Let’s face it, most Americans don’t go on vacation and under indulge themselves.
Vacations are a time to cut loose, be carefree and make the most out of every day. Sometimes, of course, that includes abandoning your diet and workout routines along the way.
Upon return from a decadent travel excursion, many find that they have a hard time getting back into the swing of things when it comes to their fitness routine or healthy lifestyle. With the emotional high of seeing new sights and experiencing new things now gone, and the post-vacation blues setting in, how can health-conscious travelers get their fitness routines back on track?
By using these tips from Sundance Vacations, you’ll be back to your pre-vacation self in no time! Not only will you be back on track to feeling and looking better, but you’ll be on the path towards a healthier you!
A little prep work goes a long way
Just like with anything else in life, preparation before traveling can really make your life a whole lot easier. A few quick and easy tasks before you hit the trail can make all the difference when you return home.
Take some time before you pack your bags to do your leftover laundry, empty the trash, wash the dishes and clean the house up. Before your vacation your energy will probably be at an all-time high due to the excitement of your upcoming travel. It’s best to take advantage of that energy and knock out those small household chores before you leave!
Imagine how bad it would be to return home from a vacation and then have to wash the dishes or clean the bathroom. To be honest, I don’t even want to do those on a good day, so think about how you’d feel about those chores on a day when you are run down from travel.
So, your best bet is to take a little time to prepare, it will make your return that much easier which will make easing back into your fitness routine that much easier.
Stay active while on vacation
Now some of you may be saying, “I’m going on vacation! I don’t want to be bothered with having to workout while I’m trying to relax!”
And you know what? To a point, I totally agree with you there.
However, there are plenty of ways to stay active while on vacation, and you won’t even have to step foot in a gym to do so! Plus, most of them are leisure activities that can be so much fun, you won’t even notice you’re getting a workout in.
In the infographic to your right you’ll find a list of common vacation activities and how many calories they burn while doing them.
The possibilities are nearly endless, and are only limited by your own personal interests. Suggestions like: grab a racket and play some tennis; bring your clubs along and play a round of golf; lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails; paddle your way on a lake or river in a kayak; strap on some skis or a snowboard and carve your way down the mountain; or rent a bicycle and pedal your way around while seeing some sights in your vacation destination.
No matter what sort of activities you are into, staying active while on vacation can certainly be easier than many people think. You’ll find that there are plenty of ways for you and your travel companions to get a light workout in while having fun doing it. Plus, staying active while traveling will make it that much easier to get back to working out when you head home.
Beat the jet lag, then tackle the other stuff
It’s no secret that jet lag is a very real thing. It can leave you feeling sluggish and run down for days after you’ve landed in your destination. Depending on how, and how far, you’ve traveled may depend on if you worry about this step at all. Obviously the farther you travel, the more likely you are to experience this common, and pesky, travel problem.
There are a plethora of tips out there that can help you to reduce or even eliminate the effects of jet lag all together and tips to help reduce how long it affects you.
Before leaving for your trip, consider changing your sleep schedule to that of your destination’s time zone. This will get you acclimated to that time so you will be ready to fit in as soon as you get there. Also, it may be a good idea to schedule a few extra days when you return at home before you return to the office. These days can afford you the time you need to get back to feeling normal and allow you extra time for doing laundry, grocery shopping or other activities that need to be done after vacation.
Once back, resist the urge to fall asleep when you are tired at any point during the day. Even if you find yourself wanting to curl into a ball and sleep under your desk at midday, resist the urge! Studies show that sleeping at your normal time, even if you are tired during the day, will help minimize the effects of jet lag. The sooner you get yourself back onto your schedule the better.
Experts also suggest drinking plenty of water during the entire travel process. From the airport to your destination and back home again, be sure to stay hydrated. The water can also help to clean your body out of some of the extra bad stuff you accumulated while on your travel excursion.
Get on the scale and assess the damage
Now that the jet lag is out of the way, travelers can begin to refocus on their healthy lifestyle. The first part of that will be to find out just how much ground was lost while on vacation.
I’ve read numerous studies on this, half of which state not to worry about this step as it could cause you to be depressed, however I feel I side with the other school of thought on this subject. Any good fitness trainer will tell you that you need to have a clear and concise plan for getting into better shape. Without knowing where your starting point is, there is no way that you can plan or set goals for yourself.
So bite the bullet and get on the scale.
Chances are you won’t have gained as much weight as you thought, and even if it is more than you expected, it will be so insignificant that it shouldn’t derail your entire fitness plan. While most people are only on vacation for about a week at a time, it’s highly unlikely that it will dramatically change your body. That is unless you spend every waking moment at the buffets in Las Vegas.
Once you know whether or not you gained any weight while on your getaway, you’ll be able to sit down and find out how long it will take you to knock off any excess pounds as well as refocus your fitness plan to get the results you want.
Reaffirm your fitness goals
This step goes hand in hand with getting on the scale and knowing where your gains or losses are.
Take a look at your fitness goals and why you are trying to achieve them. Are you trying to get in shape for a big event? Or perhaps you are just working towards a healthier you? Either way, it’s a good idea to look at your goals and reaffirm your commitment to them.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge at times, but with some willpower and focus, you’ll be in the best shape of your life.
Grab a shopping cart and hit the aisles of the grocery store
It’s likely that your refrigerator will be rather empty after a week of vacation. And if it’s still full, chances are a lot of the items in it are probably squishy, smelly and gross, so you should probably throw those away.
The grocery store doubles as both a way to get you back into your normal weekly routine as well as a chance to restock your home with some healthy foods and meal items so you aren’t tempted into getting takeout or snacking on something that’s unhealthy.
While you stroll the aisles you can refill your home and recharge yourself by buying health conscious food. Consider some berries and yogurts to make smoothies or parfaits in the morning, lean proteins for your dinners and for the love of God, stay out of the junk food aisle!
Another thing to consider is purchasing some ingredients or supplies to make some of your favorite meals from that recent vacation you took. Which of course leads into…
Incorporate some flavors from your travels
While you are perusing the aisles of your local grocery store, be sure to grab some items that will help remind you of your recent travels. Maybe it was regional fare like fresh seafood or a taco dish that caught your taste buds. Either way, there are plenty of options in the grocery store for you to recreate a healthy version of your favorite travel dishes.
This can be a fun way of adding a little taste of your vacation right into your normal routine. Plus, it will help make the transition back to everyday life a little easier knowing that you still have all the great memories and even a little piece of the destination you visited right at home.
You can find some fun, travel-inspired recipes right here on the Sundance Vacations Blog by visiting the Sundance Vacations Travel-Inspired Recipes section of the website.
Ease yourself back into the gym
Now this can honestly depend on a person’s level of fitness as well as how long they were on vacation, but it’s still probably a good idea to take it easy during your first few days back in the gym.
If you didn’t really take part in any physical activity while traveling, your body will thank you for taking it easy. It’s best to pace yourself and do some cardio or light reps of weights to get back into the swing of things before going 100 percent. Instinct may tell you you’ll have to work harder after the vacation because of the time or ground you’ve lost towards your fitness goal, but that would actually be more detrimental to your progress.
After a hard workout, fitness lovers often find that muscles can be sore for hours, if not days, after their intense workouts. It’s on those days that most people want to give up and never workout ever again. To curb this problem, it’s best to take it easy, reducing the likelihood that you will want to skip days in your already created routine at the gym. Studies show that it can take up to 20 days to build a habit in your brain, so it’s better to be in the gym more, doing less intense workouts, than it is to be at home, in your bed, curled up in a ball.
Overall, returning to the gym will have you feeling much better and help reduce those post-vacation blues as well. Exercising has been proven to release endorphins in your brain, which make you feel better and happier. Take advantage of your body’s natural chemistry and get yourself feeling great again just by working out.
Build up your good habits again
As mentioned above, it can take up to or over 20 days to help a daily event become a habit in your life. This goes for more than just going to the gym too.
Follow your already created workout plan and diet, or create a new one when you return from your trip. Either way, make sure you are dedicated to following it for the first month! Those are the most crucial days in terms of building back your habits. Stick to it!
Using the tips above will certainly help you achieve this goal, the better prepared you are, the more likely it will be that you will succeed.
Plan or start thinking about your next trip
Alright, you caught me. This tip may have absolutely nothing to do with your fitness or healthy habits, but man it’s one of the best things to get you out of that post-vacation rut that you may be in.
A lot of the challenge, when it comes to working out and eating healthy, is mental, not physical. If your mind isn’t set on a goal, chances are that you will never achieve it, so it’s best to have your mind in the best possible place before entering into a commitment for fitness.
Studies again show that one of the happiest and most exciting times of a vacation can be the planning process, so use this as a springboard to dive back into a positive mindset when you return home. The clearer your mind is of negatives, the more focused and ready you will be to get back into making yourself the healthiest you can be.
So go ahead, search for some destinations, plan a trip around a 5K or maybe even a beach vacation to show off that six pack of abs you’ll have in the coming months.
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