Exercise on the Go


I love vacations! I mean, who doesn’t? You get to visit somewhere new, get away from reality for a while, and relax—hopefully with an open bar just steps away. But going away can derail your fitness routine, and while some rest is good, you don’t want to get completely off track.


Many hotels and resorts have some sort of fitness facility on the premises. They may have just a few pieces of cardio equipment, or a whole line of cardio and weight training equipment. Or you may be going somewhere with nothing at all. Then take advantage of your surroundings! Go for a run on a local trail or try some morning yoga on the beach.


You can pack a couple of bands that won’t take up much room in your suitcase, and have a great workout no matter where you are.


Bands, Bands, Bands


I don’t like to buy bands just one at a time. You need to vary your resistance because the band that challenges your lower body muscles may be too much for your upper body. You can go to a sporting goods store, Amazon, Spri, or Power Systems to check out a bunch of different kinds of bands. Get a set that has a few different resistances, and even different attachments.


This way you can keep your body challenged.


Work Your Whole Body


On vacation you don’t want to spend a ton of time in the gym. So, even if you do a split type program normally, just work your whole body two to three times on nonconsecutive days while your away. You can get a great workout without losing any progress you’ve made at home, and still enjoy yourself. Try the workout as a circuit to burn calories, and keep it short. Aim for two to three circuits of 12-15 repetitions per exercise. Rest at least one minute between circuits for a short recovery so you can go hard for the next round.


Choose a band for each exercise that makes it challenging to finish your reps. If it’s too easy, it won’t change your body.


The Workout


Let’s keep these simple, and assume you may not have a door to attach your bands to, or many different handle attachments. I want you to be able to quickly move from one exercise to the next, so you can get back to relaxing.


Click on each exercise for a detailed description and pictures to help guide you in your workout.


Squat – They’re a staple for a reason. Squats can hit the major muscle groups in your lower body, and raise your heart rate. You can hold your bands at the hips to make it a little easier, or at shoulder height for maximum resistance. Make sure the band is securely under your feet – it hurts if it slides out and hits you. Yes, I’ve done it. Keep your heels on the floor, and really squeeze your butt as you straighten your legs.


Rows – Ideally, you can move right into this exercise using the same band. You may need to stand on it a little more closely to the handles to increase resistance, but should be able to get adjusted quickly to keep your workout moving. Keep your back straight and abs pulled in to support your spine. Focus on drawing those shoulder blades together, then releasing down in a controlled manner.


Shoulder Press – You may need a lighter band for this one. So, change bands quickly and get right into position. Keep your abs pulled in, and knees relaxed. You want to avoid arching your back and locking your knees as you push the band overhead. Also, keep your shoulders down away from your ears – if you’re shrugging during the exercise, you’re not doing it right. Your arms should move smoothly up and down through your reps.


Lunges – You’ll focus on one leg at a time during this exercise. Put the band securely under the front foot, keeping the heel down at all times. Holding the band handles at your shoulders, lower down and up in a controlled manner, focusing on your front leg.


Curls – Both feet go back on the band, and arms come down to focus on your biceps. Shoulders stay down and relaxed, abs in and knees slightly bent. Keep your upper arms next to your torso the entire time. Often, people like to swing their upper arms thinking they need to get their hands higher – don’t do that. Bring your hands up towards your shoulders by bending your elbows as high as you can without using momentum.


Extensions – You can do this holding one handle for a little less resistance, or both handles for more resistance. Your arms are moving overhead to target the backs of your arms – the triceps. If it’s too challenging to do both arms at the same time, do one arm at a time. This is your workout, so change it up to your needs. Your upper arms stay by your ears, and hands lower behind your head. Avoid arching your back by tightening your abs.


You can finish off with a set of 20-30 bicycle crunches or some planks to get your core working too. Then, repeat the circuit one to two more times through. After you’re done, spend a couple minutes stretching those muscles.


You don’t want to be sore on vacation. What fun would that be?



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.