It does not feel right saying this, with the weather being as it is here in Chicago, but spring break is right around the corner. This means lots of families and athletes will be traveling for some much need R&R. However, do not let the initials R&R trick you. Vacation and the likely traveling that entails can sabotage your gains and block you from achieving your goals if you are not careful. The following are some tips to help with getting the most out of your travels.
1. Do not procrastinate
My least favorite part about vacation is packing. As a result, I tend to wait until the last minute to begin packing. Doing so actually adds more stress than needed to the whole experience of making sure I have everything I need. Of course, with some things I have adopted the mindset of “If I forget it I can always buy it.” This does help a bit, but do not let the stress of packing sabotage relaxation.
2. Do some light movement before and after flying or driving
Sitting in a car or a plane for even a couple hours can wreak havoc on our body’s ability to move. It’s no surprise to feel stiff after a long trip. If you’re driving, you can have the luxury of pulling over every so often to get up and move, but if you’re flying your most likely not as lucky. Attached is a link to a little body weight routine you can do to help your body move and to help alleviate the “stiff feeling” experienced from the stress of traveling.
3. Do not stress about working out
These last two points go hand in hand. I will usually do a little homework about any available gyms in the area I am going to. And if the opportunity presents itself, I will try and get a workout in, usually for me working out is just a great stress reliever. However, if it means interfering with time with loved ones or family, I will gladly sacrifice the opportunity to workout. Many cases, I can work out any time I want, but the family I am with I may only experience time with them a couple of times a year. The way I see it, I will never regret missing a workout, but I may regret not spending as much time with loved ones as I could have.
4. Enjoy yourself
You are on vacation, relax, as I mentioned in point three, enjoy the experience. If you miss workouts or your diet suffers that is okay. In the grand scheme of things, a couple of days will not sabotage your gains. In fact, for most of us the relaxation we can experience with travel will push us closer to our goals. The truth is while working out is immensely important most workouts will break us down, that is what they are designed to do, and genuinely relaxing will allow our bodies to recover fully. The irony of vacation is that so many of us stress out about going off our diet or breaking our workout routine, do not let this be you. Instead, sit back relax and enjoy the freedom from everyday life.
This only scratches the surface, but I think the most important part of vacation is the ability to have a mental break from the rigors of everyday life and thus having the opportunity to get our minds right before returning to the real world. For me, the mark of a good vacation is the feeling at the end of the vacation that I am ready to get back to life.