Travel fitness tips by Maria Topouzi

Physical exercise is something that you can take with you always and everywhere, even on holiday. It does not require much time, it does not require much energy…it does not even require equipment. What it does require is will and motivation. Trust us, Maria has a lot to offer you..

We ask personal trainer Maria Topouzi ? answers…and you gain! From the very first article, you loved Maria and her advice and this was proven by the questions you sent us. So, we gathered up the best ones and, of course, we add a few travelen-questions and the result is on your screens.

1) Maria, which exercises are the best for staying in shape, while being on holiday and having no equipment? Show us 3 or 4..

Body weight exercises (exercises based on the weight of the body) are what you need while on holiday to keep your body in good shape. With your body as the sole ally, the workout will be equally strong and beneficial as a session with weights would be. The body weight exercises flex several muscle groups in a different way than free weights or machines do, raise the pulse rate, increase the metabolism and you never get tired of them!

Let’s go.. ?️‍♀️

1) Squats

It couldn’t be missing or not be the first exercise in this kind of workout. It exercises legs, hips, dorsal and abdominal muscles, while also raising your pulses.

Caution: f the technique is wrong, it can hurt your knees and back, so I will give you key points regarding the technique, in order to avoid injuries.

? a) Firstly, we spread our feet a little further than the width of the hips and keep the toes pointed slightly outwards. b) We start squatting by moving back and down with the hips and c) we bend the knees without them going further than the tips of our feet. Imagine there is a chair behind you and you want to sit down. d) As we are squatting downwards, we keep our knees open, pressing outwards, so that they point to the same direction as our toes. We inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up to the standing position.

⌚ Time: Perform as many repetitions as you can within 30 seconds, always maintaining the right technique.
? Tip: Our torso does not bend, but we keep a straight back and tight abs with a slight incline of the shoulders to the front (but without hunching).

2) Push ups

One of men’s favorite exercises, though the same could not be said about women. But it is also prevalent in body weight exercises, working the chest, arms and the whole torso. There are two ways, on the knees (easy), on the toes (difficult). Choose the way according to your level.

But the key points for the right technique apply to both ways.

? We place our hands parallel to our chest and a bit more open than the span of our shoulders. We bend our elbows and lower the chest and the pelvis at the same time, while keeping the stomach tight. We inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up, pressing our hands against the floor.

? Tip: The chest must remain between our hands and our elbows must be pointed slightly backwards.
⌚ Time: For 30 seconds, perform as many repetitions as you can.

3) Knees high

An aerobic exercise to help us raise our pulse rate even more.

? The higher the knees are, the more intense and difficult the exercise gets. Keep your abs tightened and your torso straight with shoulders to the front.
⌚ Time: Perform for 30 seconds without stopping, keeping the pace high.

4) Sit ups

Last but not least, abs.

? Lie down with legs bent, heels close to you and feet flat on the floor. On exhalation, try to bring your torso up towards the knees and sit on your buttocks. Inhaling, lie back down slowly, lowering your vertebrae one by one and finally your head.

⌚ Time: For 30 seconds, perform as many repetitions as you can.

These 4 exercises constitute 1 round.
Perform 3 more rounds, with 2-minute breaks between them.


2) On a trip, when we are on the go throughout the whole day, what should we avoid and what should we add to our diet?

While traveling, it is good to have a dietary plan so that we do not give in to temptations that increase the number on our scales. Always starting with breakfast, try to avoid the consumption of pie, pizza, croissants or bougatsa, but add some fresh juice, yoghurt, cereal or sesame bread roll. It is certain that after this kind of breakfast, you will not be feeling heavy, but full of energy to start your day.

When it comes to your lunch, pick a restaurant and not some pizzeria or fast food establishment, so you can order a dish without french fries or foods that contain heavy sauces and unnecessary fats, and accompany it with a seasonal salad, so that you also take the vitamins you need.

EAT ME, EAT ME ?… Close your ears and, need be, your nose. Prefer a rich salad that will certainly fill you up and if this is not enough try some chicken and pie or whole wheat bread without french fries. Important: For between-meals snacks, put in your bag a piece of fruit or cereal bars and do not forget to drink lots of water, which will keep you hydrated and will keep your hunger contained.

8 Foods you should avoid before the flight


3) How much exercise time is needed per day?

I will not try to wheedle you. 20 minutes of exercise is not enough. In my opinion, you should devote at least 40 minutes of your day for exercising, at least 3 days a week. There is a great deal of stimulation within our system with this frequency and duration, so that we manage to harvest the benefits of exercising and see the difference that each one of us wants to see. But if you are on a trip and don’t have any spare time, even only 20 minutes of exercising, compared to none, are very good so that, when you return and find your daily rhythms, you don’t feel like you are exercising for the very first time.


4) If the hotel does not have a gym, which solution do you recommend for a more organized workout?

Nowadays, in most cities there are several options for exercising (Free or not). Municipal programs for group athletic activities, hiking clubs, amateur teams for specific sports are a few options. Furthermore, the social media (facebook, instagram) help you a lot in finding what you are looking for and why not try something different than the usual. For the hardcore fitness enthusiasts there are also daily passes in gyms..


5) Which are your favorite fitness gadgets or fitness apps to use on your holidays?

I use Youtube as a fitness gadget, as it offers me many ideas for exercises, especially the body weight kind. There is variety when it comes to personal trainers and if I find the workout that suits me, I press play and follow the specific trainer thinking that we are performing the exercise together. It is definitely more fun.


6) Christmas is around the corner and, as we might not manage to fit into our dresses and gowns for the Christmas table, we want you to give us 2-3 pieces of advice that we can follow daily, so that the holidays find us in good shape!

My advice, in the light of the Christmas holidays, is to not stop or reduce any type of exercising you do because the holidays are coming. On the contrary, it would be good to up the pace, frequency, as well as the intensity of your training, so that come Christmas, when you are bound to miss a few days of training, you will not feel guilty for eating a little more. The holidays can be an opportunity to rest and relax, if you have actually worked hard during the previous period. And believe me, even if you eat a few more dessert treats, it might not be that bad.

Fine print: I hope that none of my trainees is reading this……!


Thessaloniki: Through the eyes of the locals


7) Give us a few small or big secrets that you follow and keep your body in this shape..

Firstly, I try to work out at least 5 times a week and almost all year round. It is a lifestyle and then exercising really offers us all of its benefits generously. Also, you should find the kind of workout that fits you and even the right person to make you love exercising. If you work out under obligation and whining, the desirable results will never come. I do not prohibit myself from anything when it comes to food and you should do the same. If I want to eat something, I eat it. But I am mindful of the quantity. And I will not eat the same kind of food in the evening or the next day, but I will make sure to pick something of higher quality and nutritional value. Play the music that you love to listen to…I put music higher than anything. I really like Greek music and this is what I want to listen to on my training.

? Play some Oikonomopoulos and I can do 30 push-ups on one hand…


8) How often do you travel? Which will be your next trip and why did you pick it?

I really love traveling, so I always try to find some time to go to different destinations regularly. My next trip, which will be during the Christmas holidays, is going to have Corfu as its destination. I like it a lot, but the main reason I am going is to visit my two best friends, who work in gyms on the island…This way, I can make sure I will not miss my workout even on Christmas!!

? Get to know Maria better & Ask her ?

Some may say that Traveling and Exercising do not go together, but we have a very good reason to convince them otherwise…The reason is none other than Maria Topouzi. If you have any questions or would like to know something extra, you can find her on her personal page. We once again thank the well-known personal trainer for sharing all this useful information and filling our holidays with exercise and health!

  1. John says:

    Consistent movement in your body will keep your muscles working in a variety of ways and keep your mind engaged in new activities.

    1. Nikos says:

      You are right John! Keep your mind open and your body fit..

  2. Rifat says:

    Nice post!! It’s useful and helpful article for me. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Elen says:

      We are very glad you liked it!

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