As I get ready for a little mini-vacation, I’ve been thinking about the best ways to keep my fitness routine going without having access to a gym. Back in the old days, it was so much easier. I’d just run. I still believe running is the best default workout for when you’re travelling or on vacation, but what do you do if running isn’t an option? Turns out vacation workouts require a bit more planning if running isn’t your jam. But never fear, I have some tips for how you can get yourself ready for gym-less vacation workouts.
1. Pack light-weight and small gear: Obviously, you’ll need your workout clothes and running shoes, but also consider packing the ultra light workout equipment you might have at home. Things like skipping ropes and resistance bands take up very little space and won’t add weight to your bags. If you are travelling by car, a couple of dumbbells go a long way and won’t take up much of your precious cargo space. Even a few extras will give you a lot more options.
2. Pack a list of all the possible exercises you’ll be able to do with the spaces and equipment you’ll have access to: It might seem like overkill to actually make an exercise menu of sorts, but when I’m in vacation mode I suddenly find it more difficult to think of suitable exercises and piece together a legit workout. I like to make a list of all the possible exercises I can do with my own body weight or with any equipment I can take. If I’m stuck for ideas, Googling body weight resistance exercises can lead to some serious inspiration. If I know I’ll be close to a park with benches, or a stair case, I can plan to integrate exercises using the space around me as well. Having a pre-made list of exercises to choose from takes a lot of the effort out of planning my workouts and increases the odds that I’ll actually do it.
3. Research what your vacation destination has to offer: You might be able do some double duty by combining tourist activities with workouts. Even with an urban destination, you may find that trails or other outdoor activities are closer than you think. Can you kayak or canoe down a river instead of walking (both are great upper body workouts) or can you hike to a viewpoint instead of driving? The great thing about dual purpose activities is you are less likely to feel like you’re working out and you’ll have more time to devote to seeing your surroundings.
4. Be creative and use what’s around you: Couldn’t pack your dumbbells? You never know when you might find a good, old-fashioned water cooler refill bottle to use for weights. I’m not joking. When I was in Mexico for a work trip earlier this year, we used water cooler refills and industrial sized detergent bottles as weights for our squat shoulder presses and step ups. We used the dining room chairs for tricep dips. You’d be surprised at how many household items can double for weights or workout surfaces.
There’s really no excuse for falling off track while on holidays, even if you’re nowhere near a gym. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Okay, that’s enough tired cliches for one day. Happy active vacationing, everyone.