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5 Must-Do's for Working Out While Traveling

5 Must-Do's for Working Out While Traveling

For many of us, traveling is a break from our routine - a time to relax and enjoy friends, family, and experience new things. The last thing we want to do is workout.  

When I first started traveling for work, I did not workout, which lead to a 15 pound weight gain in the first month and a half.  I did workout when I was at home but I found it very difficult to start that routine up every Friday morning, only to then abandon it again on Monday.  As my pastor says, "It is easier to keep up than to catch up." So, in this post I give you my 5 must-do's for keeping up with your workout plan while traveling.  

1. Always pack workout clothes

I know this one may seem obvious but it really isn't!  There have been plenty of times when I didn't pack workout clothes because I thought I wouldn't have time on the trip or wanted to use that space in my suitcase for another outfit that I just HAD to have. ☺

Then I get there and...I wake up at my usual scheduled workout time and I can't go back to sleep...the itinerary changes and I have a ton of free time...I feel bad about what I ate and want to burn off some of the calories...the hotel website says they don't have an on-site gym but but they fail to mention the perfectly good boardwalk for running...(These are real life events. LOL). But since I didn't have workout clothes or shoes, I was stuck - I didn't even have the OPTION to workout.

So now, I always pack workout clothes for every trip.

Have I taken trips where my workout clothes never saw the light of day? Yes!  But I also have equally as many times that I wasn't planning on working out and was happy that I had the clothes and was able to do so.

I know, I know...the shoes are bulky and take up too much space.  But I promise you, once you get into a good routine on your healthy lifestyle journey, you will never regret rearranging your suitcase to make room for them.

2. Set a goal for number of workouts

I am a early morning (workout) person.  When I first started traveling, I wouldn't determine whether I was going to workout that day until the morning of - it was a matter of how I "felt" that morning.  Some of my excuses are hilarious and absolutely ridiculous!

~ I went to bed really late last night - I am going to sleep in (but I'm already awake).

~ It is really cold in my room.  I am going to stay in bed until it warms up...oh shoot, now it is too late to workout.

~ The gym was full yesterday.  It will be full today too.  I just won't even bother getting up.

With these excuses and many others, I would only get in one workout by the end of the 3-day work week.  Just sad...this was not going to cut it for me to reach my weightless goals.  With help/nagging from my trainer, I decided to set a goal for the number of workouts I wanted/needed to get in for the week and how many of those had to be done while on the road.  I set an initial goal of two workouts during the work week, which allowed me to have one morning "off."  

Setting that goal held me accountable on those mornings I was being lazy and didn't want to get out of bed, which honestly was every morning!  Now, I workout all three days that I am on the road, which sets me up to be successful in meeting my 5-6 days a week goal.  Yes, it is a battle everyday! But as Nike says, "Just Do It!"

Goal setting also works for me when I am on vacation.  I do my best to stay on my workout schedule but sometimes it just doesn't happen.  That doesn't stop me from setting a goal and finding a way to build my workouts into the schedule.  Since, I am a morning workout person, it is fairly easy to determine which mornings will work.  I like to get it done so I don't have to think about it for the rest of the day.

I have also started counting excursions as one of my workouts!  During my trip to Cape Town, South Africa, our group hiked Table Mountain.  No, I don't mean we took the trolly up - we HIKED for 2.5 hours! So, I counted that as one of the 4 workouts for that trip.  It was a great workout and an opportunity to see and experience on of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Table Mountain - Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Kibuuka Photography

Table Mountain - Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Kibuuka Photography

3. Always have a Plan B

Yes! I am winning this morning!  I have accomplished my first two must-do's:

Packed my workout clothes ✓

Got out of bed to complete my workout ✓

...and then 

I get to the hotel gym only to find that all treadmills and ellipticals are occupied...UGH!  Now I feel defeated...I guess I will go back to bed!  After a few YEARS of this happening, I asked myself, "Why do all of my workouts have to revolve around the treadmill or elliptical machine?"  

I needed a Plan B for mornings when things just didn't go as planned.  So I enlisted the help of everyone's trusty friend for random, yet useful information - Google.  I was able to find great workouts that others posted on Pinterest and Youtube; I also found some workouts using the FitStar/Fitbit Coach and Sworkit apps.  There are a variety of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), calisthenic, and free weight workouts available for anyone to use.  These are great for me because the last thing I want to do at 5am is put together my own workout...

Sometimes, if the weather is favorable and the neighborhood is safe, my Plan B is to go for a run outside.  Many hotels have suggested running routes for their guests to use - you just have to ask! 

I found that having a Plan B is crucial to my workout goal success.  Not only has it helped me stay on track with the number of workouts for the week but it has also added some much needed variety.  I have found myself challenging muscles I didn't even know I had!  There was one workout that I found on Pinterest that was so hard, I shared it with my trainer and now he has incorporated into his rotation.  

And let's be real honest for a moment- it just really sucks to get up in the wee hours of the morning for nothing! So make that early morning wake-up call count - have a Plan B! 

FYI - if you are at a large hotel for a convention or some other type of high attendance event, I have found that the first morning of the convention, EVERYONE is in the gym.  Do not let this deter you from going for the rest of the week.  In my experience, gym utilization drastically decreases as the days progress.

4. Find a Workout Buddy/Accountability Partner

For the majority of my business travel, I am a part of a team of the same group of people traveling together for an extended period of time.  During my early travel years, there was one co-worker who would be in the gym every...single...morning.  She would run on the treadmill for an hour without stopping and I was amazed!  At the time, I could only manage to do intervals - anything over 2 minutes straight was too much for me.  

Although she didn't know it at the time, she was my accountability/workout buddy.  I made up in my mind that if she could run long distances without stopping, so could I.  If she was going to be there every morning, so was I.  I set a goal to run for 40 minutes straight, and I worked towards that goal knowing she would be there doing her workout too.  Although we don't travel together anymore, we still talk about working out all the time!

If you are struggling in the motivation department, find an accountability/workout buddy.  If you are going on a girl's trip, find that one friend that is willing to go to the gym with you.  If you are going on a work trip, ask your co-workers if any of them are going to the gym or going for a run.  On those mornings where you don't want to get up, you will have another source of motivation to provide that extra push.  Your accountability partner doesn't even have to be on the trip with you or even human!  Ask a friend to send you reminder text or call at your designated workout time.  Or set a reminder with Siri!

5. Consider the Calories

Muffins and bagels for breakfast...

Unlimited candy...

Bread baskets with butter...

Donut burgers...

Gourdough's, Austin, TX

Gourdough's, Austin, TX

All things that can really throw off your healthy living plan.  For me, when I go out of town or visit a new city or country, the last thing I want to eat is a plain grilled chicken breast and a salad all the time.  I want to try the Donut Burger during the team dinner and the the lemon bars on the snack table!

But I also have weightless goals...so how do I balance the two? 

I use the fact that I want to enjoy good food while on the road as motivation to not miss a workout - and sometimes to get in an extra workout!  I may not work off all that eat but I will work off some.  Something is better than nothing!  

So, when I am figuring out which days I will work out, I make sure to get a really good cardio and weight training workout on days that will revolve around lots of indulgent food.  I want my metabolism to be at max capacity on those days!

Do you have any must-do's to keep you motivated to workout while traveling?

Let me know your thoughts! 


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