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Getting your workouts in on Vacation

I am no stranger to thinking of my vacations as a time to relax on all spectrums of what a vacation should be. Aside from looking forward to just getting away, I look forward to the delicious food paired with amazing wine, and simply dialing down the daily “go mode,” no matter my vacation destination, close by or abroad.  And did I mention how much I love bread and Gelato?  So where am I going with all this shared information?  Getting workouts in while on vacation!!!


I cannot tell you the number of times I experience people joining a gym, so they can get in shape for the vacation coming up in 3 or 4 months. This is great, and I love the motivation to get healthy and fit.  However, I find myself wondering why anyone would work so hard to get amazing results, as well, simply feel better, and then quit, because vacation came and went.  As a fitness trainer, my passion is not only to help and support my clients with their walk-in goals, but rather guide them through the process and discipline of sustaining healthier lifestyle habits, rather than a temporary fix.  That said, once this lifestyle becomes a habit of the soul, my hope is that you automatically include in your itinerary, the time to sneak in workouts between basking in the sun and sightseeing.  Aside from all the leisurely walking you get in, a good sweat and/or exerting yourself with a strength training workout, is key to guilt free indulging of the amazing dining experiences, and let’s not forget the bread and gelato. 

Here are some tips to help you organize your workouts:

  1. When booking your accommodations, ask if the hotel has a gym (most have something) or where the closest gym is to the hotel. You can always buy a day pass, but if you are abroad, make sure to bring your ID. We found that some gyms require IDs in order to use the facility.  Working out in a fully equipped gym will provide you better opportunity to get your normal routine in. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with changing it up by improvising if needed.
  2. If you are a runner, scope out a running route, ie; while in Nice, we ran a path along the ocean, and it was beautiful. While in London, we stayed across the street from Hyde Park, and accomplished a good 50 minute run there, while camping at the family ranch, we made a point to run to and from the river to swim, rather than catch a ride. So long or short, you can definitely find running routes, and it is a good way to get out and enjoy the surrounding beauty you may have never experienced.
  3. Pack bands. They are easy to stuff in your suitcase, as well, they are light.  Bands are an excellent addition and/or alternative to getting resistance training in the mix.  Especially, if the hotel gym is not fully equipped, as they will typically have a treadmill, a stationary bike, and/or an elliptical, but often times lack resistance training equipment, so bands are a good fall back.
  4. How about using your body weight? Body weight training is one of the most effective methods for strength training.  And guess what?  It is easy to pack, it can be used right in your hotel room, it is easily accessible, and will take up less time out of your day, because you do not have to go anywhere to get your workout in. A few exercises would include a couple sets of push ups, squats, planks, various types of crunches, side plank hip raises, glute bridges, and this is just to name a few.  You can always google more. 
  5. Okay, I am going to count the walking, especially if you are abroad. The only problem I have with considering walking as your daily exercise, is that it is leisure, so my suggestion is to make it, “in addition to.”  Yes, we burn calories in the process, but our heart rates rarely rise, and that is okay for a day or two out of the vacation, but ultimately, a good sweat is what we are looking to accomplish.  While on vacation, we are usually not disciplined with our eating and drinking, and while walking is a form of exercise, it does not burn as many calories, strengthen our muscles, or release toxins like a good sweat does.

In my fitness training career, I have often written out programs for my clients to take with them on vacation, so they have a guided workout to rely on.  However, you can always google workouts, and there are a ton of Youtube videos to refer to as well. The moral of my story is that our bodies require maintenance, and if we don’t use it, we lose it.  We know it is a lot of work, but it is so much harder to get back into your routine if you let it go...even if it is only for a week or two, and exercise is new to you.  BUT…All this said, I am also a firm believer that our bodies need rest, so make sure you always take a day or two off from exercise, on vacation or not, and enjoy a little down time as well.

Any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via my email, jonell@bodykineticsmarin.com.

This blog was written by Jonell Langley, NASM, CES, Master Fitness Trainer at Body Kinetics San Rafael


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