There are two types of holiday makers when it comes to food and fitness – those who make an effort to maintain there usual routine throughout their trip, and those who use it as a break from it. Although much of this blog is aimed at the former, before I begin I’ll make it clear that I don’t often fall into that category myself. Since becoming a trainer my commitment to my body and mind has become much bigger; not only because I’m more active than I was at my desk job but also because it’s my professional duty to be the best I can be, physically and mentally. I was recently in New York for 6 days and made a promise to myself that I would enjoy my time there, rest, relax and not focus on exercise or diet.
As many of you know I am a big believer in rest and relaxation and if you’re off on a trip I would always encourage you to treat it as the luxury it is – explore new places, enjoy eating and drinking and forget about your weight. However, I know that many of you may prefer to slide a workout or two (or more!) into your vacation and for those that do there are below some ideas on timings, workouts and eating that may help you next time you pack your bags. Remember, this is just advice – you do what makes YOU comfortable and happy.
First of all – always try and get that workout done as early as possible, then it’s out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your day without it playing on your mind. If you go somewhere hot, the evening will likely be the warmest time of day and best avoided.
If you’re staying somewhere that has a gym, I’d aim for a half and half cardio to strength split. That could mean 30 minutes on the bike, or 15 on the bike, 15 on the tread, then weights. Adding in some high intensity intervals such as sprints or heavy incline work is more effective that a steady pace so you could always do a 15 minute run then 15 minutes sprints at a minute on, minute off ratio.
With weights, I’d personally keep it lighter as I wouldn’t want DOMS on a holiday. A circuit with lighter weights would still get you hot and sweaty without putting too much pressure on your muscles. For example:
60 secs work, 15 rest, repeated 5 times:
Kettle bell swings (8-12kg bell)
Weighted jump jacks (i.e. 1.5 – 2kg dumbells)
Russian twists (5kg)
Then to finish off, core and arm bodyweight work such as push ups, planks and crunches. Make sure you’re working towards the lighter end away from your rep max and you won’t get any soreness the next day.
If you don’t have a gym at your disposal, fear not. There are HUNDREDS of bodyweight exercises you can do in your hotel room or outside that are just as effective as using weights in the gym. Again a split between cardio and strength will refresh and revive you – you could always run or swim for that cardio interval but please make sure you are hydrated and out of strong sunlight as nobody needs sunstroke on their holiday!
For your bodyweight exercises, a simple circuit such as the one below will work all the muscles of your body.
45 seconds of each exercise, b2b, repeated 6 times with a 60 second rest inbetween
If you have a bench/bed/chair to use, you can add in tricep dips, v-ups, elevated push-ups, etc. Make sure whatever you use is fixed to the ground – you don’t want to damage yourself or the hotel!
Food-wise; this is a tricky one for me. One of the joys of going somewhere abroad is eating all day long and my honest answer about dieting on holiday would be DON’T. However, if you’re keen not to cut too loose, the usual rules apply – not too my booze or sugar, keep white carbs to a minimum and watch your portion size.
Finally and most importantly – no matter what you do when you’re on holiday, have as much fun as you possibly can. If, like me, you return home a little out of shape, it’s nothing more than a sign of how hard you were working before and an incentive to build yourself up again.