As you may know from my previous post titled, “Getting Fit In Life and On the Road: The Journey,” it took me a long time to reestablish my commitment to self and start a solid habit of working out, again. I’ve been incorporating my exercise regimen into our daily family routine, but what happens when we shake up our schedule by taking a trip?
Historically, almost nothing happens when it comes to exercising on the road. In fact, I can count on my elbows the number of times I’ve actually worked out while traveling (my left elbow being our recent trip to Atlanta). We may tour cities extensively by foot, but I’ve never done anything that I consider “cardio” or that actually focuses on keeping my muscles strong. (Click to see the benefits of strength training from Mayo Clinic.)
We already know that establishing a new routine is difficult, and there are always so many excuses that we can use to ignore what we need to do for ourselves, especially when traveling. These “rationalizations” that I create for myself to not workout when on a trip become reasons that I don’t. After all, as I said in my last post, “Working out is hard. Excuses are easy.”
So, if we want to start incorporating exercise into our travels, we’ve got to identify and eliminate our excuses.
Excuse #1: “I’m on vacation!”
Often, when on vacation, we want to just relax and fully take a break from every aspect of our daily lives. (I’m thinking, lounging by the pool with a frozen cocktail in hand and not a care in the world.) However, when we’ve worked so hard to create and stick to a workout regimen, it’s not really worth it to abandon our efforts entirely. Remember, you’ve made a commitment to yourself, and you should never completely stop prioritizing your overall health and well-being, and that includes exercising. (Plus, you’ll enjoy that cocktail even more as you bask in the sun with post-workout endorphins still flowing.)
Excuse #2: “My lodging doesn’t have a gym.”
If you’re staying in a vacation rental, you may not have access to a gym. “Oh, well, I guess I can’t get my workout in. It’s ok. I’m on vacation, anyway.” (See also Excuse #1, above.) Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can incorporate some exercise, or even just strength training, into your day.
Use Your Apps
- There are numerous apps out there with you and your workout in mind. In fact, both Men’s Health and Women’s Health recently published articles on this topic: “The 22 Best Apps to Help You Get Fit,” and, “32 Best Workout Apps, According To Top Trainers.” Some of them are free, others you have to pay for, but whatever your favorite workout, there’s probably an app for that. Just read through the articles and find the one (or ones) right for you. Parent Note: Sworkit even offers “Kids Workouts.”
- With streaming video available at our fingertips through apps such as Amazon Prime, you can take many of your favorite workout programs anywhere. If your hotel or vacation rental has Wi-Fi, that’s all you need! I’ve even used my smartphone to stream my favorite Jillian Michael’s workout while in the hotel gym. I just grabbed the 5 lb. weights, popped in my earbuds, and rocked it.
Research Local Gyms
- Many gyms will offer day and/or short-term passes for travelers like yourself. Simply do a quick online search for gyms or fitness centers in the city or cities you’re visiting. Maybe even scope out the area around your lodging through a map app, such as Google Maps, and explore the gyms featured nearby. If you’re staying in a vacation rental, your host may also have information on fitness centers in the area that offer day passes.
- If you enjoy group workouts, search the web for classes near where you’ll be staying. Lots of fitness centers offer classes, but you’ll also find some variety from independent companies and studios in the area. From pilates and Zumba (where you can find classes via their website) to boot camp, cycling and workouts in high heels, you’ll find options everywhere.
Pack Your Own Gear
- Obviously, you don’t want to lug hand weights around in your suitcase, but there are pieces of equipment that don’t weigh much and will pack easily. Resistance bands, such as the ones from Black Mountain Products (available on Amazon), are the first things that come to mind. Then, there are the TRX Suspension Training Straps that employ your own body weight and gravity, also available on Amazon. You can even find apps and workout videos to help you use both of these options. For some cardio, you could also try a weighted jump rope, but just be sure you have enough space, or you could wreak havoc on the room.
Excuse #3: “There’s no time.” —
Just like when you’re at home, you really just have to commit to yourself and make time. You may want to plan when, where and how you’re going to workout each day of your journey. Build that time into your daily schedule as you organize your trip, and remember that you never regret a workout when it’s over.
Excuse #4: “I can’t leave my family…” —
We’re parents, and we spend most of our time giving ourselves and our energy to our family. This endeavor towards a healthier you is about taking a smidgen of well-deserved time to and for yourself. If you’re traveling with your spouse, coordinate a time to sneak away for a workout and/or some self care. I like to get up early and hit the gym before anyone else is awake, but if you prefer evening workouts, maybe your spouse can get the kids ready for bed while you exercise. If you’re taking this family trip as a solo parent, some hotels and resorts offer kids clubs or babysitting services. You may pay a bit extra, but you and your health are worth it.
Excuses #5: “I need sleep.” —
This one is tricky because, like exercise, getting a good amount of sleep is important for overall wellness and self care. When you’re traveling across multiple time zones, your sleep is inevitably going to be disturbed. (We can discuss jet lag in a future post.) So, if you find yourself prioritizing sleep over exercise during the first few days of your vacation, it’s probably because you need it. Just make sure you’re not using this excuse after you acclimate to the new time zone, and commit to yourself again as soon as you can.
Taking My Own Advice
In the next couple of months, we expect to travel as a family at least once. With my history of pretty much never working out while traveling, I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to take my own advice. Thankfully, I’ve already taken the first step by eliminating my own excuses.
I’ve got the Jillian Michaels workout videos that I love available via my Amazon Prime app, and my husband is prepared to stay back with the kids while I go for some morning “me time.” Also, since we aren’t planning to travel too far, and we’re headed west, the time change shouldn’t be much of a factor. My #1 excuse is going to be the toughest to overcome, though, but I remain hopeful. I’ve just got to remember that I’ve made a commitment to myself and I’ll feel amazing when each workout is finished.