5 Tips to Staying Fit on Vacation

Summer getaway season is here again, but maintaining an exercise regimen on vacation can be a challenge. Vacationers tend to go to one extreme or the other: abandoning their fitness routine entirely in favor of lounging by the pool with pina coladas or doggedly trying to stick to the usual workout schedule. But finding a middle ground will keep the all-inclusive pounds off, while still letting a vacation feel like a break from the everyday grind. These tips from local fitness experts help their clients hit that vacation sweet spot, and can do the same for any active traveler.

Adjust expectations
“I actually like my clients to take it easier when they’re away,” said Ernesto Altamirano, personal trainer and owner of Xrcycle in Greenvale, NY. “When they return, they’ll be fresh and ready to take their workouts to the next level.” Besides, trying to maintain an at-home schedule while on a fun vacation is rarely possible, at least without losing the fun part. It’s important to keep in mind the typical one-week vacation is not enough time to undo fitness gains. It would take two weeks of kicking back before any noticeable loss of aerobic capacity or muscle strength. So instead of trying to figure out how to take the usual 45-minute run at 7:30am without missing the dolphin excursion, accept that mornings are going to be different for a while. And that’s the point.

Do research
Once ready to focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t, look into the facilities on the property, as well as nearby fitness opportunities, in advance. Arriving with a loose plan increases the odds of doing something. “Yoga fan? Check out the class schedules of studios in the area. A gym bunny but the hotel one is not so great? Locate the nearest one,” advised Jessica Bellofatto, founder of KamaDeva Yoga in East Hampton.

Pack right
Double check that list to make the plan even more excuse-proof. Bring, for starters, a rashguard and bathing suit bottom that won’t slip during water sports, good sneakers, sunglasses, plenty of SPF 30 or higher water-resistant sunscreen and a hydration pack. “Always put a jump rope in your bag. It weighs almost nothing and can serve as the foundation for an awesome high-intensity workout right in your room or on a patio,” suggested Bellofatto. Resistance bands are perfectly portable, too.

Change it up
Doing something different is part of a great vacation, and that goes for exercising on holiday too. “Shock your body by using different muscles,” said Altamirano. For example, those devoted to weight machines are often surprised at how sore they are after trying a barre or even a Zumba class. Also consider exploring the area by running or biking. “A vacation is a perfect opportunity to learn a new sport,” said Bellofatto. Paddleboarding and kitesurfing literally work every major muscle of the body. “Surfing is just as good. The paddling works the shoulders and arms and then, once standing, the legs and core,” explained Bellofatto.

Consider ditching equipment
Altamirano’s clients sometimes ask for programs to take on vacation that don’t require any equipment. One of his favorites: jogging or walking on the beach. “Sand adds resistance that you can’t get on a treadmill,” he said. “Perhaps throw in some walking lunges and short sprints from the shore to the top of the beach for great intervals.” Since beaches slope, though, be sure to turn around and go back in the other direction so that both sides work evenly.

christina vercelletto

christina vercelletto

Christina Vercelletto is a lifelong south-shore Long Islander. She currently resides in Babylon with her husband, three children, and a morbidly obese calico. A media veteran, Christina has held editorial positions at Babytalk, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day, and Davler Media. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications, including Redbook, Rachael Ray, Good Housekeeping, FamilyFun, and The Huffington Post. She's been a frequent guest on Today, The View, and Good Morning America.