Are you the type of person who enjoys training, even while on vacation? Answer this before you read any further because if you are, then I have something for you.
Although taking time away from the barbell allows you to recover and reveal your true strength (fatigue masks fitness, after all) movement outside of the gym still has huge health and calorie burning benefits.
Let’s face it: your diet isn’t going to be perfect while traveling. So performing short, intense trainings while on the road helps you to maintain what you’ve worked hard to build and it helps to burn off some of those extra holiday calories.
This way, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
Why You Should Exercise Before Big Meals
Your body (and muscles) are primarily fueled by glycogen, stored in limited quantities in the liver and the muscles.
Exercise (particularly before eating) increases glycogen breakdown of liver glycogen to maintain blood glucose concentrations in order to make sure your muscles have enough fuel for movement.
Doing moderate-to-high intensity exercise for an extended time results in lowering of liver glycogen stores. (1)
Exercise-induced glycogen deficit increases insulin sensitivity and helps the body to efficiently process and store the calories (and especially carbohydrates) you’re about to eat.
So intense workouts before gluttonous meals will help to properly process the calories.
These short, sharp metabolic conditioning training sessions are not about improving your strength or cardiovascular conditioning. They’re about maintaining fitness and being able to enjoy treats guilt free.
Plus, they’re fun. Although, I do have a twisted sense of fun.
1. Play In The Sand
Any movement on the sand is more challenging due to the unevenness of the surface. Exercising in the sand activates more muscle groups (as your balance is constantly challenged) and it’s fun.
Running, walking, yoga or building sandcastles are all great options and you’re only limited to your imagination. But if you’re not feeling creative, try this quick training.
Sprint 15 yards. Drop down and do 10 push-ups. Get up and sprint 15 yards and do 10 bodyweight squats.
Repeat this sequence, going down by one repetition each time on the push-ups and squats until you reach 1 of each. Then jump into the water to cool off because you are done.
2. Bodyweight Tabatas
Tabata training is an exhaustive, short lasting, high intensity intermittent exercise, which consists of 6-8 sets of 20 second exercise at the intensity of 170% Vo2 max with 10 second rest between the exercise bouts.
In other words:
- Work out as hard as you can for 20 seconds
- Rest 10 seconds
- Repeat until your workout has lasted 4 minutes. (Well, 3 minutes and 50 seconds.)
Doing Tabatas with bodyweight exercises such as squat variations, alternating forward/reverse lunges, planks, push-ups and jump squats/lunges are great options. You’ll be sweating, smiling, and be done in less than four minutes.
3. Spoke Training
Combining cardio and strength training gives you the best of both worlds and all you need is a towel. With spoke training you’ll be alternating between a strength exercise and cardio drill with little or no rest in-between.
Here’s an example. (Note that any bodyweight strength exercise or cardio drill will work here.)
- Bodyweight jump squat: 12 reps
Cardio (High knees or ice-skaters): 20 reps
- Towel row (see above): 30 second hold
Cardio (as above): 20 reps
- Push-ups: 8-15 reps
Cardio: 20 reps
- Single leg hip extensions: 12 reps on each leg
Cardio: 20 reps
- Reverse lunge with kick: 12 reps on each leg
Cardio: 20 reps
Rest 90 seconds and go back to repeat the circuit 1-2 times for a total of 2-3 rounds.
4. Dumbbell Unilateral Complex
If you find yourself in a hotel gym with limited equipment and dumbbells that only go up to 45 pounds, then this unilateral complex will have your body primed for your steak dinner.
Do all exercises and reps on one side before switching to the other. Doing both sides equals one round. Complete 2-3 rounds total.
[Related: 3 Dumbbell Complexes to Help You Burn More Fat at Home]
Limited equipment, time and space shouldn’t stop you from training when on vacation. Doing, short high intensity work will allow you maintain your fitness while enjoying the finer things in life guilt free.
Go ahead and enjoy your second helping of dessert. You’ve earned it.
Featured image via Puhha/Shutterstock
- Javier T Gonzalez, James A Betts Dietary Sugars, Exercise and Hepatic Carbohydrate Metabolism. Proc Nutr Soc 2019 May;78(2):246-256.