Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Stay in Shape on Vacation

Vacations are some of the happiest times of the year, you get to go somewhere different and relax and have fun. They are much-needed breaks from the real world when you can get them. However, they can also kill your fitness. All that relaxing and the “vacation diet” are not a great combination for keeping fit for when you get back home. I’m going to have to deal with this myself from 3/14-3/23 when I am on spring break and going to Los Angeles. Here are some tips that I have learned from previous experiences as well as from friends and family.

1. Don’t do nothing.
You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym or visit a different box while you’re away, although it makes it a lot easier, but you can do things as simple as some push ups, sit ups, air squats, and burpees in your room. Combine those movements in different ways and I assure you, you’ll be feeling some burn. You can also go out in the landscape and go hiking, swimming, skiing, or whatever is local to that area. That is the key though, don’t do nothing.

If you do plan on visiting another CrossFit gym while you’re away though, plan ahead and email them at least a week in advance to work out any logistics. I’ve already figured out where and when I’ll be going, as well as have planned some cool hikes in the area.

2. Treat yourself to local delicacies and allow 1 big meal a day.
You’re going to want to splurge and eat everything in sight because you may not be able to have that food again; don’t do it! Most of the food you’re going to want to eat is the exact same as what you eat on a regular basis, but is just worse for you. However, if there really is something that is local to that area, go ahead and eat it. It is a vacation and you should allow yourself something fun to eat, so have that fun food. If you like splurging on vacations as well, don’t do it each meal. You’re allowed to one meal/day at the very most, otherwise you’re going to spend too much time eating and not enough time exploring the area.

3. Have fun with good people.
Trying to stay in shape on vacation is nearly impossible, and if you’re all by yourself on that it will be even harder. If you’re with good people who are willing to help you out and be supportive, that helps tremendously. Also, if you’re having fun, then the stress won’t build up and you will do better at keeping in shape.

All in all, it is very tough to stay in shape while on vacation. You’re going to lose something, it is bound to happen when you’re no longer in your normal routine, but if you can stick to these 3 things, you will do a lot better in keeping as much of your fitness as possible, and set yourself up for success when you get back. 


  1. Great timing. I'm trying to figure out how not to lose the benefits I've gained... I'll be driving for a lot of Spring Break, and that means a lot of sitting. Good thing college visits include a walk around tour!

  2. Hey Brian, I'm a big fan of your blog and I appreciate all the insight that a moderately experienced trainer like yourself has for someone like me, who is just starting a fitness journey. As you advise, I've been trying to take things slow and incorporate a healthy amount of cardio with my strength training to try and get well-rounded, full body work outs. Recently, I've been noticing that it's exceptionally difficult to build up muscle mass when you're logging consistent miles in the realm of 15-20 per week (3 days x 4 or 5 miles per day). I've been trying to follow your advice by maintaining a disciplined schedule, regularly consuming protein shakes, and periodizing so that I don't exhaust my muscles. Unfortunately, I'm still having trouble increasing my maximum lifts. I was wondering, do you have any specific advice for me? Oh, maybe I should add, when I got to college this year I was about 5' 9 3/4" (almost 5' 10" !) and I weighed exactly 145 lbs. Anything you could add would be greatly appreciated. I really do love your blog!

    1. First off, I appreciate your feedback. Thanks!
      I would say that the first thing you should do is figure out which is a bigger priority for you, increasing muscle mass/max lifts or increasing conditioning. It is possible to do both at the same time, but hard when you're starting from being quite small as well as logging a lot of miles. If your priority is muscle mass/max lifts then I would definitely do all of your lifting first in your workout if you're doing them together. Also, I would say that you should tone down the mileage. If you want to increase your conditioning while increasing the muscle mass you can do so by doing more interval based training (400m repeats is a good place to start). With all of the aerobic work you're doing, you're actually burning some of your muscle. So I would definitely recommend toning down your conditioning in terms of mileage and instead turn to doing intervals. For your strength training, make sure you're hitting big lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, as well as pull ups and dips) for those will elicit the most change in muscle mass. One last tip, consider temporarily eliminating conditioning or just doing it maybe 1-2 days a week to see a more rapid increase in your strength. Increasing conditioning takes much less time than increasing strength and size, so once you have the desired strength, you can then increase your conditioning to maintain some of that balance. Hope that helps!