I recently came back from an awesome little family getaway to Wisconsin. There was good food, good friends, a lake and a boat, family togetherness, sailing (more on that later!) and a whole lot of wine. And while I did eat pretty healthy when I was out there and managed to walk a lot and squeeze one formal workout in, I have to say: I came home ready to get back to my healthier habits. Namely, eating less cheese (when in Wisconsin … ), hitting the gym and making big-ass salads the size of my face again.
And I thought it might be fun to share what I do after a vacation to reset. That way you know how to reset, too! I’ve never been one to get into the whole “detox” thing, but getting back to healthy habits after some time off? Heck to the yeah. First, let’s talk about the physical and mental pros and cons of going on vacation.
The Pros of Going on Vacation
Obviously vacation is awesome no matter how you slice it. Getting away is good for the mind, body and soul. Getting out of your usual daily routine gives you the opportunity to do new things, try new foods, see the world from a new perspective and just get away from it all. This not only gives your mind a break, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, but it also does the same for your body. If you work out quite often or work out pretty intensely, your body needs not just one day off a week but a bit more of a true multiple-day break every now and again. Think about athletes. They’re not “in-season” pushing it to the max all the time, so why should you?
The Cons of Going on Vacation
Let me put it bluntly: the first workout back from vacation sucks. You probably feel sluggish, heavy and you may be pretty darn sore the next day. After nine days off from the gym, I came back to this gem. Oh, Tabata, you never fail to disappoint.
The next day, I felt … um, ouchie. But I know that soreness is worth it. From past experience with taking a week or more off at a time after pretty regular workouts, I know that it’ll take me a few sessions to get back up to how I was before, but that it’s totally worth it because it may actually result in faster gains due to the extra recovery time. (For anyone who really wants to geek out right now, you can read more about this concept — called periodization here. I’m doing a really, really loosey goosey non-scientific version of it with vacation, obviously.)
Another con is that taking too much time off can mess a little with your healthy habits and cravings. Like, um, I’m not supposed to have cheese curds nightly with a glass of wine? Nope, that is not called moderation. So, you know, you gotta work to get those back in place and kicking. Which is why I’ve got steps for how to reset coming up now …
How to Reset After Vacation
If you just got back from vacation and are looking to get back to those healthy habits, here’s how to do it:
1. Reacquaint yourself with your why. Your reason for wanting to be healthy and fit and active is at the root of all of our motivation. So tap back into it, stat. Why do you deserve to be healthy and happy? Reconnect to that deep inner reason. (Need help finding your why? Read this.)
2. Ease in. It’s going to take a little time to blow the cobwebs out. That’s okay. So don’t jump back in expecting total bad-assery or your best workout ever. Embrace the suck. Know that it’s leading to something good. Go ahead and go a little lighter or a little slower and take it a little easier — you’ll be back at it before you know it.
3. Just do it. That said, definitely get back into your healthy habits as soon as you can once you’re back home. It is like riding a bike … but you have to get on the bike to go. So, get on that bike!
4. Focus on how you want to feel. You may come back from vacation feeling a bit bloated or tired. That’s okay. Focus on how good and healthy you want to feel and do things that you know will give you that feeling. Forget about the scale. Go with feeling GOOD.
5. Challenge yourself. A mini challenge can be fun after a vacation. Maybe it’s to go to the gym twice this week, or do 10 push-ups a day for a week. Or, it could be to drink tea instead of wine in the evenings or nix cheese for three days … not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.
6. Give yourself lots of self love. Hey, that’s just good advice all the time, huh?
7. Reward yourself. Once your healthy habits are back in place, it’s time you plan another vacation, don’t ya think? (I’m eyeballing late October … )
How do you feel after a vacation? Energized and ready to get back to kicking butt in the gym? Or does it take you awhile to get back in the groove? —Jenn