I am a bit of a nut job so no matter what country I am in or whether I am on a beach, in the snow, or away for a business conference I need to workout. I know vacations are supposed to be your time away from the gym, to relax and unwind but I am not wired like that and I know there are others that are like me that are not wired like that either. Working out on vacation is tough. The gyms are usually garbage, you are not sleeping very much and you do not want to be wasting your vacation time away from the beach and in a gym that has missing weights, broken cables and an employee that is on their phone. But yet I believe I am still able to do ok under these circumstances. It may not be my best workout but it is sufficient to maintain muscle mass, burn off some of the excessive amounts of food and “sodas” I have been consuming, and of course to look good. Here are some tips on how to sneak in a workout on vacation:
Do it in the morning or right before dinner
From what I have found these are the times when people are usually still sleeping or taking a nap. Mornings may be tough because who goes to bed early on vacation. But for me it is the most ideal time to go because you are getting it over and done with and you now have the whole day to do whatever you want. Late afternoon or early evening is the other time I find to be ideal because people end up winding down by either watching T.V. or taking a nap. This creates an ideal time to sneak away for a quick workout. However usually the gym is pretty busy at this time and combine this with the fact that it is probably not a very good gym and you have one miserable workout ahead of you. This is why I prefer to set an alarm and go in the mornings.
Take less time resting
You are on vacation to relax so obviously you want to spend as little time on your workout as possible. By cutting down on your rest time you will spend less time on your workout and it will raise the intensity of your workout. Try to set a time limit and work to be done by that time. This will help to motivate you to keep your resting periods short. This is a really good thing to do especially if the weights available are not as heavy as what you usually use. Another small time killer is to do more sets per exercise and less exercises overall. For example if you normally do 4 sets of 5 different exercises, try doing 5 sets of 4 different exercises. This way you use less time moving to different areas, waiting for something that is being used or picking up different weights to use.
There are many little tricks you can do to recreate exercises. For example you can use the decline bench as an incline. Simply lie the opposite way that you would normally sit on the decline with your feet on the floor to support you. This exercise is actually a little more challenging because it requires more balance to hold yourself on the bench because you are not sitting on it like a chair. Another tip; if the weights are not as heavy as what you usually use try slower reps or even holding the weight for about two seconds at the bottom/top of the rep. This is more challenging and will not require as heavy weights.
Running is easily the best workout to do when on vacation. Running allows you to enjoy your destination while you get your workout in. Running on the beach or even exploring the area you are in by going for a run are great ways to workout while still being able to enjoy your vacation. As I have said before cardio burns more calories so if your goal is to maintain your weight on vacation then running is a great workout for you. There is only one problem with this, I absolutely hate running so I like to stick with the sub par weight room. But if you are a runner, the scenery that vacation runs provide you with can be breathtaking.
Workout with Others
If you are lacking the motivation to go and workout try finding a buddy to go with you. As I wrote in the blog post “Gym Buddies” having someone else to come with you to workout makes it more likely that you will stay committed to your workouts even when you are on vacation. This is because if you bail on your workout you are not only letting yourself down but also the person you committed to as well. Also I find motivation to be contagious so if the other person is motivated to go workout, chances are you are also going to be feeling the same way. Lastly, having a workout buddy can make workouts far more fun as things like ab workouts or friendly competitions make workouts more intense. After all you are on vacation have fun with your workout!
So basically your ideal vacation workout is one that is at a time everyone else is doing nothing, it is as short as possible, and it is intense. Mainly I look to do workouts that just maintain my muscle mass as opposed to when I am at a real gym I am doing full workouts to make gains. I understand vacations are for relaxing but if you ever feel a little bit of withdrawal from not working out, using these tips are your best bet for sure.