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Working out on the road

I have to admit that I tend not to workout while I’m on vacation. I have a physical job so when I go away I like to slow down, relax, and rest. That being said, depending on the length of that vacation I can come home with an extra 5-10 pounds on my body. I was lucky enough to go to Australia and New Zealand last year for three weeks but have still not lost the 8 pounds I gained “down under.”

In addition to vacations, many people must travel for work and are often trapped in meetings, conferences and hotel rooms with views of industrial parks. The conferences I went to as a college administrator looked pretty much as I described. Nowadays, I’m forced to workout at the conferences I attend so getting exercise is less of a problem. However, even though I might be moving neither you nor I have much control of the food we’re being given or eating on the road so getting a little exercise in is important.

But how do you do that? You don’t have to get fancy you just have to get moving.

  • The easiest way is to try to stay somewhere with a fitness room. Unfortunately, those can vary tremendously in what they offer so you may have to get creative. At the very least they should have a cardio machine of some type and maybe some weights. Some hotels without fitness facilities of their own have a deal with local gyms so be sure to ask.
  • Go outside. Once again, this can be problematic if you aren’t a runner or if the place you’re staying is in the middle of a high traffic area. There’s nothing like having to cross 4 lanes of traffic in any direction to make a person want to give up on that idea.
  • You can do your own workout in your hotel room. There are lots of things you can do without any weights and without disturbing the neighbors too much. Lunges, squats, push-ups, crunches and variations on all of them can be done without weights and with little space. If you have access to the internet you can watch exercise videos on Youtube or elsewhere on the web. Type in “travel workout” or “hotel room workout” and you’ll get videos either to follow along with or to use as inspiration. If you’re not worried about bothering the neighbors, you could even do an aerobic video. My gym offers LesMills BodyJam and BodyCombat classes. Although LesMills frowns upon people putting videos of these classes on-line, they are still out there. The same goes for Zumba, Tae Bo, P90X and even Jane Fonda if you’d like to go old school.
  • Bring a fitness DVD with you to play in your laptop. You may already own the video or you can pick one up at your library.
  • If you won’t have access to the internet or a computer on your trip, watch the videos at home and take notes of what you may be able to do on your own. A list of 10 to 20 exercises you feel comfortable doing can mean the difference between getting a workout or giving in to the remote control and room service.
  • Find a local class or gym near where you will be staying. Most gyms and yoga studios let non-members take individual classes or get a day pass for a fee. If you are already a gym member, check with your gym to see if other fitness centers will honor your membership. I work at a private gym that is part of a consortium of gyms in the northeast. They offer discounts to our members if they are traveling and vice versa. I don’t know if the same is true for chains like Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness but it can’t hurt to ask.

It’s not easy to get inspired to work out at the end of a day of sight-seeing or listening to seminars. You may not be getting a good night’s sleep so the idea of getting out of bed early to get in a workout can be daunting. But with the right preparation and attitude you may find that traveling is even better with exercise.

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