by Harold Irby | Personal Trainer
So you just went away, saw a new part of the world, and now you're back. You ate, you drank, you relaxed, and then you ate some more. And now it's time to face the music.
As you wake up on Monday morning after your week of less-than-healthy eating, your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight. In fact, maybe you just returned from vacation, and you’re feeling that way right now. In case you are, use this five-step plan to get back on the fitness fast-track after your trip:
Step One: Focus
Your vacation happened. You ate things from the “never eat these” list. You drank more than you should have, but now it's over. Draw a line in the sand. You're back home so the bad eating stops now. If you're serious about your fitness goals, then your vacation was the exception, and not the rule. Don't beat yourself up for letting loose on your trip. Simply get back up, dust yourself off and get focused.
Step Two: Hydrate
While travel days can take on many forms; the end result is most often dehydration and water retention. The only way to restore your balance is to get hydrated. So, your first priority as you get back on track is to drink plenty of water throughout your first few days home.
Start with a tall glass of water in the morning, and carry a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day. Don't add any artificial sweeteners or stimulants to your water – these will sabotage your hydration efforts. For flavor, add sliced fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables to your water, just like at the spa.
Take the time to stretch your muscles before jumping into a solid 30-minute routine.
Step Three: Cleanse
For your first few days home you need to be extra picky about what you eat. Stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Whole, real foods will help to restore balance and block out cravings. Don't eat any packaged foods for the next few days. This means no snack foods, processed meat slices, dairy, baked goods or alcohol.
Step Four: Rest
As relaxing as vacation days are, most usually end with the feeling of exhaustion. Make catching up on sleep a priority over the next few days. When your body is low on sleep, it becomes easier to make poor eating choices. You're also less likely to get back into your workouts if you don't give your body a chance to rest. Aim for getting a full eight hours of sleep each night.
Step Five: Exercise
It's time to sweat out all those vacation indulgences. So, lace up your athletic shoes and put on your favorite gym clothes. When you start your first workout, ease in slowly. Take the time to warm up and stretch your muscles before powering up to a solid 30-minute routine.
Get Back At It
You may feel tempted to skip your workout the day after you return home from vacation, but be warned that it's a slippery slope. After all, you're probably tired, you have unpacking to do and you're stiff from the ride home. But that day slides into the next day and the next day. Before you know it, you've been home for a week and still haven't got in a workout.
Don't hesitate, return to your workouts immediately once you’re home. Sure, you're going to feel a little rusty on that first day back, but remember that the sooner you get back into the swing of your routine the better.
Harold Irby is a certified personal fitness trainer and Mr. Michigan body building champion with over 20 years of experience in weight training, body building, sport specific training and strength conditioning. Harold has worked with many professional, college and high school athletes as well as celebrities and business professionals seeking a healthy and fit lifestyle through his personal training and fitness center Xtreme Advantage.
Photograph credit: Getty Images
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