Don’t Let Vacation Kill Your Workout

“Where are you going?” my mother-in-law asks as my husband and I begin to silently slip on our tennis shoes. It’s a little past 2 PM in Greece and, according Greek “law,” we should be prepping for nap-time and not skulking out of the house like a couple of criminals. “To the gym, Ma,” my husband replies. “We’ll be back in an hour or so.” My mother-in-law slowly shakes her head. “Ooooohhh-kay. But you should sleep. It’s summer! It won’t kill you to take a break from the gym, you know?”


Funny, but for me, going to the gym is so much a part of my every day routine that I feel taking a break from it during vacation would kill me. For many women, though, summer is break time from everything. They feel they’ve worked hard in the gym all fall, winter, and spring in order to bring their best beach body to the sand, so a couple of months off from the gym isn’t going to hurt…right? Well, yes and no. Of course, it’s always a good idea to give your body a rest and in fact, most coaches encourage “rest days” or “recovery days” to their clients. However, you can take this concept too far. Studies have shown that if you’ve been training optimally for 8-12 weeks, you can definitely make biological changes that enhance performance. (1)

These changes include, but aren’t limited to, increased size and number of mitochondria; increased cardiac output; and increased cross-sectional area of muscles (hypertrophy). (1, 2) However, studies have also pointed to the fact that if an athlete stops training cold turkey, then within 6-8 weeks of cessation of exercise, the adaptations made by the body can return to baseline. (1) So those two months you thought would be ok to put the gym on vacation, too? Maybe not such a grand idea after all.

How do you stay active during the summer months, especially for those of you who travel and can’t get access to a gym? I have three suggestions that may help keep your workout routine on point so you don’t let your hard-earned gains slip away.


These straps of nylon look innocuous enough. However, as a TRX certified trainer, I guarantee you can get an intense, full body workout in a short amount of time. When I design a TRX program, I typically have the client perform each of the 8-12 exercises chosen for a period of one minute with no rest between the exercises.

For example, we may run the following exercise circuit:
Overhead Back Extensions
Reverse Balance Lunges (30 seconds per leg)
T, I, Y Series
Bicep Curls
Triceps Extensions
Atomic Push Ups
Body Saw

9 exercises at 1 minute each equates to a 9-minute circuit. If you decide to do 3 circuits with a minute recovery between them, then your full-body workout is complete in 30 minutes! Just enough time to get it in, clean up, and hit the beach!


Another gym-on-the-go idea is to invest in gliding discs and resistance bands (RB) of varying weights and sizes. Like a TRX, these items are small and compact so they travel well. In some ways, these items are an even better option than a TRX as they don’t need an anchor point to suspend them from in order to be used.

For example, you could perform the following circuit for three rounds with a minute rest between each circuit:
15-20 RB Bicep Curls
5-20 Gliding Disc Plank with Abduction
15-20 RB Side Laterals
15-20 Gliding Disc Alternating Reverse Lunges
15-20 RB Squat-to-Overhead Press
15-20 Gliding Disc Leg Curls
15-20 RB Chest Press
15-20 Gliding Disc Pike
15-20 RB Triceps Overhead Extensions

This full-body workout is not only challenging (depending on the weight of resistance bands you use), it is one that can be performed anywhere, even in the comfort of your hotel room!



Finally, there is the no cost involved, no equipment required option: the body weight workout! We tend to forget how even the most simple of exercises, when put together in the right combinations, can truly challenge us!
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Mountain Climbers
Inverted Push Ups
Jumping Jacks
Squat Jumps

These are just some of the exercises you can throw together in order to create a quick circuit that will allow you to get a good workout in no matter where your travels take you.

Summer is the season for relaxation and fun times, and I do take full advantage of both! The beach is always a given, and activities such as dancing, jet skiing, and ancient site exploring are a big part of my family’s vacation agenda. When it comes to eating, I do slack off a little, finding myself being a little more reliant on making what Keith Klein, CN, CCN calls “better bad choices” in regards to both my food and drink options. In regards to my workouts though, I always make time for them, even if they have to be extremely short and sweet.

I keep the intensity high, as I desire to maintain the benefits I’ve gained during the winter months. But the real reason behind my need to exercise while away from home is that I simply feel better! So definitely enjoy all that summer has to offer! However, I strongly encourage you to continue to make exercise a priority during this time. By doing so, not only will you have a greater chance of maintaining the body you’ve put so much work into, you will also feel more energized and ready to take on the adventures that lie ahead!

1. Holloszy, John O; Coyle, Edward F. Adaptation of skeletal muscle to endurance exercise and their metabolic consequences. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirat. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 56(4): 831-838, 1984.-R Available from:
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1996. Available from:

About the Author: Elizabeth Anastasopoulos

Elizabeth Anastasopoulos is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and has been training clients for over 8 years. What she loves most about her position as a trainer is the variety of people she is fortunate enough to train: from the young and conditioned, to the elderly who simply want to keep moving, to those who are seeking sports specific goals. Each person brings with her a unique goal and challenge, giving Elizabeth an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

Elizabeth is also very passionate about nutrition and nutritional counseling, which was brought on by her time as a figure competitor in the OCB. After witnessing and experiencing first hand the repercussions of faulty nutritional advice, she set out on a mission to become more knowledgeable. She obtained her Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification from NASM, then moved on to earn her Diploma in Comprehensive Nutrition from Huntington University of Health Sciences. However, her best education has come from her friend and mentor, Keith Klein, CN CCN of the Institute of Eating Management in Houston, TX, and the co-founder (along side Lee Labrada) of the on-line coaching club, Lean Body Coaching.

She has the great privilege of working for Keith and Lee as one of their Lean Body Coaches, and has found the greatest satisfaction in helping clients reach their weight-loss goals utilizing healthy nutritional concepts and Relapse Prevention strategies. Still, her greatest joy is her family. She is a proud wife, as well as the mother of a 22 year-old daughter and of 12-year old twins. As a family, they enjoy multiple outdoor activities and traveling to various destinations. If you would like to know more about Elizabeth’s training services or about Lean Body Coaching, you can check her out at:

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.