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🛫 My Realistic 5 Day Exercise Plan Post Vacation 🏖️

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

I just returned from nearly a week long vacation in which I did absolutely ZERO workouts. When I got home, I struggled with motivation to get back into my planned exercise routine. I had "promised" myself I'd do a programmed workout THE DAY I returned, but in reality I was TIRED and UNMOTIVATED.

After a couple hours of negative self talk shaming myself for being "lazy" and "unmotivated", I checked these intrusive thoughts and put together a NEW plan. If I've learned anything in 15 years of fitness, it's to listen to my body. In about 10 minutes, I created a revised 5 day plan with the goal to get back into my fitness routine. Ideally, this new plan will help me feel accomplished and align better to my currently unmotivated state.

New Fitness Plan Post Vacation

Day 1 No exercise, prioritize rest

Day 2 Planned "Fun" Exercise

Day 3 Planned <30 minute Programmed Exercise

Day 4 Planned ~30 minute Programmed Exercise

Day 5 Rest


Here's how my plan actually played out ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

Day 1 No exercise

The goal of day 1 is to prioritize getting adequate sleep and nutrition OVER exercise. The more rested and nourished you feel, the more you'll probably want to workout. Fitness can feel like SO much more of a chore if you're slogging through it, so sometimes it's better to be 100% rested before jumping back in.

I decided not to exercise the day I returned home and instead focused on getting to bed early and eating a home cooked dinner.

Day 2 Planned "Fun" Exercise

The goal of day 2 is to ease back into the habit of exercise.The idea is to start back with an exercise you love, even if it's not exactly what you think you "should" be doing. Starting with one of the routines you truly enjoy won't require as much effort and will still help you kickstart the actual habit of exercise.

While I typically prioritize strength training, jogging is easier for me to wrap my head around when I'm feeling unmotivated. I decided to pop in my favorite podcast and zoned out for a 2.5 mile "waddle" with the pups.

Day 3 Programmed Exercise

The goal of day 3 is to complete a short programmed strength workout, anything less than 30 minutes is acceptable. It's easier to motivate yourself if the workout is as short as you want it to be, while you still feel accomplished doing activity aligned to your goals.

It turns out I still felt pretty unmotivated on day 3, so I completed another "fun" exercise and added a 10 minute strength routine to it.

Day 4 Programmed Exercise

Goal: Stick to the plan of at least 30 minutes of programmed exercise. If you built yourself a realistic plan from the get go, sticking to the plan should be fairly manageable.

On this day, I still wasn't motivated BUT stuck to my plan. After all, I now had had three FULL days to prepare myself (and felt rested and fed). I completed a 30 minute full body strength training routine and actually felt so much better and accomplished after.

Day 5 Rest

Goal: Rest Day! Theoretically, you've had three days in a row of exercise now, so it's acceptable to give your body a day to rest and recover.

Day 5 is today. My motivation for exercise is slowly returning and after another full day of rest, I know I won't have as much trouble finishing out this week with another workout or two.


Don't compare yourself to others when they return back from a vacation. Trust your gut, listen to your own body and create a post vacation exercise plan perfect for YOU. Then stick to your plan. You got this.

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