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10 Ways to Not Eff Up Your Fitness Goals on Vacation

Man leaping into pool on a lobster floating toy

If you struggle to keep up with diet and exercise, vacation can either be a welcome break, or the metaphorical iceberg to your fitness Titanic.

How do you enjoy your vacation without destroying any progress you’ve made?

We have 10 tips, just for you.

Your First Option

1. Skip It

For most people, trying to diet and exercise on vacation is unrealistic.

But before you take this option, consider how long you’ll be gone:

A weekend getaway: 2-3 days won’t hurt anything this one time. Live it up.

A week-long vacation: You won’t do much damage taking one week off. But if you’re concerned about staying on track, go with one of our other tips.

An extended trip of 2+ weeks: Taking this much time off will cause a noticeable difference, making it difficult to get going again afterward. Follow our other tips to stay on track.

If you do decide to “skip it,” enjoy your time off and don’t feel guilty about it. I’d rather you do that than try to stick with a program and feel like a failure when it doesn’t work out.

Important: Be sure to take tip #10 into consideration when going with this option.

Tips For Your Diet

2. Plan Your Meals

This doesn’t mean making an Excel sheet for when you eat out on vacation.

It means having a general idea of when you’ll splurge, instead of making every meal a giant food orgy. Plan which meals will be big ones, and when you’ll get dessert.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy good food at every meal, just do it in moderation.

3. Moderate Your Drinking

Liquid calories add up quickly.

Set a limit on how many high calorie drinks (alcohol or otherwise) you’ll have each day.

Drinking plenty of water the rest of the time also has the added benefit of helping you not overeat as much.

4. Be Picky About Snacks

Do what you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but cut back on filling your body with junk between meals.

Instead of loading up on chips, candy, and soda, pack a cooler with fruit, veggies, and protein snacks.

If you don’t want to pack a cooler, there are still healthier options for snacks, even at a gas station.

5. Choose One Carb

Carbs aren’t bad, but Megan teaches our clients to prioritize protein.

On the road, it’s difficult to find a protein that isn’t coated with fried carbs, sitting on another carb, with a side of carbs. So instead of worrying about finding the perfect protein, limit yourself to one carb at each meal.

Having a burger? It’s as simple as skipping the fries, or tossing the bun.

Tips for Exercise

6. A Quick Workout

This would be my first choice. You can get it done in about 10 minutes without leaving your hotel room:

Pick 2-4 simple exercises like push-ups, squats, glute bridges, bent-over rows (with a suitcase or backpack), etc. Then do one of these routines as a circuit:

  • 20 reps of each exercise, 3x total

  • 10 reps of each exercise, 5x total

  • 50 total reps of each exercise (as few sets as possible)

Modify the exercises and reps to fit your level of fitness (so you don’t get too sore). Do it just once every 2-3 days.

7. Go For a Jog

If running is part of your routine, vacations are the perfect time to make use of this skill.

Find a (safe) new path, set an easy pace, and use your jog as a unique way to see the sights.

Disclaimer: If you don’t jog regularly, this is probably not a good idea, unless you want to feel like hell has set up temporary residence inside your calf muscles.

8. Find a Gym

Hotel gyms aren’t my favorite, but they can add extra options to a quick circuit like I mentioned in #6.

If you have a membership to a national gym chain, find one close by that will honor your membership.

Even if you don’t have a membership, some gyms will allow you to drop in for free. Others charge a small fee, but if you’re on an extended vacation, it might be worth considering.

9. Prioritize

If you’re concerned about falling off the workout wagon, or are excited about keeping up with a new program, but an hour in the gym on vacation just isn’t practical… it’s time to prioritize.

Pick which parts of your workout are most important for your goals and work on that.

  • If it’s strength, find a place to do your heavy lifting— get in and out in 20 minutes.

  • If it’s flexibility, do a few mobility exercises throughout your day when convenient.

  • If it’s endurance cardio, go for a run and forego any lifting during your trip.

Even if it’s only a couple times in a week, stick to what’s most important to you and spend 20 minutes on it.

The Most Important Part

10. Have a Plan When You Get Back

Chances are, you’re going to go a little crazy on your vacation.

That’s ok!

Just make a plan for when you get home.

Heck, give yourself a couple extra days to recover if it’ll help. But have a date on the calendar where you’ll start up again.


Write it down.

Then enjoy yourself on your trip. And don’t feel bad about it, no matter what happens. It’s a vacation, and you’ll already have a plan for when it’s over.

If you have any questions about how to keep up with your specific diet or exercise while on vacation, I’m happy to help. Click here to send me an email.


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