Training While On Vacation

With the growth in active holidays it is not surprise that people see fitness as a key component of deciding on when and where their holidays occur – with many building breaks around key overseas races or events.

Recently I ventured on a short winter break to Tonga, it wasn’t focused on a particular event or physical challenge but more about escaping the Artic Vortex that has his Australia lately in search of warmer waters and days. While on this break it got me thinking about keeping an active lifestyle while on a true vacation to a remote land, one that was a far cry away from running tracks, Olympic sized swimming pools and roads good enough to even contemplate packing the bikes up take them along.

Tonga is an amazing place – yes underdeveloped in terms of infrastructure and tourism but this is what also attracted us to the place, the sense of going to a place that was not all lounging by pool sides but also we would need to make up our own way to occupy the time.

Pack with Versatility In Mind

If you think you are going to pack your full swim tools pack along with the three pairs of runners you have for different style of workouts think again. Going to a country like Tonga means not only the need for clothing and footwear that can serve many purposes but also tight restrictions on baggage especially when flying in between Islands. So looking at the key items you really need to keep active – but also items that could double as decent enough to eat out without having to continuously look like Jerry Seinfeld with the sneaker Jean combo.

Plan And Educate Yourself

Not only on routes, available activities, weather but also things such as laws and customs. For example Tongan culture is very religious and it is actually against the law to appear in town/public without a top except when at the beach, beachwear and dress is strictly confined to the beach only – I know what you are all thinking, typical triathlete loves running through crowds with his top off, nope but the tropical heat during the day meant that to cool down it may have crossed my mind but alas being aware of this law meant I didn’t find myself in any uncomfortable situations with the locals or law makers.

Be Flexible And Creative

Before we set of on our trip we had plans to swim and run on every second day, with dreams of warm water and running between communities or along beaches in our head. It may be a lack of awareness but upon arrival we realised that not only through location but also the cold front coming through that this wasn’t possible – the water was unseasonably cold and the wind prevented us from any quality open water sessions we had so dreamed of and the running would have been confined to the main roads.

Explore And Be Adventurous

The main reason most of us go on holiday to obscure places is a sense of adventure, exploration and discovery. So being tied down by set parameters of predefined workouts stifles this. We decided upon exploring through using mountain bikes, riding between different communities and landmarks, actually ending up riding to the majority of the extremities of the island. We also managed to find off the beaten tracks that locals passed on that allowed us to explore the island, the diversity of the coastline it presented and also have some fun with some off road adventure.  The fun thing about this is that time and the distance flies by, we actually ended up cycling close to 150km in three days without any plan and I have definitely noticed the retained fitness upon my return to the bike here in Australia.

While swimming was confined to a few snorkelling efforts chasing whales we did manage to workout our upper body through kayaking, even giving ourselves a solid 30 minute non stop effort into a headwind to finish the session, picking out boast and buoys as intervals and milestones. We also walked. A lot. Rather than catch a taxi back from a morning at the beach we stocked up on water and hiked back, it allowed us to take in our surrounds, the communities and the amazing people but also slow down and connect while getting some valuable motion in the lower body.

Watch The Diet

A holiday is great for unwinding, indulging in new and exciting foods and forgetting the rules of nutrition but this is a trap many people fall into and one that puts them behind the eight ball upon returning. Being on holiday is not a signal to automatically change to fried food and not watch the calories, yes indulge now and then but still abiding by some, the advantage of visiting a South Pacific region is the access to fresh fish, fruit and vegetables while also enjoying a drop of the local beer to reward another hard day. The challenge many of us focus is getting worthwhile sessions in that allow physically to keep ticking over but at the same time don’t take away from the holiday feeling, so approach in a way that working out and being active adds to your experience.

  A photo posted by Luke O’Shea (@theother12hours) on