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Part Two: Exercising on Vacation

I feel a little hypocritical answering the emails that ask how I stay motivated to exercise while on vacation. It’s not always easy for me to stick with my exercise routine, either.

The cardio part, no problem! I’m excited to get out there and explore the scenery. But the weight-lifting… that’s another story. I don’t like weight-lifting even when I’m at home. So when there’s a beach or new city outside, it’s even harder to make time for bulking up those arms of mine. Sometimes I skip a planned session. But you know what? Life does not fall apart!

I promise you: If you skip exercise one day in order to make room for more exciting vacation activities, the exercise’ll still be there the next day. Cut yourself some slack and, when you get a chance, pick up where you left off. Part of healthy living is enjoying life; you need to remember your mental health, too. Stressing out that you’re not exercising as often as you normally do will only serve to inhibit your ultimate goal of being healthy and living a long, quality life.

That being said, I know a lot of you struggle with the cardio part as much as I struggle with the weights. But no one says you have to do the same form of exercise as you normally do. Bike-riding, tennis, beach-walking, swimming, hiking… all count as exercise. Running might just be the best type of vacation exercise, because you don’t need to bring any special equipment aside from sneakers, and because it affords you a chance to take in your surroundings. For those of you looking for ways to fit running into your vacation schedule, I have four words:

Learn to like worms.

If you’re an early bird, you can get your exercise in and still have the rest of the day to relax and spend time with family or friends. Win-win.

Hmmm a post without a photo. We need to remedy this… Sweaty, no make-up, headphones on, and squinting. How’s that for being real?

run

But wait… what happens when you click to enlarge the photo?

???

Haha so maybe I’m not that brave.. yet. 😉

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I haven’t been on holiday for years…but if I did, I would probably keep some kind of workout up to a degree (a quick morning run or something) – but other than that, I’d make walking about all day my workout :)

  2. abby says:

    katie, i so appreciate how BRAVE it is for you to be more real on your blog, and i’m really loving these new posts even more than before, which is saying something because your blog has always been my favorite and one of the few i actually comment on. but i think you’re adorable, even without makeup!
    oh, and your cousin has a great name ;).

  3. Jenny says:

    Walk when you can, take the stairs, and do sporty activities!

  4. Leslie says:

    You are too cute! This post is hilarious, especially the part about the worms. I agree that if you get it done in the morning, you feel so much better for the whole day. That goes for any day, not just vacations.

  5. anonymous says:

    thanks for your honesty.
    i struggle with finding time and energy to exercise on vacation, but i find that walking around and seeing the sights is a good exercise and doesn’t even feel like it! :)

  6. It can be difficult to find a lap pool to swim in on vacation, but I try anyway! I also seek out the treadmill. And if that doesn’t work, I enjoy good ol’ walks. :)

  7. I like how you mentioned that beach-walking and hiking still count as exercise! :) Hope you are having a good holiday!

  8. Ilana says:

    Hahaha I freaking love you. My “exercising on vacation” philosophy is the same as my “healthy eating on vacation philosophy.” If you want to, go for it, if you don’t, don’t! One week “off the wagon” will NOT make a difference in the long run – in fact, I’ve found taking a break makes me MORE motivated to start again when I get back. I’ve even taken three week breaks from serious working out and guess what?? Nothing bad happened! (GASP!) What kind of vacation is it if you’re letting yourself stress that you’re not working out? Not a very good one in my opinion.

    Obviously I’m not a stick-to-a-permanent-routine person. I believe very strongly in the ability to be flexible and adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in, because you gotta bend or else you break!

    PS – if that’s you sweaty, post-run, no-makeup, um… girlie you don’t need to wear makeup! You’re SO gorgeous!

  9. Im terrible! No, I dont! I have enough trouble fitting my yoga into a daily schedule let alone when Im on vacaton! Which Ive never understood because I loooooove yoga!

  10. Sarahishealthy says:

    Great photo, Katie! You look energized ;).
    I’m very big on the alternative sources of exercise when on vacation. Walking through NYC as exercise? Yes please!

  11. Katie says:

    Hahaha, “learn to like worms” – I love that line!! And I couldn’t agree more. Getting up early to exercise helps me feel like I’m not going to miss anything with family/friends. Plus, it sets me up for a nice tasty breakfast to enjoy. :-)

  12. Inspired says:

    I’m packing my running shoes for my next vacation coming up. It’s definitely a great way to see the scenery without a tour guide! Save money :).

  13. Meg says:

    Girl are you kidding me?!?! You don’t need makeup :)

    Love the post – it’s so true that exercise is necessary, yes, but not obsessive or everyday – we all should LIVE instead of worrying about getting hours and hours of exercise, or skipping out on vacation adventures just to exercise.

  14. Valerie says:

    You look gorgeous and strong! This is a great post. But one more exercise form you wouldn’t know about: Running after kids! You’ll learn someday ;).

  15. Serena says:

    How would one start an exercise routine?

    I am no runner but I always want to start!

  16. i love how open you are! :) great post.
    when i’m on vacation, i love checking out the hotel gyms, if i’m there. i love love LOVE weight training, so it’s pretty legit. if i’m somewhere cool (last summer i was in vancouver and alaska… the epitome of cool summer weather) i’ll run outside. if i’m at the beach, i might run in the sand or jog in the evening/early morning. otherwise… i’m a lazy bum. 😛 i def cut myself slack when i’m on vacation though! :)

  17. Laura says:

    It is just so difficult to sstick to an exercise routine on holiday! but anyway, holidays are all for enjoying yourself, so if there’s no time for exercise or just don’t fancy it, that makes a holiday a holiday! you still look stunning even in your extra “real” picture xx

  18. Julie says:

    I admit I can’t stop exercising whilst I’m on holidays. I would love to run on the morning, but I’m quite scared of being annoyed by someone. Aren’t you scared at 6 in the morning while no one is around ?

  19. Katie! I was just on vacation and it truly is hard to keep up the exercise routine. For me it was solely because there was literally no time. We got up quite early, got ready, were out the door and out all day and into the evening. Luckily, we walked miles and miles and miles so that does contribute to exercise. We were only gone for 4 days but if we were gone longer and there was no wedding involved, we would have definitely incorporated exercise for sure.

  20. Busted! I totally tried to click to enlarge cause I thought, I wanna see what Katie looks like without makeup! You are far braver than me…I’m rarely leave my house without my face on, and I’d be way scared to a post of myself sans makeup. :-) From the tiny photo that I can see, you look great without makeup!!

    As for vacation exercise, I don’t do that either. Occasionally, if a hotel has a gym and I’ve totally binged the night before, I might do a little cardio. But I see vacations as a chance to eat too much and be lazy. :-)

  21. Serena,
    I definitely am not an expert on the subject, but I once wrote a little about how you could start out. I know there are many different ways to start, though :).

    http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2009/01/08/chocolate-covered-song-of-the-day-and-an-interminably-long-email/

    Love,
    Katie

  22. Julie,
    It’s almost always already light outside when I go out, and I live in suburbia, so I’m never running through remote locations. If I were, then yes, I would be worried!

  23. Exercise on vacation? I don’t specifically go to the hotel gym to workout but I do try to keep active during the day. I think people can get obsessed with the whole workout thing.
    Like you said Katie, walking, horseback riding, swimming, bicycle riding etc., those are all types of exercise. Years ago when I went to Italy, we walked everyday sightseeing, ate 3 full meals and snacks and I tell you, I was in the best shape I had ever been in! We did walk ALL DAY LONG though. I also had some amazing sleep! hee hee.

  24. i didnt relaize how tall u look! how tall are you?

    exercise is so hard for me to do on vacation. i usually stick to walking and just exploring if that counts, i think it does 😛 xoxo <3

  25. Purplegirl says:

    You look amazing for having just finished a run! I always get all red. Haha

  26. Julie says:

    Thanks God. I was quite worried about that when I read you were running so early. Still, even though I live in the heart of the city, no one is around at 6 am. I know that because I’m used to work at such a time. But I definitely would love to run around 6. Lucky you ! 😉

  27. Natalie says:

    i think that picture of you is super cute!!! haha love it.

    i travel a lot actually so i struggle with this, but i think a large part of it is just being flexible… i’ll take whatever i can get when i travel – if i’m staying somewhere where i do have access to a gym, then i’ll use it, and if there is a place to run, i’ll do it… but i also understand that part of traveling means open to changing up your normal daily routine, and even if that means i have to take a break from exercising for awhile – as crappy as it may feel sometimes – i also need to experience new things… and just let live. i’m going to south africa next week for a whole month and i dont think ill have access to any exercise-related things… i’m actually really worried about it, but i guess life holds a lot of surprises, and ill just have to see what i can do!

  28. I guess I don’t go out of my way to exercise on vacation, but it’s impossible not to get some sort of workout(usually) when you’re doing fun vacation type activities. :)

  29. Katie! You look so cute! I love when you post pictures! :)

  30. Chris says:

    My sister and I have an ongoing goal to run in as many states and countries as we can – and a friendly competition for who has more at any given time. It makes us motivated to run on vacation or business trips when we otherwise wouldn’t. But I don’t even need the motivation – I love running on vacation because I think it is the best way to explore somewhere new. Plus, it’s all new eye candy for your brain. I love running past things that I never have before! And the memories you collect from running in far flung places are really special.

  31. Anonymous says:

    You are so cute! But so skinny! Adorable!

  32. Depends on the vacation. If it’s a week long vacation that has snorkeling and swimming and hiking, I’ll blow off any “serious” exercising for the week. My body is not going to fall apart if I don’t run for a week.

    If it’s a more local thing with my extended family, like a trip I recently took up to the mountains for a long weekend, I’ll usually go running in the morning. Even better if I have my dog with me (which I did), as she needs her exercise and time for her morning constitutional, so might as well throw on the iPod and running shoes and try a new trail.

    For weight training without the weights, I do pilates or elements from other exercise routines that rely on my own body for resistance rather than weights. That being said, I did use a giant Captain Morgan’s bottle to do arm presses in the kitchen while I made breakfast. My family thought I was a weirdo. :)

  33. anon says:

    skinny, yes.
    adorable, no.
    you look like one of those supermodels who doesnt eat anything. much too skinny.

  34. jqlee says:

    haha, love that you post the sweaty post work out pics :) i do it too. no big deal. we dont look good all the time (but actually you do).

    i stay motivated because vacations usually mean wearing a bikini so ya, thats motivation enough for me :)

  35. Chris,
    So true! It’s so much fun to run in a new place when you’re used to run-after-run-after-run looking at the same landmarks/houses!

  36. C,
    Laughing so hard it hurts! I used shampoo bottles once, but they didn’t work very well. They weren’t even the same size.

  37. cookeatburn says:

    Love the post-run picture Katie. I like seeing the real you!

    Ps – little (not so secret) secret: I never wear makeup. On my wedding day all I wore was lip gloss and a little swipe of eyeshadow. I figure if people don’t like my real face… well, then they can deal with it ;).

  38. Jenny says:

    Wow, I’m learning so many new things, like I’m supposed to exercise on vacation! :) Luckily, whether I am in a big city or in the mountains, I do a lot of walking. At least. Wish I had your legs, girl. Ohhh, maybe that’s because I don’t exercise while on vacation, ha.

  39. Kelsey,
    Ok, you are my new best friend!! I’m actually only 5’5, but I’ve always wanted to be taller. And people always are surprised to know I’m only 5’5.

  40. cookeatburn,
    I love your attitude! I usually don’t wear makeup… but that’s just because I don’t have time to put it on!

  41. tellthetruthjeez! says:

    agree with anon. completely too skinny.

  42. carolinebee says:

    I usually eat out way more, and just eat more in general 😀 when I’m on vacay, so i try to go for walks/swim/something! It’s usually pretty easy if you go somewhere with agreeable weather, and agreeable people that might want to work out with you! I also like to get it out of the way at like 9, or 10 while other ppl are sleeping! I noticed if you bring them back coffee and/or bagels they are very excited about your workout 😀

  43. shesarunner says:

    I agree with Kelsey, you look very tall in this picture. When I first looked at it, I thought wow, I didn’t know Katie was so tall! I think shorts make people look taller than they are, especially if they have long legs like you do. I should know because I have short stumpy legs (I’m not even 5 feet tall…so yeah, I’ve always wanted to be taller too!) and I used to obsess over “tricks” to elongate my body when I was younger. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m little though…nothing’s gonna change that anyway so might as well accept it.
    As for exercising on vacation, I find it to be pretty easy…if I’m staying in a hotel there is usually a gym where I can work out but its hardly necessary. Most of my vacations are pretty active and involve a lot of walking, bike riding, etc. If I’m near a beach, I LOVE to run on the beach.

  44. shesarunner,
    Haha tricks? Do tell! (Just kidding ;).) My little sister’s about 5’1, and she always says she likes it because she can wear tall heels and still be shorter than all the guys :).

  45. Justine says:

    I am lucky enough to love my cardio. Weight lifting is something I haven’t yet gotten in the habit of doing but I really want to start. I’m just bot really sure where to start. I love exercising on vacation for some reason too. It is kind of strange but I just sort of go with it.

  46. It depends on the vacation. If I’m going back home, I bring along all of my workout DVDs and what not. If we’re staying at a hotel, I hit up the gym. If no gym..I take it outdoors. No matter what I try to stick with some sort of exercise routine. It makes the whole vacation so much better!

  47. BroccoliHut says:

    I exercise on vacation, but I usually change up the form in which I participate in it. At home, I run pretty much every day, but when I’m on vacation I’ll swim or bike instead.

  48. I try to stay at a hotel with a gym so I can get up early and do the elliptical or treadmill and a few weights. I’ll also run outside if the weather is nice enough. I can’t do anything on my upcoming 4th of July trip since I just had leg surgery, so I won’t feel guilty about spending all my time with the fam. :)

  49. Yes I do & what motivates me is the endorphins!!!

  50. I am like you, always get in my cardio, but I tend to neglect the weights.

  51. Marianne says:

    It all depends on the vacation. If it’s a sightseeing vacation, I don’t worry about it, because I know I’ll be walking all day long taking in the sights 😀 If it’s a relaxation vacation…well, I’ve only ever taken one of those on a cruise, and although there was a gym, it sucked, so I just chilled for the week. But generally my vacations are all about getting in as much sightseeing as possible, so I walk all day, and zonk out early so I can do it all again :)

  52. YAY! I love that you say if you skip a day of excercise…it will be there tomorrow! So true! Vacation is just like any other time of life, excercise if you want, or don’t excercise if you want.

    It totally depends with me. Some of my vacations are about riding horses or mountain biking or hiking, in that case I get even more working out than usual. Other vacations are about museums, visiting historical sites, or learning more about local culture and cuisine…in which case excercise flies straight out the window! I’d say on those vacations I eat twice as much as usual, and work out half as much as usual – and I’m perfectly happy with that! :-)

  53. This is great, and I totally agree. It’s silly to worry about treadmills and weights when you can be outdoors, getting fresh air and experiencing the environment around you.

    I was just curious, when you run, how do you do it? Do you run the whole entire time, or do you like to jog and take walking breaks? I’ve kinda been interested in starting running, so I was just wondering what works for you. :)

  54. All right, just kidding. I just read the post you linked to in a comment above. Thanks. :))

  55. Sarah says:

    On most vacations we hike a lot! So I don’t make it a huge priority to run, but when I can I enjoy running through the state parks around and pretty sites. Doing that makes running something to look forward too!