It can be greatly influenced by, and in some cases can contribute to the stress we all experience on a daily basis. Furthermore, stress, time constraints and busy schedules may even influence our ability to recover from these sessions and negatively impact our progress. However, when you go on vacation, many of these constraints disappear. With a lighter (or non-existent) workload, lower stress, time to nap, and no strict limitations on the timing and length of your training or meal prep, imagine how great your sessions and recovery will be. Does this mean you have to be training maximal effort while you’re away at the cost of some R&R? Certainly not! Even working a strategic deload program will help you to keep the wheel greased and prevent losses so your motor patterns are still grooved when you get home!
Training will help you maintain a routine
Have you ever found it really hard to ‘reintegrate into society’ upon returning from a vacation. I mean, when did getting up before noon, skipping a morning cocktail and staying awake for afternoon meetings become so difficult? These are all nice things to do while on vacation, and there certainly is a time and place for them, but indulging EVERY day while you’re away can make returning home seem like a daunting task. Getting up to exercise each morning at a reasonable hour, can help you maintain a routine, and can even provide you with an acceptable reason to skip out on a night of messy drinking and eating and the hangover that comes with it!
Getting up or making time to train while you’re on vacation can also help reinforce a new routine you might have established in preparation for your vacation. I know a lot of people who become really motivated to train and eat clean so they can look good on their beach vacation. Unfortunately, for a lot of these people, this training routine falls by the wayside as soon as they hit the beach, not to be seen again until the next annual trip. Sticking to your exercise routine while you’re away can help you reinforce those newly established patterns and return home feeling healthy, fit, recharged, and ready to take your training to the next level.
Training at a local gym allows you to meet the ‘locals’
Its always nice to meet new people, and it can be great to surround yourself with and learn from people who may train differently from yourself. Another great benefit of meeting new people involves finding new places! Getting to know the local ‘gym rats’ can lead to great suggestions for restaurants, activities, spas and even stores that are off the beaten path. While in Las Vegas, my husband and I trained at Iron House Gym, and got ‘inside info’ about all kinds of great places where we could eat, shop, and sightsee while avoiding ‘tourist traps’. You can also start a pretty sweet T-shirt collection…. See mine below:
Foreign places often present different training opportunities
Now I’ve used the phrase ‘training’ throughout this post, and I think that it’s important to highlight that when you’re on vacation, training doesn’t have to occur strictly within a gym. Trying new activities to simply keep active while you’re away, like hiking, surfing, snowshoeing, treetop trekking, even jogging can lead you to explore and discover areas of your destination you may not have otherwise seen. It may also lead you to try an activity that you really enjoy and can work into your routine back home. I’m pretty infamous among my friends for not liking nature – I’m afraid of snakes, scorpions, sharks, spiders, and jellyfish, not particularly in that order. When my husband and I decided to hike through Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire while in Las Vegas, I thought I might have a mild panic attack. Especially upon sight of the first lizard. But in the end, I really enjoyed it, and I worked up a great sweat. On top of this, we got to see some absolutely astounding scenery, and to enjoy some quality time together, minus our i-devices. We’re now thinking of planning hiking trips back home in Ontario over the summer, which I think is an added bonus!
You won’t feel like you need a vacation to recover from vacation
We’ve known for a long time that health behaviors tend to correlate, or occur in a cluster. For example, when you buy yourself some personal training sessions and start training hard, it often becomes easier to moderate your intake of unhealthy food, to decrease alcohol consumption, or even quit smoking. Experts say it takes a period of CONSISTENT effort to form a habit, and even a short departure from that effort can break it. Thus, completely ditching your diet and training regime while you’re vacay-ing can lead you to return home feeling unhealthy, bloated, exhausted, and unmotivated. Additionally, exercise physiology studies tell us that detraining/deconditioning can begin to creep up as early as three days without exercise, especially if you’re new to training. You can imagine how these effects can snowball into a lack of motivation to train upon your return home, making it harder and harder to get to the gym, studio or track. If you do get into the gym, movement patterns that you had mastered before you left can feel awkward or rusty, leading to a setback in your training program. Training while you’re away will keep those movement patterns so fresh and so clean, and may even lead you to make better food choices. Training and moderating your eating while you're away will enable you to return home ready to get back to reality!
So next time you decide to book a trip, check out gyms, studios, or even local activities and commit yourself to keeping active! Your mind and body will thank you! And don't forget to check out the Adaptation Fitness Urban Fitness Retreat