The volleyball team I work with recently won their conference championship (Yay!) and made it into the NCAA tournament. The first round of the tournament was held in Connecticut, which is a few hours away from us in Boston. This required an overnight stay at the very least, and up to a 3 night stay depending on how well my team did. Since I didn’t know how long I’d be gone, I didn’t want to chance missing out on 3-4 days of workouts, so I made some effort to be prepared to get a decent workout in even if the hotel we’re staying at didn’t have a great fitness center (or even if it didn’t have one at all).
Even though traveling for an NCAA tournament is not on most people’s weekly to-do list, I know a lot of you travel for work, and many of us will also be traveling at the end of this week for Thanksgiving. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, many of you may get anxious about missing your normal workout routine while on the road, and rightly so. Being thrown off of your routine can be stressful in itself! So I’ve put together a few tips for keeping your health on track when you’re on the road, whether it’s for a few days, a few weeks, or anything in between.
Travel Health and Fitness Made Easy:
1. Invest in some packable gear. As I’ve shown you all here, I have plenty of packable workout gear at home that can easily come with me on the road. When I travel, I generally take at least a resistance band loop, and will sometimes throw in the val slides or jump rope depending on how much room I have. That way, even if the hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, at least you have a little something with you to spice up your workouts in your room (or to add to a lackluster hotel gym that doesn’t offer what you want).
2. Pack your workout outfit(s) first. If you leave your workout clothes until the end of packing, chances are you’ll decide that they “just wont fit”. Placing them in your suitcase first will avoid that nonsense, and realistically, a tank, shorts, and sports bra won’t take up that much room to begin with. If you’re only traveling for a few days, one outfit should do it (although if you sweat like me, you may have to rinse and hang dry in your hotel bathroom). If your trip is longer, you still don’t need to bring too much more than a couple of outfits, because laundry can always be done (or clothes can just be worn sweaty).
3. Bring along healthy snacks. Anyone that knows me knows I’m a snack person. This is never more exaggerated than when I travel. I seem to have a “but what if I get hungry” complex, where I can’t pack for a trip without a pocket of my bag specifically designated for snacks. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since food on the road is often less healthy than what you get at home. Having your own healthy snacks on hand is a good way to avoid hitting the drive through when your energy levels crash.
4. Stick to the plan. I can’t stress this one enough. It can be so easy to go all willy nilly when you’re on a trip. The more you try to stick with your normal food routine, the better off you’ll be. For some reason, when I’m on a trip I always want to eat way more often than I do at home. Reminding yourself of your normal food schedule and generally sticking to it can help prevent you from going too far off the deep end. That being said, I’m also a believer in enjoying your vacation. So if your trip is not a work trip, but a vacation, there’s no need to go hog wild at the buffett, but do please let yourself enjoy some foods that aren’t in your normal rotation.
5. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can be one of the most important things when it comes to staying alert, healthy, and just feeling like “yourself”, but it is often the first thing to be forgotten when people travel. Carry a reusable (preferably stainless steal or glass) water bottle and drink up often; it may even be worth it to schedule hydration times into your day. (This is especially applicable if you’re traveling by air). Staying hydrated can also stave off mystery food cravings, and can decrease the urge to munch in between meals.
6. Be Flexible. I know, I know. I said above to try to stick to your plan as much as possible. But what I’m referring to here is your fitness routine. On that specific trip, I missed my beloved deadlift day in the weight room. Did the Holiday Inn in New London Connecticut have a weight rack for me to deadlift? Of course not. But scrapping a whole workout because you can’t do what you planned is just nonsense. Be flexible when you need to, and get a little creative if the equipment available to you is sub-par. And this brings me to my last point, which is…
7. Scope out the joint. At the very least, find out what sort of fitness center (if any) your hotel offers before you go. When I’m traveling for work, I generally don’t have a lot of time for workouts, and when I’m traveling for pleasure, I don’t want to spend all of my time in the hotel gym. Knowing ahead of time what they have to offer will help you to plan your workouts, keeping them quick, efficient, and effective.
How do you keep your health and fitness on track when you travel? Do you tend to eat more or less when you’re on the road? Do you have any small exercise gear you bring along on trips?