Going on holiday or taking a vacation can be a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life. But worrying that you're going to lose your fitness can be a deal-breaker. Follow our tips on how to stay fit on holiday so that you can get the best of both worlds and not lose any of your hard-earned progress.
Find a hotel with a gym
Your first port of call to staying fit on holiday will be staying in a hotel that has a gym. Check to see if you have to pay extra to use the gym or if you can use it whenever you like. Also check its opening hours and see how big it is, as you don't want to be fighting other guests for use of the equipment!
So that it doesn't feel like a chore while you're enjoying your time away, set aside some time each day to use the gym. First thing in the morning will usually be best as it means you can then enjoy the rest of your day (and the unlimited food!) guilt-free. It will also mean it's not too hot as the sun won't have warmed up too much yet and so you won't overheat during your workout.
Do a beach workout
There are lots of health benefits to running on the beach such as working you harder than on pavement and being easier on the joints. Head down to the beach for a run or workout, like our 20-minute beach body workout.
You could do this either in your swim wear or in activewear. Sundried's women's activewear is super fast drying and sweat-wicking so it won't matter if you end up drenched, and is made with 4-way stretch materials so you won't be uncomfortable working out somewhere hot.
Swim in the sea
Any triathlete will happily talk to you for hours about the joys of open water swimming, especially in a lovely holiday destination. Take the plunge and go swimming in the sea as this will be a great way to strengthen and tone your whole body as well as burning off those excess calories from the all-inclusive drinks and food.
Do a workout in your hotel room
If you can't hit the beach for a workout and your hotel doesn't have a gym, you can still do a great and effective workout in your room. Try our no equipment workout which will help you get great results and burn lots of calories without needing lots of space or any gym equipment.
If you're looking for a short but intense workout, this is the one for you. Lasting just over 5 minutes, you don't even need a punchbag as you can just punch the air.
The Punch Bag
I use the Lonsdale Authentic Bag in Vintage Brown. It weighs 34kg so it is a heavy bag meaning a tough workout. It is a premium bag, but one built to last.
I will be using the Everlast Evergel Handwrap Boxing Gloves. I purchased these as bag mitts and they offer amazing protection at the wrists, a very common place for people to pick up injuries. However, the stitching is already splitting at the knuckles so I'm not sure they would last very long.
The Interval Timer
You can find many interval timers for your phone in the app store. The purchased version of ‘IntervalTimer’ I have found useful to so many workouts. You can create your own customised workout timers including rests, bell ring noises and it will save them into a calendar. Of course, you could just use a stopwatch, but using the app I have set up a little ‘last 10 seconds remaining’ for each interval to mimic my personal trainer encouraging me to ‘push through the burn’.
20 seconds punching, 20 seconds rest.
30 seconds punching, 30 seconds rest.
40 seconds punching, 40 seconds rest
50 seconds punching, 50 seconds rest
60 seconds punching, 60 seconds rest
The total workout lasts 5 minutes 40 seconds. It will work your shoulders, arms, lungs, and heart. My heart rate hits a maximum of 150 bpm during this workout which is about 80% of max.
What is a good strength training workout?
Strength training is a form of exercise where muscular strength, size, and endurance are increased by adding resistance against movement. This resistance can come in a variety of forms, from dumbbells to barbells to kettlebells, even sandbags and tyres.
A good strength training workout incorporates the 'big four' compound movements of the squat, bench press, deadlift, and shoulder press. It also incorporates a combination of barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. This is to get a rounded workout and work your muscles in different ways by putting them under different stresses. Finally, the best strength training workout is safe and incorporates both a thorough warm up and cool down in order to maximise efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.
What are the benefits of strength training?
Strength training has many benefits, from being healthier to looking better.
Being strong is useful.
Being strong is a great asset in daily life. You'll be able to lift your kids with ease as well as heavy shopping and moving furniture. You will have fewer limitations and face fewer obstacles on a daily basis. It's especially useful if you work a manual job which involves a lot of heavy lifting and functional movement.
Strength training increases bone density.
The older we get, the more fragile our bones become as well as becoming more likely to break and develop osteoporosis. Strength training increases bone density which will help you stay healthy as you grow older and prevent bone-related health issues. Having increased bone density is also good for your joints as will prevent excess stress being placed on your knees and ankles when you run and walk. Strength training even stimulates the manufacture of new bone.
Strength training increases your metabolism.
Lifting weights raises your metabolism and it stays at an elevated level long after you're finished. Experts estimate that your metabolism stays elevated for up to 39 hours after your workout! This is because lifting strains your body so much that it needs extra time to recover and you burn calories even when you're resting after the workout.
Strength training improves blood flow.
Resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) produces a different pattern of blood vessel responses to aerobic exercise, suggesting that it may have specific and important benefits for cardiovascular health. Research has shown that strength training improves blood flow and can lower your blood pressure.
Helps control blood sugar.
A study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested the effects of resistance training in people with type 2 diabetes. The study found in subjects with type 2 diabetes, both the low and moderate intensity circuits reduced blood glucose concentrations. However, the low intensity circuit produced lower glucose levels with less metabolic stress. This finding is particularly relevant to overweight, often untrained individuals who are just beginning a diabetes management program. Even a single bout of low intensity resistance exercise offers clear benefits for blood sugar management. As the individual progresses, intensity can be increased.
Weight training can help lower your bad cholesterol. According to a 1987 study conducted by I.H. Ullrich and colleagues published in the "Southern Medical Journal," HDL and LDL cholesterol levels can benefit from weight training. This study took 25 men who weight trained for eight weeks, three times per week. The weight-training program showed a decrease in blood LDL levels.
Strength training increases serotonin, your happy hormone. A Harvard study once found that ten weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counselling. This is particularly important for women since they are more than twice as likely to experience depression and only one out of three actually seek care.Not feeling good? Then train. Not happy? Then train. Need an instant mental and mood boost? Then train!
Can I do strength training at home?
You don't have to just do heavy lifting at the gym to benefit from all these fantastic health improvements. Resistance training involves any kind of weight or resistance, and this can include household items. You could use this surprising household item to switch up your training.
You can get stronger by using dumbbells and kettlebells in your own home and cables and resistances bands. If you do want to lift heavier weights or benefit from the expertise and experience of a personal trainer, find a local gym and enquire about strength training programmes that they recommend.
As it starts to get dark earlier and the weather turns from sunshine to cold and rain, motivation can take a nosedive. We're here with our top tips to stay motivated in the winter so that you can stay strong and get those all-important winter miles in.
Be flexible with your training schedule
If you have a pre-work run scheduled at 5am but getting out of bed is just not happening, give yourself a break and enjoy the extra hour in bed. Instead, you could always do your run at lunchtime or after work – so long as it gets done.
If you're flexible with your schedule, you are less likely to resent your training plan and motivation will come more easily. Don't allow excuses to mean you skip sessions altogether, though, just be realistic.
There's nothing worse than suffering an outdoor workout when under-dressed. Numb fingers and getting soaked by an unexpected rain shower can all ruin an otherwise great training session, so make sure you dress appropriately and always go prepared.
A packable water-resistant running jacket will be vital if there's a threat of rain, and if it packs away easily you can store it on your bike for winter rides or carry it in a pocket on a run. A thick insulating hoodie will keep you warm in extreme cold while a thermal Merino base layer will be ideal when the weather is changeable and you don't want to overheat. Touch screen gloves are also a must if you want to still be able to feel your fingers and be able to access your phone when necessary.
If you know that you're going to be comfortable in your fitness clothing it will be much easier to get out the door and get it done.
if you have a buddy to train with this can not only improve your confidence but can also help you to enjoy working out and stay motivated. If you have someone to be accountable to, you are less likely to flake out on your workout for no reason. Having a friend or personal trainer to let down will give you that extra motivation to get out there and go train, even if you don't really feel like it.
Make your workouts fun
It's understandable to dread a long slog in the snow or long ride against bitter headwinds. By mixing it up and making your workouts more fun, you will have something to look forward to and you'll be more motivated. Try something new by taking a new route or giving yourself a challenge to complete such as a certain number of hill climb repetitions.
Discover more about getting motivated in winter
Kettlebell training is an incredibly popular way to get fit. It can be incorporated into many workouts and adds a different dimension to your training. We look at kettlebells more closely and explain how they can help you achieve your goals.
What is a Kettlebell?
A traditional kettlebell is a cast iron weight, it’s spherical in shape with a flat base and handle at the top. Kettlebells come in different weight variations and are often used in pairs. Kettlebells are originally Russian and They can used as an alternative to dumbbells in movements like presses and step ups, and can also be used in their own right in exercises such as the kettlebell swing. They are the perfect addition to a circuit routine and due to their unique shape, they will work your muscles in a different way to dumbbells and a barbell, meaning you get more out of your workout.
Why are they named Kettlebells?
Kettlebells originated in Russia and were originally used to weigh crops in the 18th century. They were then used for more recreational use in the 19th century as circus strongmen became a popular attraction. Russian kettlebells are traditionally measured in 'poods', a term still used in CrossFit training, and translates to roughly 16kg. So 1 pood is 16kg, 2 poods is 32kg and so on. The English term 'kettle bell' dates to the 20th century as competitive strongman competitions began to gain popularity.
The history of Kettlebells
Kettlebells, or 'Girya' as the Russians refer to them, were originally used as measuring tools, most typically on marketplace scales as counter-weights.
In 1981, the first official Kettlebell Commission was formed in Russia with the sole mission of enforcing mandatory kettlebell exercise and conditioning for the population. They understood that this singular instrument could keep people fit, increase productivity, and decrease healthcare costs. Kettlebells became the conditioning tool of choice for the Russian Special Forces, the “Spetznaz”, creating soldiers who possessed incredible explosive power and endurance. Now many professional athletes and recreational gym-goers use the bells in their training programs for the same results.
By their nature, typical kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength. The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities to develop functional strength.
Benefits of kettlebell training
- The American Council on Exercise has found that the average kettlebell workout results in significant calorie burn – 300 calories in 15 minutes.
- Serious cardio without the boredom of steady state cardio.
- Builds functional strength without the monotony of isolated reps.
- Improves flexibility.
- Workouts can be varied so they’re never boring.
- Kettlebells are an easily portable device.
- Safe for anyone to try, at all levels of fitness.
- Combines cardio and strength training, by keeping heart rate elevated.
- The workouts can be short and still very effective.
- Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio, strength AND flexibility training in an already overbooked schedule.
- No need for gym memberships, use kettlebells at home, outside, wherever you can carry them.
- Very different from dumbbells and barbells. Anyone who has picked up a kettlebell has felt the difference. The off centered weight of a kettlebell requires stabiliser muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion.a
- Kettlebell training consists of whole-body movement exercises. It’s well-known that compound, whole body movements are the best for burning calories and increasing muscle mass.
- Kettlebells focus on movement not muscles, combining strength, function, cardio and mobility.
- The moves are easy to learn. Movements are simple and you can start using them right away.
- Kettlebell training is great for raising your heart rate for HIIT.
- Kettlebells strengthen your joints with ballistic non impact movement.
- Develop functional strength. Kettlebell training uses fundamental movement patterns making everyday activities easier and injury less likely.
- Builds mobility
- Prevent injury by developing mobility, stability, and strength.
- Kettlebells require you to engage the core in almost every lift.
- More coordination. The brain knows movements and not “muscles” you become more coordinated with kettlebell use.