Should you Train on Holiday?

I’ve trained on holiday- not everyday, but I’ve got a couple of short workouts in and a couple of 20 minute yoga practices. As a fitness instructor I am used to training most days and often multiple times a day so for me this is still a massive break for the body.

Should you train on holiday though? And if you do what should you do?

Well to start the most obvious answer is it’s completely up to you. If you train regularly and are going on holiday taking a break from your everyday routine is exactly the point so there’s nothing wrong with deciding that you aren’t packing gym kit.

Some people enjoy their training however and will feel better for a quick gym session some days (or you may be training for an event and still want to get some sessions in whilst away) and if that’s you don’t feel guilty about recognising and acknowledging this, although it’s worthwhile remembering there is a difference between wanting to go and do a little bit in the gym a few times and feeling guilty about not sticking to your normal busy training schedule – a holiday is about finding more time to relax after all.

So if you’re going to train what should you do? Again this is entirely up to you. You might want to go with some form of plan but try and be flexible – there could be activities there you’d enjoy trying instead of your planned routine or you could arrive to find a less than well equipped hotel gym. I would try, however, to keep sessions quick so you’ve more time to go enjoy the sun, and also keep them fun – things your enjoy rather than things that are going to kill your legs and leave you aching for days!

Some ideas of things you could do:

  • Hotel Gyms – worth remembering they will vary dramatically in quality so you may need to be flexible with what you do
  • Swimming
  • Running – you may need to do this early or late depending on the heat. Running on sand is hard!
  • Classes – many hotels now put on classes you could try
  • Water aerobics – a staple of most hotels activities and suitable for all levels of fitness
  • Sports – there is often organised volleyball or football you could get involved in, many hotels have tennis courts if you can rope someone in for a game
  • Body weight workouts – if there’s no gym you could still get a little body weight workout in either outside of in your room
  • On demand workouts – if you have space in your room and the internet there’s a host of streamed website services such as Les Mills on Demand (currently doing a 21 day free trial for women as part of the This Girl Can campaign) and Beach Body
  • Yoga – a great way to both workout and relax and could be done outside or in your room
  • Walking- getting out and exploring is still a great form of exercise

Above all if you train you want it to enhance your mood whilst away not feel like a chore or a penance for all the food you’re enjoying so make the choice that suits you best and enjoy!

How to Eat Well Whilst on Holiday

There are countless ways to cut calories during a holiday: Drink spirits instead sugary cocktails, balance out heavy foods with salads and vegetables, have a soft drink in between each alcoholic drink, avoid deserts, skip breakfast.

Just so you know – I’m on holiday and I’m not doing any of those things.

Food isn’t something you should have to think about all the time, and when you’ve saved for a well deserved holiday restriction on your diet shouldn’t be part of it.

If you don’t want to totally reverse your recent results that’s ok – you don’t have to go crazy and eat everything in sight, but equally you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying all the amazing food and drink available whilst you are away.

How to Travel and Train

Travelling can throw you off your training routine, whether it be for a holiday abroad or at home or a short break or work trip.

However, there are a variety of ways you can keep active whilst travelling: 

  • Hotel Gyms

Many hotels now have gyms – albeit the quality of equipment can vary from a full gym worth of equipment to a couple of pieces of cardio equipment and a single dumbbell.  If you are staying in a hotel with a gym then taking your gym kit and an open mind can be one option.  You may be able to get an idea of what equipment the facility has from their website beforehand so you can plan a workout ahead of time, but if not you can probably work with what is there to keep moving- even if it means departing from your normal routine.     

  • Running

Free and something, you can do anywhere.  Often if I’m staying overnight, in a hotel I’ll just take my running gear and go for a 15-20 min run in the morning.  No checking gym opening hours required so you can fit it to whatever your schedule is.  The added bonus is running somewhere different to usual can be interesting – a run around the city’s sights or along the beach is often more inspiring than running round your local park (or for me down the local cycle paths) and the fresh air first thing can set you up for he day.

  • Yoga

Something which you can do in even the smallest of hotel rooms without worrying about people complaining about you jumping up and down and making noise!  If you already practice yoga you can probably run through your own sequences of moves but if you need inspiration, You Tube has lots of free guided yoga sessions which you could follow.

  • Virtual Services

There are lots of workouts you can do from home now- think Les Mills On Demand and Beach Body.  Some of these require equipment but plenty do not.  If you travel a lot it could be worth a subscription so you can workout in your hotel room when you are away.  If you don’t travel that often many services offer week long trials for free which you could utilise whilst on holiday.

  • Local Gyms

A great option to consider – especially if you are travelling in the UK.  Check if your current gym membership allows you access to any gyms in their chain, as you may be able to access without additional charges.  If not gyms such as The Gym Group and Pure Gym tend to do day and week pass options / trials for less than a tenner.  The benefit here is you can pretty much guarantee the gym will have all the equipment you need to stick to your normal workout routine without having to make changes.  You may even be able to get to a few classes if that floats your boat.  I did this when I went to my mums last Christmas – visiting the local Nuffield (I have a Nuffield membership) on Christmas Eve and then getting a day pass for The Gym on Boxing Day.  Managed to get my workouts in for an extra £7 without having to make any adjustments to what I wanted to do.

  • Body Weight Workouts

You can put together an entire cardio and / or resistance workout using body weight only (think push ups, burpees, lunges, squats, jumping, plank work).  This can be done indoors or outdoors to suit you.  I’m quite keen on short bursts of running (say 500m) with sets of jump lunges, squat jumps, burpees and press ups performed after every run- gives you a quick all over workout and lets you take in some fresh air. If space is tight you could focus on core stability moves and work the trunk of the body, taking out impact work.

  • Tabata

My favourite HIIT tool- 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest x 8.  You can do any moves you want.  7 rounds gives you about a thirty minute workout which will elevate the heart rate.  The ability to do any moves means you can do it anywhere with any equipment you have or just your body.  Type tabata timer into the app store and you will find lots of timers you can use.

  • Tennis / Golf

If you are on holiday abroad there will often be tennis courts or similar at your hotel.  Getting involved in some sports whilst you are away is a great way of getting exercise in – beach volleyball, tennis, golf- without really thinking about exercising.

  • Sight Seeing

Walking might seem less intense than your normal training sessions. But if you are on holiday and planning on visiting lots of sites remember that the walking you do will count towards keeping moving, so perhaps you want to leave the gym kit at home and just get in lots of steps whilst away.

  • Rest

If you travel all the time finding a system for training whilst away is a good idea.  However, if you are only away for a week or two on holiday there is no harm in deciding to just take a break from training completely.  This could be the perfect time to let the body rest so you are eager to go again upon your return.

I would love to hear other people’s ideas and methods of staying active whilst on the move.