Tips for Maintaining Your Fitness Routine on Vacation

July 2020

You’ve established a sound fitness routine you can stick to, but then it’s time for vacation. You’re excited, because who doesn’t love vacation? But you’re also worried about abandoning your workouts while you’re away. Unfortunately, this worry is not misplaced: A study from the journal Physiology & Behavior found that adults tended to gain close to a pound on vacation — weight gain that was still present six weeks after vacation. The good news is that you can absolutely take a break from the daily grind while still making time for workouts.

Thinking differently, planning ahead and being flexible will help you be more successful with your efforts.

Check your mindset about exercising on vacation.

First, do a quick evaluation of your mindset around working out on vacation. Is exercise actually one of the things you want a break from, or is it an enjoyable part of your daily life that you want to prioritize while on holiday?

Your attitude about working out on vacation matters. There is nothing wrong with enjoying physical downtime and letting your body heal (especially for serious athletes), but decide before you leave for vacation whether or not it’s a priority for you. You’ll be more successful in carving out time to work out if you’re mentally on board.

Research fitness facilities.

It’s easy enough to check online if your hotel has a fitness center. If there are pictures, does it look like one treadmill stuck in a corner, or is it a real gym? If it’s hard to tell, call the hotel and ask them about the onsite workout facilities. If there is no gym, or you’re staying at an Airbnb or similar property, either ask the host about nearby gyms or do a Google Maps search of gyms or studios. You can check out reviews on sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp and others. If you find a promising lead, call the gym or studio and ask about daily or weekly passes (these may not be advertised on their site). You can also get exercise outdoors for free by searching for nearby parks with running paths or loops.

Establish a workout schedule.

You have a better chance of sticking with your workout goals if you make a specific plan. Will you grab a workout first thing in the morning before everyone else is up? Will you tag-team with a spouse and head to the gym while the little one is napping in the afternoon? Will you run on the beach? Put the proposed workout schedule in your calendar, and if you are traveling with family or friends, let them know too. If you have support around you, you are more likely to stick with it.

Look for creative ways to sneak in activity.

Aside from your structured workout, there are plenty of ways to stay active on vacation, depending on your destination.

  • Check out the local hiking trails.
  • Rent bikes.
  • Do a self-guided walking tour (so you can keep a brisker pace than on a guided tour).
  • Take a running tour (check out Go Running Tours or City Running Tours).
  • Try stand-up paddleboarding or canoeing.
  • If a destination is in walking distance, consider making your way there on foot instead of driving.

With some creativity and planning, it’s entirely possible to enjoy your time away while also getting in some quality workouts — maybe even with a view.

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