Three Tips for Working Out On Summer Vacation

June 30, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Olivia Kerstetter
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With summer in full-swing comes an increase in travel, and while gas prices and inflation remain on the rise, the desire to take a trip hasn’t dampered. Whether you’re a competitive CrossFitter, a casual member at your local box, or somewhere in between, you’ve probably thought about how to get your sweat on while out of town. We talked to a few people who can help us approach maintaining our fitness, and sanity, while on the road.

Translation: Here’s how to not feel like hot garbage during (or when you get back from) your next vacation.

Tip #1: Embrace the break.

Olivia Kersetter recently returned from her family trip overseas, following her 1st place finish in the Girls 16-17 Age Group Semifinal, qualifying her for a 2nd CrossFit Games appearance. You might think that following her qualification, training would ramp up immediately in preparation for the Games, however it’s quite the opposite.

Kersetter’s training partner and founder of Grit Performance, Jacob Heppner, claims that a break to travel internationally is actually ideal.

“She just finished her version of Semifinals so it was actually good for her to have a week and a half or so away. If she would’ve stayed home and just kept training, it would’ve dipped quite a bit in volume anyway with a deload, and she would’ve still come to workout but it would’ve been a lot different. So it was actually good to let her take her mind off things, let her see the world and do some things,” Heppner said. “In my mind, I want her to stay active and busy and move, but I didn’t necessarily care if she did full-length sessions. She just got done with the Semifinals so she needed the break.”

And while it can be challenging to feel like you’re losing progress while outside of your normal gym routine, it can actually have positive benefits on your gains in the long run.

The first couple days you get back, especially if you’re traveling overseas where you’re in a different time zone, are going to be rough regardless of who you are. But once you get back, I think you’ll realize you’re actually going to be better because your body needs that rest and recovery,” Heppner said. “Not only from the mentality side, but also from the physical side. You might freak out but I think you’ll be slightly surprised that within a week you’ll be back to normal, if not better, because your body needed that break.”

Kersetter agrees that some time outside of the gym is wildly beneficial: “I think that as a competitive athlete it is good for your body and mind to take a break every once in a while so I try not to stress too much about training and nutrition when I’m on vacation and just use it as a time to relax and recover,” she said.

As many can relate to, finding a gym to get all your training in isn’t always doable, but there’s a way to make it work.

“I might not always be able to find a CrossFit gym, so most of the time it is just a bodyweight workout that can be done anywhere (which can be way harder than they seem) but it always makes me feel better to get a workout in,” Kersetter said.

Tip #2: Something is better than nothing.

Josh Gallegos, CrossFit emcee and co-founder of Deadboys Fitness (an online training program known for their bodyweight and minimal equipment workouts), has first-hand experience of what it’s like to try and get a sweat in while on a work trip.

“Last year when I emceed the CrossFit Games, I had no time at all for myself to do anything. And you would think, ‘Oh man the CrossFit Games would be the perfect place for you to workout, right?’ You have endless amounts of equipment to use, facilities at your disposal and even a hotel gym, and there was times I was doing my Deadboys workouts in my room using a chair to do dips, burpeeing up a storm, and doing jumping air squats because I only had 20-30 minutes, if that, to do any kind of workout,” he said.

If you’re anything like us, you might be thinking that bodyweight workouts aren’t challenging enough to move the needle with your fitness. But ultimately, it comes down to creating intensity, moving your body because it feels good, and embracing the chance to work on your mental game.

“These are the perfect opportunities to kind of challenge yourself mentally and put your fitness to the test. If you’re an avid CrossFitter, we all know that you can do Fran and we all know that you can do a crazy workout, but can you mentally put yourself in a position where you’re going to do a 10 minute AMRAP of burpees, air squats and sit-ups? Is it boring? Sure. Is it the sexiest workout? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s definitely going to make you feel like you did something, and doing something is obviously better than doing nothing,” Gallegos said.

This advice is perfectly aligned with the mission of Deadboys Fitness, which is co-owned and coached by Colby Lopez (WWE fans know him as Seth Rollins).

“Look if you’re going on vacation, we want you to live and have fun and have a good time,” Gallegos said. “And, if you want a workout, we have all of these different programs at your disposal. And, worst case, if there is zero to no equipment, do the body weight workouts and do them at a high intensity and you’re going to get a great workout.”

Tip #3: Drop in to a local affiliate.

CrossFit Invictus in San Diego, California is a hub for CrossFitters passing through the beach town, and founding coach Michele Vieux believes attending a class is one of the best ways to get acclimated with wherever you’re visiting.

“For the workout, partner up with someone or join a group of regulars! This is the best way to make the most of your experience both in and out of the gym. Besides the new friends you’ll make, you will also get hot tips on what the locals like to do, where they love to eat, and more,” she said.

If you want to hop in class at the local box, best practices include reaching out to the gym ahead of time to confirm their schedule and fee, getting there early to complete a waiver and putting all of your equipment away after the workout. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to receive fresh coaching eyes, try new programming and likely grab a sweet t-shirt to remember the trip by.

Vieux left us with valuable words of wisdom: “Leave your ego at the door — just enjoy the new friendships and getting in a good sweat while you’re on the road. You’re already doing more than most travelers by making it to the gym!”

The bottom line: When you’re traveling this season, lean into giving your body a break from the normal exercise routine. If you do choose to workout, don’t worry about making it a full, perfect training session, and consider supporting a local affiliate! Continuing to improve your fitness while out of town is both possible and beneficial, but not worth stressing about.

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