Vacation: A Time to Experiment with Your Workouts
When it comes to fitness, vacations can take a toll because you're outside of your normal routines and comforts. Often, you're within the confines of a resort and don't have access to healthy food options, or you don't have your personal trainer blocked in for an 8am slot.
I never think of vacation time as a break from my workouts. I know that if I don't move my body, stretch it out, and take care of it, I'll feel stiff and terrible. So when Jon and I travel, our first priority is to feel good through exercise. I run and practice yoga every day, and it's something I can always fall back on when I'm away from home, as there's usually a treadmill in the hotel (at least in America), and yoga can be done anywhere.
What I love most about vacation time is that you can use it to learn new workouts when you're in new places. They might not always be as intense as the workouts you're accustomed to, but you can learn a lot about yourself and your fitness when you don't have all the usual tools (or facilities) at your disposal.
When Jon and I were in Japan, I started running on a field near where we were staying, simply because there wasn't any other option. It was a large soccer field at one of the local universities, and it was there that I took a liking to running on soft surfaces. Running on that field, versus running on the treadmill at home, which I had become accustomed to, felt so much better on my body and I continued running this way when I got back to the States.
Last August, when we were in Montauk, I started attending Soul Cycle classes. I had heard about the studio but hadn’t lived near one. I loved the music and the energy of the instructors. It was such a welcome break to do a group class that was totally different than the solo runs that I was used to!
During our vacation in Spain last summer I tried many different gyms and was exposed to new methods of training. First of all, the gyms in Spain are hardly air-conditioned -- and I immediately realized how much this was helping my workout. You want to be fully warm and sweating while you’re working out -- and most gyms in the U.S. keep the temperature really chilly. Cold makes your muscles stiff, which can cause injury.
In Spain, the gyms also offered group "classes," but the classes were given on large TV screens each hour, and so there were no instructors. They were able to offer many more classes this way, but I must say that it was a bit strange.
I tried another weird workout in Spain where the trainer pulsed electricity through my muscles, as I did some repetitions of simple exercises. He claimed that the electricity helped the muscles get a better workout, and that you only needed 20 minutes of this, three times each week -- and this would be enough for achieving a high fitness level. In looking back, I'm still skeptical because I subscribe to the adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”
The point in all of this is that vacation should be seen as an exciting opportunity to switch up your regular routine. So wherever you go, check out what the local aerobics studios are offering and what the neighbors enjoy doing to stay fit. You may learn about something new to bring home with you!