Workout LocationsIn a collaborative effort with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we wrote about workout locations for the month of December.

One thing that can often derail an exercise regimen is figuring out how to keep in shape while you are on vacation. There are a few different ways to tackle vacations and how they effect your workouts.

  1. You can not work out at all and just concentrate on the vacation.
  2. You can find a way to stay on the same workout schedule as you are currently engaged in.
  3. You can find alternative workouts that fit your vacation schedule but will keep you conditioned.
  4. You can plan your vacations completely around your workouts.

Not working out

The first option for planning your workouts is to not work out at all. You are on vacation; it is a good time to relax and just have fun. Why worry about lifting weights or going out for a run when you could be sitting by a fire in a lodge or sunbathing on a beach? Concentrate on the food and drink, have fun with the kids, and do not worry about keeping in shape. Most vacations are less than 10 days in duration, and a break may be just what your body needs in order to rest and recouperate from your demanding workout schedule. Any conditioning that you lose, which will probably be minor if your vacation is less than two weeks in duration, will be regained with a week or two of coming back from your vacation. This is certainly the easiest way to plan your workouts around your vacations because you do not have to do anything other than plan the vacation itself.

Keeping the same workouts

Keeping the same workout schedule is a little bit more work, depending upon where you are going on vacation and what types of workouts you are used to. If you are planning on running on your vacation, then you can probably get by with a pair of running shoes and some workout clothes. You can run from your hotel room before the kids wake up, or take a mid-afternoon jig jog with your spouse to explore a new city. If you are going to plan on lifting weights, then see ahead of time what will be available by the hotel and try to time it so that you avoid the crowds. Hotels with exercise rooms rarely have a lot of equipment available, and may cater more towards machines than free weights. You may also want to see if there is a pool available, or a body of water that you can swim in.

Finding alternatives to stay in shape

Finding alternatives is probably the most common way of staying conditioned while on vacation. You may not be able to keep the same running schedule or get in the same workout in a weight room, but you might be able to get some maintenance workouts in. Perhaps rather than running repeats on a track you can find a park and do a fartlek run, or instead of doing the bench press you can do pushups. Body weight exercises can usually be done almost anywhere, and can be a great way to work out if you are staying somewhere without an exercise room. You may also just plan on getting some hiking in, which is a great way to go sight seeing or to enjoy a local trail to your vacation spot.

Planning vacations around workouts

Some people, myself included, tend to plan their vacations around their workouts. Vacationing at a ski resort is certainly one way to stay in shape and to enjoy your time off from the daily grind, as is planning a vacation around a hiking or kayaking trip. Most of my vacations are more competitive in nature, and are centered around a marathon. I do not keep the same training schedule while I am on vacation, but the whole point of the trip is usually to run a race and then enjoy wherever I happen to be. My wife is looking forward to a couple decades from now when I have managed to run at least one marathon in every state so that we can have a “real” vacation where I am not running!

My general advice when trying to plan workouts around a vacation is to see why and where you are taking a vacation. If you are trying to take a vacation to recharge your batteries and to relax, then do not worry about keeping your mileage up on the roads or getting into the weight room. Stressing about a missed run is not going to help you come home relaxed, and spending time with family and friends is usually more important. Get some exercise as it is conveniant and fun, and take whatever alternatives happen to be at hand rather than worrying about how you are going to ship your weight bench to your mother-in-law’s cabin for a weekend.