How to Keep Up Your Cycling Fitness While on Vacation

cyclist with a car with a bike rack

Now that the world is opening up post-pandemic, more and more people are starting to catch up on delayed travel plans. 

While we all know traveling can be a workout in and of itself, it's also a time when, if you're an avid cyclist, you'll be spending a significant amount of time out of the saddle. This presents the age-old struggle of how to disconnect and enjoy your vacation without losing all the fitness earned through miles and miles of training. 

Don't worry—it's possible thanks to a few little tweaks in how you approach "time off." 

From focusing on recovery to maintaining a healthy diet, we outline a few ways cyclists can stay in cycling shape while on vacation. 

What are some of your go-to ways to stay in shape while on vacation? Let us know in the comments!

Focus on Recovery

Perhaps the best way to maintain your cycling fitness while on vacation isn't to keep up with it at all. It's not uncommon for cyclists to be overtrained and fatigued, which over time can cause burnout and injury. Allow yourself to take time to put your feet up, get a massage, spend the day by the pool or at the spa, take a yoga class or anything else that may strike your fancy while away from home. 

Taking a week away from your bike will allow fitness to manifest from pre-vacation efforts, and once you return and you're back on your bike, you'll likely feel stronger than before. 

Take the Stairs

This isn't just about taking the stairs, it's about taking the opportunity to include more movement into your days besides getting up from your lounge chair and walking to the bar to order a drink. If you're doing some local sightseeing, consider walking to your destinations instead of taking an Uber. If you're planning your excursions for the day, consider something active like a scuba charter or a family-friendly bike tour. The hotel concierge will likely have recommendations for popular outdoor activities in your area. 

Use the Hotel Gym 

This one might seem obvious, but a hotel gym can be a cyclist's best friend while traveling. Besides the dumbbells and treadmill, most hotel gyms have a stationary spin bike of some kind, and now some even have a Peloton bike. Wake up early and squeeze in a workout and sauna session before the family starts the day—just don't forget to call the front desk to reserve your spot. 

Bodyweight Exercises 

If your lodging accommodations don't offer a gym, all is not lost. Bodyweight exercises are a tried-and-true way to increase mobility and strength without any additional gear. Better yet, these can be done anywhere—from inside your hotel room to out by the pool. Here we listed eight bodyweight exercises every cyclist should do, including squats, push-ups and double leg lifts. If you have resistance bands, here are seven more do-anywhere exercises that'll help you see positive results once you get back on the bike. 

Maintain a Healthy-ish Diet

Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean your diet should take a vacation, too. Sure, it's fine to indulge on the local cuisine and mix things up from your usual protein shakes or chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli meals, but if you exercise some self-control, you'll arrive back home feeling less behind than you might have had you taken the whole week completely "off." 

Most free hotel breakfasts serve oatmeal and fresh fruit, and you can generally find some healthy green salads on most menus around the world. If you're unsure of what's available, remember you can always pack healthy snacks to take with you instead of grabbing high-caloric munchies in the airport terminal.  

Bring Your Bike

Last but not least, you always have the option to pack up your bike (and all the gear, of course) and plan some rides while on vacation. If the family approves, this is a foolproof way to maintain your cycling fitness.

Connect with a local bike shop beforehand for any group rides or recommended routes, and be sure plan your rides around any events or obligations with the family. Loading your bike rack on your car for a road trip is one thing, but it can get tricky when dealing with airlines, so take a look at some of our packing tips for flying with a bike.

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