By Myprotein Writer |
Avid gym-goers are seldom pleased about the prospects of turning their backs on the iron when they take a couple of weeks away. It can feel like all the gains and momentum you have made over many months slip away effortlessly.
Even if it’s not entirely true, the perception exists and you want to do something about that. A few weeks away can seem like an age, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. Use a break to step back, re-assess and take a fresh look at your routine. Follow these hints and tips for keeping in shape while enjoying a much less structured lifestyle!
Seek a nearby gym
If you’re heading off for a shorter period of time, you can always find a destination with a gym nearby, but not all locations are so well endowed and it could be time for you to get creative.
These should form your staple, and a list of the most effective will follow, but there are also ways to add weights to your routine.
✓ Try filling your rucksack up with large bottles of water (1l of water = 1 kg of weight) and depending on your rucksack you might find yourself with a considerable piece of equipment. Strap it to your back and try some press ups. Tie it to your front and do some tricep dips. Throw it over your shoulders again and do squat jumps. The possibilities are there when you think outside of bars and bells.
Since you’re taking time off, you might not be interested in dedicating a lot of your day to lifting weights. There is a whole new world to see outside anyway. If you’re feeling clogged-up and full of pent-up energy, however, you’re going to want to get the heart pumping and the muscles working.
✓ Your most efficient route to this is a HIIT workout. By combining body-weight exercises and home-made weights, you can blast through an exercise routine in under 20 mins (including a quick shower). HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it is exactly that. Your workout should push you as you go all out at high intensity for a short period of time, encouraging muscle growth and fat loss.
An example workout could look like this:
Total duration: 17 mins
There are 5 exercises. Perform each for 40 seconds, and then take a 20 second break before starting the next exercise (i.e. start each exercise on the minute, every minute).
After running through the first set of 5, take a 60 second break before running through the same 5 exercises a second time, and then repeat for a third and final time.
Exercise 1: Burpees
Exercise 2: Weighted press-ups (adjust weight in homemade equipment)
Exercise 3: Weighted squats (with explosive jumps if you are seeking a more jelly-like post-workout experience)
Exercise 4: Mountain climbers
Exercise 5: Weighted lunges (with scissor jumps to add a bit more to it)
Optional extra: Perform a plank for 60 seconds at the end of the 3rd set for added core work
If you want to build around this, change and adapt using the same system.
Here is a quick summary of some of the most effective bodyweight exercises which you can do anywhere:
✓ Mountain climbers
✓ Planks/side planks
✓ Squats/jump squats
✓ Lunges/jumping lunges
✓ Tuck jumps
With these under your belt, you can work out anywhere. Just remember to keep things intense, fast, and add explosive movements to add more to each exercise (jump squats, clapping press-ups etc.)
Think outside the gym/hotel room
If most of your workouts involve hitting the gym, then your holiday is the perfect time to diversify! You can try new activities to keep in shape, see new places, and maybe even hit muscles you never even knew existed.
✓ Depending on where you’re going, you can try kayaking or canoeing to target your arms and shoulders, you can surf to work your chest, arms and core, you can hire a bike to get your legs pumping, hike the mountains or run on the beach.
✓ You might even find that this broadens your workout horizons and you find yourself adding new activities to your schedule when you get home with improved overall fitness. Explore the different opportunities available at your destination and see what improvements you can make.
Supplements on holiday
A common question is whether it is advisable to take your powdered supplements with you when you go abroad. I generally never fly with supplements in my luggage because it raises too many eyebrows – however, there is generally no problem taking small amounts of sports supplements across borders (but check regulations specific to your destination before you travel!)
If you’re only going away for a short period of time, you may wish to leave your supplements if your workouts are no longer going to involve hour-long sessions of lifting heavy!
Take Home Message
If you don’t want to lose form while you’re away on holiday, but also don’t want to make the gym the focus of your time away, make sure your workouts are brief and intense, with some added homemade weights if you like, and explosive movements.
Step outside your comfort zone with extra activities to round your overall fitness and move your body in different ways.
Your holiday is the perfect time to look at your training routine with fresh eyes, and to come up with new and exciting ways to become stronger, faster and healthier!