Bon Voyage: Travel Fitness How-To’s

Posted June 7, 2013 by Melissa diLeonardo in Life After Five


It’s almost officially summertime! For many of us, June marks the start of vacation season and although vacations are fabulous, they often disrupt our day-to-day healthy routines.  Long flights/drives, indulgent food and drink, and more downtime can cause you to bring home a few extra pounds…not the ideal trip souvenir.

The key is to find balance. Design and implement easy ways to stay moving while away from home.  Create a simple plan and set reasonable goals about what you can (and will) accomplish while on vacation.  Exercise will give you more energy to enjoy your destination and you will find returning to your regular routine post-vaca becomes less difficult.

Make time to move.  While away from home, consider using the hotel fitness room.  Set aside 20-30 minutes and get started: Use cardio machines, free weights, etc. to create a simple regime that will get your heart rate elevated and allow you to break a sweat. Try swimming in the hotel pool.  There are ample online resources to assist you in creating a quick routine.  Hotel websites may provide you with advanced knowledge of fitness facility equipment, self-guided workouts, or offer personal training services to guests.   If you are presently working with a personal trainer, consult with them about on-the-road fitness options.

If you are not staying in a hotel or want to enjoy your surroundings, take your workout outdoors. Shore side locales typically offer water recreation such as kayaking, surfing, or stand up paddle boarding (SUP).  These and similar activities are great ways to get strong and have fun.  Want to stay dry?  The beach is a great environment for all types of exercise.  Walking, running, or renting a bike will get your blood flowing while effectively toning the body.  Soft sand is very forgiving.  Use it to perform a variety of body weight exercises: squats, push ups, sit ups, etc.

Body weight movements are feasible almost anywhere.  Perform them in campsites, playgrounds, and parks.  Begin with a basic plan and rep scheme.

For example: Warm up with (30) Jumping Jacks, then perform (5) movements, for (15) repetitions, for (5) rounds. Finish each round with a 10-30 second plank hold.

  • Body-weight Air Squats
  • Push Ups (modified on knees, inclined with hands on a bench, or on a wall)
  • Sit Ups
  • Walking Lunges
  • Reclined Hip Extensions (double or single leg)

Another option: Perform (10) movements, each for (30-50) repetitions.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Body-weight Air Squats
  • Push Ups (modified on knees, inclined with hand on a bench, or on a wall)
  • Sit Ups
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Walking Lunges
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Reclined Hip Extension (double or single leg)
  • Burpees
  • Prone Back Extensions/ “Superman” lifts

Internet resources can help you figure out safe moves that are good for your body. Most exercises are easily modified to fit any fitness level.  Remember, doing something is always better than nothing, so even if you don’t plan to work out every day, schedule 1-2 vacation fit sessions and make them a part of your trip.  Take long walks. Boast about what you do on Facebook and other social media.  Your friends will be impressed by your commitment and you will feel amazing!

Staying active can be an addition to your vacation, but also a deliberate part of your trip.  Adventure travel or day excursions feel invigorating on many levels. Kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, and climbing permit you to move and completely take in your surroundings.   You burn calories while conquering new territory and creating unique memories that last a lifetime.  This is another fantastic opportunity to share your prowess (and photos) with your friends and loved ones.

We lead busy lives and we all need a break.  Honor your vacation (and yourself) with time to enjoy life.  Rest, relax, and find ways to stay active and balanced.  Your body will thank you.

About the Author

Melissa diLeonardo

Melissa is an East Coast native who has made Chicago her home! She has worked in the health and wellness field for over six years and lives to bike, hike, run, lift, and play. As a ReebokONE Brand Ambassador, Certified Personal Trainer via the American Council on Exercise, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, Melissa is down with good health. Voted “Best Personal Trainer” in the 2013 Chicago Reader’s Annual Poll and selected as a global finalist in the 2013 Life Fitness Personal Trainer to Watch Contest, Melissa instructs fitness and yoga classes throughout the north side of Chicago (spinning, boot camp, strength training). She a proud member and assistant coach at CrossFit Chicago and Master Trainer for Life Fitness Academy . Co-founder of the Chicago-based wellness collective, and Program Manager for Corporate Movement at Life Fitness Corporation, you can follow her on twitter @mdsapphire. Now let's dance!