A lot of people I know who have lost significant amounts of weight find going on vacation a really mixed bag of emotions.
On the one hand, there’s all the stuff you usually look forward to while going on the vacation. On the other hand, there’s the stress that always seems to accompany getting ready for the voyage, which can lead to overeating.
There are all the temptations on the trip. There’s the issue of the hidden calories, fat and sodium from eating out at restaurants. And then there’s the lost workouts.
I’ve always wondered if you don’t keep up your workout routine, do you lose all the momentum, endurance and strength you had built up to that point?
Your answer may depend on your personality and what stage you are in regarding your weight, health and fitness.
I know there are Type B personalities out there who are saying that vacation is the last place to be worrying about a workout. You’re right. I wish I could think that way.
The thing is, those of us who fought like crazy to lose more than 10 to 15 pounds are all too familiar with the beginnings of the backward slide. We’ve also been told that something like 80 percent of people who lost significant amounts of weight did not keep it off and in fact, gained it back, and then some.
My anchor is my gym. I have figured out that in order to really enjoy my vacations, I have to somehow re-create my anchor wherever I am. It might be the treadmill in the hotel. Or the bike path in Yellowstone. Or the walkway along the oceanfront in San Diego.
Now, please don’t take this as a lecture of what you should do on your vacation. Almost everyone I know is a slave to their cellphone and their emails from work. We’re all too overscheduled and spend too much time racing around from one crisis to another. You should do whatever you want to relax and get away from it all on your vacation. I’m just saying that I enjoy my vacations the most when I am moving the most.
And one trainer, thankfully, gave me permission not to worry too much about the backward slide.
Mike Ribar, a certified athletic trainer at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center, said no one really needs to worry about taking steps backward in their fitness routines when they’re taking a week off of everything for vacation. In fact, that break could actually be good.
“Physically there aren’t a whole lot of changes that are going to occur within a week” for the average person who works out consistently, said Ribar. “… I think people should be assured that you’re not going to lose any strength gains that you’ve made. It takes about two weeks for that to happen. And it takes about three weeks to see the aerobic changes occurring. So if you’re just a recreational runner, you’re not going to see any real gigantic changes within the first three weeks.
“It is a matter of distinguishing what kind of workout person you are. If it is something where you are continually trying to improve, and make significant gains, then you’re going to want to make sure that workout is scheduled in your vacation. But for someone who is maybe not as intense, research does show you’re not going to lose anything in that week.”