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Should You Train On Vacation?

It’s summer vacation season! 😎 In the Northeast, we’re enjoying trips to the beach (or “the shore” as they say in Delco), amusement parks, and all kinds of fun destinations.🏖

With all the trips going on, we’re often hearing the question, “What workouts should I do while I’m away?” We get people stressing about finding a gym at their destination, adjusting programming to match equipment, and limitations of hotel gyms.

The most common thing we tell people: “Don’t worry about it. Enjoy your vacation!”

I promise you, one week out of the gym (or even two!) will not ruin your progress or result in any significant decrease in strength or ability. That’s just not how bodies work.

It’s also highly likely that you’ll be pretty active on vacation. Most summer trips involve lots of walking and outdoor activities. That’s awesome! Remember that all movement is good movement. Just because you aren’t lifting or doing your normal routine doesn’t mean your body isn’t putting in effort. (In fact, all that training you’ve done is probably allowing you to do all kinds of fun things on vacation – sweet!)

Obviously there will be some hardcore chillin’ going on, too. It’s vacation! Give yourself permission to relax, and give your body a chance to unwind and recover. This is good for your muscles and for your brain.

The same thing applies to nutrition. When you travel, you don’t need to get wild, but you also don’t need to be overly restrictive. Eat the ice cream, drink the margaritas, enjoy the steak. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re full, stop. Will you mess this up sometimes? Yup. Is that okay? Also, yup. As always, the key is to listen to your body and make choices that make you feel physically good.

It’s also worth noting that some people like to do structured training on vacation. They like checking out new gyms, meeting people, or just enjoy the chance to escape the chaos of family time for an hour or so. That’s also totally fine!

Our general rule of thumb is: if you derive genuine enjoyment from gymming on vacation, go for it! If you feel an “obligation” to the gym because you’re afraid to lose progress or feel like it’s something you “have to” do, skip it! Vacation is about fun and relaxation. If a workout is going to detract from that, don’t do it.

So, what happens when you come back? 

Well, your first workout probably won’t feel amazing. That’s normal and totally expected. I promise you did not lose all your strength! Your body is just readjusting to being back in the swing of non-vacation life. 

We typically program a “re-entry” week that looks very similar to a deload – same movement patterns from before vacation but at lower intensity and/or volume. This gives your body – and your brain – time to adjust. And you’ll most likely be back to pre-vacation volume and intensity the following week.

The key to this is to get back into your normal routine as soon as possible when your vacation is over. This is super important, and it’s where most people do start to lose progress.

The longer you push back your return to routine physical activity, the harder it is to get started again. While a couple weeks off won’t make much of a difference, a month or more certainly will.

This is where you can rely on your coaches and your gym friends to help keep you accountable. They want to hear all about your trip, and they miss seeing you at the gym! So go visit them, and get a lift in while you’re at it.

Are you stressing about training during vacation or what happens when you come back? We can help! Just book a free coaching call by clicking the “Free Intro” button on this page, or shoot us an email at [email protected] with “vacation gainz” in the subject line.

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