Friday 31 May 2019

Keep Active On Vacation [Even At Log House Holidays]

   It may have been our honeymoon, and I may have left my writing behind for the first time in 9 years, but there was one thing I admit I couldn't separate myself from when we went away to Log House Holidays, and that was my fitness. I. Am. An. Addict. I cannot sit still. I love the high and the confidence it gives me, and the assurance on holiday that the change in my diet won't be so 'damaging' (note: I have learned, however, for the record, that 'holiday weight-gain' isn't actually a thing - holiday in terms of both vacation and Christmas. Read it and arm yourself with information!)
   Unfortunately, I'm still learning that, sometimes, a full week away from physical strain can be just as valuable as the exercise itself when it comes down to physical health, but I didn't want to ruin my honeymoon with that kind of fretting and getting inside my head about everything I ate, and given that I had just gotten off of kickboxing training rather than weight training, I wasn't in need of a rest like that, anyway.

   I'm sure a number of you reading this will still say "you're on holiday! Relax!" And I appreciate that, but I'm actually not writing this from an obsessive point of view. My last post about our honeymoon proves how gorgeously lazy Log House Holidays is - with hot tubs, fire pits, wood burning stoves and quiet nature all around. But this post is the other side of it, and the fact that, actually, you could have a pretty fit and active time in this incredibly tranquil place, too!
   First of all, if, like me, you like to start (or perhaps round-off) the day with a good workout, you can feel a little lost without your gym, home kit or even just a trusty DVD. I feel that way every time I go away. And you can't bring any of it with you because 1) it's a small cabin, and 2) are you crazy?! What if you break something?!
   In this case, I remind you of good old-fashioned body weight workouts.
   Think squats, push-ups, lunges, jumping - it's easy to put something like this together yourself, or checkout for a huge archive of free body weight workouts. Do them at your own pace in a standard sequence, or slap it together in a HIIT format (2 minutes slow-paced move, 1 minute fast cardio, repeat with good form) for 20 minutes for extra burn and to turn those basic moves up several levels.
   "But you said the cabin was small!" There's a great deal of space just outside your cabin, and on the veranda. And there's plenty of privacy if you're worried about being watched - very few of the cabins are in sight of one another. Monty's Retreat, especially.

   Once you recall these old reliables, you'll no doubt remember the existence of other forms of holiday-friendly exercise. You can cut down the time and amp up the intensity with Tabata (I recommend beginners start with jumping jacks - 20 seconds as hard and fast as you can, then take a 10 second breather; repeat 8 times), simplify it with calisthenics, or dial it right down for some brutally deceptive fire with some simple isolated barre or Pilates. And remember, of course, that resistance bands are ridiculously portable pieces of kit.
   Or just make the most of the veranda or your jetty with some nice water-side yoga. I genuinely can't recommend that enough.
   There's also the path around the lake - it takes 45 minutes to walk and is perfect for a morning or evening run. It's a private footpath, so only those staying on-site can use it. And considering that there are only 8 cabins on that lake, that makes it particularly quiet. And if you fancy elongating it without doubling the circuit, leave at the Monty's Retreat gate and do a lap around the neighbouring Neigh Bridge Lake.

   But: you're on holiday. Perhaps you want to try something new to go with your new surroundings rather than the usual grind, and that is a very good idea. It won't feel like exercise then, either, but an 'activity'. But what could possibly be available on a quiet lake?
   Quite a lot, actually.
   For £40-£55, you can hire out a few lovely things for the duration of your whole stay that will help keep you active and moving, all while making the most of the gorgeous scenery. Try kayaking (safely, without the rapids) and get your arms, shoulders and upper back moving every morning. Or try paddle boarding and give your core some serious fire before lunch. Or hire a bicycle and give your legs and glutes a good burn in the afternoon. Or take your own private (and included) row boat out in the evening and combine the two - it takes core power, not just upper body, to move that thing well. Then, after all that, make yourself a great, balanced meal in the fully-equipped kitchen and tumble into the hot tub.

   I am a fitness addict, it's true, but in changing my activity in line with being in a new place, I still gave my body - and my mind - a break. Steering away from the same movements and training plans in favour of something new and subsequently more enjoyable can do wonders, and it still reduces the blow of the devilish Ferrero Rocher on the counter, and the super-praline chocolate wedding cake duplicate that I'd made before we went away that sat whispering at us from the cake tin. We both heard it on multiple occasions. We made sure to keep the cake and the chocolates apart.

   So even a super-relaxing holiday can bring with it some great calorie-burn without need for a gym, that keeps you in the fresh air and really capitalises on its beautiful location. It's different strokes for different folks, but this balance is what I look for in great holidays, and only here have I found it with the greatest harmony.


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