Leah Berti, IFBB Pro and 6 Pack Ambassador
, is back with another guest post. This time, Leah tackles the best hotel workout for when you're on vacation and don't have access to a gym. With a 6 Pack gym bag at your side, you can stay prepared and organized no matter where you are. Learn from Leah Berti's vacation experience, and you can stay fit no matter where your travels take you!
A planned holiday should include a healthy dose of fun, food, and the most important 'F' word ... Fitness! Most people set a vacation goal prior to embarking on holidays. Usually they want to shed a few pounds to look their best and feel less self-conscious in a bikini or speedo. But fitness is not a transitory goal; it's an everyday lifestyle choice. Even though you might be on vacation, your fitness regime isn't. When you're traveling, it's best to consider how you can build a hotel workout to keep you on track while you're away.
For most, a holiday is typically planned well in advance so it should not come as a shock to anyone that they need to take charge and build towards the departure date. Take account of the lay of the land not only for tourist attractions and nightlife, but also for places such as gyms, yoga studios, pools, or other fitness-related locales and activities at your destination. Many places have limited or no real facilities available, so that's where a little creativity and planning comes into play. The routine fitness you have been accustomed to at home needs to be replaced by a form of Fitness on the Fly, or as I have come to call it, "Adapt-To-Fit"(ATF).
Incorporate The Setting
In mid-July, I was leaving for a 10-day adventure to Belize with my super fit father. My ATF plan was to use a neat thing called the Internet to find out about the places I would be visiting and staying. I planned Roof Top Sunset Yoga, Kite Surfing, and at least one day each of diving and snorkeling as part of my island fun fitness fare that would complement my hotel workout. I discovered that on the very laidback and tiny Island of Caye Caulker, Belize, where I would be staying the bulk of my time, there are no gyms or any type of traditional fitness facilities at all! Knowing this, I selected a condo that was only a kilometer or two from the town center. This way, I incorporated a scenic walk or bicycle ride into every day knowing it would be enjoyable cardio to complement a daily run along the beautiful oceanfront.
Have Your Gear Ready
It is also important to note that preparing for any travel is challenging, but preparing for traveling long distances is always difficult. It's important to pre-stage your fitness routine to expect a bad day or two with the flying itself, as well as coming to terms with travel time zones. Find the time to get in those last minute workouts and cardio so that your flight dates will fall on your actual rest/recovery time frames. Always bring along the critical comforts that make the travel portion less tiring and consuming, which you can easily fill up in any 6 Pack gym bag or tote. Make sure to stay hydrated, as well as to bring healthy snacks, compression socks, neck rest, and earphones. To combat travel stressors, bring a book, practice the lost art of meditation, or watch a movie on your iPad (in case the one on the plane is a dud).
Be Prepared For Interruptions
After a flight bump on my own adventure to Belize, causing a return to the airport for a different flight, which lead to an unplanned over-nighter in Houston, which wrecked potential havoc on my holiday plansÃ¢‚¬¦ I finally arrived in paradise! A 'Belly in Belize' was definitely not my goal and the lack of a gym was not going to be my fallback excuse. It was time to put my ATF hotel workout into action!
My ATF plan included the use of the pool, the pool loungers, the terrain, and a volleyball to complement my fitness goals. Unfortunately, Roof Top Sunset Yoga wasn't available, but we took it in stride and added 10 minutes of stretching to the daily routine.
I had to get creative. A typical day started early with a 30-minute jog along the beach and around the few gravel roads throughout the town center before it became too hot. After a quick dip in our condo pool to cool off, I utilized the surrounding loungers and benches to do a total body blast, primarily focusing on endurance, stamina and power!
I have highlighted the Top 10 exercises done in this hotel workout. I picked about 3-5 exercises with a mix of upper-and lower body and completed them in a circuit format, with a minimum of 2-3 rounds with 20-50 reps for each. Abdominals and core work were completed daily to keep the bikini belly looking fabulous!
1) Pool Lounger
I was able to perform 3-4 sets of 25 dips. You can put two close together for increased difficulty. I also put my feet up on the lounger and performed decline push-ups for an added challenge.
Utilizing the mat off the loungers created a softer surface. I started with 4 sets of 25 push-ups at a regular shoulder-width grip, then also did wide grip to incorporate chest and narrow grip to highlight triceps.
3) Standing Squats
Standing facing the pool for the utmost in reflective tanning, I performed 4 sets of 25 speed squats, ensuring my form was perfect and did not go below 90' with my knees.
No need for any equipment: just sheer determination! 4 sets of 20 Burpees for me, followed by a quick dip in the pool!
5) Explosive Jump Squats
Touching the ground and exploding upwards, with 3-4 sets of 20. This part of the hotel workout is a great way to raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing!
Again incorporating the lounge mats, 400 abdominals broken down into sets of 25 utilizing all aspects of the core. This includes a variety of crunches, planks, leg extensions, and hip lifters.
7) Back Extensions
Good for posterior core work, these keep you limber for your daily activities. Simply lie on your front and raise both upper and lower body together. I also did just raising upper body and just raising lower body to change the focus. 3-4 sets of 20 for this one.
8) Walking Lunges
No equipment needed either for this part of your hotel workout either. Walk the perimeter of the pool, taking nice long strides, concentrating hard not to lose balance and fall into that beautiful pool. 3-4 laps should do it.
Any ledge or stair can be used to perform single or double leg step-ups, which are a great burn for the quads and booty! Do 3-4 sets of 20.
10) Donkey Kicks
Do this one on all fours, kicking each leg behind and to the side repeatedly. You will feel this burn the gluteus and hamstrings. It's also great for the core and low back. It may look funny to others but works great! Do 3-4 sets of 25.
There are definitely more things that you can do, but this is a sample of some of the things I was able to easily put together for a hotel workout that was both quick, fun and kept me looking and feeling fantastic the entire trip. My father and I received numerous compliments from the local Belizeans about how fit we looked and I enjoyed all the great seafood and fruits the island had to offer.
You should enjoy getting away from the stressors of everyday life, but you should also incorporate the things that you do at home and adapt them to your new environment. Anything you do will be better than doing nothing! The absolute worst feeling is coming back from a great holiday and feeling like you are back at square one.
So remember: do your homework, be creative, and make fit as important as fun on your holiday!
Leah Berti is a city police officer and personal trainer with a Bachelor of Kinesiology and Bachelor of Business from the University of Calgary. Leah's key to success is all about keeping your life balanced. Follow her on Twitter at @Leah_IFBBPRO and her personal website.