I always do what is best for my clients. As a result, the majority of the time I do not send them on vacation with exercise homework. The only time I do this is when it is truly what’s best for the client and if the client wants it. If I do develop a plan for vacation, under no circumstances do I call it “homework,” as people exercise more when it doesn’t feel like an obligation.

For clients who want to maintain some form of exercise program while on vacation, I map out a plan to remove the guesswork and provide a good feeling from the consistency. For other clients, we discuss options for them to get out in life and use the fitness they have built in their workouts. I encourage them to go into nature and do stuff. This allows them the flexibility to focus on activities where they can be physical but still be with their traveling companions.

Often, the type of vacation determines the nature of a vacation fitness plan. For example, when a client is simply visiting with family, a plan for staying consistent with his usual fitness routine becomes more relevant. By contrast, if a client is planning an active vacation involving hiking, water activities, etc., I don’t worry much about making sure she does workouts.

The duration also makes a difference. For clients who are taking a monthlong vacation, doing something related to the main workout while away becomes far more critical than it is for clients who are getting away for just a week.

Jonathan Ross
2010 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year
2006 ACE Personal Trainer of the Year
Annapolis, Maryland

I use clients’ vacation days as a time to mix up their workouts. I give them a short HIIT program so they still have lots of time to enjoy vacation. Usually diets are a little off while traveling, and clients like to know they won’t blow both their diet and their workout.

Jennifer LeBlanc
Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation
Zionsville, Indiana

Several of my clients conduct travel for business and find themselves in hotels with either no fitness centers or extremely limited equipment. During our face-to-face training sessions, I spend time teaching simple exercise concepts that can easily be converted to exercise knowledge. This knowledge lends itself to my giving business trip or vacation homework. For example, rather than offering a list of exercises, I use my earlier teachings, such as “back muscles pull and chest muscles push,” to indicate fitness homework. I might say, “Perform three back exercises and two chest exercises, along with a hamstring and quad exercise three times during your business trip.” This way, clients are not wedded to any piece of equipment but can use their knowledge of physiology and create their own exercises using whatever is available to them.

Later, I ask them to show me a list of the exercises they performed while away. This is a great way to truly engage clients in their exercise program and encourage them to think actively of creative ways to exercise when they’re away from a traditional gym.

LaRue Cook, CSCS
LEC Fitness LLC
Alexandria, Virginia, and Vero Beach, Florida

As I do with all of my programming, I tailor vacation training suggestions to each client’s goals, desires and mindset. Some clients want a short, low-equipment or no-equipment workout. Some plan on doing their usual workout, perhaps less frequently. Some need a complete break from exercise, and we plan a reduced-program instead. I like to remind clients that it’s what they do the other 51 weeks of the year that really matters—not what happens on a week’s vacation.

Tamara Grand
Owner, Fitknitchick
Port Moody, British Columbia

To read more answers from other fitness professionals, please see the original article in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2016 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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