A Vacation's Worth of Simple, Effective Workouts

Emily Beers


Vancouver, Canada



So, you’re going on vacation and are stoked about the mental and physical break from the gym.


But you also know an entire week of drinking and a lax diet, all the while not getting your heart rate up or doing a single push-up for a week, is only going to make you feel emotionally low during the days on vacation—days that you’re supposed to be enjoying!



And that low, depressed feeling is often just magnified when you return home feeling guilty for all you ate and drank while you struggle to find the motivation to return to your normal life.


Get Past the Lows

While this certainly isn’t how everyone feels when they take a week off, it’s usually what happens to me if I do nothing physical for a whole week. And many of my clients have reported the same experience.


Thus, I have discovered over the years it’s better for my mind to do some kind of fitness on vacation—not necessarily everyday—but some days. And I’m not talking about walking or hiking. As a one hike per vacation kind of person, there’s only so much of that I can tolerate.


My solution: Devote just 20-30 minutes maximum in the morning when I first wake up to some kind of fitness.


Here are the keys to making this work for you:


  • Key 1: Make it emotionally easy and let yourself lollygag. We’re talking 70 percent effort. You still want to log some volume and get your body moving to get your mind feeling good, but don’t crush yourself. This is still a vacation.
  • Key 2: Do it the moment you wake up—like even before your morning coffee if need be. I know if I don’t do it first thing, then it’s just not going to happen and I end up feeling emotionally off all day. But when I wake up and commit to just 20-30 minutes of fitness at about a 70 percent effort before I do anything else, everything just feels a little better—body and mind.


What does this look like in practice?


Recently, I was in the Okanagan—beautiful wine country in British Columbia—so amidst live CrossFit Games streaming, BBQ-ing, going on wine tours, and tasting delicious reds, whites, and bubbies, I ensured I took the time first thing in the morning to hit the backyard and get a sweat on. It made all the difference.


If you’re looking for ideas for some balanced bodyweight training you can do anywhere (i.e. you don’t do tabata burpees every single day for a week), here are five days of backyard workouts I did that include some conditioning, some strength work, some core work, and some light accessory-type work.



After a consistent dynamic warm-up that I kept the same each day (check out the video below for my simple five minutes of warm-up), I did the following workouts for the seven days of my vacation.



Vacation Workout: Day 1

Cycle through the following for 20 minutes:


  • 200m run (I didn’t measure it, but I ran 30 seconds out and 30 second back)
  • 15 Burpees
  • 15 Hollow Rocks


Vacation Workout: Day 2

Cycle through five times (not for speed):


  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 10 V-Sits
  • 30 second Plank
  • 20 Lunges





Vacation Workout: Day 3

Actually, not really a workout but mostly a day of rest—because it's still important. Go for a walk if you’re into that. I walked from one winery to the next and did just 5 minutes of abs in the yard.


4 rounds, no rest:


  • 10 Tuck Ups
  • 10 V-Sits
  • 10 second Hollow Hold



Vacation Workout: Day 4

20 seconds on, 20 seconds off x 6 rounds:


  • Jumping Squats
  • Glute Bridge Hold
  • Jumping Lunges




Vacation Workout: Day 5

Active recovery type of day (break up as needed)


  • 100 Bird Dogs
  • 100 Shoulder Taps
  • 100 Glute Bridges
  • 100 Sit-Ups



Vacation Workout: Day 6

Every 30 seconds x 10 minutes:


  • 4-8 Burpees (pick a number you can hold for 10 minutes)


Vacation Workout: Day 7

Hike day!


Keep Your Mood Up

These are, of course, just some ideas of types of things you can do with no equipment on vacation, whether you’re in a big backyard in the sun like I was, or crammed into a small hotel room.


Because if you’re like me, your emotional state will be much improved if you continue to stick to some sort of training routine through your sips of wine on a much deserved week off from the gym.


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