Keeping Fit on Holiday

There are two types of holiday makers when it comes to food and fitness – those who make an effort to maintain there usual routine throughout their trip, and those who use it as a break from it. Although much of this blog is aimed at the former, before I begin I’ll make it clear that I don’t often fall into that category myself. Since becoming a trainer my commitment to my body and mind has become much bigger; not only because I’m more active than I was at my desk job but also because it’s my professional duty to be the best I can be, physically and mentally. I was recently in New York for 6 days and made a promise to myself that I would enjoy my time there, rest, relax and not focus on exercise or diet.

As many of you know I am a big believer in rest and relaxation and if you’re off on a trip I would always encourage you to treat it as the luxury it is – explore new places, enjoy eating and drinking and forget about your weight. However, I know that many of you may prefer to slide a workout or two (or more!) into your vacation and for those that do there are below some ideas on timings, workouts and eating that may help you next time you pack your bags. Remember, this is just advice – you do what makes YOU comfortable and happy.

First of all – always try and get that workout done as early as possible, then it’s out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your day without it playing on your mind. If you go somewhere hot, the evening will likely be the warmest time of day and best avoided.

If you’re staying somewhere that has a gym, I’d aim for a half and half cardio to strength split. That could mean 30 minutes on the bike, or 15 on the bike, 15 on the tread, then weights. Adding in some high intensity intervals such as sprints or heavy incline work is more effective that a steady pace so you could always do a 15 minute run then 15 minutes sprints at a minute on, minute off ratio.

With weights, I’d personally keep it lighter as I wouldn’t want DOMS on a holiday. A circuit with lighter weights would still get you hot and sweaty without putting too much pressure on your muscles. For example:

 

60 secs work, 15 rest, repeated 5 times:

Kettle bell swings (8-12kg bell)

Weighted jump jacks (i.e. 1.5 – 2kg dumbells)

Russian twists (5kg)

Clean (10-15kg)

Burpees

 

Then to finish off, core and arm bodyweight work such as push ups, planks and crunches. Make sure you’re working towards the lighter end away from your rep max and you won’t get any soreness the next day.

If you don’t have a gym at your disposal, fear not. There are HUNDREDS of bodyweight exercises you can do in your hotel room or outside that are just as effective as using weights in the gym. Again a split between cardio and strength will refresh and revive you – you could always run or swim for that cardio interval but please make sure you are hydrated and out of strong sunlight as nobody needs sunstroke on their holiday!

For your bodyweight exercises, a simple circuit such as the one below will work all the muscles of your body.

 

45 seconds of each exercise, b2b, repeated 6 times with a 60 second rest inbetween

Burpees

Mountain climbers

Travelling plank

Ab cycles

Jack squats

 

If you have a bench/bed/chair to use, you can add in tricep dips, v-ups, elevated push-ups, etc. Make sure whatever you use is fixed to the ground – you don’t want to damage yourself or the hotel!

Food-wise; this is a tricky one for me. One of the joys of going somewhere abroad is eating all day long and my honest answer about dieting on holiday would be DON’T. However, if you’re keen not to cut too loose, the usual rules apply – not too my booze or sugar, keep white carbs to a minimum and watch your portion size.

Finally and most importantly – no matter what you do when you’re on holiday, have as much fun as you possibly can. If, like me, you return home a little out of shape, it’s nothing more than a sign of how hard you were working before and an incentive to build yourself up again.

Some Hope

There’s one question I get asked, by both clients and non-clients alike, more than anything else; ‘when will I see results’?

I don’t have a definitive answer for this, because there isn’t one. But I can tell you that, as long as you stay focused and don’t give up, you WILL see them.

Each and every one of our bodies responds differently to various different types of foods and workouts. You might need to try a few combinations to find a pattern that is effective for you. Then there’s your metabolism to take into account. There are no certs – although it’s common, people who have more weight to lose won’t necessarily lose it quicker than those who don’t.

Now here comes the hope – the certainties, what I can guarantee you will happen. If you keep exercising, and eating well, you WILL reach your goals. No matter how slowly the changes happen, they WILL happen. Each and every time you nail a workout, eat a healthy home-cooked meal and remind yourself how far you’ve come you’re one step closer to hitting your target. It doesn’t matter how you do it. You can dance, run, box, pump, climb or spin your way to the top. You can exercise early, late, alone, with someone, inside, outside or up a tree. Just keep moving.

As you progress, there may be extra changes that you start making as you become fitter and stronger. You might need to start adding weights when your body-weight becomes too easy for you to carry. Once you’ve adapted to your initial dietary adjustments, you might start to make more. My point is – start small, and you’ll only get better and gain more momentum.

Finally, and most important of all – don’t let ANYTHING hold you back. One missed workout or a pizza + wine night DO NOT equal one stone weight gain. In fact since you’re working so hard, you’ve earned that rest and those calories. Keep climbing, keep smiling and one day you’ll wake up, look in the mirror, and that you you’ve been looking for will be looking right backatcha. 

News + Views

Happiness Rules

Over breakfast a few days ago I read a feature which discussed cynicism, or the lack thereof, observed in London recently (read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1Vmg5i4). The author lamented our transgression from negative, narrow-minded piss-takers to happy clappy hippies, high-kicking our way through exercise classes and beaming at fellow shoppers in Tesco with an energy not normally in keeping with our usual moany old outlook on life.

As someone who has a fairly sunny disposition I would say this – life is TOUGH. As mentioned in the article – house prices are huge, work is long, kids are snotty, weather is HORRENDOUS. So if you want to be chirpy you go ahead and BE CHIRPY. Go to that insanely mega-happy workout, smile for no reason, do kind things and accept compliments when they are paid. It might not fully distract you from your mortgage, but it’s a start.

Training

Small brag – as I’ve got fitter and stronger it’s becoming harder for me to find workouts that really push me apart from swimming and trail running. So I was delighted to discover the almighty Dom who I train with on Sunday, and Barry’s Bootcamp which I have been meaning to check out for years.

Spending so much time instructing others, it’s great to be told what to do and how to do it by experienced fitness professionals. Not only do I feel stronger and fitter but I’m learning so much about my own role as a PT. Now if only I could find a trainer to make me better at dealing with this HORRID COLD WEATHER.

Testimonials

I’ve added a few testimonials at the bottom of my homepage. Nothing but nothing makes me happier than a text or email from a client telling me their abs or legs are sore – it’s like telling a regular person they look 10 years younger.  Check them out here and see you next time! http://www.trainedbyeleanor.com/

PT's vs Fitness 'Gurus'

Please do excuse what I believe is my first ‘rant’-y blog piece, although this is just as much a piece of advice as it is a rant. My advice is to anyone thinking about investing in their fitness, and why they should choose a properly qualified trainer and not a filmed workout video or package deal by a celebrity calling themselves a ‘fitness guru’.

There are HEAPS of workouts by TV personalities out there and you will notice something they all have in common – every one of them appears on film accompanied by a personal trainer. This is a legality for the sole reason that people who aren’t qualified to train one-on-one cannot do so. You legally cannot call yourself a personal trainer unless you have taken the appropriate exams and so many people are getting round this by using the term ‘guru’ or ‘expert’. Gaining the PT title is a big investment and we do it so we can safely and effectively guide you towards your goals.

I didn’t know what to expect before I started studying for my PT quals. Maybe a bit of physical, a few endurance tests, some written work and basic health and safety?

The reality of course was quite different. We were tested rigourously, physically, verbally and mentally every 2 weeks on human biology, the principles of exercise, business acumen and several different types of workout disciplines. Every other weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 8:30am until 5:30pm, we alternated between the gym and our classroom, our brains overwhelmed by the amount of information we needed to retain in order to pass our exams. It was only when these exams were over (and there were many of them), following an almost heart-breaking amount of revision and an even more upsetting amount of nights at the pub sacrificed, that we could finally call ourselves Personal Trainers.

There are so many things that a personal trainer can give you that an electronic workout out can’t. For a start you’ll be in the hands of someone proficient in Health & Safety, who can judge your exertion levels and progress or regress the workout on the spot and accordingly. Each session is different and tailored to suit your goals and the rate at which you are progressing. If you’re not a people-person, all you need to do is tell us and we’ll make sure we communicate with you appropriately. We can email you extra workouts to complete between sessions and text you encouragement.  You’ll walk away with not only a better body but all the necessary information you’ll need to create your own workouts when you’re by yourself.

I am by no means calling these ‘famous’ people’s passion for a healthy lifestyle into question, or their commitment to spreading the word about the benefits of regular exercise. But the premise they are selling these short workouts on isn’t accurate. You can’t firm up your bum in 3 minutes or get a flat tummy in 8. To lose weight or gain muscle and maintain lasting results you need a carefully thought out regime, by a proper professional, that is designed specifically for you and you only. They don’t call us ‘personal’ trainers for nothing!

So please do consider putting your health in the hands of someone like me. I can promise you that it will be worth your while.