Using Your Vacation to Improve Your Shape

The vacation is a great way to recuperate and help old injuries heal. This is a great opportunity to take the load off your joints and let them recover. However many guys complain that they get back de-conditioned and gain a couple (or in the worse case – a few) extra lbs of fat and water under the skin. This should not necessarily be the case with every one of your vacations.

Although this is not some written program I will tell you what I personally do during a 12 to 15 day vacation.

HIIT workouts

I love doing HIIT from time to time, but I really feel that HIIT is hurting my strength when I combine it with weight training. This is why I usually do low intensity cardio after my lifting sessions.

But comes the vacation, I use the time away from weights to do some explosive cardio workouts. Swimming is a great way to do interval training because it doesn’t put a load on your joints like running does, for example. In the course of 12 days I would usually do four to five high intensity workouts and this is how they look like, more or less :

– 1 minute of low intensity swimming to warm up
– about eight to ten 15-second sprints
– 60-90 second low intensity swimming between the sprints

This whole workout takes no more than 15-20 minutes to complete.

Bodyweight workouts

If I have a gym available where I’m staying at the moment, I always choose going to the gym and do light circuit or upper body/lower body workouts. The weights are about 50%-60% lower than the maximal weights in order to give the joints a break.

However if a gym is not available, you can always compensate with a bodyweight workout. Find a place where you can do some pull ups and you’re ready to rock. A typical light bodyweight workout would look like this:

– inclined or normal push ups – 5 x 12-15 reps
– Pull ups – 5 x 5-8 reps
– Bodyweight squats 5-6 x 15 reps
Plank – 3 times to failure or 4 x 15 of crunches  

Like you see this is nothing crazy, just a short workout to keep the blood flowing into the muscles and supply them with nutrients. These are usually done every other day in the course of 12-15 days.


The vacation is a period when you’ll probably have more cheat meals than you usually do. This is a great opportunity to experiment with intermittent fasting. What I usually like to do is to eat 2-3 meals during an 8 hour period and fast through the other 16 hours. One or two of those meals will be quality meals containing high protein (eggs,meat,fish etc.) and low carbs (usually vegetables). One of the meals will be a cheat meal (hamburger,pizza,some dessert etc.) – you are on vacation, remember ?

The high carb meal will usually follow after a HIIT workout. Other than this, you should watch your water intake as the hot weather and the cardio workout tend to dehydrate your body. Make sure you drink about a gallon of pure water a day.

Follow this scheme or a similar one and you might be surprised when you see that you are actually in better shape when you get back from your vacation.

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