Maintaining fitness while on vacation

One NHS study suggests 68 percent of Australian men are overweight or obese. That figure is both astonishing and horrifying. Every day represents an opportunity for the majority to improve their weight,  including the holiday period.

Staying active whilst on vacation is easy with some forward planning. For years now, this blogger has taken a pair of screw collared dumbbells with reasonably light barbells away on week-long stays. Despite repeatedly being ridiculed for doing so, it has now become a habit.

It can be difficult to motivate oneself to participate in daily exercise during a vacation with all the delicious food and cold alcoholic drinks on offer. It is even harder when the summer days are frequently so humid that the records are falling.

Dumbers © 2010 apfelfred

On the recent vacation, this blogger packed a 10 kilogram medicine ball ($50 with discount), Aldi sit up mat ($20), Sports Stopwatch ($13) & one stick of dumbbells with vinyl coated barbells aka weight plates ($45 for a pair).

Inexpensive vinyl or plastic coated weights have a cement interior. Although the durability may be poor for long term use, these are convenient to take on vacation. Should a dumbbell fall from grip, little damage can be caused to the furnishings in the accommodation. In addition, should the cardboard box disintegrate whilst carrying the weight set (inevitable in this blogger’s experience!) — damage to the floor surface is unlikely. The bottom may fall out one unlucky day sending the weight plates tumbling onto a tiled or polished wooden floor (including elevator floors) or concrete surface in the basement (car garage).

The combined size of these approximates an average sized suitcase. The trick is to unpack these the first day of the vacation and have these lying on the floor (for example in the entertainment room) as a visible reminder. For this blogger, making them visible is critical, otherwise the equipment will not ever be unpacked or only used until the last few days when guilt sets in, usually after the kegs have been depleted!

On a personal note, packing those three items were a success. Every day apart from New Years’ Eve, ten minutes of exercises were performed. Easy. In addition, at least one hour of outdoor exercise in the waterways or on the bush trails was undertaken.

Forgive the truism, but once something becomes a habit, doing it so becomes easy. To aid inspiration, don’t forget some pumping motivational music which has been proven in several studies to be beneficial. The radio might suffice.  As this is being typed, Metallica’s Everywhere I Roam is playing on Triple M. An awesome soundtrack for holiday fitness.

Medicine ball squat © 2009 Alex Europa

There are many simple combinations of exercises that are able to be performed with the above three items (medicine ball, sit up mat & single dumbbell). The options are plentiful, and include the:

  • Situp;
  • Conventional pushup;
  • Alternating medicine ball pushup;
  • Ab crunch;
  • Medicine ball Ab crunch;
  • Medicne ball Ab crunch with leg raise (in combination);
  • Medicine ball squat;
  • Medicine ball plank for core stability;
  • Standing dumbbell curl;
  • Single arm overhead dumbbell press;
  • Single arm dumbbell flye; &
  • Russian abdominal side twist (medicine ball or dumbbell).

No idea what the hell an Overhead Press is? Try the Nerd Fitness blog workout videos linked to your right. Youtube is also home to an extraordinary array of amateur videos showing how to safely perform these exercises. Alternatively, head to the local newsagent and pick up a magazine such as Men’s Fitness, Eat Fit, Robert Kennedy’s Musclemag or Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness and try something from the beginner’s training section. Electronic versions are available for a cheaper price but this old school laggard prefers the hard copy!

Further Information

Crane Situp Mat – Aldi Supermarket

Overweight Statistics by Gender – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Vinyl Weights or Cast Iron Weights? – Stay Fit Bug

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