Your Summer Exercise Routine – Keeping fit when you are on holiday

Summer kayaking fun

If you’ve been doing really well focusing on your training recently, then suddenly the summer arrives and with it the school holidays – throwing out your routine.  What do you do? As your routine changes, how can we keep fit and still maintain all of your hard work? In this month’s blog we think about how we can keep active and fit during the change of routines, weather and holidays.

If we start to look at the way we stay fit a bit differently, we can find opportunities to keep active in different ways. This boils down to approaches formal exercise (personal training, time in the gym, jogging, gym classes) verses informal exercise (any movement that raises our heart rate and works muscles).  We need to consider and define realistic goals whilst have a change to our routine, from doing the school run or when we are away from home on a break.

During the summer months what could our goals be? If you have a two-week break away, is it unlikely we will be able to make gains in strength or cardio fitness.  We can certainly maintain our fitness levels by creatively including activity into our day.  If you are doing the bulk of the childcare for example, consider what activities can you do a family or small group?

Could you change your twice weekly run into a morning swim or game of tennis with your partner if you are on holiday? Can you try a new activity with your children, such as wall climbing or kayaking? Both are great if you are looking to maintain upper body strength. These activities don’t feel or look like formal exercise, but they can definitely contribute to maintaining your fitness and strength. As the saying goes – the only limitation is your imagination.

Father and sun rock climbing

It is also worth stating that there is nothing wrong with taking your holiday as rest and recovery time. We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of sleep and rest in our fitness regime while away on holiday. The thing to be mindful of is if this lasts for the whole summer, we don’t want to lose all of our fitness as it can feel tough to get started again in September.  Below, I have shared some ideas of how you could build a workout into the time you have available for a few weeks over the summer – what would you add? 

The important thing to consider is that whatever you choose to do, it is important we don’t feel guilty about a change of routine. A bit of time reflecting on what and when we are doing, instead of our formal exercise can give us a guilt free feeling for the whole summer.

Workout Ideas.

AMRAP: As many rounds as possible.

Pick a timing block and set the time and the number of rounds you want to do for your workout. Create a list of exercises (4- 8) and a number of repetitions to do and you do continuous movement until the timer goes off. Take a minute or 90 seconds break, then pick up wherever you left off at the end of the last block.

AMRAP Example workout:-

4 minutes and 4 rounds of;

  • 16 squats
  • 10 squat jumps
  • 10 half press ups or wall presses
  • 10 v-sits
  • 10 dorsal raises

EMOM: Every minute on the minute.

Set a timer to go off after 35-40 seconds and the rest of the minute is recovery. Create a list of 20 exercises to do for a 20-minute workout session (or repeat 10 different exercises – example below). Get as many repetitions of each exercise done in the 35-40 seconds and then rest in between.

EMOM Example workout:-

  • Half burpees
  • Jumping lunges
  • Weighted squats (dumbbell/barbell/kettlebell)
  • Full burpees
  • Plank jacks
  • Turkish get-ups (alternating sides)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Half press ups or wall presses
  • Bicycles
  • Crunches

(repeat to make 20 minutes)

Volume training:

Set a list of 3-8 exercises and then pick a challenging number of repetitions to complete – this is a non-time bound way of working out. You can keep a tally of the number of repetitions completed so far.

Volume training Example workout:-

  • 80 Bicep curls
  • 30 press ups
  • 80 overhead presses
  • 100 squats
  • 80 crunches


There’s a vast combination of workouts within this category including working in ascending or descending (intensity) formats generally on a single exercise or muscle group, making the move progressively harder or progressively easier. This can be done by changing certain variables such as adding weight, number of repetitions, or changing the range of movement.

Ascending repetition pyramid Example workout: –

Let’s take squats with a 20kg barbell.

  • 10 squats
  • 9 squats
  • 8 squats
  • 7 squats
  • Etc to 1 squat.

Sets and Reps:

This is the format I tend to use the most with my clients. Pick 2-4 exercises and the number of repetitions and complete 3 rounds. Then pick another 2-4 exercises and the number of repetitions and complete 3 rounds for 3- 5 blocks.

Sets and Reps Example workout:-

  • 16 squats
  • 10 bicep curls
  • 10 triceps extensions
  • 16 jumping lunges

Of course, if you would like some help over the summer months to keep on track, do get in touch to enquire about our Fitness in the Forrest group training sessions or personal 1:1 sessions.  Click here to organise your no obligation discovery call.

Sara McDonnell

1 Comment

  1. Gem Koeman on 31 August 2021 at 10:56 am

    Love these workout ideas Sara.

    I often find that the weather stops me heading out for a walk up the hill so these will be especially helpful for rainy days.

    If I’m on holiday, I tend to be a lot less sedentary which makes up for the loss of workouts!

Leave a Comment