How to stay fit on your vacation

2011-08-28 by . 1 comments

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I’m going on a three week holiday, touring around China and obviously don’t want to ruin the shape I’ve worked so hard to build up over the last few months. So I decided to find out what I could do to stay fit while on vacation.

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Off course first I checked our very own Fitness Stack Exchange for some interesting workouts.

What kind of cardio exercises can be performed without a gym or fitness equipment?

Sparafusile recommended doing leg exercises, because they’re the big muscles so they burn a lot of calories. Doing lunges, squats and some balance exercises should give me plenty of exercise and require little space to perform.

While I can’t really trust on the hotels having DVD players, we do have an iPad that’s perfect for displaying some workouts, while on the road. If you have an iPad or other smartphone, there are several apps that can help you as well. Workout of the Day sends you a different workout each day that require no gym, just your body weight.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Yevgeniy suggest going jogging, though I’m not sure I want to bring carry along running clothes and shoes. Plus getting lost with good means of communicating is probably also a bad idea. On the other hand, I do expect to do a lot of walking, which should count. If you have a FitBit, you can even track how much you’ve walked on your holiday.

Any country you visit with towers, temples and other high buildings, should give you plenty of stair climbing! Even though taking escalators or the elevator might seem attractive, try taking the stairs while on vacation to give you short workouts.

Skipping rope doesn’t require a lot of space, but unless you have some quiet place to exercise, it’s probably better not to do it in your hotel room and potentially anger half the hotel.

Burpees are a great exercise for small spaces too. For those who like me didn’t know what they are: It’s a full body exercise that consists of 5 steps:

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
  3. Kick your feet back while lowering yourself with a pushup.
  4. Return your feet to the squat position while straightening your arms.
  5. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position with your arms overhead (you may clap your hands above your head at the peak of your jump)

Image from Look Like an

You might have to cut out the jump or just don’t overdo it when you perform it in a hotel room. But trying to do 50 of these as fast as possible is a guaranteed great workout!

Last but not least he suggested following any of these Crossfit Bodyweight Workouts, they may not all be suited for hotel rooms (where to pull yourself up on), but they are a nice guideline for getting some intensive work done.

What can I do for cardio while I am on vacation with no equipment?

Where waquo also suggests Burpees, but has another suggestion: Mountain Climbers. Here’s a great video that explains it.

Here’s how you perform Mountain Climbers

These guys even have a whole playlist filled with great in-home cardio workouts, which include Steam Engine (standing crunch) and Side Hops.

Remember though that whatever exercise you do, try and prevent getting severe DOMS the next day if you have some long walks ahead of you.

NerdFitness guide

NerdFitness, which is an awesome blog to follow and I even bought his workout/diet ebook, has a great blog post about “How to stay in shape while traveling”. But his program is more a way of life, than just something to do during the holiday and it takes some dedication. I mean, why on earth would you want to be doing push ups when you’re at Manchu Pichu?

But if you’re committed you can do the following full body workout every other day:

  • a Push exercise (either push ups or handstand push ups, the show off!)

  • a Pull exercises (pull ups or chin ups)

  • a Leg exercises (like lunges or squats) and

  • a Core exercise (like planks or hanging knee tucks)

Now this workout is definitely not for all of us, myself included, but it only requires something to pull up on and he proved he could do it anywhere if you decide you want to. As he puts it:

Side note: you WILL get weird looks from people, especially if you’re doing pull ups on a swingset bar while toddlers are swinging next to you

As for how many reps, this will probably vary for everyone and will depend on how hard you’re willing to push. It is more important that you track how many you’ve done last time and try to beat that. If you have a smartphone, simply keep some notes with the amount of repetitions, if your old school you can always write it down somewhere.

Watch your diet

We all know that exercising is just half the work, being mindful about what you eat is the other half. Here are some of his tips:

  • Pack healthy snacks, like fruit or nuts, so you can resist the urge of grabbing some junk food when you start to get hungry.

  • When eating in a restaurant, try asking for more vegetables, they’ll help you fill up faster and so you won’t take a desert

  • If you travel with family, let them know you’re on a diet and that you need their support. You can’t have them indulging in junk food every day, while you try and eat healthy.

  • If you’re on a tight food budget, set some better priorities and cut out beer and unhealthy snacks during the day for better quality meals.

While its tempting to just let go while you’re on vacation, you’ll regret it when you get back home and need to trim off pounds of gained weight. So be mindful and try to prepare for eating more healthy food.

Remember it’s a holiday!

With all these tips you should have no trouble trying to keep up your good shape, but don’t forget your body is on a holiday too. This may also be the best way to cut your body some slack and make sure some of those small pains get some time to heal. If you end up severely cutting back on your activities, make sure you adjust your diet likewise. You don’t need 3000 kcal if you lie on the beach all day long!

If you have any workouts to share, feel free to share them with us in the comments. For more advice, you can always ask a question of your own. I’ll see you all in three weeks!

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One Comment

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  • Doug says:

    We tend to plan vacations with a lot of walking to different sites. The amount of walking seems to do a pretty good job of keeping me in some semblance of shape for a few weeks.

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