Vacation Fitness: Anywhere, Any Time. No Gear Required.


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It’s the laziest full week of the year, you’ve got Netflix queued up, a refrigerator stocked with gourmet leftovers, and a treasure trove of sweets demanding your attention. Apart from returning some unfortunate gifts and ordering another round of toddies, nothing much is on your schedule for the next few days. And somewhere around the 10,000th cookie, your body will go, “Okay, this isn’t so much fun anymore.” 

When that overdid-it feeling hits, you don’t need to schlep to your regular gym class—actually you don’t even need to put shoes on. Fitness experts agree that it doesn’t matter where you are (living room, hotel gym, hotel room) or what equipment you have, where there’s a will and a 5x5-square-foot space, there’s a workout.


Expert #1 – Matthew Kornblatt

Certified personal trainer Matthew Kornblatt launched RightFit Chicago in late February, 2013, and is currently expanding nationwide.

His concept: Help personal trainers link up with potential clients, and vice-versa. Kornblatt’s lifelong interest in fitness, combined with his entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of what’s wrong with the current system (i.e. most would-be trainees are limited to gym referrals and word-of-mouth), inspired him to found his business almost immediately out of college.

To Burn: To get the maximum results in minimum time, Kornblatt recommends efficiency workouts that alternate interval training with cardio. Set a circuit of eight different exercises, and perform each exercise for a minute, with a 15-second active rest in between. After completing the eight-exercise circuit, do a 5-10 minute jog/run. Then go straight back into the exercise circuit. You won’t get bored, won’t let intensity drop, and can complete a full workout in just 45 minutes (warm-up/cool down not included).

No Running Against the Wind: This Chicago native doesn’t recommend battling against extreme weather if you’re not used to it. Instead, find that 5x5-square-foot indoor space and power through an exercise circuit that includes squat jumps, lunges, push-up variations, plank exercises and crunches. Instead of treadmill or running, do high-knees running in place and/or “jump rope” motions without the actual rope.

Say No to: Holiday food in general is notoriously unhealthy, but if you have to pick one thing to avoid at all costs, Kornblatt says stay away from sodas. They’re the bane of a healthy existence, and they’re not even festive.


Expert #2 – Kwame “Q” Reece

Kwame “Q” Reece is a professional boxer and fitness trainer who runs Q’s Quality Fitness out of legendary Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. With a private clientele evenly divided between men and women, Q creates workouts that are based on pro boxing training regimens. Here’s what he tells clients that can’t get to the gym:

Your Warmup:  To combat 48 hours of holiday feasting, Q simply increases the warm-up routine. Run two miles instead of one, or three instead of two. Other favorite warm-up exercises are the stairs: run up and down flights if a stair-stepper machine is not available.

Twenty-Fives: 25 jumping jacks, 25 high knees, 25 kick-backs. Repeat twice back to back, then do a series of squats and lunges, then go back to the Twenty-Fives. There! Now your heart rate’s up, and you’re ready for the real workout. If you feel light-headed or dizzy at any time, stop. You’re not Hercules.

The Best Equipment Investment: A jump rope. Much more than a kids’ toy, the humble jump rope is what professional boxers and bodybuilders use as part of their crucial cardio. Of the high-tech machines, Q only really likes one: the stair-climber. However, with the first choice priced around $5 and the second averaging $3,000, there’s really no question what the smart investment is.

The Tonic: Most fitness professionals recommend certain supplements and vitamins, and Q’s favorite is an old home remedy that he says has many scientifically proven benefits — Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, two tablespoons a day, mixed with water — it’s a simple tonic that aids digestion and lowers glucose levels.


Expert #3 – Danielle Harrison

Danielle Harrison trained many Kimpton Hotels executives before securing her current position as “Fitness Curator” for Ink48, a Kimpton property in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. Now a personal trainer, running guide and small-group trainer for corporate groups, Harrison knows everything there is to know about staying fit in a big city, even in the worst conditions.

Adjust Your Habits: The great thing about being on vacation is that you don’t need to squeeze in a workout before 9 a.m. If you want to get a run in, do it in the middle of the day when it’s the warmest.  Some people like to stick with an exact route because they know the mileage and the terrain. If that’s you, you still shouldn’t zone out and stare straight ahead. Pay attention to the ground, slow down, and watch where you are stepping.

Stop-and-Go: If you’re running in the city, stopping at lights is fine. Jog in place and keep that heart rate steady. This small break can actually benefit your running [think of it as traffic-engineered interval training].

Soundtrack it:  Music is vital to an awesome run! Some of her favorites are Can't Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Beautiful Day by U2, Lights by Ellie Goulding, and My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy.

Lena Katz

Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)

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