So I just came back from a 9 day trip to Italy with the family, and let me say, it was awesome!

Don't worry, many Russell Crowe references were made this day.

Don’t worry, many Russell Crowe references were made this day.

I got to see a lot of really cool things like the Colosseum, the Statue of David, and a lot of other cool stuff. Not to mention I got to eat more carbs in one week than I normally have in a month. All this was awesome, but the thing that I didn’t see was…a gym!

Actually, in my 9 days there, I saw one gym. I still have no idea how the Italian people actually work out, or if they do, but there is no way it happens with weights in a gym. There are also no water fountains in Italy. (I guess they just live on olive oil or something)

So I decided to write an article about working out on vacation. It is super common for people to be working towards their health and fitness goals, but have to set them aside for vacation. Many people stress over whether to just sit back and watch the destruction happen, or to try to half-bake some workouts and diet restrictions in an attempt to minimize the damage.

The truth is you probably won’t get the same workout on vacation you would at home. Sometimes (if you’re lucky) you can find a gym near your hotel that offers a small drop-in fee to workout. Aside from that, hotels are sometimes putting an elliptical and a recumbent bike in a storage closet, and slapping a sign on it that says “fitness center”.

"Welcome to our luxury fitness center!

“Welcome to our luxury fitness center!

That’s not exactly the ideal training facility!

Here are 9 best exercises you can do while on vacation – No Equipment Needed

  1. Sprints – The sprint is one of the best all around exercises, regardless of circumstance. They build explosive power, and ramp up fat-burning in a way that few exercises come even close to.
  2. Push-ups – Again, one of the best exercises you can do. Not to mention, they are easy to tweak to increase or decrease in difficulty. If you aren’t ready for a full push-up, start off doing push-ups from the knees. If you’re power level is already over 9000, and you need more of a challenge, then put your feet on a higher surface than your hands for some extra incline. You can even do push-ups with your suitcase or a small child on your back.
  3. Planks – The plank is an extremely challenging core exercise. It’s easy to do pretty much anywhere you go. Modify it to add difficulty by adding extra time, one-arm planks, one-leg planks, incline planks, etc. These probably deserve a spot in your normal strength and conditioning program as well.
  4. Squats – Easy to do, easy to load with whatever you have around. This one should be a given.
  5. Burpees – Everyone hates them, but they are a damn good workout. They’ll get your heart rate up quickly.
  6. Isometric holds – Drop down halfway through a squat and hold for 30 seconds. I guarantee you will be feeling the burn. This can be done with push-ups, lunges, hip thrusts, just about anything. Just focus on really flexing all the muscles in your body.
  7. Supersets – Alternate exercises of two or more different muscle groups for multiple sets. Since you are resting one muscle group while the other is working, you make a more time-efficient workout AND you will get your heart rate up.
  8. Tabata style training – The original Tabata workout was done on a bike with 20 seconds of all out effort, followed by 20 seconds of rest, for 4 minutes. This template can be used for just about any exercises, and you can play around with the work-to-rest ratio as well.
  9. Jogging – I put this last cause I personally hate jogging for various reasons. It isn’t very effective for calorie burn or fat loss, and can put the body into a poor postural position. However, some people really enjoy jogging, and if your travel destination is more of the scenic type, then this could be a relaxing, fun way to reverse some of the damage from the seconds (or thirds in my case) you had at the complimentary breakfast.

The main thing to remember when working out on vacation is that your workout does not need to be worthy of an Olympic athlete. It only needs to minimize the damage to the hard work you’ve already done. Its more important that you get back to your regular routine upon returning. (I’m still weening myself off of pizza since I’ve been back) So next time you are on vacation make yourself a small routine, and make sure you relax!