On the benefits of letting go of holiday exercise expectations (Guest Post)

In the spring of 2012 Julie & her family hit rock bottom. They finally realized, after years of dreaming, that it was time to leap. 6 months later they have moved to a small island in BC from their home in Vancouver, quit their jobs and re-focussed their life on their kids. Julie’s blog “Pursuit of Happyness” follows their journey, shares their stories as they face their fears and redefine success for themselves.

We just returned from a two week vacation in St Lucia, thanks to a fabulous win from the tomtom map paradise contest.

Two weeks at an all-inclusive, full of food, fabulous sunshine and lots of fun!

julie nowell

Before we left and as I was packing our cases, hubby walked in on me as I was slipping my sneakers and workout gear inside with wishful thoughts of running off my pina coladas on the beach at sunrise, partaking in the daily yoga classes and reminding my abs of their existence via the sweaty fitness classes.

But, the reality is that it really was wishful thinking.

Hubby’s look said it all. . .

See, what I forgot was that we were going away as a family, all five of us, for two weeks of fun and frivolity. As much as fitness was a part of my life, it wasn’t all of my life, and me taking time away from the 3 kids, in a new (sweaty environment) just wasn’t going to happen.

And honestly, I didn’t really want it to.

Instead of bringing my runners, I focussed my energy on my kids, and spent my sweat sailing with the family, building sandcastles and enjoying a few rambunctious games of volleyball.

I did indulge. . . I enjoyed the evening dessert bar, and far too many sugar and rum laden frothy drinks, but I also tried to focus my food intake on proteins and simple veg (pretty hard to find at an all-inclusive that caters to mainly British!)

And I imagine I burned a few calories laughing at our 3 year old learning to body surf and at the girls racing each other down the beach.

Julie Nowell

And I relaxed, I smiled and I let my expectations for my body go for a moment.

See, I believe that we should be comfortable with our fitness level, which sometimes means letting go of the structure of a routine and allowing ourselves the freedom to stray, always knowing and being confident in the fact that we will return and find our strength again. I believe it is ok to have breaks, changes and adjustments in all of our life, all while maintaining a happy, balanced existence. And yes, that means enjoying, guilt free, that pina colada and nap on the beach!

I did not want to take time away from my family each day, or even every few days to maintain a moderate intensity exercise program.

So, I let it go.

I will return to my fitness routine, absolutely, and I will return with a new vigor and intensity that I may not have had if I had maintained it on our holiday and missed the giant caterpillar or the totally awesome sandcastle. My fitness is a part of my life, as are many things, but it didn’t need to come with me on my holiday.

Plus, it was seriously hot here . . . there was no way I was running in 40’ heat with massive humidity! Yikes!