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Checking Out This Summer Vacation

Why Giving Your Mind and Body a Break on Vacation Is Important

Sure it’s important to stick to your fitness regime so you don’t fall off the wagon and miss out on your fitness goals. But it’s summer and the sun is shining. Is it ever okay to just take a break?

What is almost as important as your training that no one ever talks about? Training breaks! No matter how hardcore you think you are, everyone and I mean everyone deserves a little break every now and then. Vacations are good for the soul.

Weirdly, this idea is a hard sell. Most fitness articles talk about how to stay on track during vacations so you don’t take two steps back. People who really love to train often hate the idea of taking a rest, because there’s a real fear of losing some of the momentum they gained by working hard.

I say, absolutely it’s okay to take a break! Summer is the perfect time to take some time off from your regular routine. It’s a vacation. Do whatever you feel like and don’t stress over what to eat or how often to exercise. Enjoy it! (Just don’t be a total couch potato.)

Psychologically, you get a lot of energy from shaking things up a bit. By deliberately adding a few days of break into your training schedule, you stop yourself from falling into a rut.

A Break Will Do You Good

I know a lot of my clients panic when vacation time rolls around. They think that a week or two of relaxing will reverse all those hard-earned gains in the gym. The ridiculous thing is, most of the time we end up being more active on vacation than at work where we sit a lot. Spending nine hours in the sunshine, walking and swimming, is going to do you more good than eight hours in front of a computer screen followed by an hour of frantic exercise.

Trust me when I say that letting go and de-stressing can only help your fitness goals. You feel happier and healthier when you take a vacation, and you’ll come home rested, energized and ready to start again. You might even come home a few pounds lighter—just from not being stressed!

Guilt Free “Me” Time

It’s a good idea to take a break from exercising on a regular basis anyway. Your body will become stronger as you stress your muscles during exercise. But training consistently without a break doesn’t give your body a chance to repair the microtrauma. It’s incredibly important to rest and repair so you can continue to make progress; otherwise, you might end up on a plateau.

Psychologically, you get a lot of energy from shaking things up a bit. The boredom factor is poison for your workout because it stops you giving 100 percent. By deliberately adding a few days’ break into your training schedule, you stop yourself from falling into a rut.

My advice? If you have been exercising regularly for 12 weeks or more, take a whole week off. Yup, that’s right—seven guilt-free, relaxing, gym-free “me” days. You won’t lose muscle. It doesn’t happen that fast. Sure, you should expect a little soreness when you come back to the gym but that is just a short-term effect. And the boost to your training will make it so worthwhile.

Eat Well and Move

Worried about weight gain? Plan for some activity during your break to keep you on your feet. Volleyball, dancing, swimming, cycling, hiking the fresh air—these are fun ways to get the blood pumping and it won’t even feel like exercise!

Eat some veggies and protein and not just pizza and ice cream and you will be golden. You can sin a little—nobody gets fat in two weeks! And even if you do gain a pound or two of water weight, I promise it will fall right off as soon as you get back in the gym.

The bottom line is, breaks make sense! If you want to stick with your strict routine while on vacation, great—do whatever feels right for you. But it’s important to make time for other things that make you happy, such as visiting new places and hanging out with friends and family. It will do wonders for your mental freshness, and you’ll feel sharper and more energetic when you come back to your routine.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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