Keeping up your regular fitness routine when traveling can feel daunting. If you’re used to working out in a gym, you’re miles away from it now. If you’re used to running outside, you have to figure out a new route. And if you’re used to meal-prepping your own food … fuggedaboutit!
But travel doesn’t necessarily mean throwing all of your routines and goals out the window. It takes a lot of effort to establish a fitness routine. And it is possible to maintain and even progress while traveling. You just might need to prepare a little. I enlisted the help of fitness guru and CrossFit trainer Andrea Fausett (find her on Instagram @mommyfitwithandrea) to give us some practical advice on how to keep up with your fitness goals when you’re away from home.
Pencil it In
If your workout is part of your daily itinerary, it’s way more likely to happen. Make it a question of when, not if, you’ll do it. Many resorts and hotels have gyms and classes like yoga or pilates to make it easier to keep up your regular routine. If you’re a runner, ask the concierge for a good (and safe!) running route the night before. Mentally plan on it, and physically put it in your phone with an alarm or your planner. Then set your clothes out the night before so you don’t have to rustle around potentially waking up sleeping partners.
So maybe you usually run every morning at 6 a.m. at home so you’re out the door for work at 7 a.m. When traveling, you may have to run after sightseeing in the evenings or hit the gym during the lunch break of your conference. Allowing for some flexibility in your routine can ensure that you still get it done — even if it’s not exactly the same thing you do at home. “I think it’s easy to feel like you need special equipment and perfect circumstances to exercise,” says Andrea. “The truth is, you don’t! All you need is your body. Make the decision beforehand to do some form of movement every day no matter what.”
Andrea says that a vacation is a welcome time for a change in your routine. “Go for a run on the beach, swim in the ocean, play a morning game of volleyball, spikeball, basketball, or whatever you love to do prior to heading out for the day.” While the exercise might not be as intense as you’re used to, it’s still movement, and it’s better than lounging all day. “Take this time to focus on doing activities that you love but that you usually wouldn’t do or wouldn’t make time for at home,” she added.
Recruit Some Help
If you’re not sure you will exercise otherwise, enlist the help of a friend or family member. Tell them you’ll meet them at the gym at a certain time. Sometimes keeping yourself accountable to someone else is the best way to get that workout in.
Bring Some Motivation
Andrea says she always packs one new workout outfit when preparing for a trip. “It may sound silly, but it makes me excited to workout because I get to wear my new clothes!” she says. If clothes don’t do it for you, bring something else. Or promise yourself a reward if you stick to your goals. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but bribes work.
Keep it Short
You might have more time to exercise while vacationing, but if you travel very frequently, it could be very hard to fit in your schedule. So keep it short if you need to, and make the most of the time you have. Andrea says she keeps her workouts between 30-45 minutes when traveling. “The important thing is to get it in!”
Years ago I worked with former UFC fighter Sean Sherk on a product endorsement. When asked how he kept up his routine when he was always on the road, he said that he can train just fine from his hotel room. For him, that was pushups, situps, and pull-ups with a special travel bar he brought from home and set up between door frames. Andrea brings some help along too. “I ALWAYS bring a jump rope and resistance bands with me when I travel,” she says. “Both of these items are lightweight but can add a lot to your workout.”
Use exercise as a form of sightseeing. Run to a historical site. Go hiking. Rent bikes and visit a nature reserve or park. Travel is a great time to push yourself, since everything you see around you is exciting and new. Find a few places you’d like to visit before your trip and plan your exercise routine around seeing that place.
Most importantly, move your body every day. Even if it’s a little bit. Even if it’s right before bed or during a 10-minute break.
To make it easier, Andrea suggested three great workouts you can do from wherever you are:
Workout 1 (requires a dumbbell):
Without dropping the dumbbell, complete the following:
25 walking lunges
15 Dumbbell row with a 2-second pause at the top
Rest two minutes then:
50 air squats
50 walking lunges
25 dumbbell row with a 2-second pause at the top
Rest one minute:
25 air squats
50 walking lunges
1 minute of push-ups
2 minutes of raised glute bridges (you could do 10 on each leg then switch back and forth)
3 minutes of thrusters
4 minutes of burpees
5 minutes of jumping jacks
For 20 minutes, complete as many rounds as possible of:
30 dumbbell thrusters (20-pound weights will do)
21 shoulder taps
15 jumping lunges EACH leg
9 v-up crunches
Know of any other tips for keeping to your workout schedule when traveling? Share them with us in the comments section!