Should you Train on Holiday?

I’ve trained on holiday- not everyday, but I’ve got a couple of short workouts in and a couple of 20 minute yoga practices. As a fitness instructor I am used to training most days and often multiple times a day so for me this is still a massive break for the body.

Should you train on holiday though? And if you do what should you do?

Well to start the most obvious answer is it’s completely up to you. If you train regularly and are going on holiday taking a break from your everyday routine is exactly the point so there’s nothing wrong with deciding that you aren’t packing gym kit.

Some people enjoy their training however and will feel better for a quick gym session some days (or you may be training for an event and still want to get some sessions in whilst away) and if that’s you don’t feel guilty about recognising and acknowledging this, although it’s worthwhile remembering there is a difference between wanting to go and do a little bit in the gym a few times and feeling guilty about not sticking to your normal busy training schedule – a holiday is about finding more time to relax after all.

So if you’re going to train what should you do? Again this is entirely up to you. You might want to go with some form of plan but try and be flexible – there could be activities there you’d enjoy trying instead of your planned routine or you could arrive to find a less than well equipped hotel gym. I would try, however, to keep sessions quick so you’ve more time to go enjoy the sun, and also keep them fun – things your enjoy rather than things that are going to kill your legs and leave you aching for days!

Some ideas of things you could do:

  • Hotel Gyms – worth remembering they will vary dramatically in quality so you may need to be flexible with what you do
  • Swimming
  • Running – you may need to do this early or late depending on the heat. Running on sand is hard!
  • Classes – many hotels now put on classes you could try
  • Water aerobics – a staple of most hotels activities and suitable for all levels of fitness
  • Sports – there is often organised volleyball or football you could get involved in, many hotels have tennis courts if you can rope someone in for a game
  • Body weight workouts – if there’s no gym you could still get a little body weight workout in either outside of in your room
  • On demand workouts – if you have space in your room and the internet there’s a host of streamed website services such as Les Mills on Demand (currently doing a 21 day free trial for women as part of the This Girl Can campaign) and Beach Body
  • Yoga – a great way to both workout and relax and could be done outside or in your room
  • Walking- getting out and exploring is still a great form of exercise

Above all if you train you want it to enhance your mood whilst away not feel like a chore or a penance for all the food you’re enjoying so make the choice that suits you best and enjoy!

When should you let something go and when should you stand your ground and make a point?

Today I expressed my opinion on a (fitness related) post and some people suggested that if I didn’t agree with the post instead of commenting I should just scroll on by.

Now this is a sentiment I broadly agree with.  If it’s something you don’t like but it doesn’t affect you why chip in.  Although to be fair surely the point of Facebook and other Social Media outlets is to an extent encourage conversation – if nobody ever commented on anything what would be the point?

But what if it’s about something that does affect you in the wider sense? Well, then, I strongly believe you should comment.

I don’t want to go into massive detail here as this blog isn’t meant to be a breakdown of the topic itself, but to put this in context I suggested (in relation to the This Girl Can campaign) the term girl for an adult female in some situations can be used to reduce the female’s status.  I’ve seen this happen in situations where the term is used to infantilise a woman.  This isn’t always done on purpose or with malice but as a society we are conditioned to think of girls as young, attractive and so on whereas woman is seen as an almost insult.  Boys grow into men but women are often continued to be viewed as girls – it’s a seemingly small difference but one of the little things that keep us from achieving true equality.  It’s largely a perception thing, but perception is important and how we view things affect how the next generation grow up viewing things and so on.  It’s also something so accepted by society that even those of us aware of it are likely to slip into habits of referring to ourselves as girls, yet at some point there were many other things considered culturally acceptable which would not be considered so today.

My point was not to tarnish a campaign or accuse the world of gross sexism- merely to put forward my view that the language we use to refer to one another has a wider implication of how we are then treated by and viewed within society.  There have been numerous worrying indications recently that women’s rights are not automatically assured even today (abortion laws in the United States for instance) and so I do not believe that highlighting this point is merely certain women kicking up a fuss over nothing.  None of this means that I judge another female who would want to refer to herself as a girl or that I believe a specific campaign is sexist for using the word – merely that as a society we should be aware of how things are expressed, as language used does have a impact.

I also believe that discussion of such matters can be beneficial – greater understanding of such things can only help make society more understanding and equal (and this goes beyond gender to discussions opening up about mental health, different cultures and beliefs, the list goes on).

As I say though, this was not what I wanted to discuss here.  My question is when do you turn away and ignore something you don’t agree with and when do you stand up and state your view point?

Let’s take it to the extreme.  How many people turned a blind eye to what happened in Nazi Germany in the thirties because they might not have agreed with what was happening but it didn’t affect them so they said nothing?

Sounds too extreme to compare perhaps but fast forward to today.  Many many people have expressed their outrage over the abortion laws being passed in the United States recently.  This does not affect a lot of these people directly – they live in different countries for instance, but have not been criticised for expressing their dismay at the decision (rightly so).

Today, perhaps I could have just scrolled on by.  But I believe there is still subtle gender inequality within society and so I spoke up and I will continue to speak up when I see such occasions I feel call for it.  Because if, in a few years time, we start to see the type of laws being put forward in the USA be put forward here in the UK (abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland by the way) I want to have known I didn’t just watch things happen because they didn’t affect me directly at the time.  I want to have spoken up, however small the impact I can make alone is, because if we all speak up we can have a voice.

I didn’t believe the campaign in question was negative.  I specifically never said it was negative – in fact I said the opposite! 

I understand it was created by women and designed to do great things and think it has had a positive impact and will hopefully continue to do so.  That doesn’t mean not highlighting the potential issue with the language surrounding it.  Highlighting this does not negate the good.  Quite the opposite understanding the issue some people may have with the language used has the potential to make the campaign stronger and even more inclusive.

What saddened me today was the unwillingness of some to see the other person’s view.  I won’t always agree with you, but I’ll generally try and see things from your point of view too, to understand both sides of the conversation.

I also believe in equality and freedom of speech, from a fitness point of view whatever your age, gender of current level of fitness I’d like this blog to be a place where you can get some useful information of how you can get fitter and feel better (and if you live near me my classes equally so!).

So to finish on a positive note, if you got to this point of this blog I’d love for you to comment or message me with what topics you would find useful for me to write about so I might be able to help you with your diet, training or anything else fitness related.

Have a great weekend!

This Person Can

Due to a new partnership with Les Mills I’ve seen lots about the ‘THIS GIRL CAN’ campaign this week.

Encouraging more people to take part in sport / exercise, encouraging people to exercise regardless of their hang ups and celebrating the fact that a variety of body shapes and sizes can be fit and healthy  – all a tick for me.

Using the word girl as opposed to woman – issue for me, somehow I can’t ever see a This Boy Can campaign being conceived in any boardroom out there.

That being said there are lots of PEOPLE who for various reasons don’t exercise, who could benefit from the encouragement of such a campaign.

Below are my tips for anyone looking to start exercising.

Let’s call it my THIS PERSON CAN Tips:

  1. Pick something you enjoy doing – Don’t enjoy running? Try swimming, dancing, cycling, yoga, classes, netball, football, rugby.  If you enjoy doing it you are more likely to stick to it.
  2. Wear something comfy – You don’t need to spend lots on new gym gear or trainers.  Just wear something you feel comfortable in and allows you to move.  If you need to buy some gym kit to get started Primark and Sports Direct are great places to look for cost effective kit.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for / accept help- Join a team or class there will be a coach or instructor to guide you, join a gym and you will probably be entitled to an induction / plan as part of your membership.  Instructors and coaches are there to help (and want to) so accept the help offered to help you as you get started.
  4. You don’t need to be an expert – If you lift enough to challenge you it doesn’t matter if it isn’t what you consider ‘heavy’, if you sweat in a class it doesn’t matter if you’re a bit off the beat, if you walk for bits during a run that’s alright, if you join a team and aren’t brilliant that’s fine.  You don’t have to be brilliant at something to enjoy it or keep doing it.
  5. Females can lift / Males can do Zumba- There is no such things as gender suitable training so move as you see fit and do not worry about how this is perceived.  Generally the fitness world is less judgmental than people tend to imagine, everyone started somewhere so you will find most people to be supportive of others efforts.