Habits of Fit People: Work Out When You Travel

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Exercising when I'm traveling. So why does something like this matter?

Like many things in life, it's difficult to create a fitness habit, but far too easy to break it. Missing a single workout can make you fall off the wagon for many days to follow, and when you're ready to get back into it, it becomes a struggle all over again. That's one of many reasons why it's a good idea to bring your fitness routine on the road with you: to be consistent. If you're traveling on business, a good workout can help you relax, maintain your sleep routine (which is often disrupted due to jet lag or travel), and reduce stress. If you're on vacation or holiday, working out each day may remind you to think twice before indulging in every rich food or drink that crosses your path (or at least help undo the extra calories people tend to take in while vacationing).

Personally, I do exercise when I'm away from home. Now I don't go crazy or spend hours at the gym in lieu or enjoying myself (which is usually the point of a vacation anyway). But I try to do something active on most days, whether I'm at home or out of town. I got a taste of this last weekend when I took a road trip to Atlanta for a long weekend. I was only gone for three days and I wanted to pack lightly. So I stocked my gym bag with my running shoes and a fun, portable strength training tool called the VersaStick. I was able to exercise two out of three days on my short trip (and even hiked to the top of Stone Mountain one afternoon). When I returned home, I didn't have to feel guilty for skipping exercise or struggle to get back into my routine. It was the perfect balance.

Here are a few ideas you can use yourself to exercise when you're away from home:

  • Take advantage of the hotel gym. It may be small, but it fulfills the need.
  • Pack your workout shoes. Go for a run or a walk.
  • Use resistance bands. These are lightweight, portable and easy to pack. You can get a full body workout in a hotel room! Jump ropes are also easy to pack and provide a great workout.
  • Buy a gym guest pass. It's a little pricey to do (usually around $10 per day at minimum), but worthwhile if it's the only option. Before you buy, find out if the gym you belong to is part of a national network that allows you to exercise at other locations (for free) when you travel.
  • Bring a DVD. This is a good option if you'll be staying with friends or family. But many hotels have DVD players at the front desk that you can check out and bring to your room.
  • Plan active pursuits. You can relax, explore the region and have an adventurous time with lots of vacation-worthy things like walking tours, canoeing, skiing and more.


Packing workout clothes and planning workouts might not be easy as relaxing on the beach for a week, but fit people don't always take the easy way out. They make exercise a part their lives just as much as flossing or eating breakfast each day.

Do you work out when you're on vacation or traveling? If not, come up with a portable fitness plan! Tell us what workout(s) you can turn to when away from home.

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Comments

Hey Nicole you should have called when you were in town. I always like to hike Stone Mountain. ;D

I take my laptop and my workout dvds (and sometimes my weights if I'm driving instead of flying) when I travel. I always have my workout clothes and HRM with me so I'm always good to go. I got stuck at my car dealership recently for hours and hours but I *weirdly* had my HRM with me and my walking shoes on so I trucked around a car sales parking lot for 60 minutes and burned 500 calories (I was really workin' it and I was also pushing my 2 year old in a stroller). The staff thought I was nuts but I got my workout done. SP has really opened my eyes about how you really can "just do it"--you just have to be prepared! Report
SHERI1969
I don't travel because I don't have the money, but I'm sure if I did I'd want to walk around and see the sights, and I'd also utilize pools and such. I couldn't stand a holiday of just sitting around. Report
SUZZYBFIT
I continued my power walking and strength training on my recent vacation to New Zealand and Australia for 3 weeks. Not only did I keep fit but I lost 3 pounds which brought me below my goal weight. I was extremely happy with the results.

I don't stop exercising because of vacation, it is now an every day part of my life. Report
KATHLEEN-ANNE
When I have traveled, I have usually stayed in a hotel that has a fitness center. I would always go and do the treadmill or eliptical.

This year I did the riverwalk in San Antonio and that was a lot of walking. I went in October and I would suggest doing the riverwalk for a nice walk. Report
My vacations usually center around working out.... When I go back home to Atlanta, I'm always excited to visit my old gyms. When I travel to new areas, I look forward to running and walking in new locations. And during the winter I take a ski vacation and try to sku 24/7. Working out is fun to me and I want to do as much of it as I can on a vacation! :) Report
I usually try and take my bike with me, and I do a lot of research to find the best places to ride. I don't feel right if I go too long without sweating. I also look for a good place to do some long distance swimming if I can, I don't like pools but will ues them if I have to. A year ago I broke both of my heals, so I can't run at all, or walk long distances, that limits me on what I can do. Report
I workout when I go to bowling tournaments at either the hotel gym, a Y, or if its safe and good weather, I run outside. I do the same on vacation (also packing my resistance bands). I went to a wedding in Australia last year and even took my running shoes and ran while there, great way to see another city/state/country. Report
In the past three years or so, I've made it a point to exercise when I travel. For one thing, there's nothing that beats the feeling of virtue I get when I do! :-) Last spring when a co-worker and I went to a conference, we walked all over to restaurants and both used the hotel gym. I've actually gotten to the point of wanting to exercise during the course of a day (never thought I'd get there!), so walking or going to a hotel gym provides a refreshing break.

Sue Report
I live in the Pacific NW (Portland) where we get a lot of rain and I have terrible SAD. DH and I go on a cruise in February every year to Mexico just to get some sun and relax. I always take my sport shoes, bands and my Ipod. I always do laps on the outdoor track and swim as much as possible. I also use their gym where you get beautiful views of the ocean. Nothing better than putting some good music on and steping on the treadmill. Puts me in another world. Report
PRAY4CHANGE
I enjoy working out while I travel. It gives me the opportunity to keep up with my fitness routine as well as give me a break from the stress that can come with travel! If I don't have access to a gym in the hotel room, I take a walk or add extra cardio throughout the day. Report
TRYINGHARD1948
I do work out when we are travelling We do a lot of four wheel driving and we can walk early in the morning and then the convey catches up with us. Also some of the places we visit there is a lot of rock scrambling and climbing which is totally different exercise for me but is a great workout and gives different muscles a real going over. Report
Well as an Atlanta, I am glad to hear that you were able to hike Stone Mountain. I can see it from my office and have friends that love that hike.

I like working out on vaca because it usually gets me some alone time from the family and it does keep me motivated. I like to walk and there is always a Jazzcise class somewhere that I can drop into - I usually call ahead and print out directions if I am not familiar with the area. Great blog. Report
I love to run when I travel (I always make sure that I'm in a safe place for that). Running (or walking) is a great way to see things and explore places you just wouldn't see otherwise. Plus, running gives me a nice way to get a little "me" time in every day on vacation. Report
I'm not the lounging type when I'm on vacation. I spend most of the time exploring. I was in Vegas in September for a belly dance conference...now that was a serious workout! I'm doing it again next September...only it's four days long instead of three days!
I love a good active vacation...if I'm on a beach, I'm usually beachcombing or chasing the tide. There's just no point laying out in the sun and getting burned! Report
absolutely workout when I travel - sometimes I work out MORE! I jog and it's a great way to "explore" more of the city - faster than walking. Plus hotel fitness rooms are a nice break from my home gym. Report
I just posted this question in one of my team forums...Thanks so much for all of the great ideas!! I will be at my MIL's house for the week and it is small due to her downsizing so I needed some creative ideas!! Report
Last year I took my heaviest weights on vacation . When I got home I had a note from TSA telling me they had "selected "my bag for opening.. I realized that on x ray those weights probably looked pretty suspicious..LOL
This year i am taking an aerobic DVD and an exercise band.. yea and maybe weights again.

I had not thought of a day pass to a gym.. so I am going to look into that and maybe be able to leave everything home..

Thanks for the idea Report
I always exercise when I'm on vacation...Even on my honeymoon---the natives looked at my like I was crazy while running at 6 o'clock in the morning in Mexico (and boy was it humid!). It makes me feel good and encourages me to not feel guilty if I overindulge on vacation goodies or those fancy umbrella drinks. Report
LOVEBEAM
i saw a video on Youtube of exercises you can do in the hotel room Report
LIZHAVEY
I travel from time to time either for work or to see family. When I go home next week, I plan to make a point of walking the dog every day and playing with my partner's nephew when I can.

My big problem with traveling, though is eating healthy as a vegetarian at restaurants! Report
I don't travel much but when i do i take advantage of the gym. I'll also find walking space or a mall to keep my body moving. Report
i plan on working out at my mother's home over the holidays. I've packed my workout clothes, dvds, and resistance bands. I do try to use a the hotel gym or go for a walk. Report
Even if a hotel gym is crappy, I enjoy using it simply because it's a change of scenery. Last August, my husband and I went to Montreal, and the gym was tiny, a universal machine and 2 treadmills. I had to be pretty creative with bodyweight exercises!

I would love to run on vacation, but I have terrible fears of getting lost on unfamiliar routes. Unfortunately in Montreal, the hotel gym was on the top floor, and while on the treadmill I could see this beautiful hilly trail leading away, and I'm cursing myself over being too chicken to go out! Report
My husband is very active so vacations for us provide plenty of excerise for me. I usually come home to rest. Report
We will be in Mexico for 8 days in Jan for our wedding/honeymoon & I plan on hitting the gym every morning. Even if it's only 30 min, it will keep me in the habbit. Besides the resort is all-inclusive, and you know what that means.......... Report
Versa-Stick just looks like a new gaget...you can use rubber tubing. If you look on Art of Strength...Anthony D does stuff with a towel- and shows different exercises you can do without any equipment what so ever .

http://www.artofstrength.com/Videos
/MinuteofStrength2007Videos/Towel/t
abid/465/Default.aspx


http://www.artofstrength.com/Videos
/MinuteofStrength2007Videos/Towel2/
tabid/501/Default.aspx


However, the article is good otherwise
Report
This is crucial for frequent flyers like myself. Simple things make a huge difference. I have an enjoyable set of fitness podcasts that I save for hotel workouts, and a series of fitness goals that are tailored to hotels - intervals are well suited because the duration is less. Also, I use this as a way to add variety to my program - using different machines that complement my home gym. Exercise bands are a great backup for when the hotel lacks dumbells and I have a maintenance strength program from YouTube that also fits on my iPod. This also adds variety. And, if you are bored between planes, race walk the concourses! Nearly always I can get a half hour of this on and it is a good way to find the few healthy eating places. Report
Has anyone used a VersaStick? Any comments or where it can be purchased other than thru VersaStick? any of the sporting goods stores?

It looks interesting. Report
I'm staying with my dd and family right now. I brought my laptop and walking DVDs and have managed to squeeze a 45 minute walking workout in the past two days. I also brought my fitness band and incorporated that into one of the workouts. Report
KRIS_TEA
Wow, that Versa Stick thing looks great. Maybe I'll get that for myself for my birthday. Well, I may not be able to wait that long (April). :) Report
I love working out when traveling because the hotel usually has a great little fitness center with personal TVs on the machines, which is a perk I don't have at home! Plus, it keeps me consistent and mindful of the goals I'm trying to achieve. Report
I try to plan our vacation with activity. Last summer we went canoeing. Next summer we plan to go white water rafting. Exercise needs to be fun for me to be involved. I have trouble sticking to routine type exercises. Report
Funny, i'm also going to vegas in January and I'm planning on bringing my laptop and some turbo jam and pilates videos, just because i don't want to pay the extra for the gym. I figure we'll do plenty of walking (i'm not a big gambler), but we'll also do plenty of eating, so i really need to make sure i get my daily exercise. Report
I'm going to Vegas in Jan. Just to use the hotel gym is $25 a day. All I want to do is run on the treadmill. I understand that they want us gambling instead of running but if they were really smart they would realize running junkies have a lot more stamina if we get a 30 minute run in for the day than if we miss a day. Report
When I plan my vacation, I make sure that I have access to a gym. Whether on the property or close by. I will usually workout in the morning while everyone else is still asleep. This way I don't have to worry about not having enough time later on in the day. Report