Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Setbacks and Getting the Workout Done

Does your fitness schedule go out the window when summer arrives? 

The kids are home from school, or maybe your spouse is on a 'staycation' from work... you have relatives land on your doorstep for a week's stay... or perhaps you are going on a vacation of your own... or even travelling for business.

How do you manage to stay on the fitness track when your routine is derailed.  Or do you?  Maybe you just put it all on hold and resolve to get back to it when your life gets back to normal.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I have done both... sometimes I have really good intentions of keeping up my runnning mileage or my strength workouts and manage to do that, and other times end up coming home with a FAIL in my suitcase.  For me it depends on where I am going and who I will be with.

When I travelled solo on business, I did very well at keeping up with my fitness goals. I made sure to stay at a hotel where there was a decent gym that I knew I would use.  And I made sure to pick one in a neighborhood that was safe to run in ... and often close to the office I would be working at so that I could walk to and from my daily appointments.  (And honestly, these days with the internet and phone apps there is no excuse not to be able to find out anything you need to know about the area you are choosing and can even map out routes and contact local clubs if you like, before you go.  I confess to getting lost once when out for a run while staying in a hotel and it was really scary.  Dumb.  Don't do that.)

But when I attended business conferences, I was lucky to get in walk every day or two.  The evenings were full of social commitments well into the late evening and the breakfast meetings started very early.  Doing situps and pushups in my hotel room before my morning shower would be almost as much as I could fit in on those trips.  Often there was no break during the day other than a chance for a 10 or 15 minute walk at noon before the meetings started again.  I would come home exhausted, but eager to just move.

When The Captain and I travel, we usually select a resort where we can play tennis, use the gym, run on the beach, swim, sail, waterski, kayak, attend aerobics classes and walk and hike to our hearts' content.   Or when we go on a winter holiday, we choose snow skiiing and also enjoy skating and snow shoeing where it is available.

Even when we take the sailboat out for a cruise that lasts several days or even weeks, we can walk or hike on shore, and row the dinghy for exercise and enjoyment.

If we are visiting friends or family we like to go walking and hiking and will often sneak away on our own for a run here and there.   Sometimes it has been hard to break away and go off and do that, but if you say you are training for something in particular, the exercise seems to become more important and palatable to those who would otherwise resent your doing it.

And sometimes visiting someone else is a wonderful opportunity to try out something new... play softball, go wall or rockclimbing, go horseback riding or cross-country skiiing.  I attended a NIA class with a girlfriend I was visiting a couple of years ago and it was so fun... I would never have thougth to try it on my own.

It is also good to get your hosts to take you their favorite park or beach or hiking trail.  You can do some very special bonding and make some great memories getting sweaty and having a good workout together, too.

Up until a couple of years ago, our visits with my older sister and her husband were pretty sedintary... but now she has lost 165 pounds and we can hardly keep up with her.  She is always the first one up in the morning, dressed, made up, and wondering what we would like to do for the day.  It's wonderful.
Sometimes it just comes down to how important it is to you to keep up your workouts.  Decide before you go what your fitness goals are for that time period and decide how you are going to meet them.

If you are having company at your house, I think it is much easier to keep to your regular routine, for the most part.  Yes, you may have to get up a bit earlier to fit in a run... but you can take your cousin Margie along to your yoga class or get the whole group together to take the dogs out after dinner for a walk.  We usually take our guests out for a sail, or at least a walk on the beach.

So, do try to think about the situation you will be faced with and think about ways to keep moving, even if it isn't your normal workout...
  • Will you go for a walk at the airport instead of having that margarita before you board your flight?

  • Will you take your running shoes in your suitcase or just some flip flops?

  • Do you have a repertoire of body-weight exercises in your arsenal in case the resort gym is too small and stuffy and hot to use?

  • Can you safely go for a walk after dinner near your hotel or do you need to get some exercise in during the day?

  • If the kids are home from school all summer, do you need to go running before your husband leaves for work in the morning so you will be home to supervise them during the day?

  • If your husband has a stay at home vacation time planned this summer, will you still be able to go to your yoga class or will he expect you to spend your time with him?  Or will he want to go with you?

Give it some thought BEFORE the situation arises...  Think about what is going to be different, and decide on some options as to how you will handle it.

And do have a great summer... who knows... if you keep your eyes and ears and MINDS open, you might discover a new fitness love!

How are you coping with summer fitness routine setbacks?


  1. Good post. For me it's not as much about time, although that comes into play as well. However, living near the beach, it's about tourists! My normal route is covered with bikini clad families. So I have to run earlier or later or find a different route due to the summer crowds. It's a challenge, but like you said, you fit it in if it's important to you!

  2. Your sister lost 165 pounds??!! Amazing! How are the swimming lessons coming along? Great idea about taking a walk in the airport. (Kymberly) http://funandfit.org/2012/07/diets-work-if-you-do/

  3. Great points. Its so important to decide upfront what you can be flexible with and what needs to get done. Summer has a way of turning the best intentions upside down.

  4. love that you choose resorts that allow you to be active!!

  5. this is such a great post! i definitely used to take the easy way out or let vacations be an excuse but now i cant think of a better way to explore a new place than on foot. its perfect being able to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy my new surroundings while walking or running. i try to look at this opportunity in gratitude...being able to experience new scenery rather than being stuck with my same ole routes all the time:)

    so incredible about your sister! that is truly inspiring!

  6. sounds like you're having a great time, so I wouldn't sweat it! You'll kick it back up in the fall! I know I let my routines slip in the summer, but mostly due to the insane HEAT! It's hard to get motivated when you walk outside and begin to sweat! Ha!!!

  7. Awesome, awesome post! I was able to run twice on our Disney cruise and the last time I travelled for work, I ran 10k on the treadmill in the hotel gym. I was able to do both because I planned for it? Thanks for all the tips and reminders!

  8. Looks like a wonderful vacation - I love keeping active on fun trips!

  9. My routine is lacking a bit, but I am committed to getting back on track. I did spin today, am running tomorrow and have a personal training session where I hope to get my butt kicked next week:) I love trying new things, great ideas for staying on track while traveling:)

  10. With the kids home for summer, vacations, getaways, summer camps, etc, I'm trying to keep my routine but also trying to be flexible (bonus that I chose a training program with some flexibility built in:). Some days, however, my training or blogging (or both) suffer - which is okay also!

  11. These are great tips! I tend to be good about working out when I travel for work on my own. When we travel as a family, we do make an effort to keep a pretty normal fitness routine. The hardest is when we visit family, particularly my in-laws. But you are absolutely right - It's important to think before the situation arises.

  12. I think its fantastic that you make time to workout even when you are just sailing around! We have a vacation coming up and I cant wait for it because its an extremely active vacation! We are visiting three national parks and have lots of hiking even with our 2 and 5 year old on the plans!

  13. I love that you posted this Elle because I was thinking about this when I left for vacation. The first things I packed were: running clothes, running shoes, water bottle, and fuel belt. I never drink when I fly because I get too nervous and walking around before the flight keeps me calm before boarding.

  14. Excellent suggestions all around - I particularly like the one about walking in the airport. I love flying through DFW (usually for work travel) because the terminals are connected in loops that are fun to walk, plus they just added a yoga practice area!

    PS - I would not travel without my running shoes! ;)

  15. I'm actually pretty good on vacation. I usually just take my gear along and find some times to run. Not so crazy when the terrain is really hilly or the temps are a lot hotter than home, but I still manage to get it done. THen I don't feel so guilty about all of the extra food and drinks I will no doubt be having while I'm away!


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