If you exercise regularly to stay in shape or maintain an optimum health level, you don’t want to throw in the towel when you’re on the road. It can be hard to pass up those extra tasty treats or the beckoning lounge chair by the pool.
The good news is that you can still enjoy the pleasures of traveling while balancing any excesses with a healthy exercise routine and a sensible diet.
Here are some top tips to stay fit on the road and still enjoy your trip. It starts in your head.
Set yourself up to win
Many of us say to ourselves that we won’t have time to exercise on our trip. And guess what? We don’t – it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, you can make this habit work in your favor by deciding instead that you will always have time to exercise. You can also say something like, “I can work out anytime, anywhere.”
By setting yourself up to win, your mind will go into problem-solving mode. You’ll find yourself looking for opportunities to work out (the local park, the playground, a gym, etc.)
Make new rules
You can create rules for yourself that ensure you’ll work out no matter what.
Travel carries with it a lot of uncertainty. After all, you’re going to a new place with different people, an unfamiliar environment. So, for example, you could tell yourself that exercise is the one thing you’ll do each day, no matter what else is happening.
Rest days are essential when you’ve got an exercise regimen, and it’s no different when you travel. You could therefore make a rule that you never miss two days in a row.
You could also make a rule for food: a day with unhealthy meals must be followed by a day of healthy meals.
Something is Better than Nothing
On some days, you may find yourself stretched for time, so remember that a little of something is better than nothing. If you only have, let’s say, 30 minutes to exercise, do a quick warmup of jumping jacks or a light jog followed by some full-body exercises such as mountain climbers, squats, or burpees. Or go for a quick run.
If pushups on the floor of your hotel room are all you have time for, go for that. And don’t be hard on yourself – you’re doing something, after all.
When you pack to go traveling, you make sure you bring the clothes and toiletries you need, right? So don’t forget to include workout gear, too.
Simple equipment that’s light, such as a pull-up band or another type of resistance band, is ideal for traveling. The added benefit of resistance bands is that you can use them with existing equipment or even with a tree, pole, or bench.
When you pack your workout clothes, make sure you pack enough so that you don’t have the excuse of “my kit is dirty, so I can’t work out.”
Schedule your workouts in your diary with alerts to remind you. You can also use any of the various workout apps to do a challenge while you’re away. Many challenges don’t require equipment (think 30-day HIIT, yoga, bodyweight, or another type of fitness challenge).
Think About your Meals
Check out the menus in advance, if you can, of the various places you’ll be staying. And if you know you’ll be spending hours traveling with no means of purchasing healthy food, pack some protein bars or other healthy snacks to keep you going. There’s nothing worse than feeling obliged to eat food that you don’t even want just because there are no other options available.
Once you arrive, here are some general eating tips to ensure you stay healthy:
- Eat protein with every meal. Protein is very filling and is a healthier source of calories than chips or bread.
- Watch what you drink. Alcohol can add lots of calories, so make your drinks as healthy as possible. A bit of alcohol from time to time is one thing, but daily binges can pack on the pounds.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Aim for most of your plate to be vegetables, and you’ll be able to eat a wide variety of foods and still get nutrients galore.
- Remember your rules. Rather than beating yourself up after eating an unhealthy meal, make sure the next meal is a healthy one.
Check what’s available locally before you leave
Before you head off, check for local gyms, parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, freshwater lakes, etc.
If you find a local gym, contact them and ask for the pricing for a week’s membership (or a month, depending on how long you’re in the area). It’s also worth asking if they have free trials.
If you find a local playground, bring your resistance bands and Google a playground workout. Sometimes a pull-up band and a slide or set of monkey bars are all you need.
You may find a local park that’s perfect for running or that has trees where you can attach a resistance band for pull-ups and rows.
If you’ve only got your hotel room to work with, not a problem. Do some bodyweight exercises (see above), and you’ll be set.
In a hurry? Here are some one-minute exercises you can do no matter where you are:
- One minute jumping jacks (warmup)
- One minute lunges or squats
- One minute burpees or pushups
- One minute plank