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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021

'When playing rugby I refused to walk anywhere - but it's one of the best ways to make the most of a holiday'

Former Munster out-half and personal trainer Jonny Holland on ways you can stay in shape on holiday.

Jonny Holland in action for Munster back in 2013.
Jonny Holland in action for Munster back in 2013.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THERE ARE TWO ways of dealing with your holidays. Trying to stay some bit in shape while enjoying yourself or completely letting go.

As much as I try, I’m not someone that can completely let go. Traditionally I would have always had to train while I was on holidays and it was an understanding I had with Chloe (my girlfriend).

We (she) would then book a holiday with a pretty good gym and somewhere that I could get my work done.

Since finishing up with rugby there’s less of a focus on training but we still like to have the option to use a gym. It can be useful to look at the options in the hotel before you book it, there will be pictures of gyms in reviews like Trip Advisor.

If they don’t show many then it’s probably not worth going to that gym. And that’s fine too.

There are many ways to keep active on holidays. When playing rugby I refused to walk anywhere outside of training. Now I see walking as one of the best ways to make the most of your holiday.

You can see a lot more of the city that you’re staying in while also burning some calories and staying fit while away. We try to get out and about more and this will be the plan when we go away at the end of the summer. There will definitely be a visit to The Cheesecake Factory at the end of some of these walks but I’d like to pretend it balances out.

Another way to get some exercise done while you’re away is utilising the space in the hotel room for some high intensity circuits.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the most efficient way to get a quick workout done whilst getting the biggest bang for your buck. This will have to be mainly bodyweight exercise like Bulgarian squats with a foot on a chair or the bed, jump squats, push ups, sit ups etc.

You can get creative by using objects for more resistance. You could also bring a resistance band which can be used a number of ways to target different muscles and can be a nice way to incorporate some upper body into these circuits.

Personally I have gone away from the sweaty hotel room HIIT circuits and prefer to get out in the nice weather and make the most of the scenery. Try to find a hike or walk that allows you to see popular areas, water-sports like paddle boarding or kayaking, or even work on your tan by walking the beach between bouts of sunbathing.

Cycling can also be a very efficient way to take in a lot of the area while staying very active without feeling like you’re putting in too much effort.

Any bit of activity will work and in my opinion the more natural the better. It will allow you to feel like you’ve taken a break from your training without completely letting yourself go.

If you’re an athlete and have taken a break from training with an important event coming up it might be in your best interest to choose the first option and just book a hotel with a decent gym. Either way there’s something for everyone.

Rest is important too so don’t waste your expensive holiday inside a gym. Plan your rest around the weeks that you’re away. If you periodise training and work from a trusted programme you can definitely afford some extra days off.

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You can follow Jonny’s journey over the next 12 weeks right here:

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Jonny Holland

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