How should you approach Strength Training after a vacation?
1- Jump right back in like you never left.
2. Ease back into it.
3. Listen to your body.
Jump Right In
Depending on your age, training history, how rested you are, how long the vacation was, this may be a valid option. It's most likely not the best idea though.
Let's say you are a 40 year old man. You took a 3 day trip with the family. Sleep was inconsistent, you are mentally refreshed from being away from work, but you feel tired.
Your training has been up and down this past year, but just before the trip you were cruising along as good as you have all year.
Nothing is holding you back and you want to keep the training going strong. In this case, you want to jump right in.
The weights you handle may be lighter, but not by much.
Stick to the basics and don't overdo it with tons of reps, sets and intense conditioning.
Ease Back Into It
After many years lifting weights, this has become my favorite option.
For those long vacations (a week or more) this is a better choice than jumping right back in.
Whatever you were doing in the gym before your vacation, reduce it. Better to be cautious, rather than try to be a super-hero and crush your body after extended time off.
If you worked out while on vacation you may be able to jump back into it.
It helps if you are younger and don't have many previous injuries.
When I go away, I stay out of gyms and take a break from weights, sticking to bodyweight workouts.
This has worked very well for me, staying active, but giving my body a break from the heavier weights and hard conditioning.
Listen to Your Body
The final option is to listen to your body. What the heck does that mean? Most of us don't possess this skill as it takes time and attention to build it.
For someone who is in tune with their body, making adjustments on the fly is possible. This can be tricky, as the body/mind can be deceiving.
You may feel great, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to dominate the gym. However, your joints have taken a pounding for years and you would be better off going lighter, and slowly increasing the load and intensity of your training sessions.
If you go this route, be sure to keep the sessions quick for the first week. Get in and out of the gym in 30-45 minutes.
No need to train so hard and heavy that you are sore for the rest of the week and can barely walk. For those 20 year-olds this may be fine. But not for us with over a decade of lifting experience on our bodies.
Start as Soon as Possible
Don't wait too long after your vacation. Get right back at it, even if you choose to ease into it.
One week can turn into two or three easily. You don't want to be gaining unnecessary weight around your midsection because you decided to get complacent.
As you probably know, the older you get, the more diligent you have to be about your training, health and fitness. Let it slip for too long and it takes that much longer to get back.