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Guest Post: How to Balance Relaxation and Fitness on Vacation (+3 Workouts)

woman in bikini doing handstand on a tropical beach

Ellen’s note: I’m so excited to welcome Becca Dalrymple, certified fitness trainer, Crossfit coach, and owner of 1123 Fitness, to the blog! I love Becca’s unique, holistic approach to fitness, placing equal importance on rest and movement and I think you will, too!

Before I had my travel fitness routine dialed in, I struggled with the idea of balancing relaxation and fitness on vacation.

If I planned on working out, and did, then I was “good.” If I planned on working out, and didn’t, then I was “bad,” and I beat myself up with guilt. Then, if gave myself the option to workout only if I felt like it, I’d still beat myself up if I didn’t!

I put myself through emotional hell and a vicious cycle of self-judgment, which only served to suck the joy out of my vacations. Vacation shouldn’t be like that. It should be a time for deep relaxation and enjoyment!

So read on to find out how to balance your fitness while traveling because how to not work out while on vacation is just as important as how to workout. By the end of this article, you’ll to have the information you need to make the best decision about how fitness fits into your travels so you can reap the maximum benefits of your vacation!


Before I show you how to create your own travel fitness plan, I want to give you a glimpse into how I travel.  As a certified personal trainer I basically live in the gym, so when I travel my intention is usually something like “stay as far away from the gym as possible.” But health is a priority in my life and I know that moving my body every day makes me feel great so my travel plan balances rest, relaxation, and fitness.

Here’s what I mean by that: Last summer I spent nine days on the North Shore of Oahu hiking on the beach, kayaking, practicing yoga with an ocean-view, snorkeling for hours with fish and sea turtles, and I even swam with sharks! In addition to all that movement, I also spent plenty of time camped out on the beach with a cocktail in hand. It was an epic combination of rest and activity and I returned home feeling refreshed and re-energized.

In a world bombarding us with messages to do more, be more, and look a certain way, we’re overwhelmed and stressed out. Instead of forcing yourself to do one more workout, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply be kind to yourself, take a break, and give yourself permission to do a whole lot of nothing. Though if your body is craving a solid sweat with a hard workout, it’s okay to honor that as well!

There’s no right or wrong answer. Working out doesn’t make you “good” or “bad.” Here’s how to take judgement out of the equation and tune into your inner body wisdom:

woman in red jacket standing on a glacier in alaska
Why hole up in a hotel gym when you can get a workout and an epic travel experience in? Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska – August, 2017


There are many ways to incorporate movement into your vacation, but one sure way to set yourself up for success is to have a plan. By taking a few minutes before your trip to identify your goals, understand what your motivation is, and create your action steps, you remove the daunting task of making it up as you go!

Here are 3 simple steps for creating an individualized travel plan:


You wouldn’t leave for vacation without first packing a suitcase, right? Setting an intention for fitness before boarding the plane is no different, and is a crucial step in the planning process. Put some thought into these questions:

  • What are your current fitness goals?
  • What do you want to get out of your travel experience?
  • What is your stress level?
  • Will working out while traveling alleviate or add stress to your life?

The answers to these questions will help you get clear on your intention. For example, if your stress level is high and having a workout goal will only add to that, perhaps you should consider a relaxation routine instead! On the flip side, if your stress is relatively low and you’ve been steadily working to lose weight over the past few months, adding in some workouts is a great way to go!


Once your intention is set, plan for it. You’ve made the decision. Now (and this is KEY), be ok with it! Choose the thing and then do the thing and then move on – guilt-free!

If you decide you need a serious lounge sesh and aren’t going to work out for a few days, go for it! Don’t guilt trip and don’t second-guess yourself. On the other hand, if you’ve decided that working out on your vacation is a priority, you need to plan for that as well. More on that later.


Execute your plan! If fitness happens to be part of your travel plan, check out the following motivation tips and 3 travel-friendly workouts to get a great workout on the road!

fit woman doing handstand on a plateau in the desert


Even when you’ve made the decision to workout on your vacation, finding the motivation to remove yourself from your comfy beach chair and that riveting novel can be a challenge! But it can be done. Here are 3 tips to get your booty into gear:


Use your travels as an opportunity to try something new. These days, it’s pretty likely that you’ll have some options, even in less populated destinations. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a spin class, or yoga, or kickboxing? Feeling outdoorsy? Take a surfing lesson or learn how to sea kayak. A quick Google search is all you need to find something new and make your trip more memorable.


There is nothing I can say or do to make you to head to the hotel gym and do a workout. If I had that power to motivate others I would have super powers! It’s up to you, and only you, to actually do it. But being accountable to someone, like a friend, spouse, or a trainer, can be helpful.

When my clients go on vacation, I write them fun, appropriate workouts based on what equipment they will have access to, and have them write down their results (such as how long the workout took, or how much weight/reps they were able to do). I might give them a special challenge to keep it fresh. If possible, I have them send me the results immediately. Or have them show me when they return home. Either way, the process of writing down results is essentially a way of saying “DONE!” which evokes a sense of accomplishment.  Couple that with an accountability system and you’ve got a powerful combination when it comes to fitness motivation.


I have “tricked” myself into working out many times using this method. If it’s time to work out and you really aren’t feeling it, tell yourself you only need to exercise for five minutes. After five minutes, if you still want to stop, you can stop. But only after five minutes. More than likely you will start feeling good due to a release of endorphins within a few minutes of starting and will be motivated to continue.

woman climbing red rock cliff face


Ok, it’s time to put your body into action. This workout is actually three workouts in one, so you’re covered whether you’re at a hotel gym or on the beach. Similar to the workouts in my online coaching program this workout contains three parts: bodyweight, free-weight, and gym. Choose one section or parts of each! You are only limited by what equipment you have access to.

If you are brand new to working out, I recommend first doing a session or two with a qualified trainer before jumping into this, or any other fitness program. It’s best to make sure you are moving well so you don’t get hurt.

Pro tip: take a screen shot of each of these workouts on your phone and save them to your “favorites” album for easy access on your travels!



Part 1 – Bodyweight (perfect for the beach)

Optional Equipment: Beach towel or yoga mat


2 minute brisk walk

30 second downward facing dog

30 second upward facing dog

10 alternating scorpions

1 minute alternating side lunges (round 1) reverse lunges (round 2) forward lunges (round 3)


5 pushups

10 squats

15 second hollow hold


50 forward walking lunges

Part 2 – Free-weight (perfect for a hotel room)

Equipment needed: one medium to heavy dumbbell or kettlebell and a yoga mat


50 jumping jacks

10 marching single leg shoulder bridges

5 pushups

AS MANY ROUNDS AS POSSIBLE IN 20 MINUTES with a dumbbell or kettlebell:

10-20 bent over rows right arm

10-20 bent over rows left arm

10-20 chest presses in a hip bridge right arm

10-20 chest presses in a hip bridge left arm

10-20 jumping goblet squats

Part 3 – Gym (perfect for a hotel gym)

Equipment needed: standard issue gym stuff


2 minutes choice “cardio”

10x “the pointer”

10 bodyweight squats


10x dumbbell or barbell bench press

45 second low plank hold

10x pullups or lat pulldowns

15 dumbbell thrusters

becca dalrymple 1123 fitness

Becca Dalrymple is a certified fitness trainer, Crossfit coach, and owner of 1123 Fitness. She is based out of Studio City, CA, and works with clients locally, as well as throughout the country via her online coaching program, 1123 Online. Her favorite travel destinations are to the states of Washington and Minnesota to visit her eight nieces and nephews.

Becca can be reached via her website or by emailing her at

If you mention “Triple Peak Wellness,” you’ll receive a free month of online coaching or a free introductory personal training session!






Published by Triple Peak Wellness

Ellen Jaworski is a globetrotting health coach on a mission to make healthy living easier for busy people. With a holistic, real food approach, Ellen will help you double your energy, transform your body, and hit your peaks wherever busy takes you!

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