Hello Lovely Readers!!
It’s been awhile! I do apologize, but life has been happening in full swing again lately! In addition to my full-time job at the hotel, I’ve been helping to lead a corporate fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, getting all my training hours in for my personal training practicum, taking my final personal training course, and I just came back from a week in Ontario to attend a wedding and visit family.
Phew. It’s been a busy couple of months, but for the most part it’s all smooth sailing from here on out.
Now I have to get a little real here. Before I went on vacation I had this great post envisioned about how to stick to your health and fitness regime while traveling. I wanted eating tips, workouts you can do with minimal equipment, and motivation to help you continue to crush your goals. NO EXCUSES!!!!
But then reality kicked in. I still stuck to some of my guns and got a few sweat sessions in, but after all the stress I’d been through the past few months I started to realize that maybe a little relaxation might be more beneficial than sticking to the workouts and healthy eating tactics I had planned. Some mornings I opted for sleep instead of sweat, I spent some afternoons napping as opposed to walking, and at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats game I skipped dinner in lieu of a bag of peanuts and a Coors Lite (gasp!).
Did I come back feeling shredded and fit? No. In fact last night the word “walrus” made it’s way into a sentence describing what I thought I looked like. But did I come back rested, relaxed, and energized? You bet your asses I did!! That bit of lack of motivation I had been feeling in the weeks leading up to my trip was totally gone. Once we got home it was only about a half hour (of kitty-petting of course!) before I had my gym clothes on and was ready to kill it. I worked up a short yet intense sweat in my little gym downstairs before returning to my couch for one more day of relaxation.
So while I am going to give you some of my tips for staying healthy while on the fly, I’m changing my stance and reminding you that IT’S A VACATION! It’s OKAY to get a little loose with your eating habits. It’s OKAY to miss some workouts. Now I understand there are situations where you may be training for a sporting event or something along those lines; if you choose to go on holiday during that time, that’s up to your discretion as to what you think will help or hinder your physical AND mental performance. But for the average Jane like myself, a week off your routine isn’t going to un-do all the work you’ve done. Unless you go crazy and eat nothing but cookies for days and days. Which I came close to, but not quite 😉
So, in no order of importance, I present to you my tips for a physically and mentally healthy vacation 🙂
- Skip the airport garbage and pack your own snacks! If you’re traveling on a domestic flight within Canada (sorry southern friends, I’m not sure what your rules are like down there!) you can bring your own snacks on board, provided there are no liquids in containers exceeding 100mL. I was quite surprised to find out that you can bring meat and cheese on a plane! I didn’t have a cooler so we skipped that option, however we did bring a plethora of yummy snacks to keep us satisfied on that oddly long journey from Vancouver to Hamilton. Not only is airplane food expensive, it’s laden with preservatives and sodium. Ichiban soup and Corn Nuts for lunch? No thank you.Clockwise from top left: tea, homemade trail mix, juice (to drink before
going through security), baby carrots & bell peppers, granola,
steamed asparagus & roasted squash, protein cookie
- Stay hydrated! The high altitudes and dry, recycled plane air can leave us dehydrated and groggy-feeling, which can make it easier to succumb to the temptations of the free sugary snacks and beverages offered by airlines. This also means skipping the opportunity the become the party row on the plane and saying no to the on-flight booze. There will be plenty of time for wining and wining (see what I did there? ;)) once you reach your destination, and your insides will thank you.
- Use your layover time wisely! Sometimes you only have enough time to get from one gate to another, but other times you may have a couple of hours to kill. Wander around the airport, check out the offerings of different shops, and give your muscles a good stretch. Try not to sit down for too long; you’re doing enough of that on a plane! Not surprisingly, the Winnipeg airport isn’t very large, so after looking in the few stores it had to offer (and maybe eating a Hedgehog from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) Jordan and I walked from one end of the airport to another a few times. I also may have busted out a few walking lunges holding my carry-on over my head until he asked “is this actually happening?” Note to self: that is a perfect exercise next time I’m flying solo and have no one to embarrass but myself.
- Walk, walk, walk! I can’t stress this enough! Regardless of where you’re traveling, you should be able to get SOME walking in. It’s a great way to explore your new territory and you may find something interesting that you’d miss from a tour bus or vehicle. Binbrook Ontario may not have vast roads or ruins waiting to be explored, but we did get the dog out for a couple of walks. I was excited to learn that wild turkeys exist out there! But disappointed to learn that A) you can’t shoot them, and B) they were no longer in that immediate area. 😦
- If you’re used to daily exercise like myself, it’s important to get some sort of movement in to get those endorphins flowin’. I’m used to having tight or sore muscles from previous workouts, but after 4 days of no exercise (I sprained my ankle 3 days before leaving) I found myself feeling tight and ache-y. I think this is due to the fact that I manage to get a good stretch in after most workouts, and with no workouts came no stretching. My body was like “Stretch meeeeeee! Work me outtttt!” So I appeased it a couple mornings with some high intensity body weight circuits and with a long incline walk on the treadmill another morning. Two days before we left I visited a friend in Cambridge, and while I waited for her to finish work I got my first good sweat in over a week at the YMCA. Depending on the length and purpose of your trip, you may want to scout out a local community center or gym where you can drop in. It was actually a really nice change of pace to workout in a different setting, and it gave me a good opportunity to try out some things I might normally be embarrassed to try in front of the regulars at my own gym.
- Okay so this is really just a continuation of the last bullet point, but it was getting kind of long and if I were you I would have stopped reading if it went on much longer, so here we are. I just wanted to give you an example of one of the body weight circuits I did. I did 5 sets of the following exercises, resting for as little as possible only when needed (but to keep things stress-free I didn’t time myself): 20 squats, 10 push-ups into side planks on each side, 15 burpees, and 15 Bulgarian split squats on each side. Nothing crazy or complicated, but it got my heart rate up and definitely made me sweat.
- Pack your favourite fitness essentials! Now obviously things like kettlebells take up space and weight (and therefore cost you excess baggage $$$), but things like resistance bands, jump ropes, and yoga blocks totally have their place in an active vacation. I brought my foam roller only because I know how much Jordan enjoys rolling me out. It’s basically the only reason I have one, and I couldn’t deprive him of that on our vacation. 😉
When meatheads fly: a foam roller, protein, & BCAAs
- Stay off the scale when you get home! Even if you stuck to your eating plan fairly well, chances are a combination of delicious meals out, extra treats, less water than you’re used to, and less exercise than you’re used to may lead to a higher number on the scale. That’s not to say you ACTUALLY gained weight…remember friends: it takes 3500 EXCESS calories to gain a pound. So if you managed to work in a bit of light activity and kept the walks up, it’s not really likely you actually gained those extra pounds on the scale. Unless you went on an extended cruise. Or to Italy. Okay MAYBE it’s possible. But not guaranteed. Water retention is a more likely culprit, so chug away and get back to your regular routine for at least a couple days before hopping on that thing. Or even better, just throw it out and don’t even step on it 🙂
- And of course….ENJOY YOURSELF! Vacations are supposed to leave us feeling rested, both physically and mentally. That week off from intense exercise and tracking my food (except Thanksgiving…I had to do it just for shits & giggles!) left me invigorated and ready to crush the workouts I have in store the next few weeks. Even if your trip is work-related and not fun-related, you can still apply this tips so that you leave your destination feeling good (or “at your best” for my fellow Westin-ers 😉 )
Balance is something that I promote to anybody that I talk to about health and fitness and I think it’s a super important component to a healthy lifestyle. Yet admittedly, it’s something that I struggle with. I’m
a bit of an totally an all-or-nothing-type girl, which has its benefits but also has its drawbacks. I’m hoping that by being more open about that I can continue to work towards becoming as balanced as I tell everyone they should be 😉 As work slows down and I near the final stages of my personal training venture, I look forward to spending a little more time taking care of myself, as well as working on my career, which includes this blog! I hope to post more regularly, and I’m curious dear readers: is there anything in particular you’d like to learn about, either as a single post or as a series of posts? Any “weird” questions you have about health and fitness but have been afraid to ask? You can leave your thoughts in a comment below, or feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love your input!