It’s January – the time of year when more of us are interested in working out than in any other month of the year.
Whether it’s New Year’s Resolution time or not, working out is one of the top challenges of frequent travelers – how to find time (and energy) for fitness when you’re so busy traveling. You may have a great fitness regime when you’re at home, and lose momentum when traveling. Or you may be so exhausted with all the travel and long hours that all the exercise you get is running through airport terminals.
I’ve been challenged with the plight of long hours, low energy and a plethora of excuses myself. So to help you, as well as help myself, here are a dozen ways to get exercise in while on the road:
Call ahead and ask if your hotel has a good gym (not just one rickety treadmill and stationery bicycle in a tiny room next to the front desk). Hotel gyms really are improving and some are downright spectacular. But if your hotel is lacking in this area, ask them about nearby fitness clubs that offer single passes to out of town visitors. I did this when in a hotel for several visits in Bismarck, North Dakota and had the extra benefit of meeting a few of the locals.
- Research online or ask your hotel for places that offer you classes that you like. In Houston, I found a Pilates studio and signed up for classes for the duration of my stay.
- Research local running or walking routes. A great resource for this is www.mapmyrun.com. Check with your hotel to ensure that the selected running route is in a safe area. Walking and running are great ways to explore the city and there may be local running clubs that offer ideas for different routes.
- Take advantage of your home gym membership when you’re away. Many gym chains participate in what’s called a passport program that allows you to work out at hundreds of clubs at no cost or for a nominal fee. Before leaving home, go to www.healthclubs.com to find fitness clubs within a short distance of your destination. Then request a passport from your home gym.
- If you have a long layover in an airport, go to www.airportgyms.com to see if there’s an in-house spa or fitness center in the terminal or just a short taxi ride away. This would definitely help relieve the stress of a delayed flight!
- Ask your hotel if they have exercise equipment that can be brought to your room. I’ve gotten yoga mats and several types of exercise equipment. As I write this article, I’m at the JW Marriott in Houston and was lucky to be given a room that has a treadmill in it! All I need to do is roll out of bed in the morning, walk a few steps and I’m moving! Oh, to have this room every week!
- Bring exercise equipment with you. My resistance bands travel everywhere with me. There are virtually endless ways to use them to give you a full body workout. The bands come in a variety of colors which indicate their level of resistance. They’re really great when the hotel’s workout room is non-existent, or you arrive late at night and need a few good stretches before bed. And I love that they add very little weight or bulk to a suitcase.
- Find an exercise buddy and hold each other to your commitments. My girlfriend Tamara and I were staying in the same hotel for several visits so we signed up for a personal trainer at a fitness club – at 5am! Commitments to a buddy, to a trainer or anyone else who’s counting on you will help you accomplish your exercise goals, and have fun doing so.
- Search on YouTube for exercises you can do in your hotel room. ExerciseTV has quite a few.
- Ask your hotel to recommend a personal trainer who will come to your hotel room.
- Download podcasts or exercise shows to your mobile phone. They’re a bit harder to watch just due to the size, but it’s just one more way to add variety into your workout.
Try TOWELmoves. Obviously your hotel room has towels, so put them to use in helping you get fit. I met Cheryl Westerman, the creator of TOWELmoves on a plane flying out of Orlando after she had just spoken at an event and had workout sessions with TOWELmoves. She travels all over the place so she knows the struggles of keeping fit on the road. It’s amazing, and so simple, to implement all the moves she’s created with a towel!
This list contains lots of ideas and lots of variety. Keep changing up the exercises to keep it fun. Download new upbeat tunes to your computer, mobile phone or mp3 player. I listen to podcasts when I’m working out, but only with speakers with strong motivating voices. Listening to Tony Robbins gets me really moving and I work out with much more vigor than a boring blah blah blah voice.
As you’re planning for your trip, include your exercise schedule in your plan. By incorporating time into your itinerary you’ll be much likely to actually do it when you arrive.
Change your feelings towards exercise from “I know I need to do this, but I really don’t want to” to seeing your workout as “me” time that revives you. Instead of dreading exercise, focus on how good you’ll feel after you’re done! And keep thoughts of work far, far away. Use this time as a wonderful break from the go-go-go that we’re so used to.
Have fun with these exercise ideas. Please share your favorite travel workout tips in the comments below.
I’m now going to enjoy the treadmill in my hotel room …