How to Fit in a Workout While You Travel?
Traveling plays damage with workout plans. The time wasted waiting at the airport, the lame jet lag, and not doing your daily gym or visiting running track at hand, are just some of the most common issues. But not all is lost, and if you really want to keep doing it of things, you will definitely can.
But how difficult it can be will solely depend on what you aim for: if you simply want to keep active, your options are better and more varied than if you have to stick to a strict training plan because you’re preparing for a marathon, powerlifting meet, or dance-off.
Sightseeing can be a workout
If you just want to stay active, the best thing to do is bring the right gear. A comfortable pair of walking shoes and your swimming stuff will go a long way. Make sure to pack it small enough so it fits in your bag. When you go to a new destination, it’s easy to rack up the steps just by exploring and wandering around. If you really want to make sure you’re getting them in, add a bit more structure to things—maybe avoid taking a taxi or train for less than a mile, or make an adventure out of climbing to the highest point in the area. Give yourself the time to walk from one neighborhood to the other. Or even run there.
Establish a routine
“Having some kind of workout routine while you travel is the only way you’ll stick to it,” says Henke. “When I travel, I get up at 8 a.m. every day and work out. I’m done by 9:30 a.m. and have the rest of the day free.” While you don’t have to work out first thing in the morning, making it a routine will go a long way—even if it’s just going for a walk as soon as you get up. And, if you don’t do it first thing, life might get in the way.
Keep up with a hobby
One of the best ways to work out when you travel is just to keep doing what you regularly do. Most social fitness activities—like CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or rock climbing—actively encourage it, and gyms (or boxes) have drop-in fees and welcome out-of-town visitors.
Work with an online trainer
If you travel a lot, getting an online personal trainer could be a great idea. Henke is one and understands the limitations most of us are stuck with when we travel. He gives some of his clients’ programs that work around their travel schedule and can be done with whatever equipment is available in the hotel gym. And when they’re back home in a better kitted out a gym, they’ll be able to adapt the program so they can use such outlandish fitness contraptions as barbells.
Sometimes a hotel gym just won’t cut it, so if you are on a specific training schedule, say for a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition, you’ll need to plan ahead and do your research. Having workouts already planned out will save you the stress of walking into a hotel gym and having to wing it. If you’re super serious about exercise and your workout is a high priority on your list, find a place to train before you even book your accommodation—that way you can make sure you’ll be staying somewhere nearby.
Work on what you’re bad at
Working on what you’re good at is easy and fun. Who doesn’t like smashing mile splits or doing heavy deadlifts if you’re good at them? Working on your weaknesses, however, is a lot less thrilling. Henke suggests focusing on your shortcomings when you travel. It’s often easier to do since you’ll probably need less resistance, which means less or very basic equipment. For example, you can learn handstands and other gymnastic skills in your hotel room and most people could do with working on their mobility—which you can do even in the most ill-equipped hotel gym.
Schedule a low mileage (or deload) week
Most high-volume training plans have planned low mileage (for running) or deload (for weightlifting) weeks where you still train, but at a much lower intensity. If you have control of both your travel and workout plans (or work with a coach), you can make your life a lot easier by scheduling your trip and down weeks at the same time. You’ll still have to use one of the other options here to get your workouts done, but things will be less stressful because they’re inherently shorter and easier.
Bring what you need with you
There is an increasing amount of travel-ready fitness gear available. Stuff like the Monkii bars and packable kettlebell sandbags fit in your luggage and mean you’ll be able to plan your workouts with the equipment you’ll know you’ll have at hand. When it comes to packing and workout efficiency, Henke recommends everyone bring a jump rope. “They’re very small and probably the most effective thing you can pack. Bodyweight workouts plus a jump rope are much more interesting than just bodyweight workouts.”
Have fun (but not too much)
Often, the downside of traveling is not missed daily workouts, but the unhealthy behaviors that motivate them. To avoid this, Henke recommends abiding by his personal rule: never have two bad meals in a row. That way, if you indulge in cakes or wine at dinner, you’ll have to follow it up with something healthy for breakfast the next day, and a pastry-heavy breakfast can prefix a light Mediterranean lunch.