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I write this as I sit on the balcony of my resort hotel in Playa Del Carmen Mexico listening to the ocean. Of course, I’ll be back from vacation next week with a new found vigor and gusto to my training… but until then, Jack Daniels is my new best friend.

When it comes to vacation time, It’d be easy to completely forget all that you’ve achieved in regards to your health, fitness and body fat levels the moment you board a plane.

I’m no different

I think it was 2 days into my vacation when I was standing shirtless at the pool in Las Vegas and I thought to myself “This is going to be the best I will look for the next month”.

Sure enough, it probably was — but that doesn’t mean it will be difficult to get back to where I was before I left. Au contraire mon frere!

Staying fit on vacation - what I've learned about training, fasting and conditioning whilst on the road

The key to staying fit on vacation is maintaining conditioning

That doesn’t mean I’ve been occupying my vacation with a training regimen that will cause others to think I’m ‘lame’ and ‘need to get a life’. It means there are some basic things I did for say 20mins a day every second or third day which kept me conditioned at a moderate level so I’m not back to square one when I get home.

What I’ve been doing to stay fit on vacation

I’ve had no set schedule at all. If there’s a day that I wake up with 20mins to spare and I’m not hungover from the previous nights tequila slammer competition, I’ll do a basic circuit to keep me in the game (so to speak) that very morning. It’s going to be sporadic, especially if you’re on a road-trip like I was that saw me in the car for sometimes 8 hours of the day.

My 20 minute travel circuit

This is what I did when I had no gym, and nothing but a suitcase and a hotel room.

The key is to be creative, mix it up and take NO REST between each exercise to keep your heart rate elevated.

12 x one leg stiff deadlifts
15 x body weight squats
12 x decline pushups
12 x close grip pushups
8 x lateral raises (one arm at a time using suitcase)
8 x one-arm curls (using suitcase)
12 x Leg raises (on ground with pause at the bottom)
20 x crunches
2min static hold (abdominals)

Do the entire circuit about 3-4 times and youll be done in 20-30mins sweating like a mofo.

In regards to fasting on vacation

I did it early on in the trip, but found it too hard to maintain being on the road all the time. It’s been even harder here in Mexico at an all inclusive where all i want to do is eat my body weight three times a day. I figure I’ll enjoy my food now, and go back to the leangains lifestyle when I return next week.

In all honesty, I prefer the fasting way of life as I feel like a slug and full ALL the time. I’m barely hungry by the time I sit down for lunch after eating 3 plates for breakfast at the buffet. Yet, I’ll still eat a 3 course lunch and several beers or JD and cokes.

In conclusion

Vacations are great to go crazy and over indulge — and I’d have it no other way. I figure, you’re spending a lot of hard earned coin so you might as well make the most of it and live it up while you can.

Life’s too short — the gym and your normal healthy routine will be there when you get back. As will your job, taxes and all of life’s norms :)

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Clint,

    Hope you’re enjoying your vacation! I did an all inclusive in Mexico a few years ago and had a blast! I like the idea of sporadic short, intense workouts. You get the job done without having to spend hours in the gym on your vacation. Also, you can over indulge directly after one of these sessions and your muscles will soak up a lot of the carbs instead of having them go to your gut.


  • Darrin says:

    Sounds like you’re having a blast! I’m of the opinion that vacations are the one time to not worry too much about diet and exercise. But then again, my “cheat days” tend to include mostly fresh, real food and I like to spend my vacations doing active things such as cycling, hiking, or canoeing… just another strategy to keep in mind!

  • Hope you’re having a great time on vacation…certainly sounds like it! I think you have the perfect attitude, get in great shape for a vacation, enjoy it without worrying about health and fitness, and then get right back to it after. I’ve always found it’s much easier/quicker to get back in shape after a vacation than it is to bust through a weight loss plateau

  • Its good to show the people you can have a wonderful life and still maintain a great physique, I do the same over on my site, I am a third year student and partying comes with the territory, I have found since i changed my eating habits to eating less, I can get tipsy off just a few drinks and stay that way for ages. Much better than before when i use to eat 4-6 meals a day, a meal before i started drinking and would take me ages to even feel the effects and hit me in the wallet too. Your a good role model like Rusty

  • Clint,
    I will be adpoting the same concept over xmas time. I will be away from home for 2 weeks without access to a gym. I plan on using body weight workouts to maintain my conditioning. I never want to be one of those lame arse guys who trains on xmas and new years day. I train to enjoy life, training isn’t my life.

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