The Do-Anywhere Workout That's Perfect for Vacation

Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Let's be real here for a second. When you go on vacation, do you use it as an excuse to--not just--eat like crapola, but also slack on your workouts? Yeah... it's easy to do that. I mean, who wants to worry about where to find a gym when you're on vacation?

Which is why this specific type of workout is *perfect* for vacation. It can be done with ZERO equipment, and it's only 8 minutes!

{Photo credit, Jared Rice,}

I regularly recommend these types of workouts because of how fast they are and how effective they are. They're very short, but studies have shown that they are just as effective as longer workouts. And when you're a busy mom, and especially on vacation where you're supposed to be spending time with family (or alone, whatever) you want to take advantage of all that time and get in your movement in as little time as possible.

And as a sidenote, these workouts can really be done on the regular instead of hour-long bouts. Getting in shape does not have to take hours out of your week.

HIIT workouts

HIIT workouts are really the basis of my fitness, period. These workouts have peer-reviewed studies backing how crazy effective they are--like, so effective that they trump a 45 minute moderate intensity workout!

But here's the thing about vacation... When we get out of our habit of working out, we FALL OUT OF THE HABIT! It's SO incredibly hard to get back into it.

That's why it's vital that you do *something* in the line of movement when you're on vacation. So my solution is to have a workout that's not thought of as a backup plan. But one that's THE plan!

How to do HIIT

The whole concept of HIIT (high intensity interval training) is that you do one exercise all out for anywhere from 20-60 seconds, then rest for 10-30 seconds, then move on to exercise 2, etc. I find it really helpful to use an app on my phone that's set to go in 20-10 increments for a total of 8 minutes. The app I use is called HIIT Timer. It can be adjusted for the time rotations and the visual look of your timer. Plus you can play music in the background while it's going.

{Photo credit: Big Dodzy,}

The Do-Anywhere HIIT Workout

So here are your exercises:

  • Squat-Jumps: Get in a sumo-like stance, slowly squat, then jump straight up in the air with arms reaching to the ceiling. Try to land with feet in the same sumo-stance, then squat back down for each count.
  • Spiderman planks: Get into the best plank position for yourself, then lift your right foot from the ground and reach your knee toward your head to the right side. Return your leg and foot to starting position, then do the same on the left side.
  • High-Knees: Standing straight, run in place while lifting each knee as high as it will go.
  • Mountain Climbers: Get in a push-up position and pull your right knee up under you toward your chest, return it to starting position, then repeat on the left side.


There really are a million and one variations of workouts like this. If these exercises sound too complicated, it's totally ok to switch out for things like the good ole' jumping jack.

Many people also find that once they get going on HIIT workouts that they can combine strength work they want to do in specific body areas with the workout. So, for example, if you want to build your butt and legs, go more heavy on squat-based exercises. If you want to build your core and upper strength, find more plank-based exercises.

And the last option is if you want to use the HIIT methodology in conjunction with walking. Many like this varation because it can be easier on joints. In this case, you would simply walk at as fast a pace as you can for 20-60 seconds, walk a normal pace for 10-30, and repeat as many times as you have time for.

Depending on what your health and fitness goals are, it's very easy to adjust these types of workouts to your benefit. But when you're on vacation, quick and easy trumps all!

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My mission is to always find the magic middle where healthy + efficient merge. As a nutrition specialist and certified health coach with a master of science in nutrition, I firmly believe in nourishing the body, mind, and spirit with proper food, rest, movement, and stress management. My mission is to teach people how those CORE 4 things work together, how to do them on the daily, then put them on autopilot.

Montgomery, TX

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