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5 Ways To Exercise On Vacation

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5 Ways To Exercise On Vacation

How to keep exercising while on vacation 

Many people find that they just don’t know what sort of exercise to do on vacation, and they aren’t very motivated to do so. We feel that we "deserve" the break. But, why should you stop exercising just because you're on holiday? Sure you may not have access to your usual equipment, and feel that there are just too many temptations while on vacation. But what if we could make it simpler? Would you exercise then?  

Taking breaks from exercising

Before you start to say that I've taken the fun out of vacations, I actually do encourage my clients to take a week off exercising. Heck, even 2 weeks is Ok. Taking a break allows your muscles to recover.  Your tendons and ligaments repair themselves. And the glycogen stores (fuel for the muscles) in your muscle and liver are replenished. 


1-2 weeks won’t result in a significant drop in strength or increase in body fat. 


But - I’m seeing a lot of clients going on longer breaks this holiday season to take advantage of Vaccinated Travel Lanes opening up. 


Some of my clients are going for a 4-8 week break. While this could be great for your mental health to reconnect with friends and family, taking that long a break from exercising isn’t something I can give my stamp of approval. Especially when a client has made so many gains in their health and fitness! It's like accelerating your Porsche, then suddenly the fuel runs out and your car stalls.


Why would you want to stall your Porsche? I think it's better to keep the Porsche running, at lower speeds, but still running so that you can step on the pedal and accelerate away!


To put this into actual human terms, imagine you've just started a workout programme. You've gotten through the first month of your programme, and learnt the basics. You've picked up the momentum and now you're looking forward to class! But then.... you go on a 4 week vacation. When you get back you've forgotten the exercise movements, you feel sluggish, your drive is low.


What a waste!

What happens to your body when you don’t exercise for long periods 

Like I said, 2 weeks off won’t result in significant weight gain or reduction in strength. 


But when you’re on vacation for a very extended period, this could happen : Weight gain, lack of energy, fat gain, pain in knee/back/shoulders. And, it can be hard to re-start when you’re back in your home, on your normal routine. 


There are some people who will exercise no matter what. You know the type - you’re lazing by the beach sipping a pina colada, and you see the same guy running on the beach, every single morning. 


Many others feel they deserve a break (see my thoughts on 1-2 weeks off above). 


But perhaps there’s a group who feel that they should be exercising. So they embark on a grand plan with the best intentions. Perhaps this is you. 


But you run into some problems. 


You don’t have the motivation to exercise. 


You don’t have anyone planning your workout, so you have to do the hard work yourself. 


You don’t have anyone keeping you accountable to actually doing the work, so you say “I’ll workout tomorrow” far too often. 


You’re in a different place, so the habits you’ve stacked in order to make working out a part of your life aren’t there (e.g. Every Monday, after dropping kids at school, you head to the studio for the 8am class). 


You end up drifting. Doing a bit here, a bit there, then eventually - giving up altogether. You’ll feel a little guilty, then think “what the heck. May as well enjoy myself!” and eat and drink like you’re a rock star from the 80s.. 


Trouble is, after the vacay, comes real life. Getting back home, just starting to get back to your regular routine is tough! Then you’ll feel disappointed in yourself that your jeans feel a bit tighter. Or the scale shows you being a bit heavier. 


The worst case scenario is you’re too embarrassed to go to your regular studio/gym so you think “I’ll just lose a bit of weight before I go back…” (a bit like cleaning your house before the Cleaner turns up). 


But, working out on your own… leads to …. (ready?) - no motivation/ no workout plan / no one to hold you accountable / no habit stacking.

Wait a minute. That sounds like what it was like when you were on vacay!


See the domino effects of skimping on working out when on a long extended vacation? 

How to exercise efficiently on vacation


I’m a big fan of making sure my workouts are manageable when I’m on vacation. Here are my tips for exercising while on vacation. 


I try to walk as much as I can. When I’m at my inlaws (they live in the countryside in the UK) I find that I have to haul myself out of the sofa to walk round the country roads, and even then I’m astonished at how little I walk! But, when I’m in a city it’s so easy to get my steps in because I’m walking to so many places. Do as many steps as you can. 

Exercise tools

I love resistance bands. They weigh nothing and are the best exercise equipment while travelling as they are so versatile. I use them for resistance training, for pilates exercises and to help with stretching. I also bring a myofascial release ball, because I’m bound to get aches and pains and having this little ball works wonders after a long haul flight. I also bring a very lightweight, foldable yoga mat (like from Yogo) because when doing Pilates it’s nice to have a non-slip mat. 

senior woman doing planks in living room

Workout Plan

If you have a coach, ask your coach for help. Your coach should be able to write a shorter vacation workout plan for you. 


How long should it be? I ask my clients on a scale of 1 to 10; would they be able to do a 60/45/30/15 minute workout? I keep reducing the time until the client says she is 9/10 confident that they will be able to do that workout. I make it as easy as possible so that it won’t feel like a burden. For some clients 5 minutes may be all that they can commit 90% too. And that’s totally OK!


Then I plan the workout for her. And because we combine pilates and strength training I’ll be sure to include these elements in her plan.  


I will also record short videos so she can play it and follow - zero thinking required! 


Then after your workout, to hold yourself accountable, I ask my clients to take a selfie of herself at the end and send it to her Coach (me). 

Virtual Classes

At FitNut Loft, we still have Live virtual classes on our schedule. We ask our clients to join these classes so that they can continue doing the same kinds of workouts. It’s a no brainer, and it’s with a coach who knows you and you’ll see your tribe in class too (virtually of course). Our very own Coach Aga lives in Poland, and we have our classes so that those in Europe, Australia and Asia can join this time-friendly class.

Keep it routine

Another big tip - is to exercise on the days and times you would normally workout. Or if that doesn’t work another simple tip is to have a plan upon waking up. I tell my clients to do this :

  1. Some stretches like cat stretch, hip flexor stretch, downward dog
  2. Combine Push Ups and Squats. Set the timer for 5 minutes, and do 10 reps of each, and keep going until the timer sets off. 


That’s it. 

Good Exercise Habits

If you can keep exercising while on vacation, then this will eventually be something that “you just do”. It won’t be a big deal. 


While you get older, you’ll still be exercising. Because it will be part of you, your DNA and is something you wouldn’t miss out on. 

It will become as normal as brushing your teeth. 


And you wouldn’t miss brushing your teeth every day, would you?  

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