Plan for Your Vacation in Your Regular Fitness Routine

Vacation is not necessarily a time to let go of your fitness routine instead think about it as an opportunity to help you live an active lifestyle. If you plan for vacation in your routine your hard work preparing your vacation body doesn’t have to end on the day you leave albeit you may chuck the hard work for a few days.

Once you’ve got all the pre-planning preparation down it will be time to start looking at your current workouts so you’ll be ready to tackle your greatest adventure. Whether it be marathon shopping, lounging by the pool, hiking the boundary waters; you need training.

Where is your stamina going to come from? How are you going to stay focused? When I work with clients who have a large event looming ahead we plan their training accordingly. I cycle through the time prior to the trip so they are prepared for whatever they find on vacation.

Even lying by the pool for solid days takes work and it is especially sweet when you know you’ve earned the cycle down week by training hard the weeks before your trip. You can enjoy umbrella drinks, sunshine, and great meals 100% guilt free (remember life is about balance)!

An Endurance Workout

climbing the stairs

Check out the last blog post to review what endurance is then add it to your routines. To add endurance into your regular fitness routine begin by increasing distance, time, or intensity. Each can be added into your cardio routine.

A sample cardio program may look like this:

3-5 min warm-up

1 min walk

2 min run

1 min walk

2 min run

1 min walk

2.5 min run

1 min walk

2.5 min run

1 min walk

2 min run

1 min walk

2 min walk

1 min run

3-5 min warm-up

Continue to add 1:2 min intervals as you add time to your workout

Or

Make the run portion longer in each interval

Eventually, you‘ll increase the run time and decrease the recovery time until the entire workout is a run. Then begin to add walking intervals at the end to bring the total workout time closer to 45min.

Over time you’ll find that you can go longer and faster. Maybe you want to walk on your own from the car to the building, or you’d like to chase your children through the park, maybe you want to swim, walk, or run, maybe you just want to enjoy this beautiful thing we call life. Endurance will get you there.

As always – don’t forget to talk with your health care professional before beginning any workout program.

Endurance

Those of you getting ready to run marathons know this little term. You chase it incessantly. Those who are trying to go further find it elusive and those who’ve got it feel on top of the world. What is it? How do I get it? Where can I find it? What is it? … Endurance!

Some people are made to run long distances but endurance doesn’t just come to those with good genes. We can train for it and build upon what you already have. Endurance is a term we use to describe how far you can go. Strength tells us what we are strong enough to move and endurance allows us to perform movement over extended periods of time.

When you ask your body to perform over an extended period of time, your body must effectively create energy. There are different systems to energy, and I won’t bore you, but when we ask our bodies to go longer we have to dip into our fuel sources. That is why it is so important to eat right. Your body will use what you put in. If you are trying to lose weight it is important to eat well and train long enough to ask your body to dip into your fat (fuel you’ve saved) stores. If you are planning to complete an endurance event it is important you fuel well so your body has what it needs to finish strong. Your brain also needs energy to function well, too. Endurance is physical and mental performance.

Food is Just Fuel

Do you have trouble deciding how to feel about food? Do you wonder if you should be adding or eliminating a food group based on the most recent diet craze? Help your relationship with food by reframing how you think about it. Food is just fuel…

Let’s talk about fat. Its not an evil three letter word as some may think, its really just about fuel. I like this analogy:
You live next to a gas station, right next door. Every day you back out of your garage and drive your car the long way to the station (around the block), fill up the tank, drive the long way home and put the car back in the garage. What happens? You haven’t driven far enough to refuel each day and your gas tank would overflow, right?

What’s so different about that and the way you may be eating? Food is fuel. Overeating and under working cause your body to overflow. Unlike a car, your body places excess fuel in storage as fat. Now the really cool part: Carbs have been on the bad list for awhile, but finally starting to get out of the doghouse, yea, Carbs are your bodies first choice for energy because they are easily accessible and they burn fast. Protein is next, but it takes longer to convert, and finally fat comes on board. Wanna know why? Because your body is smart. Very smart. Instead of storing everything as the macro nutrient it originally was, it stores it as fat because fat gives us more bang for our buck. When we convert these fuel sources we are turning calories into energy and fat gives us more than twice the amount protein and carbs do per gram.

So when you consume more calories than you burn your body says, “hmmm, I don’t need these now, but maybe I will soon, so I’ll save them.” Just like a little kid with candy, your body puts the extra in its pocket., however unlike the child, your body doesn’t use it until it is needed. Absolutely amazing!

Bedtime Routines

For some hitting the hay comes easy. For others it becomes a struggle night after night. Here are some ideas on how to get to bed easier.

From the time we are babies the experts preach bedtime routines. This doesn’t change as we get older – I think we just quit listening as closely.

Enjoy Mario, He’s pretty funny and has some good things to add to your routine!

Routines help us adjust to our activities of daily living so we can trigger physical responses without too much thought. Think about how you respond to a favorite song, a smell, or your drive to work automatically. Creating a bedtime routine can work wonders for those trying to get enough sleep on a consistent basis.

Here are some ideas:

  • Dim the lights around the house
  • Play restful / soft music – music effects our heart rates – think group x class – that’s why they keep the tunes pumping. Not what you want at bedtime. Pick something that soothes you and slows you down.
  • Light candles
  • Use a calming scent – lavender, chamomile, etc – in linen sprays, candles, or sachets
  • Take a warm bath
  • Read
  • TURN OFF THE TV & COMPUTERS – the screens are actually moving in ways your eyes and brains have to keep up with. So even when we may feel it is unwinding us, too close to bedtime it keeps our brains working hard making it harder to transition to sleep.
  • Drink calming or herbal teas
  • Invite your family to participate in the routine by reading together, sharing quiet stories about the day, or just being quiet
  • Practice yoga or other breathing / stretching activity

Whatever you choose to do use the same routine each day – creating a pattern of your behavior allows the body to become more in tune to it. This allows the body and brain to shift into the pattern easier. If you want to be able to shift into sleep easier try using the same music, smells, and activity routines each night to create a pattern for your bedtime.

What’s Sleep Got To Do With It?

So I’m a little behind this week! I was traveling and I needed rest when I got home. What’s so important about sleep? How does a good nights rest help your weight loss efforts?

Not only does getting enough sleep help your body restore as needed it can help you maintain a positive outlook on life. When your body gets enough rest you are more likely to make better food and exercise choices to support your health goals. It has also been shown that when the body is sleep deprived it tends to crave more high glycemic carbohydrate foods.

High glycemic foods are those that quickly impact your blood sugar levels. This is no surprise considering simple carbohydrates are our bodies quickest energy source. However, these are also the energy sources which may be short circuiting your diet. Things like white bread, sugary drinks, and candy may help you feel more energy for the short term but leave you more tired after the “crash”. Typically they contain less nutrients and cause you to consume more calories in order to meet your caloric needs.

Less sleep also contributes to the grand ole’ excuse of “I’m just too tired to exercise”. If you are too tired and choose watching TV on the couch over a brisk walk outside often enough – the pounds are going to pack on. A solid exercise program can help you get good sleep, too.

When we exercise our core body temperature rises. If it goes up it must come down. Research has shown as the body temperature comes down it is a trigger for sleep. By adding cardiovascular exercise (aerobic) in 5-6 hours before bedtime you may help your body prepare for and fall asleep easier and for a more restful sleep. Be careful in choosing your exercise times, as too much vigorous exercise too close to bed can have the opposite effect causing you to stay up later and shorten your sleep time. Because we are all different some may benefit from a morning exercise routine and others afternoon or evening.

We haven’t even talked about the hormonal effects of sleep or lack there of on the body which can impact how full we feel and how our body signals to eat. Both having direct effects on our caloric consumption, our waistlines, and our ability to exercise.

Bottom line – get your zzz’s for optimal health. Next time we’ll have some ideas to help set the stage for bedtime success.

Working Out While Traveling

Summer is getting closer and with all the vacations, graduations, weddings, and other trips planned how are you going to stay on track to meet your fitness goals. Not to mention avoid all the traps for putting on pounds? Here are some ideas to help you plan to stay active on your vacation this season.

The best thing about vacation is getting your out of your routine so it is expected that your fitness might not follow your regular plan either, but to help make sure your vacation doesn’t pack on more pounds than days you’ll be gone try some of these tips.

1) Pack along rubber tubing. Easily packable and versatile this simple exercise equipment piece can be used in your hotel room for a complete strength workout.

2) Plan activity into your events. Can you walk, run, rollerblade, bike, swim, etc as part of a fun adventure for the family. For example try viewing the town by bike instead of car or walking to restaurants and shopping. Check out local outdoor, bike, guide, and sports shops to find the best places for local hiking.

3) Local the park and enjoy chasing and playing with your kids or grandkids.

4) Think about your vacation meals. I know, I know, – you are on vacation but… thinking about them ahead of time will help you plan for potential high calorie meals you want to have and make smart choices earlier in the day.

5) Pack healthy snacks. If you can find a local organic foods store (or other grocery store) and purchase some healthy snacks you can take along – like cut veggies, beef jerky, fruit, fat free yogurt / cottage cheese / jello cups, deli salads, soups, etc. If you spend a some pre-trip time checking out possibilities in the store now you’ll be able to whip in, grab what packs well for your trip, and get out quickly but still keep your eating on track.

6) Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time make smart eating and movement choices while on vacation and then relax and enjoy yourself the rest of the time guilt free knowing you have a plan to stay on track and moving forward.

Muscle Soreness

Many of us have experienced muscle soreness at one time or another. Here are some things you can do to relieve muscle soreness after exercise so you can keep working out toward your goals!

Delayed onset muscle soreness is common after asking our bodies to do more than they are used to. Whether you were hiking through the forest, had a hard lifting session, or were touring while on vacation. The hard part of muscle soreness is it’s potential to derail your fitness goals.

Many get sore and give up – especially when the soreness is rather painful and sitting on the toilet is a constant reminder to ask yourself, ” Tell me again why I am doing this?”

Here are some things you can do to lessen or eliminate your soreness:

1) Take a long hot bath
2) Walk or move a bit and stretch
3) Ice
4) Rest that body part & workout another
5) Apply heat
6) Try yoga or another stretching type activity

Don’t forget regular exercise and flexibility training are important parts of your fitness routine so don’t let muscle soreness keep you from reaching your fitness!

Try Something New

I’m still riding high after finishing my first triathlon! I am totally hooked and it got me thinking.

As I was setting up the day of the race I took extra time to look at those around me. They were all shapes and sizes, men, women, and the youngest participant was 12. This got me thinking why aren’t more people trying new things everyday? My best guess … Fear.

I know fear can be an enormous thing to overcome. But what if you started today? What if you just did something different than normal today? What if you just made a small adjustment in your routine today?

What if you decided to try the salad instead of the same old sandwich? What if you left a little bit on your plate instead of eating way past full?

What if you parked further and walked in? What if you ran? What if you signed up for that race? Or told your best friend you were going to become more healthy … and mean it?

The destinations are endless and you are the driver. Try something new today.

Good Cardio Exercise

 

Many people are strapped for time. Adding a workout in may be more stressful on the short term so what is the health conscious person to do when they want to workout but circumstances are preventing it?

It’s not often I let the words “circumstances are preventing” but lets face it – life happens. We all have situations that pop up unexpectedly and throw off our best laid plans. One way to deal with life is to have a plan to deal with unexpected situations. Think through your goals, your routines, and possible obstacles. Think about how you will work around those twists in your fitness routines. If after the best planning you are still thrown for a loop try using METS.

METS stands for metabolic equivalents. These are units of energy used to measure how much “work” our body is doing. Work can be anything from vacuuming to sleeping to running a 5k. Each activity is assigned a MET. This MET value lets you know approximently how hard you are working. By tracking your METS you may find you are able to add cardiovascular work into your daily life activities without adding more time to your day.

Here’s a link to a MET activity chart and explanation of how a MET is calculated.
http://healthfullife.umdnj.edu/archives/METsTbl.htm

*NOTE: METS are based on a VO2MAX value for most people. Because it is a value for most people it is an estimate of work for you. Also, if you have specific goals in mind METS may not be the right way to accomplish them. See a personal trainer or your health care person for more information on what is right for you.

 

Products to Support Your Health Journey:

Try tracking your movement and exercise to make sure you are on track to meet your goals.Fitbit