Working Out on Vacation


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

It’s no surprise that the holidays are upon us. Many of you have vacations planned or will be traveling during the holidays. A vacation is a time meant for fun and relaxation but that doesn’t mean it’s a time to put your fitness on hold. There are a number of different ways to keep your fitness at the forefront of your priority list even when traveling and it doesn’t have to disrupt any of your vacation plans either. For some of you, getting your fitness in may be a bigger priority than others but regardless of your goals, it is definitely possible to incorporate a workout no matter where your vacation takes you.

For starters, it is quite simple to incorporate fitness directly into your vacation’s activities. Most vacations are not taken to just sit inside all day. Spend some time outside and simply walk around as much as you can. Generally speaking, hotels tend to be centered around where most of the activities and restaurants are anyway. On top of that, many activities and excursions can easily include physical activity. Depending on where you are, you can likely do things such as hiking, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, skiing/snowboarding, or a variety of other activities. While on the surface you may not think of these things as fitness, but they are absolutely an expression of your fitness and a great way to get some exercise in while you are on a vacation. Fitness comes in many forms, including in the form of fun vacation activities.

Now you also might just be a gym rat that needs to throw around some big weights. If this is the case, there are a couple things of note that you should be thinking about. First of all, chances are you much closer to a gym than you might think. When booking your lodging for your travel destination, check and see if they have a fitness center on-site that is accessible for guests. It is also smart to figure out what equipment they have in their on-site gyms. If all they have is a treadmill, bike, and elliptical but you have zero interest in doing any cardio on vacation, then it might not be the right spot for you. Hotel/resort gyms aside, there are more options beyond that. Fitness is so widespread now that it seems like there is a gym on almost every corner. Now part of this is absolutely dependent upon where your travel destination is, but chances are that there is likely a gym within minutes of where you are staying. Many of these gyms offer free day, 3-day, or sometimes even week trials that you may be able to take advantage of. Even if they do not offer this, you can generally purchase day or week pass. This way, you can give yourself access to more equipment if you so desire. So unless you are traveling to a very remote location that does not have much around, you are typically going to have some sort of gym access nearby!

With that being said, you do not necessary need to rely on having access to a fitness facility. There are plenty of exercises you can do without any equipment at all to still get a great workout in and keep you on track with your fitness goals. You can do squats, squat jumps, lunges, lunge jumps, wall-sits, calf raises, single and double leg glute bridges, or if you have a chair or bench of some sort to provide you with a platform you can even do step-ups. You can also do push-ups, plank-ups, tricep dips, shoulder taps, etc. for your upper body. As far as core exercises, the list could go on for quite a bit but some popular ones are plank variations, crunches, bicycles, Russian twists, v-ups, flutter kicks, leg raises, or mountain climbers. Finally we have cardiovascular exercises that include the all-encompassing burpee, high knees, shuffles, jumping jacks, skaters, or any sort of skip or jump. Not to mention, you are able to run just about anywhere! There is really no excuse when it comes to completing a workout, just the will and dedication to actually do it!

Hopefully you could see that the message here is that vacation is no excuse to just throw your fitness to the wayside. Nor does it have to be a major obstacle to still getting in your preferred method of exercise. Fitness is extremely accessible no matter where you are or what you’re doing. You have plenty of options whether it be excursions, hotel or local gym, or just using your own body to put some work in! Next time you go on vacation, do a little research beforehand and set yourself up to be successful and work on your fitness.