Staying fit on vacation… even if your vacation is to Austin, TX, and all you do while you`re there is eat

Joe and I just came back from a somewhat last-minute long weekend trip to Austin, Texas.  This weekend was my Birthday, and we both managed to finagle a couple days off from work (which rarely happens for both of us at the same time) so we hopped on a plane to someplace where the temperature was above freezing and where we knew we`d have lots to explore.  So please forgive my lack of blogging over the past few days, I`ve been knee deep in BBQ, Tex-Mex, Super Bowl festivities, more BBQ, and my 29th Birthday celebration!

I had an absolutely fabulous time, but I’ll admit that I was a little concerned about this trip from a fitness perspective.  I’ve been very consistent about going to the gym, but I always struggle to maintain my consistency while on vacation.  Add to that the fact that I’m a pretty heavy drinker when I’m on vacation, and that a trip to Austin is almost exclusively about eating way too much…  I wasn’t sure how I’d keep up with my workout routine.

Time Out:  First, everyone please take a moment to stare at this photo of the best BBQ ever.  (Thank you La Barbecue for the fantastic eats!!)

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I would say that I was about 80% successful in sticking to my routine.  I had 2 really good workouts, which included a good cardio workout as well as a complete weight routine.  I spent an hour and a half at the gym each time, so that was a huge success.  I didn’t feel like I was rushing through my workout, and there was enough equipment in the hotel gym to keep me occupied.  I would have been happy if I’d made it to the gym one more time during the weekend, but there was one day where I almost died of BBQ (yes, that is a thing that you can do) and I took a nap instead.  So that was a bit of a fail.  But the goal of the weekend was to relax, so I didn’t beat myself up too much that I took that nap…  Joe and I both desperately needed to get away and get some rest, so in that sense, I think we were successful!

Here are the things I did this weekend to make sure I didn’t totally neglect my fitness while on vacation.

1.  I intentionally booked a hotel with a nice gym.  I’m the kind of person who will couch surf, stay in a hostel, sleep in a bus station, etc…  but this time around, I stayed in a real hotel with a real gym on purpose.  I visited the gym when we checked in, and made a mental note of how I would adapt my workouts for these facilities.  For example, the only weights in the hotel gym were free weights, with no barbells or machines.  I took a few minutes to consider what modifications I could make to my usual routine in order to maximize the equipment that was available.  And that sort of leads me into my next point…

2.  I had a plan.  I had 2 solid workouts planned before the weekend even started, which made it easier to stay focused.  I like showing up at the gym knowing exactly what I intend to do.  More on this in future blog posts, I am sure.

3.  I didn’t drink until after my workout was done.  I know this seems obvious, but I honestly used to be the kind of girl who could knock down a 6 pack at a party, peace out early and still be able to run 4 miles before bed.  The only problem with that is that once you’ve had a couple beers, it’s that much easier to justify skipping a workout.  “I’m too tired, I’m on vacation…”  So that meant no boozy brunches and it also meant skipping the free beer in the lineup for lunchtime BBQ.  As hard as it was to do, I know it was worth it.

4.  Don’t cut corners.  This has actually become a mantra for me, and I’m sure you’ll see me writing about it a lot.  I wanted to be able to go up on my weight in my strength training routine when I returned from Austin, which meant that these workouts were more than just maintenance workouts.  I needed to be building my strength just as much as I would be at home.  The only way to do that is to show up and work your ass off, no excuses.

Here’s a picture of me mid workout sweating like a toilet in the Texas humidity, but loving every second of it.

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I have about a trillion photos from our trip, because it was just so much fun and we ate so much great food, but I’ll hold back and only share a couple so that you don’t all get sick of me…

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And finally, the best birthday meal I’ve had in a looooong time at Barley Swine (with my goofy and wonderful husband.) If you’re a foodie, this definitely needs to be on your Austin to-do list.

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