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18 (realistic) ways to stay fit on vacation

Updated: Feb 25

The beautiful thing about exercise is that we can adapt it to our schedules— including on vacation! Going on vacation doesn’t mean we have to choose between sticking to our strict exercise routine or giving it up entirely. It just means we get to spice things up.

Here are some fun and easy ways you can get moving and feel your best while away. Remember to keep these tips handy!

Stay fit on vacation. Cincinnati fitness. Vacation workouts.

Myth: Going on vacation will cause you to lose progress

When you step away from your exercise routine, you may feel like you’re risking the progress you worked so hard for, but it’s not something you need to fear. The truth is that a week or two-week-long vacation will likely have minimal effects on your fitness level.

Here’s the science.

A 2012 study found that for both athletes and non-athletes, the threshold for losing muscle is around three weeks of no training. Another study found that taking an occasional break from physical activity can help you recover faster and achieve more results moving forward.

This is all great news! You can count on your stamina being there when you return from your trip, and you might have even done yourself a favor by taking time off.

How to set yourself up for fitness success

The truth is, if your vacation consists of sitting beachside drinking five margaritas a day every day for a week, you’ll likely feel it your first day back in the gym. No judgment here, just something for you to be aware of.

However, if you’re looking to balance staying active while still feeling like you’re on vacation and not tied to a routine, there are so many easy ways to do so. The key is to do it in a way that actually feels enjoyable. Even 10 minutes a day can make all the difference!

Stay fit on vacation. Cincinnati fitness. Vacation workouts.

18 ways to stay fit on vacation

Without further ado, here are some ideas for getting moving and staying fit on vacation. Remember to take what you need, discard what you don’t, and do what feels right for you.

1. Take the pressure off.

First, commit to not beating yourself up for not going as hard or being as disciplined as you would be at home. Be realistic and give yourself a break. Whatever movement you can get in during your trip is great.

2. Plan where you’ll work out.

If you want to do some workouts while on your trip, it’s important to plan ahead of time. Start by familiarizing yourself with the space available to you. Is there a gym at your hotel or nearby? A park with benches? Or will you be working out right in your room?

3. Plan when you will work out.

Once you know where you’ll be able to work out, think about when you will do so. If you’re traveling with your family, the best time for you to get in some alone time might be before they wake up, when the kids are down for a nap, or once they’ve gone to bed. Whatever time slot works best for you, reserve it for yourself.

4. Plan your workouts.

Whether you plan to stretch, strength train with weights, complete youtube workout videos, or otherwise, make your plans ahead of time. Save them on your phone so they’re easy to access and already planned out.

5. Get out of the car on long drives.

When you stop for gas, to rest, or to eat, take advantage of the time by getting in some squats, walking a few laps, stretching your back and legs, or moving however you can. This is great for blood circulation and can help you avoid that bleh feeling after being cooped up in a car.

6. Join local fitness classes.

If you prefer to work out in a group setting, check if your hotel offers fitness classes. You can also subscribe to services like ClassPass that allow you to work out at gyms and fitness studios across the world.

7. Pack accordingly.

On top of workout clothes and shoes, you can bring no-fuss, lightweight exercise equipment like resistance bands, TRX bands, a jump rope, and a travel yoga mat. These won’t take up too much space in your luggage and will be a visual reminder to get a sweat in.

8. Do “anywhere” workouts.

Don’t have a gym or much space to work out? No problem. You can get in easy vacation workouts with squats, sit-ups, push-ups, and more, which can be done pretty much anywhere. Sometimes the basics are all you need!

9. Opt for high-intensity workouts.

High-intensity workouts are a great way to get your heart pumping if you're short on time. Try a HIIT workout on youtube, or complete a few exercises with little to no rest in between rounds. You’ll be sure to break a sweat without cutting into your vacation time.

10. Prioritize sleep.

I’m sure you don’t need to hear this twice, but make sure you’re getting enough ZZZs on your trip. Sleep is foundational to your health, it’s when your brain resets and muscles repair themselves, and without a proper amount of it (7-8 hours a night), your workouts won’t have as much of a positive impact on your fitness level.

11. Plan meals in advance.

When we get out of our routine, it can be easy to default to easy and quick meals, which tend to be highly processed and low in nutrients. Planning ahead is one way to avoid this.

Pack lots of cut-up fruits and veggies to snack on throughout the day, make sure you’re getting protein with every meal, and, if you feel like it, check the restaurant menu ahead of time to make sure you can order a balanced meal.

12. Alcohol in moderation.

It’s vacation. You deserve to let loose a little bit! If you plan to do so with alcohol, just try to do so in moderation (and guilt-free). You can have the poolside drink and nice wine with dinner and still feel like you’re p your health.

13. Indulge in moderation.

Can the words indulge and moderation be used in the same sentence? Yes. Intuitive eating boils down to eating what you know makes your body feel good and energetic. That means eating nutrition-packed meals while still enjoying our favorite sweet and salty treats guilt-free.

14. Stay hydrated.

With all the time you’ll likely spend in the sun and moving around, remember to prioritize drinking enough water (around 11-15 cups a day). It’s one of the easiest things to do to ensure you’ll feel your best!

15. Involve the whole family.

Staying fit on vacation can sometimes look like getting the whole family together to hike, rent kayaks, swim, bike ride, and more. You can also ask them to participate in your workouts and throw in some family-friendly competitions. What a great way to set an example and have fun with your family!

16. Go on daily walks.

Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health over your lifetime. It strengthens your heart, increases muscle endurance, and reduces stress. It’s also one of the most accessible forms of exercise to incorporate into your day-to-day routine, even on vacation.

You can go for a morning walk before the family wakes up, take the stairs instead of the elevator up to your room, and walk rather than drive to see more of your destination.

17. Take a walking or biking tour.

If you were planning to tour your vacation spot, why not do so on foot or while biking? This is a great way to get moving without feeling like you have to work out.

18. Exercise according to your menstrual cycle.

Did you know that syncing your workout schedule with your menstrual cycle has many benefits? Tracking your cycle phases and working out accordingly can help with recovery, sleep, PMS symptoms, and energy levels. On vacation, it can also help you get the best out of your trip by helping you feel your very best through movement.

Sculpt & Glo Fitness

Stay fit on vacation. Cincinnati fitness. Vacation workouts.

Hey, I’m Luan from Sculpt & Glo Fitness. I teach group fitness classes and provide personal training to everyday women like you. My mission is to help busy women and moms gain confidence and find their glo wherever they are on their fitness journeys (including the very beginning!)

I believe fitness is not a chore, it’s a choice! If you’re ready to take the leap, I’d love to help you realize your fitness goals.

If you have more questions about starting your fitness journey, schedule a free consultation call.

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Phone. 417-619-0391

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