Holidays are great! Time for relaxing, letting go of schedules, indulging a bit and cutting yourself some slack. Everybody benefits from slowing down from time to time.
Returning from holidays? Not so great. Especially if you’ve overindulged and only got out of your lawn chair when you needed another beer or mojito or martini (insert your vice here).
While it’s tempting to ease back into your exercise and nutrition routines (what’s another week off, after all?), the slope between ‘a break from the gym’ and ‘starting all over’ is slippery and steep.
Cardiovascular de-conditioning occurs in as little as a week. Muscle loss takes longer, but you’ll feel weaker if you miss even four or five strength training sessions. Those 3 or 4 pounds you put on? They’re not going to disappear on their own. You’ll carry them as a souvenir of your summer vacation until Christmas (and beyond…).
Now I won’t lie; the first couple of workouts after a holiday (even an active holiday) will suck. You will feel like you’ve lost ground (you have!) and that it will never get any easier (it will!). You will feel discouraged and might even be tempted to postpone your return to the gym.
Don’t. Do. It.
If you think the first few workouts back are tough now, how do you think they’ll feel in a month? Or two? Or six? Get them over with IMMEDIATELY!
I just returned from ten days away from the gym. While I was fairly active during my holidays (see here and here), the frequency, intensity and duration of my workouts were nowhere near what they usually are. I knew the first day or two would be tough (and I can’t fake it, as I’m the one leading the class!).
What did I do?
While it was tempting to call on a sub ;), I jumped right into the deep end, pushing through the fatigue and the jello legs and got it done; 2 step and sculpt classes, 1 spin, 2 spin and abs, a body sculpt and a boot camp all in FOUR DAYS!
How soon do you return to exercise after a vacation?
Do you look forward to those first few workouts or dread them?