If you’ve got your training regime nailed down to the very last detail, holidays can throw a real spanner in the works. The food is decadent, the climate different, and, of course, you’re away from your usual gym.
The first thing we help our clients realise before heading off on their travels is that they need to lower their expectations towards themselves. You are not likely going to hit PBs on your travels, lose extra weight if that's one of your goals or exercise as hard and as much as you do at home.
And that's ok. Spending a week or two enjoying yourself and still focusing on maintaining what you've already achieved will pay off on the long run. You can save yourself from all that post-holiday guilt if you loosen your goals but still keep a balance between fun and healthy habits.
At The Barracks Gym we prescribe bodyweight workouts for our clients as a default they can follow on their travels so they don't feel they need to figure it all out themselves. There are a few more things you can do while away to keep up your activity levels.
1. Save Time With HIIT
When you’re on holiday, you want to spend as much time as possible relaxing on the sun lounger or hanging out with friends and family. The last thing you want - or anybody else for that matter - is to use up your valuable holiday time spending hours in the hotel gym or stressed about your fitness goals.
Fortunately, you don’t have to. With high-intensity interval training (HIIT) you can compact your training into just a few minutes to half an hour and get many of the same benefits as you would from your regular cardio regime (and perhaps even more). You could try doing a series of sprints on the beach or lengths of the hotel pool - anything that sends your heart rate skyrocketing and works up a sweat.
2. Run and See
Running is a very simple and low-cost way of keeping active and applying the principle "use what you got". All you need is a pair of trainers and running gear that's appropriate for the weather and the environment.
Holiday fitness can be a real issue, especially if you rely on taxis and public transport to take you everywhere. But in some holiday locales, especially city breaks, you can often go exploring on foot. And if you’re on foot, then that’s an opportunity to run. "Running sightseeing" might sound a little far-fetched, but with the help of map apps, you can navigate routes around downtown and work your way from spectacles to tourist attractions.
Are you heading for a beach holiday? Running on a sandy beach can also have great benefits for not only maintaining your fitness levels, but working on your stability. Unlike hard surfaces, sandy beaches don’t reflect any energy back into your feet as they hit the floor, making running more energy-intensive.
If you’ve ever run on a beach, you’ll know that it’s much harder than running on, say, the concrete promenade next door. Runnersworld recommend shorter runs on sand because the instability can trigger Achilles tendon issues on a longer distance and more impact.
3. Use Bodyweight Tabata Exercises
Tabata is a form of HIIT training where you exercise as intensely as you like, for th fracture of bones., rather than cardiovascular effort (although that's involved too). Tabata is great for runners on holiday because it doesn’t require any equipment, and it can be used to train muscle groups that wouldn’t ordinarily receive much attention.
Pick a bodyweight exercise - like pull-ups, squats, push-ups, or burpees - and perform the movement as many times as you can for 20 seconds of all-out effort. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat the process. Remember, because Tabata requires no equipment, you can do it anywhere, including the beach, your hotel room, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, during your running tour of the sights.
4. Focus On Your Core Strength
Running requires good core strength to ensure that you can maintain excellent running form. If you don’t, injury risk increases. Vacations are the ideal place to improve core strength because (again) doing so doesn't require any equipment and it takes less than ten minutes.
When attacking the core, remember to focus not only on the abdominals but also the obliques - the muscles to the side of the abs that help your body to rotate.
Start by lying with your back on the floor and raise your legs 90 degrees. Spread your arms out either side of your body to provide support and lower your legs down to the left of your body until they touch the floor. Tighten your core muscles to bring them back to the centre, and then repeat the movement on the right.
5. Go for a Walk
Running is a high impact sport that can sometimes cause damage to your body if you are not able to fun lo. Many runners eventually develop shin splints - a condition caused by damage to the muscle compartment at the front of the leg. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from impact training and just enjoy a good hike for fitness maintenance on holiday. Don't be afraid to choose a challenging route with plenty of elevation, and make sure that you wear supportive walking boots to prevent injury.
Would you like to learn more about how to motivate yourself to exercising on holidays? Feel free to get in touch!
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.