How to keep some level of fitness on 7 and 8 day vacations?

Here’s a question for you folks. This year I’ve got two vacations where taking the bike isn’t an option. On one vacation to Switzerland I intend to rent a bike for a couple days. But let’s assume I’m confined to hotel workout equipment. Maybe there’s a spin bike? Maybe there’s an elliptical? I can’t spend my normal 8-12 hours a week working out on vacation. If in the middle of the week I’d like to do something, what should I do? A 30-60 minute interval session just getting my heart rate and breathing rate up? I don’t really want to backslide and yet I know a full week off will cause some backslide.

What advice do you have on minimizing this with limited time and equipment?

The loss of fitness over 7/8 days is minimal, perhaps even from a break you might gain something; relax and enjoy your vacations.


I have one coming up - I’m scheduling a hard 3-4 week block right before I leave, and then using it as a rest / recovery week completely off the bike, then back at it when I get back.

If you schedule right, the time off could be a great time to adapt / rest / recover.

I do have other work trips where I’m going to use a hotel bike, bring my garmin and my heart rate strap, and will do workouts via RPE and heart rate, and try to focus on Endurance, Sweet Spot, Threshold.


I usually do as others have mentioned, and use it as a rest week. That doesn’t mean I do nothing.

Usually use the hotel gym for elliptical and weights. Just 30-60 minutes per day. IF they have a halfway decent spin bike, I do have a quick routine I do for the week. I space 3 bike workouts throughout the week. Warm up for 30 minutes, then do 3x1 minute all out, with 2 minutes rest, cool down and you are done. Second workout is 4x1 min, and 5x1 min for the last workout. This gives me a week where I am still getting recovery, as volume is way down, but don’t feel like I lost a step at all when I get back on the bike.


When I have week-long business trips I try to rearrange my plan such that recovery week coincides with the trip. I’m then able to do the endurance spins that TR recommends.

Hilton Hotels in the US have recently gotten Peletons in their gyms. The subscription isn’t always up to date but, when it is, you can take a class or at least do a scenic ride. BikeTheWorld on YouTube has decent cycling videos to pass the time, too.

If the hotel doesn’t have a spin bike or Peleton, check to see if you can use a local YMCA or gym. Most will offer day or week passes.

For most US trips I take my bike. International trips I do not.

1 Like



Go walk up a mountain and enjoy the scenery and fresh air. When I have a holiday I take a complete break from the bike. It will do you good.


I try to do a hard week before the vacation, and then use the vacation as a Recovery week. I mostly go on vacation in rented homes so no Gyms to access, I either don’t do anything because we anyway walk or Hike a lot or I just do some Runs if I’m feeling antsy.

As others have said, I try to make it a rest week, which is pretty easy to do if it’s a planned vacation. I relax, do some weights and stretching, some light swimming and walking - just enough to keep baseline active and relax a bit without it being the centre of my holiday. Even if I can hire a bike or take mine with me I’d only aim to do one longish ride (or whatever the local trophy ride is) and the rest would be some local noodling just to enjoy it and keep the legs turning.

What I wouldn’t do is hard running, or hill sprints, or whatever, if that is something I don’t normally do.

I don’t race though, so this is just the approach of a late forties guy who likes his cycling and exercises consistently but isn’t a slave to any particular workout schedule.

Running is out for me due to a knee injury about 25 years ago. Doc has said no impact.

I went from Pro to CAT5 in 7 days.

I wish you better luck.


I think you, like many amateur athletes are dramatically over estimating the loss of fitness in 7 days.

Some level of fitness?

You’ll keep nearly every single ‘level’ of your fitness in 7 days.

I feel the clue is in the name… vacation :grin:

If your life really depends on you maintaining absolute peak fitness. Either, 1. skip the vacations or 2. Be sensible and just have a fun holiday.

Seriously, just stay active on your vacation, or not. It won’t make any substantial difference in the long run.


Everyone who says you will lose minimum fitness is spot on. Easier said than done but try not to worry about it.

I think endurance sports (and any hobby really) that require a huge of amount of time can eventually wear down the patience of our loved ones. If you are traveling with loved ones, they might really appreciate you going all in on spending time with them.

I understand wanting to do something… I get restless if I am not active. I have found a family hike or walk or even taking the kids to the pool can ease that. My advice: find ways to be active together and be sure to make it about them, not you.


I’ve always found throwing in a couple of workouts with a similar structure to openers is the best during a vacation. Remind the mind that all the systems work, and they don’t work you hard enough that recovery is affected.


25 years ago?! Dang, what type of injury was that?

(i’m just curious if you don’t mind sharing :slight_smile: )

1 Like

That is of course true, and actually quite intuitive. If you’ve spend building something for weeks and months, it won’t just vanish within a few days.
Especially if you are “active”, for example go walking, skiing, etc.

However, I think many of the modern metrics we have introduced to measure “fitness” make it look like it does. CTL, AT FTP, and other similar fitness measures decay very quickly with more than a day off. The purpose is likely better modelling of long-term trends, but I think it is a bit anxiety inducing. We also don’t account well for “other activities” - you might be tired because you spend six hours every day walking around the sights if a city, but as it wasn’t “training”, we still get FOMO. I’m not sure there is an easy way out of this, but I think it would help many people.


I think Tonya Harding confused him for another skater.

Several types of tissue damage to my knee. So far I’ve avoided surgery. They said it’ll likely be arthritic as I age and recommended little to no impact. A recent MRI after subsequent injury in the weight room confirmed that I should be minimizing impacts to that joint.

24 years ago I dislocated my knee cap, tore the meniscus, had a partial tear on my MCL and it’s never been the same since then. I don’t take surgery lightly and while they think they can “clean it up” that’s very much TBD and several friends who are docs recommended I not have surgery until needed and instead just take care of the knee.

yikes! that’s intense, hopefully you manage to stay away from any issues…

it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of deal!