Friday, September 7, 2012

Hit the gym on vaca? Not exactly...

As many of you know Big K and I just returned from a very lovely European vacation where we promised each other to “chill out” and “live a little”.  Our clients know us best as the “workout freaks” and “diet police” so there was much encouragement from them to skip the weight room, drink like fish and revisit what bread tastes like.   Since we train hard year-round and keep to a clean diet, we agreed to let ourselves go and not worry about the subtle weight gain that would inevitably occur post-Italy, Spain and France.   Our life on a daily basis never misses a workout, never eats sweets, and doesn't drink, so this complete 180 on vacation for 17 days took some getting used to.  Our “letting go”, enjoying the simple life, and not worrying about “getting fat” was absolutely amazing.  But much to our surprise although we didn't hit up the local gyms or schedule any early morning fasted cardio sessions, we were in fact very physically active on our trip. 
It all started down in Southern Italy in a small town of only five thousand people outside Ostuni.  Staying at a quaint B&B on the outskirts of town, Big K and I were scheduled to meet my friend for dinner one night and there was no car service or shuttle to take us.  It was only about a mile from where we were staying and the B&B had had a couple vintage bicycles outside so we decided to ride in.  When it came time to leave for dinner one of bikes was missing.  With no cell phones (read my earlier blog) and no English speaking people we were left to make it into town with one bike.  This is where my packed sneakers came in handy.  Big K biked and I sucked it up for a one mile run.  I wasn’t expecting to work out or run but it happened and quite frankly I’m happy about it because we ate like it was Christmas dinner that night.
On to Rome.  We rented an apartment in a very chic neighborhood walking distance to many of the “must see” things in the city.  Again, not planning any physical activity we just decided to go by foot everywhere.  This worked out perfectly.  We could have easily taken a cab to all our destinations but instead we gained a better perspective (and appreciation) of the city by walking.  We even calculated that we walked over 7 miles one day!  Again, this made us very happy as we were not holding back on the table bread soaked in olive oil by this time. 
Then came the Basque Country.  My brother lives there and was nice enough to take us on a fabulous scenic drive through the rolling green hills and we stopped at a very old church that was on an island with a 220-step climb to the front door.  You can see where this is going.  Yes, we did start by admiring the church from afar and taking pictures with zoom but seeing the opportunity to be inside the church at the top of the stairs – even better.  So off we ventured to dominate the climb with my brother.  No easy task I’ll say but we made it.  At the top they were selling posters of the church on the island and the beautiful path that led there for only 3 euros.  Didn’t you bring your wallet I asked?  No?  No problem.  We walked back to the car, got 3 euros and hiked all the way back to the top of the church to buy the poster.  We were elated. 
Ah, Paris.  Now that is a beautiful city!  Again we stayed in an apartment with a 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and reasonable walking distance to the other main attractions in the city.  We did not hail any cabs and took pleasure in seeing the sights go from small to big as we neared them.  We even walked all the stairs to the second level to better appreciate the giant structure that needs no introduction.  We may have over indulged in food and alcohol.  We were definitely lazy about getting up and took a siesta almost every day, but we did have somewhat of a balance with the non-prescription physical activity. 
So let a vacation be a vacation and eat, drink, and be merry!  You don’t have to be a complete slug and you can enjoy yourself and the destination spot with your whole being.  A very good friend of mine reminded me to do everything in moderation, including moderation itself so enjoy your life and stop worrying.  The gym will be there when you get home. 
Until next time,
Au revoir, ciao, agur, adéu, and goodbye
Little K