Three days after getting back from vacation in Montana and I'm feeling anything but 'fit.' Remember that show on Disney called Rolie Polie Olie? Yeah, well that's me. If you don't remember, I've attached a lovely picture for you.
Notice how he's round, his arm and leg muscles are limp and flubbery, and his belly is significantly bigger than the rest of his body. Essentially, that's how I feel. Maybe that's not how I appear, but that is how I feel. Key word: feel. However, I am doing everything in my power to overcome these feelings and recover gracefully using some personal guidelines. I hope some of these tips will be helpful to you, because I know that at some point you will likely go on vacation or maybe even spend a weekend eating poorly and not exercising.
How to recover, here we go: 1. First of all, be thankful. Be. Freaking. Thankful. You just got back from vacation- VACATION- something most people in this world don't even understand the concept of. So before we even begin to talk about how to get over whatever guilt or fatigue or chub-chub you might be feeling after consuming thirty pounds of food and alcohol at your all-inclusive resort for a week, I want you to pause for at least one minute to be absolutely ecstatic that you got to go somewhere and play. Look up to the sky, close your eyes, and just give thanks. Is your minute over? Okay good. Let's get to number two. 2. Sleep. Catch up on it. Go to bed early, get up later. Simple. Personally, lack of sleep really gets to me, especially in the evenings. Lack of sleep is like this evil little midget villain that sits on my kitchen counter, legs swinging playfully, no shirt, suspenders pulling his ratty shorts up near his chest, begging me to eat more Oreos in order to feel energized and stay awake. That stinky little crumb-catcher also tells me to stay home and skip my workouts, nasty little villain. By catching up on sleep, you're literally grabbing that little elf monster by the ears and drop-kicking him to China. That's a really good thing.
3. Hydrate. When I say this, I'm not referring to those times when your granny tells you to "go get a glass of apple juice, sweet baby," NO put down the juice! I'm talking about water, and lots of it; like practically double your intake. There's something to be said about flushing out your system. If you're like me, you had a hard time on vacation keeping track of your water consumption, especially when you had tons of fun activities to partake in. Also likely, you consumed higher carbs than normal, which will naturally make you hold onto an extra bit of water, making you feel as bloated and "fat" as a Teletubbie (see attachment). ￼
The word FAT is in quotations because I want you to know that it's not actually "fat" you are feeling, it's puffed up body parts due to higher food and carb intake which are abnormally holding onto water. Now, if you don't consciously recover from your vacation through exercise and eating better, this marshmallow fluff will likely turn into fat a couple weeks down the road. SO, first thing in the morning, drink water before you consume anything else- 1-2 glasses to fill up that belly. This is something I do most mornings anyway, but it's going to be very important for the next week. Keep drinking water all day! Easy-peasy. 4. Sweat. Ultimately this means exercise, and doing it to the point of sweating profusely. Notice I didn't use the word glisten or glimmer or moisten; SWEAT! Soak your t-shirt! Drench your socks! Drain your guts from the inside! (Too far?) Go to the sauna if you want to, sit outside in the humid air of Texas for 90 seconds, I really don't care how you do it but you need to sweat, you need to get your heart rate up. Flush your body and burn some calories, more so than normal. Do this every day.
5. Goals. Create some goals for the next week, the next month, the next year. This is something I love doing after a long trip because typically I am very inspired after traveling and it also gives me something to look forward to. As soon as I woke up on Day 1 post-vacation, I wrote a two-month schedule full of workouts and plans and new adventures. Because this is a fitness blog, I would prefer that these goals were health-related, but hey if one of your goals is to participate in a hotdog eating contest at the end of July and you're stoked about it, then who am I to stop you? Write goals, get ecstatic.
6. Reflect. Not only do I get inspired after traveling, but in all honesty, there is always some degree of sadness that also floods my mind. Sadness that the fun is all over and it all went by so quickly, sadness that I will not see my loved ones for a while, sadness that maybe I did not maximize my fun while spending time there, etc. Now, rather than diving into a deep week-long depression about it (which has happened many times in the past), I use reflection as a way to process my feelings and then move on. Reflect on good times and those bad/good feelings associated with your vacation, grasp the memories tightly inside, and then move on. Don't waste your energy on sadness, remember number 5? You have goals to achieve, and sadness does not fuel that fire, it puts it out. Reflect and then focus your energy toward your goals (all I can picture right now are laser beams zipping out of my eyes, and just lighting my goals up in flames).
7. Eat normally. Drift back into your normal eating routine. Okay this one is a no-brainer, you're probably thinking DUH AUBRIE. I know, but I had to say it because it is highly valuable. Keep all your meals within your macros for least a week. Maybe even two weeks. Focus on protein and vegetables, less sugar, less processed foods. Chances are, you ate way more fat and sugar/carbs than your body is used to and your body and digestive system could use a break. Don't believe me? Take a look in the toilet (again, too far?). I'm not referring to a tea cleanse, or an apple cider vinegar 3x/day and nothing else, or even 250cals or less for 10 days, or some kind of fad clean-eating vegan diet. NO. I'm talking about just eating normally, and eating nutritious foods. Do this for your body and mind. They are craving wholesome goodness.
8. Use your high food intake as fuel. I mean this both mentally and physically. For the last three days I have had some of the best workouts in months. Why? For one, because I have devoted all of my mental energy into my workouts instead of dwelling on the past and my wrong-doings. But most importantly, I have also gathered up the surplus of energy resulting from high intake of complex carbs and sugars, put it into a little wooden wicker basket, and dumped it full-force into my lifts and my cardio at the gym. I'm making sure that any little speck of sugar-based energy left in my body is going to be used as fuel for muscle growth and fat burn. The days following high food consumption are the perfect times to target muscle growth and high intensity workouts. Use this time to workout longer, work out more intensely, and work out more focused than ever before.
9. Lastly, talk positively. This is something that people don't push enough in the fitness industry, but I'm going to push it until you literally fall over. There is extreme power in positive thinking. During my plane ride home and into the next day, all I wanted to do was talk down to myself. "Should've done this differently, bad job doing that, could've not eaten that fifth brownie, etc." WHAT DOES THAT EVEN DO FOR YOU?! HOW DOES THAT KIND OF TALK HELP?! It. Doesn't. Help. Again, remember #5? You have goals to reach. The only way you are going to accomplish those goals is to keep encouraging yourself. Fight through the negativity and turn that voice off. There are more important things in life than the past five vacation days where you ate more than normal and exercised less. You have muscles to grow, marathons to run, competitions to conquer, workouts to master, mountains to climb (maybe literally and figuratively). Do not spiral into negativity, this will lead you backwards. Rinse and repeat.