. exercising on vacation .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on September 21, 2012

*insert Friday happy dance here*

Hey guys! So today’s post is going to wrap up our last few days in Cali, but instead of a simple picture recap, I wanted to talk to you about something that I noticed while travelling, and it has to do with exercising while on vacation.

Shopping totally counts as cardio, right? On our 4th day in Cali, we headed out to Palm Springs to hit up some outlet shops. Surprisingly, I didn’t end up doing much damage – just a few sweaters from J.Crew and a wallet from Michael Kors. I blame the heat for sucking the shopping spirit right out of me.

Without fail, every single hotel that we stayed in or looked at had a fitness center of some sort attached to it, and more importantly, these gyms weren’t empty. Lots of people, it seems, like to maintain their workout schedules even when they’re on vacation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who’s all about routine, but at the same time I’ve realized that being forced to do something different can completely change your perspective on certain things… for the better.

After our unsuccessful shopping “spree”, we checked into our room at Rancho Las Palmas, a Spanish colonial themed resort nestled in the beautiful Coachella Valley. This resort was absolutely gorgeous and we ended up spending the rest of the day relaxing on the hotel grounds. I guess running around Disneyland for two days straight takes its toll…

It was actually a trip I took in the earlier part of this year that helped me break what I now realize was an addiction to exercise. Even back when I was following a loose workout plan, I never bothered trying to maintain it when I went away – spending time in a hotel gym just felt like a waste when there were so many other things to see and do. It didn’t take me too long to realize how much I enjoyed the feeling of being “excused” from formal exercise; of waking up and not having to plan my day around when I would be able to go to the gym; of feeling free.

What I love most about these desert resorts is that they really do seem like a little oasis out in the middle of nowhere. All around you is nothing but sand, rock, and dust, while you’re comfortably surrounded by grass, trees, water, and even fruit!

I came back home after that trip and decided that enough was enough – going to the gym had long ago started feeling like a chore, and being away really made it sink in that the world would not end if I didn’t work out – so I stopped. Would I have stopped had I not been forced to take a break while I was away? Maybe, but it probably would have taken me a little while longer to really clue in.

As much time as I spent by the pool, I don’t think that I’ve had my fill. I realize that pools aren’t exactly practical up in The Great White North, but I could always use it as a skating rink in the winter, right?

Vacations are great, not only because they allow us to relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life, but because they give us a fresh outlook on things that we’ve otherwise become accustomed to. We tend to become so entrenched in our routines that we often don’t even realize when they no longer serve us well, but instead begin to hold us prisoner. Being forced to break them may cause us a certain amount of discomfort, but more often than not it leads us to a better place… as long as we’re willing to let go.

On our last day in Cali, we headed back to LA and spent the day at Santa Monica beach. We soaked our feet in the ocean, soaked up lots of sunshine, walked up and down the pier, went on a few rides at the fairway, and watched the sun set into the water. A gorgeous end to a great vacation.

. – . – . – .

Do you stick to your workout routine when on vacation?
And, random but I’m curious, do you go swimming in pools or just sit by the side? 

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I think it’s great that you’re taking a break from what you feel like you “have” to do – talk about freeing!!

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2 Sünne September 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Wow, your pictures are great! Makes me wish I could jump right into them and spend time at California, too.

Regarding exercising on vacation: I guess it “helps” having a family who is absolutely NOT understanding the need to exercise (daily) and therefore not being able to when on holiday with them. That’s not to say any of them were obese or hated moving around – quite the opposite. They’re simply able to enjoy their lifes, good food and don’t stress about burning calories or maintaining a certain fitness level. I know it makes my mum sad and angry to see me anxious because of a missed workout or about what I am “allowed” to eat at a restaurant. I badly wish I had that attitude again!

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3 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 7:01 am

I don’t think my family would have been willing to wait for me either if I had wanted to exercise. They tend to be the go-go-go type, and we end up getting more than enough activity just by trying to see and do everything.

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4 Aimee September 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Wow – what amazing pictures!! I definitely have to take a trip to California in the future!!!
I love your outlook on exercise and vacation – nowadays i really don’t have a strict exercise regimen – i used to feel like i had to “exercise” every day and finally too felt like it was a chore so one day i just stopped!! Now i would much rather take a bike ride on the boardwalk, go for a long walk or play some tennis or swim.
As for the pool – i love both – lying out as well as swimming (as long as the water is warm!!!! :)

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5 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate September 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I always run on vacation! It’s a great way to show myself around :)

Running is part of my daily routine. I’m not going to change it because I’m on vacation, but I won’t change my vacation to run.

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6 Alexandra September 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

“We tend to become so entrenched in our routines that we often don’t even realize when they no longer serve us well, but instead begin to hold us prisoner.” <– WELL SAID!! I realized myself falling into that kind of pattern while I was dealing with the stress of organic chemistry over the summer. It's like I wasn't even living– just going through the motions. The fun and gusto was GONE! Talk about sucky haha
Now I'm working on balance and learning to just roll with whatever life throws my way–the good and the bad :)

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7 Ali September 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Wow, those pictures look beautiful. As hard as it is to get out of routine, I love getting away because I feel like sometimes we can’t enable ourselves to engage in routine. Sometimes it is nice to pick a place with NO GYM, so that it isn’t even tempting to sneak it in. I much prefer walks on the beach and yoga on the porch when I am on vacation :) It is always nice to see that the body benefits a lot from several days on its normal routine. Well written post Amanda!

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8 Kate (formerly Work In Progress) September 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I guess if working out feels like something you “have” to do then I wouldn’t want to do it on vacation (or ever lol) either! I don’t like spending time holed up in a gym no matter where I am. When I’m on vacation, I always run or cycle – it’s a great way to reallly see the area I’m in from a non-tourist perspective. I like to run/ride in the mornings, so it usually doesn’t interfere with vacation plans – usually when I come back people are still waking up haha. But if there isn’t time for it ( I was in Arizona for work last week, and even though I work for an endurance sports company and we were doing a training camp for an Ironman race, I had ZERO time to work out lol, ironic), then I don’t fuss about it. Running and riding aren’t things I “have” to do, they’re things I love to do, so of course I want to do them no matter where I am!

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9 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 7:07 am

I wouldn’t want to give up things I love to do either, especially if it allowed me to see the area better. We did -a lot- of walking, and I would have loved to have my bike with me, but I’m not sure it would be too keen on flying.

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10 Alaina Rose @ Sweetness of Life September 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Word sista! I hardly ever workout when I’m on vacation. But, I LOVE it when exercise works its way into my vacation organically through long walks, hiking, surfing, swimming or whatever! :) I’m happy you had a great time in California! It’s a wonderful place to live…….just sayin ;)

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11 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie September 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Your pics are gorgeous! I think I should plan a trip to Cali in the near future just for the beautiful scenery and pool time!

I don’t set aside time to workout while on vacation, but most vacations end up being pretty active, between shopping and walking around the area to hiking and even swimming in the pool. On my last vacation, my dad and I were able to find a great tennis court so it was nice to fit that in. But I don’t stress if I can’t do my normal routines.

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12 Jess September 22, 2012 at 3:32 am

I’m with Kate on this one – I don’t think everyone in the gym is necessarily there because they have a compulsive need to work out and/or are punishing themselves. They might well enjoy it – plenty of people do! And also it might just set them in the right mood for the day – one person’s experience is not necessarily a Universal experience. Plus, there are some of us that will see negative physical effects from not working out, and would rather not see those effects. I think if it was freeing for you not to exercise on vacation then that’s fantastic, but at the same time if someone wants to maintain a routine because it’s an enriching part of their life then that’s also just as great.

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13 Floey September 22, 2012 at 4:04 am

I swam all through HS, so I would always be in the pool. Now, however — not so much :P Hope you have a wonderful wknd! Anything planned?

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14 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

Other than hoping to catch up on sleep and taking care of random errands that I neglect during the week? :D There’s a Health & Wellness show that I got tickets to, so I’d like to check that out… and then meeting some friends for coffee and the weekly Sunday night dinner with the family are also on the agenda :)

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15 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 22, 2012 at 4:18 am

I know exactly how you feel with the whole “exercise on vacation” thang– I used to be OBSESSED with keeping to my schedule no matter where I found myself. Now I’m much more of a “do it if it feels right” state, where I’ll only bring myself to exercise when I feel that it will actually benefit my mood in the moment.

It’s so crazy how we can become addicted to the satisfaction of completing a daily workout. I’m happy to hear that you’re finding a balance

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16 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

I’m a big fan of the “do it if it feels right” approach :D

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17 Khushboo September 22, 2012 at 4:29 am

It’s funny but the more I take rest days, the more okay I get about them. I do exercise on vacation but not so much in a formal gym environment. I try to use it as a way to make the most of my time away such as by going on scenic walks/runs or perhaps attending classes which I can’t do back home. For example, I love body pump but I am yet to find a class in Mumbai so I did attend a few during my trip to London this summer…but if I missed it, I really didn’t think twice about it! More than just on vacation though, I try to remind myself that exercise is just a part of my life..not my entire life and it can’t be the center of my day! And the funny thing is, I enjoy my workouts all the more now that I have taken the pressure off!

Hope getting into the swing of being back home is going well, Amanda!

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18 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 22, 2012 at 6:04 am

I actually used to get anxious about going on vacation because of the uncertainty about being able exercise. LAME, right?! Nowadays when I go away on a trip I’ll only workout if I want to and if our schedule allows it. If not, then I don’t. Plain and simple!

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19 Shannon September 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

I went through so many phases with this. I never worked out on vacation and didn’t think I should for year, and then exercise addiction hits hard and I HAD to. Now after many vacations this summer and a break from my addiction I don’t feel the need to! I don’t call my days off “rest day” they are just another day of my LIFE if I get to exercise that’s great as long as I want to, but on vacation or on special days, exercise just makes things not as much fun and I don’t get to spend all of the time I want vacationing!

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20 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

I love what you said about days off not being rest days, but just being another day of our lives, Shannon! What a great way of looking at things :D

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21 Kat September 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

Oh girl I would have loved to sit pool side with you!! Being in a pool is actually one of my fav workouts..not swimming..just hanging out lol As long as my vacays involve lots of MOVEMENT, Im ok with doing nothing. Being a soccer player though, I start to get restless after 2 days of nothing, so I eventually have to move a little bit lol I actually love going on hikes on vacays, that way Im still relaxing and seeing the sights, but also getting in my workout!

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22 Nicky September 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

Ohhh you’ve made me want to go to Cali SO SO much more now! Beautiful pictures, as always I think your photography is stunning :)

It’s funny how I was actually going to do a post on this very same topic! My vacation this year was the first one where I didn’t feel even the slightest bit compelled to use the gym available. Obviously with my moved on frame of mind I see exercise differently now but when I was put in that situation, I could see how ridiculous it was personally. A vacation is what I see as a ‘break’ from life and that includes everything, work and exercise. Plus I think you get plenty of exercise on vacation anyway from walking or just in the pool! And looking at it in perspective, a week off exercise in the long term will NOT do anything drastic to anyone’s fitness! Looking back, I must have really annoyed my family when I’d missed a day off the gym and really struggled eating out that day and forced myself to resist things that I would have really enjoyed. Really quite dumb. Glad it was different this time not only for my own happiness but for theirs too :)

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23 Jessy September 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I will never understand people who exercise on vacation, especially if it’s sea vacation aka. you’re swimming a lot. I want to make the most out of my vacation and that excludes wasting time in a gym, wtf.

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24 Lisa September 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Breathe taking pictures! Wow.
I definitely agree, when I was travelling this summer I had that sense that exercise was controlling me. I felt I needed to exercise to “deserve” food and I’ve been viewing my days that way for quite a while now. This is such a red flag. That is unhealthy behaviour and I’m abusing my body with thoughts of exercise and it is not a good thing. I think that’s why I’ve realized need to take more of a break from exercise. I have yet to do so, but I know this is such unhealthy thinking and the exercise is controlling me, when that shouldn’t be happy. You seem to be in such a great place now and that is amazing!

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25 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

You’ll get there too, hun, it just takes time and a little bit of effort. I know it’s daunting, but the only way to break the addiction is to just -stop-. Start with taking a week off and go from there. It’ll probably make you uncomfortable, but you can always reason with yourself that a week off from exercise won’t make any difference at all in the grand scheme of things.

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26 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli September 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Ahhhh, I am in LOVE with the vertical angle palm tree pic! I have a minor obsession with palm trees…as in I take 5 bajillion pictures of them whenever I’m on vacation! You should have SEEN how many I had when I got back from Florida a few years ago…it rivaled the ocean pics!

I am definitely a pool swimmer. I like to lay on the beach, but I don’t really like getting in the ocean water…at least not any deeper than waist level so I’m always excited to have a pool to visit too while I’m on vacation. But I guess there really wouldn’t be any swimming in THAT ocean without a wetsuit. I had no idea until my visit last summer just how cold the Pacific Ocean is! Lol

And I do NOT stick to a workout when I’m on vacation. Like you said, there is just so much to see, do, and experience! Why would I want to waste any waking hour doing the same hum drum things I can do at home?! Only exception: beachside runs/walks….LOVE!!!

PS, that Spanish architecture is GORGEOUS!

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27 Lauren September 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

While I still love a good (slow and leisurely) run, I’ve been way more into walking and hiking lately. I’d rather do something fun that’s part of my day than take time out of my day to fit in something active. If that makes any sense. I find that vacations that involve lots of walking provide more than enough exercise and going to the gym just seems like a waste!

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28 Irina @ Chocolatea Time September 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Beautiful photos! I think the exercise question is a tough one and it really depends on the person. Personally, I tend to consider vacations a break from my normal life, working out including. My thoughts are this: most people end up being more active than they expect while on vacation because of sight-seeing, swimming, walking around (<– especially this), etc.

And I hate swimming in pools :( Love oceans though!

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