The no B.S. truth about working out over vacation

Do you continue to work out while on vacation? Many people don’t. As a fellow sun worshipper and traveller, I understand the struggle but as a wellness coach and personal trainer, I also know how important it is to stay active. If you’re wondering how much difference does it really make, you’re going to want to read more. 

I’m not going to give you typical trainer advice here. Instead, I’m going to give you the no B.S. truth on how and how much to train when away from home in a way that actually works but doesn’t kill your sun-loving soul. 

My active vacation story 

For years I used to bring my tennis shoes with me when I travelled and for years I never once touched them. It was just too overwhelming to keep up my usual training routine. I also felt like I deserved a break. At some point I stopped bringing the shoes and then a crazy thing happened…

I started to train. 

I would do bodyweight exercises, barefoot sprints on the beach or tricep dips on hotel chairs. I actually WANTED to do that stuff. Not because I had to but because it felt good to do it. So what changed?

  • I removed the pressure to be perfect. I accepted that I wasn’t going to do my usual routine and that was ok.
  • I made training different and exciting. How often do you get to train on a beach?
  • I reduced my training time. My sessions were 30 mins max but usually 15. That made it feel less like a chore and more like a mini habit; more like brushing your teeth vs. cleaning an entire house.

Many times we fail to be active when away because it’s near impossible to maintain our usual routine but that’s ok. You don’t have to follow your usual routine. You don’t need to train as much as you do back home in order to stay fit and healthy. In fact, it’s actually beneficial if you don’t. Time off gives you a physical and mental break so that you return home rejuvenated and ready to push harder. 

The not so nice reality 

You need to do SOMETHING while away. If you do nothing, you more easily fall out of healthy habits and damage your wellness progress. Not only can you do serious damage while away on vacation, you’ll likely find it that much harder to get back to your healthy routine once back home.

It’s also important to be active during your vacation because this encourages you to practice balance in other critical areas like food and drink. Too often we fall into the “all or nothing” mindset, figuring that we’re already halfway into an unhealthy behavior so we might as well keep going. If we’re not training anyway, why eat healthy? Why not load up on the cocktails? It’s vacation after all, right? 

This is a wellness fallacy because every healthy action DOES make a difference; one less cocktail, one more healthy meal, one small 10 minute training session, that stuff all adds up in the end. It works the other way around too; every extra cocktail, every extra unhealthy meal and every extra day spent lounging compounds. While it’s tempting to embrace an “all or nothing” mindset, it doesn’t benefit you. If you instead practice balance, you’ll enjoy your vacation AND keep up your wellness wins. It is possible to do both.

I see it all the time with successful clients. Those who maintain their fitness level (or get better) do not take loads of time off. They do not take excessive breaks because they deserve it or because they don’t feel like it. They practice balance no matter where they go in the world. This is how they make fitness a lifestyle, not just a summer goal. 

The comforting part again

You don’t have to train an excessive amount. You don’t have to train everyday and your sessions don’t have to be overly intense. Bodyweight exercises are usually best but even a dynamic stretch will count!

I usually recommend that clients train the first morning of vacation and then the last one before returning home. This is usually enough to make home re-integration easier. More training than this is a bonus.

In terms of session length, you can train anywhere from ten minutes to an hour as you like. The key is for your session to be efficient, effective and above all, attainable. Be sure to plan what you’ll do and when BEFORE you get on that flight to better increase your chances of follow through on your plans. 

The final verdict on training over vacation

It’s good to give your body a rest, especially if you’ve been training hard for the past few months. Just be careful about how much. My personal commitment is never more than a week without physical activity unless injured. That commitment has kept me fit for 15 years and it will keep you fit too! 

Remember that it’s not how long or how many workouts you do that matters, it’s how consistent and effective they are. That goes for all training in general but especially over vacation!

Chardét Durbin
Verified Coach
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Chardét is an online personal trainer & nutrition specialist who’ll help you master wellness – from anywhere. Email or book a coffee chat with Chardét or visit her website to find out more.

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