Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Suns out, guns out, you know how the saying goes. If you are like me, and love going on holiday, then you also probably know how tempting it is to not work out on holiday. Why should we? After all, we are going away for relaxation and often overindulgence. I often have this struggle when I go on holiday, but then I quickly ask myself, why am I thinking like this. I’m not going on holiday to relax from exercise, I love exercise! I’m going on holiday to get away from work, relaxing doesn’t have to mean doing nothing.
We have just come back from a week in Crete where we had an amazingly relaxing time, whilst still getting three workouts in. Not only did this make us feel a little less disgusting, but it means now that we are back, getting back into exercise is not such an uphill climb (excuse the terrible unintended pun) and very easy to get back into a routine. I’ve already got back into my early morning cycling routine and back to my weights workout.
On the last few holidays we have made sure we’ve done some form of exercise some of the weeks, and my god, do we both feel much better for it. I like going to the gym, I like working out, I like feeling like I’ve achieved something, so when I go on holiday and that little voice kicks in to say that I can’t be bothered, I kick it back. You can do the same if you want.
If you are someone who really doesn’t like doing anything on holiday, then fine – don’t exercise – do what you enjoy, that’s what holiday is for! If you are open to the idea, then I’m going to give you some tips on how best to do it. Note however, this is based on my usual holidays which sometimes consist of city breaks and sometimes beach breaks, I’m not sure how easy it is to exercise in a confined space on the orient express for example.
Find a gym
If you are on a city break, this will be more than easy to do. We were in Toronto at the end of last summer, and all we had to do was search for local gyms, go on their website and see which ones had day passes to buy, or even free trials. It meant we could do a workout there and then. It’s also quite interesting getting to see what kind of equipment the different gyms have (yes this does sound a little sad I know). It was great though, it meant we could actually largely carry on our normal gym routine, and it took barely any time at all!
If you are on a secluded island somewhere, granted, this may be somewhat harder to do. If it’s a resort on a secluded island or a hotel, then they may well have a gym (likely not well equipped, but good enough to get a sweat up!). I know a lot of hotels will boast their “fitness centres” (generally only consisting of a couple of free weights, a ropy old treadmill and some resistance bands, but still better than nothing!).
Do it in the morning
Lets face it, once 12pm hits (or earlier for some of you i’m sure), you’re hitting the bar. Its allowed when its on holiday right?! So why not have a less guilty pint (or 5) by working out prior to this. You’re on holiday, so have that lie in, relax, then after you’ve got up and had breakfast, why not pop to the gym if you’ve found one, do some body weight exercises in your room, or go for a swim or run? If you do it before you start drinking and having the huge lunch, then it’ll be easier to motivate yourself. Also, once its done, you still have the rest of the day to do nothing but eat and drink, or see those wonderful monuments.
Use what’s available
You are on holiday, you’re unlikely to be able to do your usual gym or exercise routine, so face that fact already. Accept that the exercise you are going to do may well be be, quite frankly, a little bit crap. That doesn’t mean its not worth doing. Just do what you can, when you can with what you have. Everyone can do bodyweight workouts usually. So if you’re not used to body weight workouts, have a read up on my bodyweight post for some inspiration on how to do a full body workout without equipment, and do that. If there is a limited gym available, accept you can’t do the usual log press - instead use those resistance machines, and just put the muscles to work. If you usually love to cycle, but don’t have a bike, try going for a run or swim instead, whatever floats your boat (excuse the intended terrible pun).
You can also try and do the home-workout routine I posted about before. For this, I often use resistance bands when on holiday (they are small and easy to fit into a suitcase), or improvise with large bottles of water or even heavy things in a sturdy shopping bag. You don’t need that much weight, you can slow down the movements to increase difficulty.
The point of the workouts is to work up a sweat and make do with what you have whilst on holiday. So often the easiest thing to do is cardio when on holiday. If you’re at a beach or have a pool, then go for lots of swimming. If you’re on a scenic holiday, then what better way to enjoy the scenery than going on a long hike. If all that fails, then there is still of course running! Jenny found herself running in 30 degree heat in Crete (yes I did suggest that she do it early morning or late evening when it’s a bit cooler, but there’s no way early morning was going to happen and she was too far gone by late evening 😉)
In resorts and centre parks-type holidays, there’s always loads of cardio you can do. There’s often tennis courts, cycles to rent and swimming pools, all of which can be fun!
Do it with someone
If you and the person you are on holiday with do it together, then its more fun, you can keep each other motivated and then reward yourself with a nice cocktail on the beach. Its an activity you can still do together whilst spending that precious time together, and maybe you can even try something new, like yoga if you haven’t tried it, or boxercise if you haven’t tried that. See it as an opportunity to experience new things together – who knows, you might just enjoy it!
Have fun – Don’t stress
The most important one. You don’t want to do it? Don’t! Even though I think you would feel a WHOLE lot better for it, if you know you’re not going to enjoy it and it will make the holiday worse, then don’t. Also if you go and it’s a packed gym, and you can't get on some equipment, don’t stress, make a fun different routine and tell yourself it's better than nothing! Give yourself a pat on the back, and continue on with the rest of your happy holiday.
Hopefully this piece on working out on holiday inspired you. Here’re some pictures we took on ours! We will be posting about the food on holiday and also a recipe for some Greek inspired stuffed peppers later this week!