Vacation is hard work.

We know we deserve it and we know it’s necessary to take a break, relax and indulge a little (or a lot). Unfortunately, the easiest way to put a damper on a beach vacay is the sluggishness that hits you at 2pm. That’s when you realized you’re hot, sweaty and 3 margaritas in and all you want to do is take a siesta–air conditioning on full-blast.

It’s so easy to forget that while your brain is saying ‘mmm, piña colada!’ today, usually at this time you’re about to hop on a treadmill. We think it’s actually MORE important to stay active and healthy during vacation so that you don’t spend the week feeling off balance or worse… just asleep. Think about it, exercise gives you energy and endorphins. Take those away and add some drinks, a little dehydration and the hot sun and you’re definitely not set up for a superb holiday.

Aaron and I took a quick trip to Cancun last week. We booked it 2 weeks in advance and found an awesome deal. Apparently, so did about 2,000 college spring breakers. Let me be honest. We saw a lot of boobs. Luckily, we’re both only slightly out of our college years and not yet NOT down with the times, I guess. We were able to park ourselves on a sun bed by the beach were the college kids were prohibited and enjoyed observing the chaos.

My favorite time of day was waking up long before the hungover college partiers for a quick workout and a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous. The early wake-up call (we’re talking 8am, nothing crazy) set us up for an awesome vacation day. While there’s no way I’m going to lie to you and say we didn’t eat like a million calories and forget to count our margaritas, we were able to make the most of our 5 days with a few tricks. By the end of this post you’ll be ready for your own holiday in the sun.

Use the beach (or the trails, cliffs or parks)

Double up and forget you’re exercising by exploring your surroundings. Even just walking on a sandy beach not only works your leg muscles harder than you would on a flat surface, but you also use your core to stabilize yourself. You worked your abs pre-vacay, don’t stop now!

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Don’t underestimate the hotel gym

At first glance, our hotel gym was terrible. It was tiny and about 20 degrees hotter than it was outside (sweat more, burn more calories!). Luckily though, we went early. Tiny gyms are great for quick circuits that get you in and out quickly. There were a couple of stationary bikes so we did this circuit: 1 minute bike, 10 squats, 10 jump lunges for 15 minutes. We followed that with 10 shoulder presses followed by 10 crunches for an additional 10 minutes.

Related: Our three best 30 minute workouts!

Join in

Vacation is the best time to dip your toes into things like Water Aerobics and Zumba. Why? Because if you look like a fool no one knows you and everyone’s drunk anyway. Check with the front desk or the concierge to ask if there’s a class schedule. Some hotels also have partnerships with gyms in the area to provide discounts to guests

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Jump (and walk) the Waves

Don’t knock it until you know how many calories you’ll burn. Water walking burns 563 calories per hour. Add some wave jumping to that and you’re doing even better. Yes. You’ll look silly. Yes. People will laugh at you. Just hang on to your shorts.

Go for a Swim

There aren’t many exercises that work almost all of the muscles in your body at the same time. I’ve always been a fan of swimming (I’m an Aquarius). Get up before there are children in the pool and get your workout in.

Add just one or two of these tricks to your vacation routine. We promise we won’t ask you to do anything else during your time off! And leave a comment with your own tips for the best vacation day ever!

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