How to keep fit on your hols

What I wish I looked like when running. Images throughout from Varley (sale now on up to 30% off). 

Firstly, I should say that some of you may consider exercising on holiday stark-raving bonkers. "Burpees? When I could be on the beach with a beer? Are you out of your mind?!" I hear you, but hopefully some of you can relate.

In the run-up to my jollies in the Napa Valley, I went a little exercise mad. I signed up to Virgin Active in January and was going five to six times a week before jetting off, pounding the human hamster wheel, formerly known as The Curve, before popping to a class, which could be anything from competitive spinning (seriously) to power yoga.

I felt pretty great, if a tad exhausted from the 5am starts, but soon started to fret about what would happen when I went on holiday. No gym, no classes, no structure? No thanks. In standard Shona style, I imagined I would soon revert to a blob of squidgy, doughy averageness, gaining several pounds and losing any definition I had painstakingly earned. Obviously this thinking is totally irrational, and hopefully none of you are as self-critical, but instead of getting myself into a panic, I worked out a few ways to put my mind at ease.
Wheel goals for days. Image and kit from Varley


Hey you guys, I've found this really cool website where video-bloggers (if only someone could think of a catchier name) share videos of them doing stuff. I think it may be the future.

Joking aside, I never really 'got' the whole YouTube thing until recently. Back in January, in full New Year New Me mode, I decided I ought to do yoga every (damn) day and, keen to keep things cheap and cheerful, discovered Yoga With Adriene's channel. Perfect for slotting into a busy day, Adriene has hundreds of brilliant videos for all levels. All you need is a mat, a laptop and enough space to avoid head-butting the wall in a failed crow attempt.

What I love about Yoga With Adriene is that you really warm to the woman herself – she is bubbly, enthusiastic and always smiling, and makes me want to be a better person. A better person who can also do a handstand.

I think choosing a YouTube yogi is much like choosing a real-life instructor. My other go-to is the lovely Cat Meffan, who also teaches at Frame. She's down-to-earth, cheerful and relatable, which is why I tend to watch either her or Adriene's videos when on holiday. Both have great power flow videos, which are ideal for getting the heart rate up (this is my favourite from Cat). Particularly in 35 degree heat.
Image and kit from Varley.


One of my favourite apps in the whole wide world, the Nike Training Club has revolutionised my approach to exercise. With a roster of fun workouts right there at your fingertips, consider it the pocket-sized personal trainer you never had (read: always wanted but could never afford).

Once you've created your account, via one of those nifty 'Log In With Facebook' buttons, you have access to all manner of brilliant guided workouts. You can filter by focus – endurance, mobility or strength – or instead you can browse by type – yoga, athletic, no-equipment etc. Obviously the no equipment workouts are ideal for holidays as you can just do those any time, anywhere.

Personally I tend to stick with the yoga sessions, but there are plenty of other options. The app is also great to use at the gym if, like me, you get a little clueless in the weights section. It's free to download and you can also create a plan over a set period of time, tailored to your fitness goals.
Image and kit from Varley.


A lot of people really hate running, and I was totally one of them until I changed the way I think about running. I used to consider it a necessary evil, a means of burning off excess calories without committing to a class, but these days I think of it as a release.

Headphones in, 'Go Faster Girl' playlist on (yeah, I am that cringe), there's something so relaxing to just run, letting out the stress and emotion of the day one step at a time. The great thing about running – or jogging, or walking – is that you can do it anywhere in the world. If it's too hot to run, just walk. There's no need to feel guilty about it, no need to beat yourself up that you've not hit 10k in 30 mins – you're supposed to enjoy it.

I guess it's about going easy on yourself – knowing your limits and accepting them, rather than pushing them. That's the kind of exercise you need when on holiday – just enough top put your mind at ease and get the endorphins going.


Looking the part always helps, so here are a few of my favourite pieces from L.A./London label Varley.

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