The Top 7 Tips for a Healthy Vacation

How to enjoy your vacations to the fullest, and come back healthier, well rested, and more fit!

Why We Love Vacation

Why do we all look forward to vacation? So many reasons! A few examples for you:

  1. Going to places we love
  2. Spending time with the people we love
  3. Time away from work
  4. A chance to be spontaneous and not have a schedule
  5. Delicious food (and drink)
  6. Making memories
  7. Do some activities that fulfill us, that we don’t have time for/can’t do at home

I picked 7 common reasons we look forward to vacation, what are some of yours?

As much as we love vacations, a common pitfall of them can be coming back from vacation feeling tired, sluggish, and maybe with a few extra pounds we did not intend to gain.

Why Do We Feel Sluggish and Unhealthy After Vacation?

Top 3 Reasons People come back unhealthy and sluggish after a vacation:

  1. Overeating and Drinking: You typically have a routine when you are at home and going to work, however on vacation this can shift dramatically. One of the great features we look forward to on vacation is great food and drink, and often we don’t have a plan or set a limit.
  2. Lack of Exercise: Unless your vacation is centered around physical activity (Hiking, Rock Climbing, Skiing), most likely you do not have high levels of physical activity. Even people who exercise regularly while they are at home will let this slip while on vacation.
  3. Lack of Sleep: A lot of us will tend to neglect sleep while on vacation, because there are so many fun things to do, especially late at night! Lack of sleep, or even a change in your sleep routine, can compound the impacts of other lifestyle factors above.

Let’s Talk About these Big 3 [Video]

Top 7 Tips for Success

  1. Make a Plan: It seems basic, but you need a plan for your vacation! Areas to consider making your plan: Where are you going? How are you traveling? How long is your vacation? What is your budget? What kind of experiences will you have? Why this vacation, what do you love about it? If you are a naturally spontaneous person, I understand this may stress you out. Never fear, you can plan unscheduled time in your vacation!
  2. Do Not Go Out to Eat for Every Meal: A lot of us love going out to eat as part of vacation, and this can lead to frequent over eating and contribution to that sluggish feeling. Portions when you go out to eat are usually on the larger side; even if you don’t eat all of it in one sitting, most likely you are hitting those left overs later. To plan, think about what food or restaurants are unique to your vacation, what can you get on this vacation that you can’t get at home? What is your favorite meal to go out for? If it is Breakfast, find some great Breakfast places around your vacation site. If you go out for one meal per day, and do some grocery shopping for other meals, your waistline (and your budget) will thank you after the vacation. Don’t go out to eat just for the sake of going out to eat or because you are on vacation.
  3. Plan Your Exercise: If you are going on a vacation that involves physical activity every day (hiking, rock climbing, skiing as examples) you can skip this step. However, for vacations that do not involve physical activity, you need to make a plan. If you are going on a 6 day vacation, decide in advance how many days you will exercise, and hold yourself accountable. Also, plan around the type of facilities and equipment you will have available. No gym at the hotel? Plan for body weight exercise, walking, jogging!
  4. Train for Vacation: What I mean by this, is spend 3-4 weeks exercising the way you will on vacation. For example, if you have no gym and plan to run and do body weight training, spend 3-4 weeks exercising this way BEFORE you go on vacation. Why? If you have not been running for months, and go for a 5 miler day one of vacation, your legs will be shot the next day, and you are much less likely to be successful on your exercise program for your 6 day vacation. Same idea if you have not been doing push ups, and run yourself through an intense body weight circuit day one of vacation. Train and prepare so you have a routine you can be successful with on vacation.
  5. Prioritize Your Sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep on vacation. Do not stay up late watching TV, go out every night etc, just because you are on vacation and you can. If nightlife and shows are part of the experience of your vacation, great! Just make sure you make up the sleep during the day, do not burn the candle at both ends. If you have a usual bedtime or routine around sleep, stick as close to that as possible while on vacation, and if anything, get more sleep. Parents, make sure your kids stick to their routine as well.
  6. Limit the Booze: If you don’t drink alcohol, you can skip this section. Drinking lots of alcohol adds extra calories, and compounds the issue of overeating. Excess alcohol will also mess with your sleep, and if your are hungover you are less motivated to work out…ask me how I know all this 😉 The tip here is to make sure that IF you have alcohol on vacation, that it enhances your experience and is unique to your vacation. Examples: going to a local Winery, Brewery, Distillery; enjoying a tropical umbrella drink; enjoying a drinking with friends and family. If you roll in to the local liquor store when you arrive onsite and stock up on cheap beer, wine, whiskey that you can just as easily get while you are at home…ask yourself if this is really enhancing your vacation experience? Same advice as with going out to eat, do not drink on vacation just for the sake of drinking.
  7. Make It All About the Experience! The theme in all of these areas is to really focus on your experience on vacation. Make sure the vacation is something you and your family love and will cherish, and that everything else enhances the theme of your experience! If you are going out to eat and having a treat, make sure it is truly special and enhances your vacation! If you find yourself going out for cheap pizza or fried food you could get at home just because you are on vacation and deserve it, ask why? If you stay up late, make sure it is for a show, late night walk on the beach, and not just flipping through TV channels like you could do at home.

Let’s Talk Tips [Videos]

If you like the video discussion format, follow along with me. I had a lot of fun shooting these videos, on scene at Cap Cod, MA.

Tips for Exercise on Vacation
Eat Healthy, and Enjoy Your Favorite Foods
Alcohol as part of your vacation experience-not post vacation hangover
The importance of sleep, and making sure you do not neglect it on vacation

Have a Healthy Vacation!

You can come back from vacation feeling fit, healthy, and well rested if you follow these tips above! Give them a try, and let me know what you think. So far, I have tried them out on a 3 day weekend vacation with great success, and look forward to the next time I am able to have a longer vacation to come back healthy, fit and well rested! Until next time, go find your beach!

The Ultimate Goal Setting Blog Post!

Your One Stop Shop to Frame Out Health and Fitness Goals!

This blog post is designed to help you explore resources, and programs which will help you develop, and follow through on Health and Fitness Goals! Included in this post will be:

  1. Overview of “CoJourn” personal development program, and some sharing of my experience with the program.
  2. Video interview with Dr. Molly Keehn, Co-Founder of the CoJourn program.
  3. What a Personal Mission statement is, and how mission/purpose may be helpful in development of goals.
  4. Helpful tips to find the time you need to develop and accomplish goals!
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What is CoJourn?

In my own words, CoJourn is a personal development program, which combines goal setting and accountability with human connection. Please take a look at the CoJourn website for a more detailed breakdown in the words of the founders, and helpful resources, and contact information.

One key piece of research that backs up the accountability piece of CoJourn, when you write down a goal, you are 76% likely to follow through (compared to 35% when you don’t). If you tell someone your goals, you generate what the program calls “interpersonal accountability”, which can have an even more enhanced effect than personal accountability to yourself.

The very basics of the program in my own words are:

  1. Find a partner who will agree to meet with you (in person, phone, or video chat) once per week.
  2. Decide with your partner the length of time you will work together (3 months to a year, typically), develop a contract/agreement, and both of you sign it.
  3. Work with your partner and each of you develop your own “Guiding Theme” for the program, which is one broad focus area written in your own words that gets you excited to learn and improve.
  4. During your weekly meetings with your partner, develop goals (called “milestones”) which work towards your guiding theme, write these down, and track them.
  5. Celebrate your successes with your partner!
  6. Practice self compassion, if you don’t follow through on a goal when life happens, be kind to yourself and find something that is realistic for you at that time.
  7. Complete a reflection meeting with your partner at the end of your established time together, celebrate all of your goals accomplished and wins!

Interview with Dr. Molly Keehn, Co-Founder of CoJourn

Interview with Dr. Molly Keehn

CoJourn Interview Highlights

During our interview, Molly and I explore the foundations and structure of the CoJourn program. Molly also asks me some questions about personal experience with the program.

Why a Guiding Theme?

Molly explains that a Guiding theme is part of CoJourn to help us narrow our focus to a single area of improvement, rather than making many, individual, unrelated goals and trying to accomplish them all at once. I gave the example of having a new years resolution to fix many aspects of one’s life, and falling short of many of these goals. Molly references the proverb “chase two rabbits, and catch neither” to strengthen the case for a guiding theme during our interview.

Some examples of guiding themes related to Health and Fitness:

  • Turning my body into a healthy, high performing machine!
  • Becoming stronger and healthier, everyday (mine for 2020)
  • Focus on healthy living

Molly points out that Guiding Themes can designed to be very broad, or narrow, to fit your individual needs (that is why you create it).

The guiding theme in CoJourn is intended to help you find your own “why” for all of your smaller goals and milestones. The example that Molly shares in the interview when I ask her how a goal to lose 20 pounds fits into CoJourn, Molly suggests it is important to find out why someone wants to lose 20 pounds. Once we all do some work and discover why we want to make a change, we can use this to develop a memorable, empowering guiding theme.

What Are Path Maintenance Goals?

Molly and I also discuss path maintenance goals during our interview, and how they fit into CoJourn. Think of path maintenance goals as everyday, task related items, that may not be related to your guiding theme. If you need to trim your hedges or clean up your yard and keep blowing it off, that task is occupying time and mental space that could be utilized focusing on your guiding theme and milestones. Molly suggested using the weekly meetings and accountability structure of CoJourn to help accomplish important tasks which may be lurking on your to-do list, like taxes.

Weekly Milestones

Weekly milestones can be developed with your partner, for example “this week, I will wake up at 5 am on Friday to exercise.” You want to make sure that the majority of your milestones are SMART goals, please check out this previous blog post I created if you need any additional information on what SMART goals are and how to develop them.

One approach Molly discusses in the interview, is using weekly milestones to break larger goals down into more manageable steps. For example, if you want to make a lifestyle change like giving up added/processes sugar, use your weekly meetings to make a plan and give yourself gradual steps to accomplish this goal/lifestyle change. For example, “this week, I will drink a glass of water with lemon instead of a soda every time I crave a soda.”

My approach to CoJourn has been to create sustainable lifestyle changes that I can adopt within the accountability structure of my year long experience for 2020, and make them part of my routine moving forward.

For example, due to my Health focused guiding theme, I now have adopted the lifestyle change of grinding my own coffee beans. One of my other lifestyle changes (listening to educational podcasts) tuned me in to the importance of the freshness of coffee beans, and quality of the water used to brew. The podcast explained that once you grind a coffee bean, it starts the process of spoiling (unless preservatives are added).

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Develop Your Mission and Purpose

Another way to think about your purpose, is development of a personal Mission Statement. Most successful Companies have a Mission Statement, which guides all of the work performed, customer service, and corporate social responsibility. At a previous job, my executive director would tell employees at every level that they should be able to articulate how every job responsibility they perform in some way upholds the Mission; he would add that if anyone found this not to be the case, please contact him so that the responsibility in question could be reviewed.

A Personal Mission Statement applies the same principles that Companies use to your own life purpose. I wrote a guest blog post for the personal development blog It’s All About You Boo. If you are interested in looking into a personal Mission Statement and if it may be helpful for you, please take a look at my guest post!

Finding the Time

One thing I have learned over the years, and especially through my experience with CoJourn, is we all must make the time to prioritize our goals and development. CoJourn creates built in time, once per week, in which you are committed to sitting down with your partner and reviewing your progress. For me, this built in check in time motivates me to make time in my week to focus on and accomplish my goals.

Finding time for goals, or any personal priorities can be challenging with all of the demands on our day to day lives. I created a Blog Post which is written to help people take inventory on how we currently spend our time, and potential opportunities to improve time management, and finding time for what matters to us. The post is about finding time to exercise and meal prep etc, but can absolutely be applied to finding the time to prioritize goals, family time, and anything else we find important.

Go Get Your Goals!

This post was created to provide content and information to give you a set of resources that you can explore now, or later. I am committed to more blog posts about my CoJourn process during 2020, and I am excited to share out all of the progress I continue to make. Don’t wait until the New Year to start prioritize your goals and personal development, there is no time like now!

Workout on Your Birthday!

Birthday Workouts

Ever see your friends posting about their fun, and exciting birthday workouts? Maybe for turning 30, 50, or other milestone birthdays? A custom birthday workout is a healthy alternative to partying and excess. But, how to choose a birthday workout? Where do you start?

Build Your Own Birthday Workout!

Here are some guidelines for building your own fun, exciting birthday workout!

  1. Make it your own! Your birthday workout needs to be unique and exciting to you. So, if you like pushups, build your birthday workout around pushups. If you like hiking, go hiking!
  2. Connect it to the age you are turning! Make sure some component of your workout connects to the age you are turning. Connecting the workout to your age will help you celebrate, and be motivated for your birthday workout! For example, maybe you are turning 50, and you want your workout to be 50 pushups. 5 sets of 10 pushups is one way to do it, but there are many other ways you can do 50 pushups, or multiples if you are really good at pushups!
  3. Make it Familiar! If you have never done Barbell Deadlifts, your birthday is not the time to load up the bar and crank out the amount of reps to correspond with your age. Pick an exercise or routine you are at least somewhat familiar with, and tailor it to your birthday.
  4. Make it Realistic! I am turning 35, and there is no way I am going for a 35 mile hike because A). I don’t hike, and B). I have never walked or run 35 miles at one time. If you are not realistic with your birthday workout, you will miss the last point, which is:
  5. Make it fun! Make sure your birthday workout challenges you, but that you are able to have fun with it! If you design a birthday workout that you cannot complete (like a 35 mile hike for me), you are not going to have a lot of fun, and you might get injured.

Celebrate Yourself!

Make sure you congratulate yourself, and celebrate completing your birthday workout! Give yourself credit for prioritizing health on your birthday.

Keep a Record!

Maybe you can start a birthday workout tradition! That way, you can look back year to year at all of your birthday workouts, and marvel at your progress and creativity!

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Birthday Workout Summary

In summary, here are the keys to designing your own, unique birthday workout:

  1. Make it Your Own!
  2. Connect the Workout to your Birthday/Age!
  3. Make Sure You are Familiar with the Exercise(s).
  4. Be Realistic!
  5. Make it Fun!
  6. Track Your Progress!

Sample Birthday Workout

My example, on my birthday I plan to complete:

  1. Push Presses, with a pair of 35 lb Kettlebells, for a total of 3,500 lbs lifted! (50 total reps of 70 total lbs).
  2. I will follow this up with a 35 minute jog…these are both exercises I am familiar with, related to my birthday, and are fun and challenging!

I hope this was helpful and inspires your creativity to make it a fun and fit birthday!

Check Out My You Tube Channel!

Hi everyone! Hope you are having an awesome summer, and that you have some great plans if you have the day off on July 4! I recently started a You Tube channel, and have been uploading videos (10 minutes or less) on topics such as lifting safely, mobility and stretching, and I have just started a series on nutrition.

I hope you find them helpful, please contact me through the blog or social media if you have any questions.

New Years Resolutions, and keeping them…

person holding stay focuseds paper

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Hi everyone, first of all Happy New Year! I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to 2019!! I posted some encouragement on my Facebook page about New Years resolutions last week, please give it a like if you want to get some quick updates and useful tips in between blog posts. My post was encouragement not to get swept up in the weekend, and let healthy resolutions fall by the wayside. Pretty easy to say, but I have some extra insight on putting this into practice…

Say you have a resolution to not eat chips, not drink, not eat chocolate, etc. Notice the key word in any of these resolutions involved in eliminating bad habits? NOT. If you frame your result ion in a negative, you are already starting from a deficit. Let me show you what I mean:

If you are able to, please stand up. Now, while you are still standing, read the following statement: DO NOT STAND. What happened? Did you have to pause for a moment before you sat down, or took another position that was not standing? Wouldn’t a more understandable command be, PLEASE SIT DOWN?

If we communicate with ourselves in this manner, we are likely to experience similar results. Thinking or saying I will not eat chips, I will not eat chips…you get the idea, first you have to think about eating chips, and how good they taste!

What to do? Replace whatever habit you are trying to reduce or eliminate with an empowering alternative. For example, if you love snacking a night and want to eliminate this behavior to improve your health, find something healthy to put in it’s place. For example, maybe you decide on drinking a nice, relaxing cup of herbal tea in the evenings going forward. While drinking the tea, say to yourself, I make healthy decisions, this tea is calming and helping my body fight off free radicals! Obviously customize this for your own goals, but you get the idea…say and do something empowering and positive, rather than negatively framed.

If you don’t replace whatever you are trying to limit or change with an empowering alternative, you are basically relying on will power, which will only take you so far until the temptation is just too much.

What empowering alternatives and new habits can you build/embrace this New Year! Message me on Facebook, I’d love to hear!!