If you’ve been looking around the blog recently, you’ll remember this post about the trip Damien and I took to Victoria for our anniversary. In it, I talked about the three different CrossFit boxes that we dropped into. I mentioned how much I appreciated the people we met, the workouts we did, and the shared love we have for the sport. All true – and all reasons I love exploring new boxes when I’m away.
Sometimes, though, travel isn’t about training. When you’re on the road for a special event, or a short amount of time, or solely to catch up on some R&R, training might have to take a backseat to allow you to get to most out of your experience.
So when’s the right time to pack up your Nanos, and when should you take a gym vacation?
1) When your trip isn’t about you
This past weekend, I flew to Nashville, Tennessee for a good friend’s bachelorette party. I would have loved to check out a box while I was in Tennessee (hello, Rich Froning is from there).
The problem? I was only in Nashville for two days, the trip was planned and organized by the bride-to-be, and I rarely get to spend time with her (or our other friends). I know my friends would have completely understood if I took a few hours off to go train - they even would’ve encouraged me.
And yet, I would have been sacrificing those hours of quality time with important people to serve self-interested ends. Which is ultimately why I decided it wasn’t worth it, and I’m glad I did.
It can be tough to stay away. Still, I don’t regret it for a minute. I know that I made memories with my friends that I would have missed by sweating it out at the box.
2) When your trip is all about you
If you feel a burnout creeping up on you and you book a few days away to recharge, consider taking the time off training as well. Exercising can be amazing stress-relief (all the endorphins), but you know as well as I do that training can be mentally and physically draining.
If even one or two of the workouts you programmed into your trip don’t go well, you’re cutting into your R&R. That means you’re limiting yourself.
Everyone needs a break – there’s no shame in that. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’ll come back to the box stronger for it.
3) If your trip is super-short
Yes, in an ideal world, training doesn’t suffer when you have to take whirlwind work trips or overnighters to visit family. You fit in the programming, you get it done, and you feel better for it.
In the real world, taking very short trips (that still include travel time, sleeping in a different bed, and time away from your kitchen) can be incredibly draining.
Forcing yourself to smash through your normal workload while your system is under duress won’t help you. Good workouts are only good if they’re accompanied by adequate sleep and sufficient nutrition.
My suggestion? If you know you’ll need to be away for one, two, or three days, adjust your programming (or ask your coach to). Double up on sessions in the preceding days so you can use your travelling days as rest days. Or, go the active recovery route and switch out your weightlifting work for swimming, a light run, or a long romwod. Just don’t break down your muscles without planning to rebuild them.
Like I said, sometimes travelling and training go hand in hand. Normal vacations, work trips, and holidays are no reason to skip your programming. It’s about assessing the areas of your life that are strong, and those that are lacking, to maintain balance.
Don’t sacrifice your mental or health, and don’t throw away valuable family time, for your physical goals. Life’s too short.