4 Tips for Fitting in Fitness While Traveling
We like to travel. Just this summer we have already had back-to-back camping weekends in June, a road trip over the 4th of July, and this weekend we will be hitting the road again for a week-long Byars Family Summer Vacation.
Despite being out of my fitness element and routine for a week, I still plan to keep up with my workouts and goals. There’s no cause for alarm, and even if I happen to choose NOT to workout, I will not “lose my gains” for lack of a less douchey term.
Here are some tips on how to approach fitness when travelling to help keep you on track!
Tip 1: Look Ahead
When fitting in workouts while traveling, it’s important to look ahead at the days/week leading up to your trip. Also, think about what you’ll be doing on vacation. Then you can come up with a plan that easily accommodates both schedules.
Here are some things to consider…
What does your schedule prior to the trip look like? Maybe you can squeeze in an extra workout here and there leading up to the trip to take some pressure off while you’re away.
What activities do you anticipate doing on your trip? If you will be doing some hiking, swimming, biking, skiing, or walking while sight-seeing, you may as well focus on your less cardio-heavy workouts (ie. weight lifting) leading up to the trip. Simply count your physical activity during your trip toward your cardio-based exercise goals.
By asking yourself these questions, and with a little planning, there’s less need to carve out time for dedicated workouts while you’re away.
Tip 2: Pack the Right Gear
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I have a fairly small, reusable cloth bag that I got for free from something-or-other, similar to these way cuter ones that I want, that’s just the right size for the few workout items I travel with. Campers, hotel rooms, cars, and suitcases obviously aren’t super spacious, so I like to pack smart and light. I mean, at least when it comes to workout gear – I always pack dumb and heavy when it comes to unnecessary clothes and shoes, of course. Here are my exercise travel essentials:
Recovery Band – You can perform nearly any exercise using a recovery band, and manipulate the intensity quickly and easily. Plus they’re small, light, and super easy to fit in a carry-on. Check out my exercise modifications using bands on my Instagram page and highlights.
- Sit or stand on the middle of the band, and hold the ends for bicep curls, shoulder press, front raises, deadlifts, etc.
- Loop it around a door hinge (protect the band by putting a towel or sock or something between it and the metal hinge), a post or pole of some kind, or heck – even a sturdy tree, and hold the ends for rows, wood chops, chest flies, etc.
- Tie the ends together for clams, banded squats, glute bridges, etc.
- You can increase the resistance/difficulty by wrapping the ends around your hands to shorten, and/or standing farther away from where the band is anchored.
Resistance Band – Sure, if you’re super tight on space you can do everything with your recovery band and leave the resistance band at home. Personally, I bring both. They’re small, squishable, and versatile.
- Great for banded squats, clams, fire hydrants, lateral arm walk, etc.
- Come in a variety of different resistances (extra light, light, medium, heavy, extra heavy)
Jump Rope / Skip Rope – Great for getting in some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) cardio in a pinch. Again, jump ropes are lightweight and require very little space, both in your luggage and to perform your workout.
- Try 30 or 40 seconds skipping with 30 or 20 seconds rest, respectively, for 10-20 minutes for a good, quick burn before brunch or hitting the pool.
Wrist/Ankle Weights – These take up very little space, but as they can add a few pounds to your bag, you’ll want to be sure you can afford to lug around the extra weight. I’ve been wanting a set for a while now, and have had these in my cart for ages.
- Level-up your body weight circuits.
- Though on the lighter side, these can be used in place of dumbbells in some cases (bicep curls, triceps extensions, chest presses, side raises, etc.)
- Use in conjunction with bands for an added challenge to donkey kicks, chest flies, shoulder press, etc.
- Use on your ankles to add difficulty to leg raises, jackknives, jump squats, etc.
Bluetooth Headphones or Earbuds – It’s always nice to have tunes while you workout, plus they can help block out distractions. I have these – they pair quickly and easily with my devices, have nice sound quality, and they stay put fairly well. They pop out from time to time when jumping rope or doing burpees but overall they’ve been great and I could probably change out the silicone ear tips size for one with a better fit (included). If the ones I have are unavailable, these are similar and have great reviews. I’m eyeing these, because I like the idea of having the ear hooks.
Workout Clothes – This may seem like a no-brainer, but unless I specifically have “sports bras”, “leggings/shorts”, “tank top”, “socks”, and “tennis shoes” on my packing list I’m bound to forget one thing or another. I legit have a 3-page-long packing list in a .Word doc I print out for every trip we take. Before you judge me, it’s for a family of 4, plus 2 dogs, and all our food. But, despite my extensive list, I still manage to forget something every. single. trip.
My point is, be intentional when you pack for your trip. Include proper clothing for your workouts, keeping the weather into consideration. I often workout in my jammies at home, but I don’t do that on vacay. I only pack one or two sets of pajamas and don’t want them to be all sweaty and nasty from my workouts when I re-wear them at bedtime.
- Leggings/Shorts – I’m loving these soft, high-waisted leggings (so many different patterns and they’re so comfy!), these high-waisted, stretchy shorts, and these wide-waistband, running-type shorts.
- Tank top/Shirts – I tend to like tops with sayings on them. This one is hilarious. I love this one for a beach vacay! And how I don’t have this one yet is beyond me. Here is a cute one without any sayings.
- Sports Bras
- Hair ties – these thick bands are amazing at keeping your pony in its place.
Tip 3: Keep Nutrition in Mind
Yes, you’re on vacation and out of your routine. You’re allowed to treat yo’self. In fact, you should enjoy the extra cocktail and the pool-side nachos. In my case it’ll be weeknight drinks and campfire s’mores.
I fully expect to not stick to my macros as well as I do at home while road-tripping, sight-seeing, and totally void of a normal schedule.
HOWEVER…I also fully expect to do what it takes to feel healthy, happy, and strong while I’m away. Why? Because I’ve done it the sick, uncomfortable, and lethargic way. I don’t like it.
Hangovers aren’t worth it when you can’t sleep them off, and I don’t have that luxury as a mother of a 2- and 5- year old. Feeling bloated and having stomach cramps isn’t worth the distraction from my surroundings and family. Being tired and weak isn’t worth it when there’s so much to see and experience.
So, yes, please enjoy new dishes, fancy drinks, and indulgent desserts. Just know you don’t HAVE to eat like each meal or treat is your last – or you might just wish it was! Focus your energy on feeling good on vacation. Have your cake and eat it, too, being sure to honor your body when it tells you it’s full.
Likewise, honor your body when it tells you it’s hungry. Check out my blog post featuring my nutrition travel tips and on-the-go snack ideas.
Tip 4: Give Yourself Grace
When you can’t or simply don’t want to workout while traveling, please know THAT’S OKAY. More than okay, really. You won’t lose progress, gain fat, lose worth, or gain a chin. Do what makes you happy in the moment – take a nap, go for a walk, have a burger, squeeze in a workout. Whatever brings you life on vacation.
You work hard for your family, your health, your career, your friends, and your life. Acknowledge that, and enjoy your break doing what makes you happy. Being active generally makes me happy. Being sedentary occasionally also makes me happy. So I do what feels right depending on the day and my mood, without guilt or pressure.
I understand it can be difficult to appreciate the choice to workout or not, and even harder to accept either decision – especially if you’re in a weight-loss phase. Your mindset is everything when it comes to fitness. When you choose another experience over a workout, focus on the positives of the experience you chose and what your body and mind gained from it. As opposed to dwelling on any negative thoughts that might creep in about a “missed” workout or “lost” progress.
The same thing goes when it comes to your eating. My eating-on-vacay motto would be a mix of “Be Mindful” and “Treat Yo’self”. A few days or even a week won’t undo your progress or derail your healthy habits. Simply enjoy yourself and move the F on. No need to wallow in guilt or self-pity after a meal. I don’t care if it was 5-lbs of lard dipped in cheese then covered in chocolate served over ice cream. It is fine. You are fine. Move the F on.
My goal for my upcoming road-trip camping adventure is to live my best life and to feel my best while doing it. I hope you found something helpful here, and that you’ll do the same on your next trip. Connect with me and follow my fitness journey on Instagram!