PUMPING IRONY: A World Away From Workouts

After a weeklong vacation, I need to convince myself that it’s time to get back to my fitness regimen.

There’s nothing like a nice long, relaxing vacation to mess up your fitness regimen. You sleep late, eat poorly and spend more time than usual sitting around with a cold beverage parked in front of you. I can testify to these particular challenges because I just returned from a week spent lollygagging around the shores of Lake Superior.

And I’m feeling like a real slug.

The experts will tell you that there a variety of innovative exercises you can do to maintain your edge while traveling (see this piece in EL for some creative tips), but what they don’t tend to address is the psychological obstacles that stand in the way of actually doing a workout of any sort while you’re on vacation. That’s the real challenge, it seems to me, because vacation is all about getting out of your routine and embracing everything that encourages relaxation.

I’d love to be able to report that after a couple of days in which I avoided anything resembling my normal morning workout I found myself in acute fitness withdrawal mode, but that would not be accurate. I actually found it all to be a pleasant change of pace. And to be fair, My Lovely Wife had insisted that we bring our bicycles along, which afforded us some reliable transportation as well as a moderate amount of exercise. We also did a little hiking, which included a bit of clambering over inconveniently placed rocks. But mostly we acted like middle-aged tourists, happily sitting still and watching the world go by.

This is not all bad, in my view. I think you’ve got to give yourself a break every so often, so you can recover your stores of energy — both mental and physical. The trick, of course, is convincing your “vacationing” self that the vacation is over and it’s time to get back into workout mode. Most of us are creatures of habit. I know I am. And these habits — whether healthy or not — can be tough to break. So my challenge tomorrow morning will be to convince myself that swinging my kettlebell around is going to make me just as happy as I was last week while sitting on the veranda with a cold beer, watching the mist roll in from the big lake.

Yeah, I hear ya. That’s going to be an interesting conversation.

, an Experience Life deputy editor, explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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