Don’t Work Out on Vacation!

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“Hot Bod” is a weekly exploration of fitness culture and the curiosities associated with it.

Last week, I lifted a 6,000-pound carry-on bag in a nimble, beautiful arc over my head, thinking I’d waited my whole life to bow like this. I’ve been weight training at home for about a year. Now, packed and on the move, I felt strong, deliciously conceited, powerful. I put down my out-of-office email reply, started my vacation, knowing that I would be the reason they invented the phrase “rest on your laurels.”

Because here applies: The hotel pool is there to splash around, not to spin around. Your friend’s guest room is for scattering the contents of your suitcase and hoarding coffee mugs, not a “quick HIIT routine”. The Airbnb floor is not suitable for pushups. Unless you’re away for work and spending ten days a month at the Memphis Hilton, don’t dare step into the hotel gym.

In my job (fitness correspondent) I get at least one PR email a week promoting an innovation in the field of sports travel: this portable resistance band fits exactly into a zippered compartment; this trainer maintains the abs for jet setters worldwide; This app brings trainers in every time zone together with daredevils on the go. I’ll tell you what I was too polite to tell you, “Please, sir, give me a break.”

To say that we have to work on our travels, that we have to have a goal, is productivity tyranny. But I understand and I am guilty of it. I really love endeavors. In the words of my partner, “This is my Protestant problem.” In every cautious, stressful trip I ventured last year, I put my 1 pound wrist weights in my suitcase and literally just burdened myself with my own expectations.

While waiting for a rain shower on our hotel bed last week, my friend told me that she would take us to an airy top floor gym for another year that we could almost see from our window. She didn’t miss this habit at all. “Exercising while traveling always involved feeling like I should, not the way I wanted,” she said. “I’m more zen. Less vain, too. ”Our priorities had eventually evolved. Five years ago I turned down a party because I was working out early the next morning. I never forgave myself.

“Vacation is gone. I don’t want to repeat the same thing that I do at home, ”strength trainer and power lifter Chrissy King tells me on the phone. “One thing I never do again is exercise on vacation.” King has a radically intuitive, permissive, and flexible view of training, so it’s fun to hear her use the word never. “When I’m on the beach, I don’t want to spend my time going to the gym: I want to spend my time on the beach,” she says. And the beach, she says, offers other ways of getting around: swimming, strolling, exploring.

I have absolutely nothing against a physical component of the vacation. I am absolutely against imitating your commitments. Travel is theoretically a pursuit of something different, so a different type of movement feels very connected. A friend just sent me a video from camping in Wisconsin, where a buddy was using a branch for pull-ups while his wife was tumbling down the path. Clowning for your friends? I allow it! Last week a dinner companion told me about an upcoming trip to Big Sur, where he plans to kayak to find some otters. Sounds good! Walk three miles in an art museum? That’s why we’re there! Are you planning to play tennis with your nephew? Sweet!

But … squeeze in a spin class? Run in before meeting your friends on the terrace? Look, you don’t have to fill every minute. Let the minutes breathe. Vacation minutes are the most precious thing.

Plus, your intransigence could give you away. The intensity that drives you to “do that core set really fast before you relax” is perfectly prepared for backfire. “The crunch in a tiny hotel room just brought someone into my office with a broken back,” says Dr. Nicole Haas, physiotherapist at Boulder Physio. “This urgency that I see in people to stay in shape or to get in shape causes them to self-harm. I had someone do a thousand squats on that one hotel chair. Well, now your knee hurts! And I say: Seriously? ”Anything that single-minded tends to miss the bigger point. “We don’t do these things to harm ourselves, but so often our decisions are not the best, ”says dr. Haas.

She gets the concerns. People are afraid of losing the progress (or profits) they’ve made or worry about a hard-won routine. Dr. Haas reminds customers that vacations are breaks – and when you are back in your familiar environment and immediately go back to your normal routine, it will start again immediately. Book a class, go jogging, shoot your videos the day after you return. Unpack later. “And in terms of physiology, will a long weekend take your training or strength into a nosedive? No, ”she says. “It is productive to give the body some space.”

Of course, if you think you might want to exercise on your vacation, do what you want; If you think you need to exercise on your vacation, Dr. Haas intends to really investigate why. “For some athletes, there is a reason they have to do it: they have a race or an event.” For the rest of us, she asks, “What is the reason? Is it self-imposed pressure? If it feels like stress in a time that is relaxing, rejuvenating and invigorating, I could question that. “

I like sports because it allows me to: just be one body, enjoy sensations, challenge myself (sorry, but I have to be honest), watch people and feel the selfish stimulus to do something just for me. These feelings happen on vacation without really trying – and doing something without really trying is exactly what I want to do on vacation.

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