I hope you’ve had a great week filled with all of your favorite things. My week has been book-ended with travel. Thankfully travel today went more smoothly than my cancelled flight on Monday.
Travel can be a challenge. Flight delays, cancellations, and long security lines notwithstanding, it can also wreak havoc on your daily routine.
Especially with food and exercise.
And since I’m living my life on the road this month, I’ve been feeling the full reality of this.
This week Chris and I managed to squeeze in a workout with one of his friends from high school. And I managed to squeeze in a heavy lifting session yesterday at the chain of gyms I belong to…but let’s face it. During times of travel, exercise is usually one of the first things to go.
A friend recently asked me how to make it so exercise on the road wasn’t so humdrum. The question makes sense coming from her… she’s a flight attendant. It also makes it THAT much more challenging. Because unlike the rare week or so where most of us hit the road, her life IS travel.
So here are my suggestions:
1. Look at the Big Picture. When you view your workout routine, don’t focus on each individual day. If I’m only gone 3 or 4 days out of 31, then it doesn’t matter as much if or what I do for a workout as when I’m gone 14 days. Personally, I like to look at my workout schedule in terms of 7 or 14 day blocks.In a 14 day block I aim for 9-10 days of workouts.In a 7 day, 4-5.
2. Prioritize Your Focus. The summer is usually a travel heavy period for me. Same with the holidays. For that reason I don’t prioritize strength gains during those times because it’s too challenging to be consistent with workouts and with the equipment I need. Instead, I shift to sprints, metabolic conditioning and body weight training because I can do those anywhere. Perhaps switch up your workouts so you are frontloading some heavy lifting before you leave, when you have access to a gym, and shifting to more cardio and body weight things on the road.
3. Explore the Fitness Landscape. One of my favorite things to do is try different classes and workouts when I’m traveling. Sure it may cost additional money, but it’s a fun way to stay on top of what the industry is offering and see what’s being done in other parts of the country. Use Yelp to see nearby fitness options, search the website for a schedule and fit in a class when you can.
4. Explore the Landscape. Period. I used to run regularly but don’t anymore because running doesn’t necessarily love me back. But when I’m traveling, especially to places that are scenic or interesting…I’ll spark up a short-term love affair with running again. I get to explore the area, and get my workout in all at once. Plus, countless times I’ve discovered great shops and restaurants because you notice more when running than driving. When we were in Hawaii recently, Chris took a different scenic tour and did morning swims in the ocean. Because. He could. And…the ocean.
5. Make it work.Ahhh, hotel “gyms.” Sometimes you score. Sometimes you don’t. Because I rarely know what the situation will be until I show up, I have tools that I use when I’m staying somewhere and it doesn’t look like the gym has been used since the solo bike was wheeled in, back in 1974.
Sprints in the parking lot. A hotel parking lot is great for sprints. Marked distance. Well lit. And generally flat and straight. Do this early in the am so you don’t have cars interrupting your game.
Body weight workouts in your room. Bored at the idea of this? Pack a deck of cards, pick four exercises. Assign each card an exercise, and use the number on the card for reps (eliminating aces, twos and threes). Queen of hearts? 10 Alternating Lunges, 6 of Spades? 6 Pushups, etc. Work your way through the deck, changing up the exercises every 5-7 minutes. (You’ll know when you need to change).
Run the stairs. 10 minute rounds and then head outside for a minute of pushups, burpees, plank, etc. Repeat as many rounds as you’d like.
Pack some tools. Especially if you will be in a remote area. We head to Chris’ family’s house in the Adirondacks soon. And most of the ideas I just mentioned won’t work. So we packed a TRX, some resistance bands, and our favorite Val Slides. With just that little bit of equipment we’ll be able to create a ton of different workouts. That we can do outside, overlooking Lake Champlain. I’ll take that over a treadmill any day!
6. Don’t go for perfect, aim for good. I always try to fit in the highest quality workout I can… and work down from there. If the ideal won’t work, what else can I do? If that won’t work out…what else? I’m a firm believer that there is always an option to move your body. Even if it’s a 30-minute walk in the Philly airport and you’re essentially pacing a corridor 😉
7. Find a gym. If you belong to a fitness chain, check to see if they have a location where you will be traveling. If not, ask the front desk at your hotel if they have an established relationship with a gym nearby. Many have free or discounted usage for guests…so just ask.
The key to working out when traveling is the willingness to be flexible. How can you fit exercise into this new and challenging schedule? And go from there!
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