Halfway through the summer, and most of us have either been away, or are about to go.

Couple of weeks in the sunshine, exposing ourselves (?!) around strangers, drinking and eating more than we usually would – and most importantly, having fun.

Working as PTs, we deal with the aftermath of people’s holidays every year. With a few forward-thinking people, we also help with the run-up to them.

Here’s the most common things, in no particular order, that we find:

  1. People leave it WAY too late to “get in shape” for their holiday.

Most people, when they have an idea of the shape they envisage being in around the pool, are kidding themselves that they only need to drop a couple of pounds. The honest truth is that “a couple of pounds” often actually needs to be “a stone or two” to get the look people want. We massively under-estimate our fat levels, and leaving it too late to start means crash-dieting, feeling like crap, and often giving up.

2. People go on holiday and throw all the rules out of the window

We get it – you’re on holiday to chill out. But, unless you’re having a VERY active holiday, you can’t work off the sheer level of extra calories you’re going to consume. We’ve written a “damage limitation” guide here.

3. No-one focuses on NEXT year’s holiday

Related to point 1 above, this is about the length of time it takes to get into shape. Losing body fat isn’t terribly difficult – a sustained calorie deficit and some intelligent training over time is enough – but gaining muscle is very hard work. It doesn’t happen quickly, no matter what Men’s Health or Cosmo might want you to believe. You don’t grow noticeable muscle in 6 weeks. You don’t grow a massive amount in a year either – so it might pay to start looking at next year, now.

4. Feeling self-conscious on holiday can really mess with your confidence

No-one wants to spend two weeks around a pool, or on a beach, feeling nervous or self-conscious about taking their top off. Equally, you don’t want to be sitting sweating in a T-shirt while everyone else is having fun.

Now yes – some people are entirely body-confident and genuinely don’t give a damn what they look like. But, in our experience, beyond the false bravado, people generally DO care, and ARE bothered by it, whether they admit it at the time or not.

That experience comes back off holiday with them – and can used to further ruin someone’s body confidence, OR can be used as a tool to work your ass off and be happier next year. Remember – short term transformations are simply smoke-and-mirrors. You don’t make major changes in weeks – it’s months and years.

5. Throwing hours of cardio at the problem

OK, if you’ve really left it late and you’ve got some pounds to lose, then walking, cycling and doing circuit classes is probably your best bet at burning some calories away. It’s not “optimal” long term, it’s not much fun (for most people) but short term, it’ll have better results than weight/resistance training. This is because at the time of doing it, cardio burns more calories than weight training – but weight training, over time, increases muscle mass, changes body composition and gives better physique results. The key here is “over time!”.

If you haven’t left it late, and you are thinking about next year, then weight training is 100% the way forward. Don’t suddenly come back from holiday and take up running out of guilt – you’ll likely get injured, demoralised, and get nowhere near the results you want. Get yourself a decent PT and get some resistance work under your belt.

Whatever next year’s holiday goal is, start early! Come and chat with us at RWF for a FREE hour’s consultation and let’s see how we can help!


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