Just Because You’re Traveling Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Follow Your Regular Exercise Regimen. Why Settle?
- Cook portable foods and bring meal replacements or healthy snacks for drives, flights and day trips.
- Choose your gym or check your hotel fitness facilities in advance.
- Pack your workout gear and plenty of workout clothes.
- Change up your workouts as you change up your gym.
- Walk, bike or make physical recreation part of your travel plans
Tom Venuto’s Top 10 Travel Fitness Tips
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Fitness Travel 6. Cook portable foods and bring meal replacements or healthy snacks for drives, flights and day trips.
I love to drive, so for my trip last month I packed everything up in my car and hit the road. Naturally, I cooked for the road trip and my food came with me! I’ve learned how to make a variety of portable foods including several different types of oatmeal pancakes, tuna burgers and healthy sandwiches. Some of these “portable foods” can be even eaten with your hands while you are in a car, on a plane or sitting in a seminar room.
On my recent trip, I knew I had a long drive, so I calculated the number of hours on the road and the number of meals I would need and simply brought them all with me. For two of my on-the-road meals I had oatmeal-egg white-apple-cinnamon pancakes and one of my “meals” was simply a high protein meal replacement shake and fresh fruit. It’s not difficult at all when you plan and pack food in advance.
Fitness Travel 7. Choose your gym or check your hotel fitness facilities in advance.
Many people work out right in their hotel rooms with a body weight exercise program or even portable equipment. Since I’m a bodybuilder, I refuse to go without a fully equipped gym. Unfortunately, on-site Hotel gyms are notorious for sounding great in the advertisements and then when you arrive, you find that the “gym” is a room about the size of a walk in closet, with a few pieces of (mostly broken) archaic equipment from the 1970’s. There are a few exceptions, but having learned my lesson a couple times, I now use the Internet to locate a gym prior to my trip. Call in advance and ask if there are daily or weekly rates.
You can also ask if your hotel has an affiliation with a local health club. During my last trip, the hotel was affiliated with a Bally Total Fitness Center that was just a 10 minute drive away and use of the Bally’s was included with the price of my room. It turned out to be an excellent club, so I was a happy camper.
If you are already a member of a gym in your local area, check to see if your gym has an affiliation with other clubs around the country or if they belong to an organization such as IHRSA (international Health, Racque & Sports club Association). Some clubs are part of a network which allows you to train at other clubs when you’re traveling – all you have to do is show your membership card and you will get access to train at other clubs that are part of the network. IHRSA has more than 6,500 clubs in 67 countries in its network.
Fitness Travel 8. Pack your workout gear and plenty of workout clothes.
When you pack hastily at the last minute, things can easily be forgotten and left behind, so be sure to pack plenty of workout clothes with you and bring any other gym gear you might need (belt, lifting straps, etc). For extended trips, inquire with your hotel to see if they have laundry facilities. (The hotel where I recently stayed had an on-site laundry room, which came in handy with my 2.5 week stay).
Fitness Travel 9. Change up your workouts as you change up your gym.
Some people get accustomed to their hometown gym and they’re upset or disappointed when they don’t have access to the same equipment when they travel. They feel that it cramps their style or hinders their results. However, this can really be a blessing in disguise. Your body adapts to any workout, often in just a matter of weeks. We tend to be victims of our own habit patterns in life and that includes our workouts. You might want to take advantage of it when you have new and different equipment at your disposal.
After “scoping out” the gym’s facilities, design an entirely new workout program for a change. Do something 100% different. Sometimes a simple change of exercises is enough to stimulate new progress. The club I trained at during my last trip had a full line of “Strive” machines which are not available at my hometown gym. These machines allow you to choose three different resistance curves on each exercise. Very cool. Since I had access to this equipment, I did a totally new routine and used more machines than usual. Although most fitness experts these days generally advise you to use more free weights than machines (and I agree for the most part), using these machines was a great change up and I could feel and see the difference.
Fitness Travel 10. Walk, bike or make physical recreation part of your travel plans.
Personally, as I am already in very good shape, I usually don’t count casual walking as part of my “formal” workout (cardio) program, although it certainly might count for other people. However, it never hurts to get some extra activity and all physical activity burns calories and provides some health benefits. I’ve found that more often than not, when I am on the road, whether for business or pleasure, there are plenty of opportunities to get some physical recreation and see the sights by foot.
On a trip last year, I spent an entire afternoon hiking in the hills of a beautiful national park. On another trip, I rented a bike and rode for miles along a beach side bike path. On my recent trip, I spent an entire day walking through museums and then sightseeing. I walked for hours. I also couldn’t help but notice other people (mostly conspicuously unfit people), tooling around outside on those stand-up scooters. Funny thing too, because right next door to the motorized scooter rental was a bike rental. Which would you choose – foot, bike, or “lazy-person’s chariot?”