Exercise for the Traveling Man

How to stay strong and fit, even when you're far from home.

Cultura RM\Philipp Nemenz/Getty Images.

If something is important to your health, mood, and well-being, you do it every day. You wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth while on vacation, right? Of course not. Same goes for exercise while traveling.

If you’ve been using travel as an exercise not to work out, your excuse has officially run out. There are plenty of ways you can sneak in healthy movement, even on the road.

Here are some simple tips you can use to stay fit, no matter what corner of the globe you find yourself in.

1. Find an Excuse

Most of us can find excuses not to work out. My challenge to you? Find an excuse to work out. 

It goes something like this:

"Hey — anyone want coffee? I'm going to run down to that cool little place a few blocks over."

"I'll pack the car. Give me all those heavy suitcases."

"I don't like the arrangement of this hotel room. I think I'll push the table over here. And maybe flip the mattress a few times."

"We have an hour before Activity X starts. I'm going to go get some fresh air and visit Attraction Y while I'm in town."

Think about it: Carrying heavy things, climbing stairs, walking around, hauling stuff. Sounds suspiciously like a workout, doesn't it?

Fact is, working out doesn’t have to be a big event. With small steps along the way even the busiest guy can get in shape and stay that way.

2. Use What's There

If your hotel has a decent gym, great. If it doesn’t, find out if the hotel has partnered with a local fitness facility.

They may be able to offer you a reduced day rate.

But who says a gym is required? Skip the gym and get outside.

Look for other activity-based attractions near you: a playground can be a great place to workout. Or explore local walking or cycling trails and look for things you can use for equipment — a tree branch or railing for pull-ups or rows, a bench to jump on, a hill or set of stairs to run up...

you're only limited by your imagination.

You can even try being a "fitness tourist". Is there someone you've always wanted to train with, or something you've wanted to do (e.g. hike Mount X, visit Westside Barbell, or swing some kettlebells at the Ice Chamber)? Now's the time!

3. Work Out With Body Weight

Wherever you are, your own body weight can give you a great workout—no fancy gym required.

If I’m on the road and stuck with limited time and space, here’s my own quick go-to body weight workout. You can do it just about anywhere.

Do the following exercises with minimal rest between exercises:

  • Air Squats x 20 reps
  • Push-Ups x 20 reps
  • Hip Bridges x 20 reps
  • Door/Partner Assisted Seated Row with Towel x 20 reps
  • One-Leg Deadlift x 10 reps each leg
  • Burpee x 10 reps

After you finish your first circuit, rest 90 seconds and repeat two more times for a total of three rounds.

See? Simple, but sweaty.

4. Find Time

Remember, if you want time to workout, you’re going to have to take it. Nobody is going to hand it to you.

Carve out time from your itinerary in advance for your workout. (Even if that means waking up 20 minutes earlier to squeeze in a quick body weight workout like the one above.)

Look for ways to add short bursts of activity to your schedule. Sneak in a few push-ups here and there. Go for a quick walk during the coffee break while you’re colleagues load up on pastries. Take the stairs and meet your kids at the elevator. It all adds up.

5. Just Have Fun

Grown-ups. We are so serious, aren’t we? Even when we travel.

Like most things in life, fitness is best if you don’t take it too seriously. Forget waiting for the perfect time. Forget doing everything right. You don’t need to be in ‘beast mode,’ chasing new PRs every time you workout.

Just get moving and have some fun. You might even return home in better shape than when you left.

Continue Reading