As Edinburgh Fringe gets underway, thousands of performers will binge drink, pick up smoking and eat cheap crappy food. At least, that will probably be the case for me. I have a strategy for this. My fitness goals are to drink a pint of water for every beer after the third and aim for eight hours of sleep a night. I think that is about all any performer could handle.
But what if you’re just visiting? How should you treat your health and fitness while you’re on vacation? In my time as a “Tier 3+ Trainer” at Equinox, I have worked with over a hundred clients and their subsequent needs/wants/desires (if you want to hear about them come to my show!). Most of my clients fall into two categories: 1. They love/need exercise, so while they are on vacation they prioritize their workouts above all else, or 2. They hate/need exercise, so they Retox to Detox, the method of throwing all their hard work away, binge eating/drinking, knowing that they’ll come back to training. The love/need person typically regrets that they can’t fully let go during their time of planned frivolity. The hate/need person typically regrets their choices when they face how far they’ve regressed on their first day back to real life.
I believe that there is a happy medium between these two extremes.
Let’s start with you, Fitness Fanatic. A week before you leave, ditch the iWatch or Fitbit or whatever workout tracker you use. Turn off your Runkeeper app. These are helpful, tiny dictators that are useful for your grind lifestyle and shitty friends for your vacation lifestyle. So ditch it before you leave to give yourself a chance to adjust. Then leave it home for real. Try to let go of your program and let curiosity inspire you to move. Run to a place that caught your eye. Bike to the castle or hidden beach that would be hard to get to otherwise. Do you have a family? Drag them on a hike. Sorry kiddos. There are thousands of ways to keep your body active and enjoy vacation at the same time if you improvise a little. If you start to feel guilty, remember that rest and regeneration, including meals with a “dense nutrient load” (DNL 4 LYF!) are key components to a healthy and balanced body and mind.
And now you, Retox to Detox: I’m definitely not going to tell you that you should hold back on your vacation. You are the epitome of when in Rome, drink the goddamn red wine! And yet, on that flight home, you always feel like a salted slug. Here are my tips to make the first day back after a vacation slightly less horrible:
-Drink a shit ton of water. Try my game. After three drinks, have a glass of water for every additional drink.
-Do adventurous things. Take walks. Go snorkelling. Ride a bike.
-Have at least one night of good sleep, whenever it is convenient.
-If you’re gonna smoke cigarettes…buy your own pack, get the ones you like, and leave them for someone else when you leave. If you’re going to do it, own it, and don’t bring the habit home.
Last piece of advice for everyone: You’re going to fuck up. Love yourself anyway.
For more fitness fun, visit me at in Edinburgh this August at Greenside: Infirmary Street for Confessions of a Personal Trainer, my one woman show about my real life job as a luxury personal trainer in the heart of Manhattan. Shows are August 4-26 15:00, 45 minutes, (no shows 13,20), £10 (£8 concession).