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Maintaining Fitness While on the Road

December 22, 2009

Traveling to visit friends and family for the holidays leads many to say “Oh, two weeks off my fitness routine isn’t such a big deal.”  However, combine the cut-back in exercise with the excess calories you will be consuming (and yes, don’t kid yourself, you will be consuming foods you normally shun) and you’ve got a recipe for super tight pants at the start of the New Year.  It’s no wonder so many have resolutions to lose weight or start up a new routine.  But why wait until after the holidays to be healthy?  Even if you’re traveling to a place with no trails or gym to visit, you can still stay fit by planning ahead and just being a bit smart.

First of all, if you are a member of a gym that is a national chain, check and see if there will be one near where you are visiting and what their visitor rules are.  That is the easiest way to keep your routine in check.  But for the sake of argument, let’s assume you’re traveling to the middle of Podunk, Nowhere.  No problem, we’ve got you covered.  First things first, be sure to pack a couple of changes of workout clothes.  If you don’t have those, doesn’t matter what else you plan, you’ll be up the creek.  Pack your favorite shoes, workout towel and water bottle as if you were heading to your neighborhood gym.

The easiest thing to do is to ask about running/biking trails or map out your own on the drive to your holiday destination.  Even if running isn’t normally your thing, this is the most convenient form of exercise when traveling, the whole world is basically your gym, just be sure to pick safe, well-lit areas since you are not as familiar with this environment.

If running is not your cup of tea, find out if your host has a DVD player set up in your room or a spare room and bring a favorite workout DVD.  A great DVD plus a set of workout bands (which stow easily into any suitcase) are a great way to keep your strength training routine going.  It keeps your muscles working while ‘on break’ and adds a little variety to your normal routine.  I recommend the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels (which I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post).  Its quick and efficient and doesn’t require a ton of equipment.   You could also ask your host if they have a Wii Fit system.  If you’ve got your own Wii Fit games, bring them with you and make it a family event, or, if you’ve never tried it, this is the perfect chance to test it out and have a little fun while doing so.

Fitness magazines are a great go-to while traveling.  Available at any grocery or drug store, most fitness mags have pull-out cards that show you moves you can do either with or without equipment.  Pick up a couple of different magazines to give yourself several options for your holiday workout, i.e. one day work on the butt and thighs, next day back and arms, so on and so forth.  This option is super cheap and do-able just about anywhere.

Of course, if you like having fitness equipment and feel you can’t get a good workout without having something formal to use, there are items designed specifically for traveling.  Along with fitness bands (which come in various lengths and strengths) you can also find water dumbells.  They’re basically dumbells that you can purchase different sizes that when filled with water, equal out to different weighted dumbells.  Minus the water, they are light and fit easily into your suitcase for traveling.  If you go to any sporting goods store, you’ll find other specialty fitness items, like push-up bards, glider plates, and quite a few others, anything for pretty much any taste.

So what are you taking with you for your holiday travels?

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