A quick Google search of “how to exercise on vacation” will result in thousands of articles. Most of them say the same things. Most of them are liars.
First of all, if you don’t have kids with you on vacation then I’m not sure you need an article to tell you how to accomplish your workouts. Just do them. Whenever.
Second, some of the “suggestions” are downright ridiculous, like this one from Active.com:
Carry A Load: Instead of packing one large suitcase with rollers, try distributing your luggage between two smaller suitcases. Then, balance the weight of the two cases on each side of your body as you carry your bags through the airport. Your upper torso will feel the burn.*
I cannot believe this idea was even published. However, it gave me a better one – – the boys weigh exactly the same, so one could just carry them though the airport terminal. Better yet, I can set up a stand outside the airport and rent them out. Let me know when your flight leaves and I will have them ready…
*Fun fact: the author of that article is the inventor of Jazzercize
[Tweet “Why you should take my #twins with you if you want to exercise on #vacation.”]
Since I’m headed out of town once again, and this is at the forefront of my mind, I thought it best to make fun of and therefore make myself feel better when I’m struggling to get my workouts done while traveling with the boys. And by “boys” I’m including my husband.
HOW TO WORKOUT ON VACATION – MYTH VS REALITY
1. Set Your Expectations
Myth: Know that you will not be able to train as you normally do but 20–30 minutes is better than nothing.
Reality: Unless you make huge sacrifices like waking up early, skipping part of a beach day or opting out of the Friday night clam bake, you will most likely not be able to cram in a long workout. Plus, you will be so overtired from dealing with your kids, sand, water, sugar and adult beverages to even think about going for a run. Good luck.
2. Extra Steps Count
Myth: Set a goal of walking 10,000 steps per day as you walk along the beach or though various tourist destinations.
Reality: Extra steps count only if they really are extra. Most active people are probably already walking 10,000 steps a day in addition to their workouts. Plus, on vacation I’m guessing you may eat and drink a tad more than usual. Walking will probably help with digestion but not much else. Is it better than not walking more? It’s a toss up.
A rare moment of the boys “helping” with my workout last summer on Lake Winnipesaukee:
3. Get Adventurous
Myth: Rent a bike, kayak or surfboard and try something new!
Reality: So who is watching the kids while you surf, kayak and/or bike? And, if you’re thinking, “my kids can kayak and bike with us,” then, if they are under the age of 10, try that and let me know how it goes. I’m guessing your cardiovascular system will get the most workout from equal parts yelling and the numerous stopping and starting, not to mention near heart attacks you are sure to suffer, as you see your offspring in open water or biking on a busy road. Good times.
4. Carefully plan out your travel schedule and make note of any gaps in your itinerary that can be filled with an exercise routine.
I did not make this one up. It came from this article on wikiHow.com as in how to never get anything done.
Myth: Find a quiet space (for an entire day or two) and carefully plan out every aspect of your vacation.
Reality: I do not know anyone who has time to do this (maybe you Jess but now you have a baby so…) and I really don’t think anyone is going to actually “fill in gaps” with exercise. Most likely, exercise will happen spontaneously or by formulating a quick plan for an early run, right before passing out into bed the night before.
The good news is that even if you did nothing but walk from your beach chair to the cooler for a solid week, you would not really lose that much fitness.
According to this very realistic and refreshing article on VeryWell, “taking a week off probably won’t make that much of a difference…”
[Tweet “Taking a week off from #training on #vacation is fine…for everyone else. #train4life”]
The Bottom Line
I am the biggest proponent for relaxing and enjoying your vacation and having exercise be secondary. However, I’m four weeks out from triathlon nationals and I need to keep this flame lit! I know from years of experience, in order to get my workouts in, I need to do the following:
- wake up early and get it done before anyone even rolls over in bed
- plan my training with my coach so the days I’m on vacation are part of a rest week
- keep the focus on fun and know that if I miss a workout, I’m probably giving my body more of what it needs in terms of relaxation and sleep
I’m taking yet another week off. See you back here next Wednesday, July 20th!
How do you handle exercising on vacation?
Where is your go to workout on vacation? It’s ok if you don’t have one. That means you’re normal.
Tell me about your upcoming travel plans…
HAHA! Brings me back…lol! Going camping was, when I was married, my vacation. I did manage to get in a couple of runs through the rolling hills of the Adirondacks. Most of the time it was difficult between the kids (and I mean husband too) and adult beverages to muster up a really good run. Have fun on your vacation!
I know you feel me Kris! Good to know I’m in good company…
I don’t think you lose much fitness on vacation at all. It’s always interesting to me, how upset people get though. While I don’t have children, this post is hilarious. I do believe people get too focused on working out during vacation and miss the smaller things.
It’s so true and I feel like I only get crazy about it when I’m training for a big goal race…like I am now 🙂 I am so interested to see how you juggle kids and fitness someday 🙂 I can totally see your little mini me running beside you!
ahhhh the cardio from yelling, sister.
I LAUGHED OUT LOUD AT THAT ONE as I took mine and my sisters TWO on a trip recently and I got me LOTTTTTSA CARDIO. 🙂
You know it!!! And three girls on a trip? You are so brave!
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the suitcase. WTF?!?! That scenario sounds like a recipe for disaster. I try to get in a workout before everyone else is awake (just like at home) but if it doesn’t happen than, oh well. It’s vacation – enjoy!
I know, right? I seriously laughed out loud at that one. And it was a RECENT article. Crazy.
LOL! Thanks for the shout out, and I think your right, my days of uber detailed travel itineraries may be over! I loved the part about renting out Miles and Vaughn, I am picturing a booth set up at the airport with a big huge sign..
I’m sure you will manage to still have a VERY detailed itinerary but maybe the things ON it will change 🙂 And you know the boys would totally love to set up any kind of booth at the airport where they could interact with the masses!
Have fun on your trip!! These are all accurate. Last year I had to get up at 5am to sneak in my long run before a day at the parks!! Omg! I think I had like 30 or 40k steps that day.
Seriously!!! Disney is like doing an ultra between logging solo runs and then running around the parks all day. Maybe they should think about adding a “Disney Endurance Challenge” to their roster!!
You nailed it with the bottom line. Exercising on vacation, kids or not, can be easy. I guess it helps that we like active vacations.
So true!!! I’m excited for them to be a little older and will actually WANT to do more activities…I hope!?
This is the most realistic “How to work out in Vacation” post I’ve seen! and I agree, the only way to get work outs done in vacation is to get up before everybody else, and sacrifice when you have to.
We don’t take long vacations, mostly long weekends, and during those we schedule at least one activity that will keep up moving, we hike, we ride the bike, canoe, but I always keep in mind that my son won’t go for a 5 mile hike or 7 mile bike ride. and he always requires an ice cream as a bribe…. oops… I mean …as a treat after.
Have an excellent vacation! I hope you can fill in those “empty gaps” with good work outs!
Oh yes! Bribes work wonders and I use them frequently 🙂 Totally forgot about that one so thanks!
hahahahaha….. seriously that whole suitcase thing is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read…. When I go on vacation, I just decide that I am going to get in exercise 3 days out of a week (in contrast to my 6-7 days at home.) On those 3 days, I wake up super early and just get it done, and I sleep in the rest of the days and don’t worry about it. And I EAT… whatever I want (and drink whatever I want, but that’s not new.) When I come back home my first run is usually fast for me, maybe because my legs have almost been on taper mode.
I think I unknowingly subscribe to the Paria vacation workout schedule 🙂 And I absolutely eat and drink whatever I want. That is a vacation must!
Oh yes, totally! Keeping a normal routine on vacation is nearly impossible with kids. I’m already planning out my training the week we’re at the beach. It worked out to be a cut back week so I can get my long run done Friday before we go and then get in some maintenance runs with a bit of speed but strength workouts will be pretty much non existent. Oh well!
Good job mama!! Spoken and thought out like a running mother pro 🙂 Good luck with the execution!
This post is perfectly timed, now I actually have a kid to travel with! I’ve always loved to travel and have always exercised when I travel since I was a teenager. In fact I used to go places and run and called them “train cations” or run cations! I love exploring new places on foot so running has always been my go to. If I had an injury then I’d do weights and other stuff. I’ve done one trip where we cycles and it was fine, but running or being on foot is my sweet place.
Now that we have Lulu I suspect I will still be active but in more creative ways. Definitely don’t mind waking up early! We hope to go to Colorado for thanksgiving. And maybe Atlanta in October if I’m feeling extra awesome lol.
For now I just can’t wait to get the little peanut out in some walks! It’s so freaking hot here so that’s my only reservation.
Have a great week!!!
I don’t have kids but this is probably the most honest vacation exercise advice I’ve ever read. I just embrace it as a cutback week, especially if traveling out of the country because jet lag is the worst. And then I stick to the motto of something is always better than nothing and squeeze in a 3-4 mile run a few of the days.
Tip #4 is crazy – I mean isn’t the point of vacation to escape a strict schedule? Maybe I’m too much of a laidback west coaster now. Also whoever wrote that must have a stomach of steel if they can schedule in a run between vacation meals.
Going on vacations with kids don’t even COUNT as vacations. When we got home from Mexico, and the big kids went to their other parents’ houses, we promptly got Callum babysat and then Andrew and I lay on our backs on the family room floor in the starfish position and got drunk.
Yep – that’s it in a nutshell!! Mike and I pretty much did the same two days after getting home from Italy!!!
Vacation is for vacationing! end of story! NOTHING will happen to your conditioning in a week’s time. Eat ’till you burst, pound the margaritas, and by all means enjoy your small and Big kids, not to mention the beautiful surroundings and all the people you’ll meet!
Pleeez turn your brain (& body off), knowing you’ll be back in 7 days rested physically, psychologically, hormonally, and refreshed emotionally.
Take this time to visualize and vicariously experience the Triathlon that you are sure to smoke when you put the hammer down!
Vacationing is PART of your training, don’t you know? Not a bad idea after your recent Gastroc cramp episode I’d say!
Take those moments from the many gaps you are sure to find in your ample relaxation time while the kids respect Mom’s free time…
Carefully plan out your travel schedule and make note of any gaps in your itinerary that can be filled with an exercise routine. UGH, marketers!
…where you have nothing to do (HA, HA). Instead, (after some well deserved nightly libation), relax on your bed and think, feel, taste, coming out of the water and sprinting to T1. What will you do 1st? Can you feel the sea water coming back out your sinuses, the salt taste, did you have a great swim? Do the entire race in bed! Work out all your tactics.
It’s hectic, lighten the load and enjoy please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love all of this SO much! I will implement starting now. Thanks coach!!!
The whole kayaking, surfing, biking thing totally worked for us before we had a kid. Now, we only exercise one at a time or when someone else babysits!
Yep. Welcome to parenting…aka you never see your spouse 🙂
Seriously? That whole suitcase thing is an actual suggestion?? I used to get very upset when I couldn’t stick with my workouts on vacation. Obviously that was before children ha! These days it’s definitely about getting up early and coordinating with my husband sot that we both can do what we want and need to get done! PS So I don’t visit your blog for a little bit and you go and change things up on me!
LOL! I’m sneaky like that 🙂
Yes, it’s all about coordinating with the hubs. Luckily for me, mine always sleeps in so I have the early morning hours all to myself. Wait? Is that lucky??
Hope you are finally enjoying your vacation in paradise and the Brady Bunch curse has passed!!
Allie, you made me laugh but also agree! Kayaking with Finnie, age 2.5, who wanted to paddle the whole time or sit facing me and hug me tight or squish my boobies while I was paddling. Early to rise and/or jogger and naptime workouts. Always make the workout windows happen!
And the suitcase suggestion…that cracked me up! I can just visualize a mom of 3, walking through the airport with 2 evenly weighted bags, her children happy to run behind as she does bicep curls and weighted rows with the bags while walking.
I know, right? You of all people totally know how it is to get in your workouts…and not just on vacation but pretty much all the time! But, you always get it done as one of the hardest working (and best!) moms around. You are so inspiring Erin!!
All so real and true. I’ll run on vacation but that’s about it. And it’s never planned, more like, “I’m going to go right this second while I have the chance!” And I laughed so hard at the suggestion you plan out your vacation to the minute and find ‘gaps’ to work out. LOL
I mean, right??? That is pretty much exactly what happened this last vacation. If I woke up early, I ran. If I did not, I didn’t. We moms have to keep it simple 🙂