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Traveling, whether for fun or work, presents the perfect excuse to take a break from working out. You're stuck on a plane or in airports for hours; you have to be in meetings all day; hotel gyms don't have your usual equipment; your trainer isn't there; you can't take your favorite fitness classes.
We're here to tell you that those excuses don't fly. If you want to take a day or two off, that's fine, but if you travel regularly and you use it as an excuse to avoid workouts, your fitness goals will go out the window.
There are many ways to get in exercise during travel. It may not look exactly like your workouts at home, and you might have to reduce the time or intensity, but you can and should still workout on the go. Here's why and how to do it.
If simply keeping up with your routine isn't enough to convince you that on-the-go training is important, here are some good reasons keep exercising even when traveling.
You have been working hard to achieve fitness goals, so why risk failing at them now? All that effort you have put in to losing weight, gaining muscle, or achieving an athletic milestone will be wasted if you let travel be your excuse not to work out. Respect your goals and the time you have already devoted to them by doing what it takes to get at least some exercise in during travel.
Your workout routine becomes, well, routine, when at home. This is a good thing because it means you have developed a habit for working out and you do it much of the time without even thinking. Disrupting that routine with travel can be damaging to your overall fitness. A few days, or even a week here or there won't have a big impact, but skip exercising over and over and you will lose fitness.
Even when you're traveling for fun, it can be stressful. Travel doesn't always go according to plan. You may face problems like losing your wallet or missing a flight. Just spending a long time sitting on a plane can be stressful. Getting in workouts on the go will help you feel better so you can enjoy your vacation or make work travel less of a drag.
Interested in the connection between exercise and stress relief? Check out this informative post on the ISSA blog.
Traveling can be a great opportunity to get a little variety in your workouts. Find new scenery and challenges for your runs or try new classes at a local or hotel gym. Try new activities, like cycling, mountain climbing, or hiking. It just might renew your love of working out if you've been in a rut.
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a type of workout you may already use. But whether you've tried it or not, HIIT is great for travel workouts. This style of cardio is short and impactful. You can do it anywhere, including the small space of a hotel room, and get as much benefit as a longer, less intense workout.
To do HIIT, the idea is to alternate between very high intensity cardio and lower, recovery-level cardio for short periods of time. Just 12 minutes of HIIT is beneficial, but you can take it up to 24 minutes if you have the time.
If you have access to a hotel gym, you can do a HIIT workout on a cycling bike, treadmill, or elliptical. Start with a few minutes at moderate-intensity for a warm up, and also add in a few minutes at the end for a cool down. After the warm up, do one minute of at high intensity, about 80 to 85 percent of your maximum, followed by one to two minutes of recovery pace. Repeat for as long as you have time to work out.
You can also do an effective HIIT workout right in your small hotel room, no equipment needed. Here's an example that will take about 20 minutes:
A few minutes of gentle warm up, like jogging in place or doing high knees.
Burpees for 45 seconds, as fast as you can.
Rest for 15 seconds.
Jumping squats for 45 seconds.
Rest for 15 seconds.
Jumping lunges for 45 seconds.
Rest for 15 seconds.
Tuck jumps for 45 seconds.
Rest for 15 seconds.
Repeat the series of burpees, jumping squats, jumping lunges, and tuck jumps four times.
Cool down for a few minutes jogging in place or walking around the room.
Learn more about HIIT training with this ISSA blog post that goes into detail about the benefits it provides and how to do it right.
Longer, less intense cardio has a place in your fitness routine too. If you have the ability to get one in while traveling, it will help you stick with your regular habits. But if time is tight, getting in a few HIIT workouts is better than nothing.
For slugging through a longer cardio workout, take advantage of a hotel gym. Use a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, or cycling bike to get in 30, 45, or 60 minutes of cardio. If you have a gym membership at home, you may also be able to find a location where you're traveling. If so and you have the time, take in a cycling or yoga class.
Even better than hitting the gym is getting outdoors. This is a great way to refresh your workout routine and explore a new place. Get out for a long run or find a local park and do your HIIT routine or bodyweight strength training in the fresh air. Find a run club and join their weekly outing.
Traveling is also a great opportunity to try new types of fun fitness. Skip the gym, skip your scheduled run, and take a day to just enjoy something new and active. Maybe that means swimming at the local beach, hiking in the mountains, or even trying a more structured activity like kayaking or joining a local, pickup soccer game.
If you have access to a gym, you can probably do your usual strength routine. But, if you don't have a gym, or your time is limited, you can still do a great strength workout right in your hotel room.
Bodyweight exercises are ideal for this kind of setting. You can easily hit upper and lower muscle groups and the core with just a few focused moves:
Triceps dips on the edge of the bed or a chair
Regular and side planks
Perform a circuit of these moves for as much time as you have, adding in more challenges as needed. For example, elevate your feet on a chair for more difficult push-ups or use full water bottles to increase your bodyweight for squats and lunges.
Of course, an occasional rest day is not only acceptable, it is also beneficial. So, yes, you can take some time out when on the road. If you have one particularly busy day on a work trip, for instance, plan for that to be your rest day. Actual travel days, like when you're on a plane all day, are also good opportunities for rest and recovery.
Workouts on the go don't have to be impossible. Don't use the obvious excuses as reasons to let your fitness routine slide. You can work out while traveling and it can actually be fun and effective. Use the resources you have and make the most of whatever time you have available.
Ready to take your love of fitness to the next level? Check out the Certified Personal Trainer course available online at the ISSA to launch a great new career.
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