Staying in Shape on Vacation

airplane view
Photo Courtesy: Kate Santilena

By Kate Santilena, Swimming World College Intern.

“VACATION TIME! FINALLY! Oh wait…will I get out of shape after missing so many practices?” This is a common question that all swimmers ask themselves before they take a break from their daily training environment. As swimmers, we develop this crazy impressive work ethic. Taking some time off can be helpful to reset; however, we never want to face the practices upon returning from vacation, where we feel like all our years of training slipped out the window. Luckily, there are ways to avoid these discouraging moments and still enjoy our vacation without feeling the anxiety in the back of our minds of that first practice back.

Whether it is a family trip to Disney World, road trip across the West Coast with friends or taking a stay-cation, here are some suggestions on how swimmers can stay in shape while on vacation.

Reach Out 


Photo Courtesy: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If you have the chance before your trip, take some time to check out the local teams or pools where you will be vacationing. If it is possible, contact the coach to see if you can drop in on a few practices! Most teams will be really welcoming to visitors and will be curious to compare the differences in training you might have. It is a great way to make new connections and fast friends, since the world of swimming is such a small world where everyone knows someone you know.

If there are no local teams wherever your trip is taking you, see if there are any gyms or YMCAs with pools nearby. Most facilities allow for week passes, or you might even get lucky with a free week pass. If any of these places are available to you, you can ask your coach for a few practices to do on your own. Any coach would rather give you a few practices then see you come back and die in practice!

Work With What You Have 

Hotel Pool

Photo Courtesy: Kate Santilena

If you can not get to a team or a YMCA but your hotel or airbnb has a pool, make use of it! Make it creative, such as swimming the opposite way of a lazy river in intervals, or if the hotel pool is weirdly shaped, work that into your workout. If the pool is not big enough, create a kick set on the wall or a mixture of a dryland and swim workout. It’s important to work with what you have when it comes to vacations, because anything you do will help when you go back to your usual killer practices. There are many ways to make things interesting when we do not have our normal black line to stare at.

Grindin’ in the Gym 

UH Weights

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

If your vacation entails a stay at a hotel, many have hotel gyms. There is a wide variety of hotel gyms ranging from a little room with one treadmill to a huge gym that has more machines and gadgets than your school gym. Word of caution: make sure if you decide to hit the weights, you are experienced with the exercises you choose to do. We do not need any accidental injuries on vacation. Imagine explaining that one to your coach. Yikes! Going back to working with what you have is a key idea here. The fact that you are working out will help when it comes to going back to your usual grind.

No Gym, No Pool, No Problem 

UH dryland running

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

There will also be vacations where you will not have access to any gyms or pools. Don’t worry! There are many ways to exercise with minimal to no equipment, such as jumping rope or going for a run to keep your cardio up. You can also create a dryland practice that consists primarily of body weight exercises such as push-ups, abs exercises, body weight squats, etc. that you can do in your room or on a grassy area.

Swimming is a sport that requires a great deal of work, as we all know. Putting in the time and effort when the environment is not suited to our “normal” training will help keep us going on the road to achieving our goals with fewer bumps along the way. So, enjoy your vacation with more peace of mind that when you go back to the grind of your routine training, you will not feel is if you’re drowning…as much.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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