Hitting the road this holiday season? Preserve your workout schedule and your sanity with these tips.
In just a few short days, I’ll be hitting the road, bound for the place I call home to spend time surrounded by family and lifelong friends. I’m looking forward to it — the time off, the parties, and being surrounded by my favorite people — but I’m also preparing myself because, while the holidays are a joy-filled time of year, any kind of travel — especially the kind related to the holidays — can make it all too easy to leave my fitness routine behind. But really, this is the perfect time of year to recommit to movement in our lives. It’s a time to give thanks for what our bodies are capable of, and a time to take advantage of the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Working out on the road isn’t impossible, it just takes proper planning and flexibility — your schedule may not be the same but you can still fit in that calming, stress-relieving workout when you’re away from home. Read on for my tips for working out when you’re traveling, then be sure to share your own in the comments.
Make a plan: How many times have you dutifully packed your running shoes or lugged your yoga mat through airport security only to get sidetracked as soon as you reach your destination? By trip’s end, the shoes are untouched, the mat still perfectly rolled and you’ve expelled more energy lugging the stuff around than you have actually working out. I’m guilty of making this mistake on countless occasions, the true culprit always my poor planning. I expect to stick to the same routine when in fact that’s impossible — our schedules are completely different when we’re away from the normal pace of our everyday lives.
Making a workout date with yourself helps to keep you accountable and feeling good throughout the holiday hustle. To avoid missed workouts, take some time to look ahead, make a plan, and write it down. Note when you expect to be busy, when you’ll be attending parties, and when you think you might have some downtime to sneak away for a sweat session. You’ll likely have to be flexible, working out when you can fit it in rather than at the same time each day, but the variety could be a pleasant surprise — you may even discover you’re a morning person after all or that an afternoon run fills you with energy.
Pack smart (& light): Leave the weights at home. Even if you’re driving. If you’re road tripping, it can be tempting to tote along your kettlebell or hand weights or any other equipment you can fit in your car but, even with the available space, packing light simplifies your options and makes you more likely to stick to your plan — don’t forget your water bottle! Read on for my essentials…
Travel Yoga Mat
Did you know they make travel yoga mats? I didn’t! This is my favorite recent discovery and might just replace my traditional rolled mat all together. This mat folds into a small square and slips easily into a gym bag, tote bag, or suitcase, unfolding to a standard size once you reach your destination. Along with encouraging regular practice, a yoga mat ensures a non-slip surface for high intensity workouts and protects from otherwise uncomfortable surfaces — no one wants to plank on a hotel room carpet of bare floor.
If you choose one piece of travel-ready equipment to invest in, I recommend the simple jump rope. Cardio equipment and muscle toner in one, jumping rope tones both your upper and lower body along with burning more calories per minute than traditional cardio, and the best part? You can do it anywhere — at a rest stop to awaken road-weary legs, as a pre-workout warm up, or as a quick workout when you’re short on time.
Resistance bands are a great tool to keep with you — they’re lightweight, highly portable, and a fantastic alternative to heavy free weights for when you’re away from the gym. Like the jump rope, you can also use resistance almost anywhere. Resistance bands come in a variety of levels, from super stretchy low-resistance to more difficult, hard t0 stretch bands and can be used to tone your entire body, from arms to abs to legs and glutes.
Try tying one end of the band around a stationary object to work arms and obliques. Or tie the band into a loop and slip around your ankles to add resistance to squats and other lower body moves.
Opt for efficiency: Exercise is an incredible stress reliever, and sometimes you just gotta run it out. BUT, when your schedule is full and all you want to do is get to the next party, a HIIT workout can’t be beat. Short for High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT burns calories, strengthens muscles, and improves cardiovascular health, all in a shorter time frame than a traditional workout or run.
After a five minute warm-up, try one of our favorite HIIT workouts below:
+ What are your tips for staying fit while you travel? Please share in the comments!