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Back to Reality

Happy Spring everyone!

When I last wrote, I was excited to be leaving for my Montego Bay escape to celebrate Elisa’s 40th birthday. Today, I’m happy to report the trip was everything I hoped it would be: five days of rest and relaxation fueled by tropical breezes, turquoise water and Jamaican rum. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle reality again. (I’m pretty sure the birthday girl feels the same way!)

Another great thing about this vacation was how it allowed me to mix up my exercise routine. While I hit the fitness center every morning for 60 minutes of cardio and strength training, the hotel offered some super fun alternative calorie-burning activities you simply can’t find here in New York City.

Sylvester ran a fun 45-minute aerobics class on the beach every morning while the entertainment staff offered daily Reggae lessons by the pool. There were also water polo games which got pretty intense for some of my vacationing teammates! At night, the cardio could continue in the hotel’s nightclub and on our last night, the dance party moved to the beach where we enjoyed more good music (and more rum punch) under the stars.

While I did my best to keep my body in motion, I made sure my brain did the least amount of work possible. The most stressful decisions Elisa and I had to make everyday dealt with whether we wanted to sit at the beach or by the pool and what we wanted to drink. I bought “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larson at the JetBlue terminal before we boarded the plane. I think I made it through 90 pages. (I did, however, read two People magazines from cover to cover.) I often lost track of time simply looking at the water, listening to the breezes rustling through the palm trees and enjoying the Reggae music playing from the pool bar’s speakers.

Sure, I came home greeted by a flood of emails and texts. One by one, I read them and responded as needed. The back-to-reality errands like stocking the fridge and doing the laundry got done. Now, I face the week ahead with new energy for work and to get back into my “serious” exercise routine.

I’m especially looking forward to getting back into my UFX small group training class Monday night to work off the vacation pounds I know I put on thanks to all those fruity drinks along with plates of jerk chicken with rice and beans.

So while I realize a Caribbean getaway isn’t something we can indulge in every month, I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a way to decompress and re-boot your body, mind and spirit from time to time to make the daily grind a little less taxing. It’s a surefire way to embrace the attitude that nothing is going to stop you from pursuing your quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fitting Fitness Into Your Vacation

Photo by Laura DeAngelis

This will be my last post for several days. Why? Because I’m getting out of the hot and steamy Big Apple for long weekend of relaxation in Newport, Rhode Island.  We all work hard, and we all need to get away now and then.  The good news is while you can leave reality behind for awhile, you don’t have to abandon your fitness regimen. If anything, a vacation gives you the opportunity to mix up your routine.  So, as a break from packing, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite ways to burn some calories while on vacation:

  • Walk, walk and walk some more!  Our hotel in Newport is about one mile from the beach, so we get some good strides heading to and from our daily hangout. Then there’s the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, which offers such amazing scenery, you may forget you’re getting a good workout while you scramble on some rocks along the way.  Wherever you may be going, make the effort to leave the car behind and explore the town or neighboring area on foot. (Don’t forget to bring supportive footwear.)
  • If there’s a pool where you’re staying, do some daily laps.
  • Pack a Frisbee or paddle ball game to play on the beach. If there’s a beach volleyball game going on somewhere, don’t be shy – ask if you can join one of the teams.  No sand around? Find a park, claim your spot in the grass and have some fun!
  • Try something completely different.  If you’re near a lake, find out if you can rent a canoe or kayaks and paddle around for an hour or two. If you like it on your first day, you can go back for more during the duration of the trip.
  • Use the hotel’s fitness center. More and more hotels are offering some sort of workout space. Granted, it may consist of one stationary bike, one elliptical, one treadmill, some free weights and (if you’re lucky) a yoga ball.  Those options mean you can still get in some good cardio, and use the free weights as extra resistance for squats and lunges.  Then you can work the upper body with a minimum of bicep curls, lateral raises and overhead presses, and round things out with some core work.  All in the comfort of air conditioning!
  • If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere with a DVD player and some extra room, bring one or two of your fitness DVDs along for the trip.

Newport, RI

Whatever activity you jump on, remember to stretch the muscles you worked during that walk, canoe ride  or mean game of paddle ball.  Make sure you also stay hydrated, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Whether or not the coming weekend allows you the opportunity to get away from it all, I wish you some time to relax and re-charge your batteries so you can approach a new week with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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