I have been very fortunate to spend 3 weeks recently on vacation in Mauritius. It’s the fifth time in my life I’ve managed to get a full 3 week vacation and it’s something that I’m now making an annual goal for me and my family.
There’s something that happens in my mind and body when I’m away for 3 weeks which I believe is called relaxing. It becomes less like a holiday and more like just living somewhere else, but without going to work.
Now, I realise when you’re on holiday you’re living within a bubble. No work (even when you love what you do) frees up a huge amount of time – in my case probably 60+ hours a week and that allows lots of things that aren’t always practical in a normal working week. Nether the less there are certain things that I’ve been doing over these 3 weeks that I am going to endeavour to continue on my return back into ‘normal’ life.
These things may be scaled back slightly but some of them will be fairly easy to continue. It is universally accepted that it takes 21-28 days to form a habit. Some of these things I have been doing daily for 21 days so am well into habit forming territory already.
I write these 7 lessons as a note and commitment to myself and also with the hope that maybe 1 or 2 of them may resonate with you and your life and they be of use to you or someone close to you. None of them are groundbreaking, none are revolutionary, all could be considered ‘common sense’, but, as I have said many times before. Common sense isn’t that common. Also, just because we’ve been told something 100 times doesn’t actually mean that we do it consistently. That’s the word here ‘consistently’.
Here we go…….
The biggest change in my daily routine while being away has been the amount of time I have spent with my wife Steph and our 3 month old daughter Bella. I have spent time with Bella in the mornings, took her to the beach in the afternoon, helped with bath times, taken her for walks and generally appreciated what a beautiful little girl she is.
I think this is quite a common challenge new fathers have, to spend quality time with their children while working full time. I know this may sound outdated and possibly sexist as times have changed and continue to change but I have friends who leave for work before their children get up and get back from work after they’ve gone to bed and end up only really seeing them at weekends (this is applicable to many men and women as well where both parents work long hours).
I am committed to spending more time with my family when I return home and go back to work. I will be making sure that I have two full days each week where I do not need to go into work at all to make this happen and an additional couple of evenings where I don’t need to stay late at the studio.
While I have been away I have been getting some serious sleep in! This also ties into point 5. Without TV, I have been in bed before 9pm each evening (on some days before 8pm). I have not been laying in late in the mornings and usually have woken up naturally about 7am.
When I am working I will usually start at 6am so to get more sleep will mean getting to bed earlier. I regularly get just 5 hours sleep per night at home and manage to cope but have been reading lots lately about the importance of sleep on hormones and fat loss as well as recovery, muscle growth and long term mental and physical health.
I just feel better when I get more sleep (too much can have a negative effect and I end up feeling sluggish) I train better, I’m in a better mood, I seem to be less hungry and prone to snacking on sugary treats.
I am committed to getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night when I return home and get back into a working routine. This will mean sleep by 10pm to be up at 5am.
It’s been warm here, not much warmer than in the UK due to the recent heat wave but usually mid 20s and very pleasant indeed. I’ve started each day with a pre-training black coffee (Organo of course) and during training each morning (more about that in point 4) I have had 1 litre of water.
Throughout the rest of the day I have drank at least another 1 to 2 litres of water meaning that each day an average of 3 litres of water (not including coffee or ‘other’ beverages). Water helps me feel healthy, suppresses unnecessary cravings, helps training and just lets the body function as it should.
I am already pretty good with drinking water but I am committed to drinking at least 2 litres of fresh water every day when I return to my routine.
On the first day here I found the local gym in neighbouring town Grande Baie. I paid up for 3 weeks of use (about £60) which I worked out if I trained every day I was here was about £3 per day. I committed to train every morning for the 3 weeks.
Some would say, and have said ‘that doesn’t sound like a relaxing holiday’ but for me to train for 1 hour in the morning really sets me up for the day and I’m in the habit of training so 3 weeks without would actually feel very unnatural to me.
The gym is actually really nice here with a good selection of free weights, benches, a squat rack and a good pull up bar. It also has a lovely outdoor 25m pool which I use each day for a short swim to cool off and stretch before drying off in the sun. The only minus point is they only have 2 kettlebells (an 8kg and 12kg) but this has actually been good in a way as I’ve trained some exercises I’ve neglected and really enjoyed the variety.
Each day I’ve taken 2 or 3 big exercises – squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, chin-ups and then added maybe a bicep or tricep exercise at the end. Each workout has been no longer than 1 hour but its been great to do some front squats and overhead squats again and some incline bench press and to continue working on my chin-ups.
Training is already a habitual part of my life but as a result of my training out here and some reading I’ve done (more in point 5) I am committed to following set programmes for the next 6 months to get me to specific goals. The first being Dan John & Pavel’s ‘Easy Strength’ 40 workout programme then Dan John’s 10,000 Swing Challenge for the 5 weeks leading up to the end of the year.
I hope these first 4 points may help in some way or help you to refocus on some simple changes you could try to implement in your own life if needed or maybe for someone close to you.
Look out next week for the second part of this blog with the final 3 lessons I will be bringing back with me.
Yours in health,
James St Pierre