Holiday Workouts - The Absolute Truth

Holiday Workouts…the absolute truth

I’ve got a confession to make.

Working out on holiday is really not my thing.

Sure, I’ve written posts on how to stay active on holiday, and like most fitness bloggers, I’ve got basically a whole encyclopaedia on bodyweight/portable- equipment exercises. So many clients ask me before their own holidays what they should take with them and what exercises they should do in between sightseeing and restaurants and sunbathing.

Full disclosure here;

On the few occasions that I’ve actually bothered to bring my resistance band along for the ride, 99% of the time, it stays buried at the bottom of my suitcase.

I would much, much rather laze about on the beach and lose myself in a good book than muster up the energy to do a “quick hotel-room bodyweight workout”.

Hats off to the people that can do it. But that’s not me.

Holidays are my relaxation time. I work and train super hard at home so that I don’t have to set an alarm at the crack of dawn when I’m on holiday. The only thing I want to get up for is to take my towel and get a good spot at the pool.

Holiday Workouts - The Absolute Truth

The thing is, I have a boyfriend. And he has lots of energy. And so although I would happily bask like a cat in the sun all day, it’s not exactly the same when you’re interrupted by an ice-cream-fuelled Thomas every ten minutes. He finds it bizarre that I can happily sit and read an entire book in one sitting.

I’m writing this in the airport departure lounge. We’re on our way back from our latest holiday- to New York, Virginia and Philadelphia. We had a brilliant time but ‘healthy holiday’ isn’t exactly the best way to describe a trip to the USA… The land of hot dogs, fries and doughnuts galore. But both of us were doing really well with our training at home and Tom has a competition coming up in less than 5 weeks. Neither of us wanted one holiday to ruin months of hard work!

So I made sure to plan ways to work some training into our holiday itinerary without resorting to endless lunges and squats in our airbnb rooms. Which (in case you hadn’t guessed already) is not my idea of fun.

Here’s how we did it:


1) Classes

I don’t normally do classes in London, for lack of both time and money. So devoting a portion of our holiday budget to find some cool fitness classes felt a bit like a luxury. You don’t have to think too much (which perfectly fits into my holiday vibe) and with a decent instructor you’ll be pushed much more than if you’re by yourself. Which makes it a worthwhile investment and a much more efficient use of your time than a half-arsed hotel-room workout. Tom and I did a Barry’s bootcamp class in New York which almost killed us both – but made our breakfast pumpkin muffins in Central Park afterwards ten times more satisfying.

2) Rent Things

Sounds a bit vague, I realise. But you know what I mean. it I find that renting something fun, like a pedalo, a bike or even a canoe is the best way to incorporate some fat-burning cardio into your holiday. You’ll find that the minutes whizz by much faster than on a treadmill. It’s exercise that is genuinely fun AND you usually get to explore the area that you’re staying in. Which is the point of going on holiday, no?

Holiday Workouts - The Absolute Truth

3) Get a day pass for the gym

I get that most people might balk at the idea of taking time out of your precious holiday to find a gym of all places, but actually I prefer it so much more than being holed up attempting to workout in your room. Loads of gyms offer a free pass, at least for a day, in exchange for nothing more than an email address. Even if they don’t you can sometimes get a free entrance if you chat to the people on the reception desk and explain the situation. If the area you’re in isn’t too touristy, people are often very happy to welcome visitors free of charge. Which of course means that don’t have to worry about blowing your spending money. Actually going to a gym means that you can use decent equipment, and you can push yourself harder without (again) actually having to think too much.

4) Walk.

Everywhere. Our first night in New York, Tom and I smashed about 15,000 steps walking from one end of Manhattan to the other. On our drive from Virginia to DC we stopped off at a nature reserve and had a spontaneous hike around the most stunning waterfalls and mountain scenery. Walking around is the best way to get to know a place and it does help to soothe your conscience a little bit if you haven’t been to the gym in a while. You can take in the culture of your surroundings without worrying about a bus pass. Easy.

I mean, these are all ideas. Some of them you’ll do naturally without thinking about it… others you might try after a bit of convincing. Sure, some might be an absolute no-no, depending on what you enjoy.

But at the end of the day, if you don’t want spend your time-off googling the closest gym and you want to spend all day at the poolside then, by all means, go ahead. It’s your holiday. So don’t stress too much.

Holiday Workouts - The Absolute Truth


  • Katie Halsall

    I’m not a fan of doing that kind of excise on holiday either. I usually just take myself out for a short run to explore the nearby area and then you get two things done in one go haha. Either that or I try to do a bit of yoga on the beach.

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