Go Ahead: Take a Vacation from the Gym
The sand dunes in Michigan.
The summer is a unique time when vacationing from the gym doesn't have to mean lack of activity
If you work out regularly, the thought of a vacation that takes you away from your gym may cause you some anxiety.
How will you keep your weight in check? Will you lose all of the beautiful muscle tone that you have been working so hard to achieve? Will you struggle to get back to the gym after you return because you've broken your routine? Exactly how deconditioned will your body become?
These are all valid questions, and I have good news for you. Unless you are going to the Caribbean to lie idle on the beach for 3 months (which no one has money to do anymore), you are going to be fine.
Taking a one week break from your fitness routine will not derail your fitness goals. In fact, taking that break is not bad for your body at all. Vacation is important for your emotional health. It is also important for your physical health. It is a time to catch up on sleep, relax, and rejuvenate so that you can return to your fitness routine with a renewed spirit and energy to achieve your goals.
So forget about the gym. Close the book on your fitness goals and vow to open it upon your return.
Put together a week of relaxation and new challenges:
Sleep in. If you have kids and you can't sleep in, schedule a nap. Sleep when they do or have your spouse take them out on a walk so that you can rest.
Schedule outdoor activities. Kayaking is perfect for the whole family. The kids can sit in the middle of the boat while mom and dad paddle. If you are feeling agressive, follow the trip with a hike.
Go to the pool and swim with your kids. Even if they don't yet swim you can get some good exercise in. Catch them as they jump in the pool. Help them float. This will give you a great upper body challenge.
Go to the country. Run in the fields. Pick berries. We took the kids strawberry picking and returned home to make some yummy, healthy muffins. I got the recipe from Stonyfield Farm's website. Just double the amount of strawberries that the recipe calls for.
Make important social connections that you have neglected because you were too busy. Invite friends over for coffee. Plan family BBQ's and playdates. Have long cocktail hours with wine, nuts, fresh fruit, your favorite decadent cheese (I highly recommend Fromager d'Affinois. It is the richest, most delicious gooey cheese I've ever had. To die for!) Relax and catch up.
Take a trip on the train to the Farmer's Market. Walk the market and marvel at the beautiful, fresh lettuces, tomatoes, onions, peaches, and other seasonal produce. Buy a selection and make a vegetarian lunch: Whole wheat pitas stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and cheese. Broil for 5 minutes and enjoy!
Take the kids to the local kiddie amusement park and tire them out. Get them to bed early and relax with a glass of wine, some air popped popcorn, and a movie that you've been dying to see but never found the time for.
Whatever you plan, look for a good combination of physical activity and downtime. Figure out what you can easily manage given your family dynamics and schedule. Be loose and flexible. You'll come back eager and ready to tackle the gym again.