Vacations can completely take us out of our routine, creating a loss of fitness momentum – and possibly a little bit of weight gain. Back in the days when I was a borderline couch potato, I used to justify taking a “lazy vacation” because a) I firmly believed in the the “work hard/play hard” rule, and b) if I was going on a vacation, I was going to have fun, and at the time, working out wasn’t really in the mix. Today I still work hard, but I also like to feel good. Exercise is like medicine in so many ways, so even if I can get in a workout most days of my vacation, I’m more relaxed.
Everyone is different and schedules don’t always allow for a trip to the local fitness center. Here are a few tips that will help keep you on track, followed by a quick and very doable workout.
1) Plan: Sounds simple, but so many of us fail to do it. Staying fit while out of town doesn’t have to mean exercising the same way you do when you’re at home. Modify it, but plan for it. If you’re out of town for five days, commit to going for a run, doing some body weight movements (see below) or lifting weights for 30 to 45 minutes three of the days you’re gone. Putting a workout into the “mental space” you’ve created will make it that much easier to do.
2) Use Moderation: Sounds old-fashioned, I know, but exercising a little moderation in the way you indulge (whether it’s food or alcohol) will pay you back 100 times over. I like to implement my 80/20 rule on vacation. Eighty percent of the time I follow all the rules of eating healthy and moving more. Twenty percent of the time, I indulge a little bit. Of course, these are rough estimates, but it might mean having a cup of frozen yogurt or a glass of wine if I ate really healthy all day and got in some activity or exercise.
3) Enjoy Your Surroundings: If you’re in a different city, chances are there are places and things you haven’t seen. Getting out and about for your workout is a great way to see the sites. If you’re planning a staycation or going on vacation to a place you’ve been before, look for new ways to get active. Some fun summer ideas that really work your body, but don’t necessarily feel like exercise include paddle boarding, water skiing, canoeing, hiking, kayaking and of course, swimming.
Here is an easy, no-equipment-needed workout you can do anywhere, anytime. It will take you about 20-25 minutes to complete. Follow up with a 20-minute spurt of cardio (a run outside, power walk, ride on the hotel’s stair climber or elliptical).
Super-Quick Body Weight Workout
- Alternating Leg Lunges, repeat 60 times, gradually dropping your back knee deeper and deeper to the ground (but not touching).
- Body-Weight Squats, repeat 40 times. Keep your knees over your toes, and back as straight as possible. Distribute weight over your heels, not toes.
- Mountain Climbers*, repeat 40 times
- Straight Arm Plank*, hold for 30 seconds
REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO TIMES
- “Y” Squats*, repeat 30 times
- Wall Squat*, hold for 30 seconds
REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO TIMES
Mountain Climbers: Start down on the ground in a straight-arm push up position. Bring your right knee up and in toward your left elbow. Return your right foot back to the starting position. Now repeat by bringing your left knee to your right elbow. Concentrate on keeping your abs drawn in. This is a great whole body exercise that really gets into the abs!
Straight Arm Plank: Drop down to your hands and knees. Push your body up into a push up position. Keep your arms straight and just under your shoulders. Come up onto your toes, legs should be straight. Pull your belly button into your spine, and keep your back as straight as possible.
“Y” Squats: The Y-squat is nothing more than a squat done with your arms extended up and outward in the shape of a “Y” (very clever). If you can do a traditional squat without bending too far over your knees, and have the ability to push your hips back, you can do a Y-Squat. This exercise is a lot easier than it sounds. Back and shoulder tightness often flaw good form. Concentrate on pulling your shoulder blades back and down. Don’t let your body weight come over your knees.
Wall Squat: Find a bare wall and lean against it with your feet hip-width apart and about 16 inches out from the wall. Drop your hips down to the point that it looks like you’re sitting in a chair. Don’t let your knees collapse in. Again, your knees should not be over your toes, so adjust your feet if needed.