Yes, You Should Still Work Out on Vacation

Shannon Farrell
vacation workouts

Photo: Peathegee Inc / Getty

A vacation is the best excuse to leave your responsibilities at home—does anything feel better than temporarily ignoring those work emails? But there’s one responsibility that shouldn’t take a holiday, and that’s your health. Taking a week off from working out can throw you off your game, mentally and physically, for weeks when you return home, leaving you more prone to injuries and messing up your fitness goals.

While your beach time and sightseeing shouldn’t be planned around your exercise routine, you should find just a small amount of time to work up a sweat. Need some quick workout ideas? We have some for you—whether you have the open-wide space of the beach, a hotel gym at your fingertips or only the confined space of your hotel room. Here are the very best vacation workouts that you can do to maintain your health—without sacrificing your relaxing time.

Where: The Beach.

The Sand Workout.
Running on sand in itself is an intense workout. “Sand is less stable so you’re automatically adding extra resistance to your workout, which makes even simple movements more challenging,” says celebrity fitness trainer Ray Grayson, also known as Mr. Shut Up and Train. The mere movement of pulling your knees up takes more energy because the sand gives with every step. That being said, you can burn more calories and feel fatigued in half the time. If you want to add strength training or skip the run altogether, Grayson recommends this simple 5-move workout: plank twists, jump squats, traveling push-ups (while in plank, walk your hands to one side and go down into a pushup, and then travel to the other and repeat), jump rope or jog in place and finish with a side shuffle (shuffle to one side for 5-10 steps, then shuffle to the other). Practice each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat the circuit three times.

Tabata Training.
All you need is 4 minutes to keep your training on schedule. Tabata is a form of interval training. “One tabata is a 4-minute workout, which splits into 8×20 second bursts of exercise,” says celebrity personal trainer David Donaldson and owner of UK-based Prestige Fitness. Download the tabata app on your smartphone to ensure accuracy on timing. “One of my favorite combinations is: sprinting on the spot, lunge jumps, pushups and triceps dips as a group of four. Then you repeat them twice for one tabata.” Just like any other interval, each movement should be done at a high intensity. To reap the benefits, they require 100 percent effort, says Donaldson.

Where: Your Hotel Room.

Bodyweight Workout.
You don’t need equipment (or much space) to get in a great workout. “Do compound workouts to burn more calories,” says Grayson. “People underestimate bodyweight, but it can be extremely beneficial, especially if you don’t have any equipment to work out with.” Follow his simple circuit three times: 25 body weight squats, stationary lunges (15 on each leg) 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 30 seconds of burpees and 25 double crunches (bring your knees and elbows together).

Resistance Bands.
When packing light, workout gear is the last thing you want to make room for. That’s why resistance bands are so ideal—they literally fit in your pocket! “Resistance bands are perfect because not only can you use them for simple exercises,” says Donaldson, “you can also fix them to pretty much anything in the room; such as behind a door frame, a table leg or even a chair.” They also help to add more intensity than a straight-forward body weight routine. Donaldson recommends this simple routine: 50 pushups, 50 shoulder presses, 50 chest fly’s, 50 bicep curls and 100 air bikes for your core.

Where: The Hotel Gym.

If you’re fortunate to have a punching bag (and gloves packed) at the hotel gym, you can get in a good cardio workout without the monotony of the elliptical or treadmill. “All you need to know are three types of punches—a jab (punch straight), a hook (punch to the side) and an upper (punch underneath and up),” says Donaldson. He recommends creating an interval workout by alternating between the punches while throwing in some pushups and 30-second planks.

Compact Gym Routine.
With a short amount of time (30 minutes or less), Grayson recommends taking advantage of the gym’s space and facilities by incorporating bodyweight exercise, strength training and cardio. Warm up with a 5-minute walk or jog on the treadmill or elliptical. Use a pair of weights to do 30-45 seconds of a strength/resistance movement, such as squat press or lunge curl. “Working compound movements will burn more calories when time is of the essence.” Then switch to 30 seconds of a core movement, such as planks or bicycles. Finish the circuit with 30 seconds of cardio, such as high knees, jumping jacks or burpees. Repeat the entire routine 3-4 times and finish with 10 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical at medium to high intensity.

More from Daily Makeover: The 6 Best At-Home Workouts