I am not, nor have I ever been, the type of person who gets homesick.
I can go away for weeks, or even months at a time and gladly leave behind any home comforts; my typical daily routine, my marmite, my teabags, my Facebook.
Until fairly recently, any sort of gym or exercise routine would also have been left at home with an out-of-office saying unavailable: come back later.
Holidays are a getaway, right? The sole escape from an increasingly monotonous routine, a new-found freedom from the office, liberation from that dreary, drizzly rain into glorious sunshine, sea and sand.
Since my initiation as a fully-fledged fitness freak, however, I have found myself distinctly unable to leave this part of my day-to-day life back at home. I’ve turned into that crazy person who gets up two hours before the buffet breakfast even starts in order to fit in a quick session, without sacrificing any time by the pool.
With that being said, I am well aware that it is far too easy to get overly obsessed, and I warn against this at all costs.
While it’s great to stay up and active when you’re away from home, worrying when to fit in a workout should never be the focus of your precious holiday time. Like any hobby or pastime, it’s important to maintain the balance and keep some perspective.
So instead of writing “10 of the best exercises to do on your holiday workout” – or even, “10 reasons you should avoid the gym on holiday” I’ve just got a few, pretty straightforward words of advice for anyone who struggles to find that balance.
I suppose the most important thing to remember is that if you are going to train, do it because it makes you happy. I’ll often start to feel sluggish without exercise – particularly in hot weather- and that can make me tired and grumpy. After a quick body-weight work out in the park or by the sea my attitude will completely change- I’ll be more awake, I’ll have an appetite for dinner, I’ll be happier and more relaxed. Working out is about so much more than your physical body. Let it heal your mood too.
So you’ve finally got away on holiday to escape from a super busy and hectic lifestyle and all of a sudden you find yourself worrying that you’ll start to lose everything you’ve worked for recently. You begin to panic that by the time you return home you’ll have gained weight, or that you won’t be able to lift as much, or run as far.
Forget about it.
If you do work out on holiday it shouldn’t be focused on hitting PBs or smashing targets. You’re about of your usual zone, in strange surroundings – you might not have a gym handy, or even a good place to run. Of course you’re not going to be as on-it as when you’re at home – that’s sort of the point.
If you’re away for a while and want to do some exercise then great, but don’t panic about progress or keeping up with your fitness regime. You’re on holiday, there’s more important things to worry about…like flavours of ice cream and grabbing the good sun loungers.
Most importantly of all, if you only have a week, or even a few days to get away from that busy schedule, then it’s just as important for you to let your body rest. If you never give yourself any time to just sit and recharge then you can actually do more harm than good.
So make the most of that precious annual leave, chill out, charge up and come back home better than ever.
Don’t Force It
One of the things I like best about a holiday is that you don’t have to have a routine at all. You can wake up when you want, eat when you want, sleep when you want.
Just because you wake up on the first day and have a nice jog to the park and back by no means makes you obligated to set your alarm and do so every single day.
Listen to your body, do what you want, when you want and take everything as it comes.
Do something different
There are ways of staying active on holiday that don’t involve being trapped inside the gym, or accidently going for a run around the dodgy part of town because you don’t really know where you’re going. You also don’t need to fork out loads of money for hotel-run classes than can cost a fortune.
When Tom and I went to Cyprus, we found a great spot along the beach with an abandoned Lifeguard hut with a load of old tyres and bars and logs. Sounds really strange, but it was a bit like we were kids at a playground – turning all this derelict stuff into a make-believe gym.
More recently, we went to Lyon, towards the south of France, which is famous for the Cathedral Notre Dame de Fourviere that rests in the clouds and overlooks the city. The hill to the Cathedral is 130m high above the river with goodness knows how many steps.
Needless to say, by the time we got to the top that was our exercise done for the day!
There are so many ways to get out and about on holiday – rent bikes, hire a Pedalo, walk around a strange city with no map. Go swimming or snorkeling – or just give your calves a workout by jogging along the sand. Work some activity into your holiday and it doesn’t have to be made into a big deal.