Exercising while Camping or at the Cottage



Exercising while Camping or at the Cottage

It’s typical at this time of year to have to deal with fitting in workouts while at the beach or away on holidays. Most people decide to take a 2 month sabbatical because they can’t seem to find the time to get to a gym but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can give your body an amazing workout with no equipment whatsoever. There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do to target all muscle groups. So, as we tell our clients, no excuses gang!

Here are some ideas to help you stay on track:


If you want to maintain your aerobic fitness and keep on burning calories to prevent weight gain, use the outdoors as your playground.  A hike, run, power walk, cycle, or swim can be done pretty much anywhere.  Get up early and take the time for yourself before your kids, friends and family start demanding your energies. You’ll feel so much better for it. And remember, it doesn’t have to be an all-out time consuming workout. Ten minutes may be all you need.  Every little bit counts and something is better than nothing.


The exercise choices are limitless. Lunges, step ups and wall squats are favorite lower body exercises while away from the gym because they are so efficient, effective and don’t require any equipment. They target all your lower body muscles and train your balance as well. For the upper body, rely on pushups and tricep dips but if you can manage to purchase an exercise tube with handles at your local fitness department store your choices are so much greater.  If you have a tube you can wrap the tube around a pole, tree, fence or back deck and perform back rows and pulldowns and tricep pressdowns. You can also sit and wrap the tube under a chair and perform overhead shoulder and tricep presses. You can stand on the tube and perform bicep curls and side shoulder raises. Your options are numerous and a tube isn’t going to take up too much space or weight in your luggage.  Your abdominal work, of course, can be done anywhere using good old crunches or other stabilization exercises.


Stretching, a component that should not be neglected while away, can be done anywhere. There’s nothing better than stretching or performing some tai chai exercises at the cottage by the lake. What a great way to finish a workout and start or finish the day.

Here’s a sample vacation workout that should take you less than an hour:


20 minutes of swimming, running, power walking, or any other workout that you’d enjoy. Take time to enjoy the scenery, listen to the sounds and smell the beautiful fragrances of the outdoors.

Muscle Conditioning:

Perform one set of each exercise.

Wall Squats:

Stand against a wall with your feet positioned away from the wall so that when you sit your shin bone is perpendicular to the floor and your knees are positioned above your ankles.  Slowly lower down until your knees are at 90 degrees. It should feel like you’re sitting in a chair. Hold for 10-60 seconds.

Week8 - LungesLunges:

There are so many variations of lunges you can do. A stationary lunge is a good place to start. Stand in a split squat position with one leg in front of the other. The front knee should remain on top of your front ankle as you slowly lower the back knee towards the ground. Perform 10-15 reps each leg.


Wrap the exercise tube around a pole and hold onto each handle. Pull the tube towards your chest as if rowing a boat. Be sure to pull your shoulder blades together. Perform 10-15 reps.


On your knees or toes, drop and give us 10-15 good, old-fashioned military pushups.

Week 4 Overhead Shoulder Press 2
Overhead Shoulder Press:

Sit on a chair and wrap the tube under the seat. Hold each handle in each hand and slowly press both arms over your head.  Perform 10-15 reps.

Bicep Curls:

Stand on the exercise tube holding the handles in each hand. Keeping your elbows at your side slowly pull your palms toward your shoulders. Perform 10-15 reps.

Back Extension:

Lying on your stomach, hands behind your head, contract your abdominals and slowly lift your chest up off the mat. Perform 10-15 reps.

Week 4 Tricep Dips 2

Tricep Dips:

Position your hands on a chair beside your hips. Lift your hips off the chair and bring them forward just in front of the chair. Slowly lower your body weight down staying close to the chair making sure you don’t let your shoulders drop any lower than your elbows. Perform 10-15 reps.

Abdominal Crunches:

Hands lightly behind your head, eyes positioned forward and into the ceiling (not straight up) and feet on the floor.  Slowly lift upwards while contracting the abdominals. Perform 10-15 reps.

Straight Leg Lifts:

Lying on your back, feet on the floor, back in contact with the floor and abdominals pulled inwards throughout the entire exercise. Slowly lift one foot up at a time while maintaining proper technique. Perform 10-15 reps.


Spend 6-10 minutes stretching, relaxing and meditating. Be sure to pat yourself on the back for taking time out for yourself. You deserve it!


Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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