As a former professional athlete, working out on a regular basis has been a big part of my life for many years. With a wife and two kids at home, finding time to work out is definitely more challenging than it used to be. And when I go out of town, finding time becomes even more of a challenge!
Although this is the case, I always find a way to get my workouts in. The question of how to keep up with workouts while traveling is one I've been continually asked over the years.
Today, I will give you examples of how I do that.
The first thing I do when I travel is find out what amenities the hotel or resort has to offer. If there is a fitness center on site, I know I can run to the gym for a quick workout whenever I can squeeze it in.
If the hotel doesn't have a workout facility, I'll take a walk around the property to see if there are any running trails, paths or big open spaces I might be able to use for a workout.
Once I determine what is available, I go to my calendar and look for gaps in my schedule. I then schedule in my workouts just like any other appointment. Even if I only have 10 minutes available on a certain day, I'll take it! Ten minutes is always better than zero minutes!
I recently went on a vacation to La Jolla, Calif. and stayed at a hotel on the water. When I went outside to check out my surrounding, I saw a big patch of grass overlooking the ocean. I knew immediately I wanted to take advantage of the weather and the view, so I decided to do a body-weight workout.
I did a simple mix of walking lunges, squats, pushups, planks, triceps, dips on a bench and sprints. I did each exercise for 30 seconds and ran four sprints across the small field. I repeated this circuit about eight times, taking as few breaks as possible in between.
It was a killer workout! The best part is I didn't need equipment, and it didn't take much time. If you are lucky enough to be on a beach vacation and you want to kick your workout up a notch, try doing the workout described above in the loose sand on the beach. I guarantee you will feel the burn!
If you are a strong swimmer, you can go for a swim in the ocean to get your cardio. If you aren't a good swimmer or if you are landlocked, most hotels have pools. Swimming is a great activity, and even if you just doggie paddle, you can still get yourself huffing and puffing and your heart rate up.
[Read: The Secret to Sticking With Exercise.]
If you are vacationing somewhere with hills, you can go on a nice run or walk. Hill running and walking is a great form of cardio that will really get your blood pumping. Running and walking hills is a great way to get in an interval workout as well.
To give you an example, warm up your body for a few minutes with a light walk or jog. Once you hit the hills, go as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then recover for 30 seconds to a minute (or more if you need it). Repeat this cycle five or six times depending on how many hills you have.
Once I am done with my workout, I will hit the ground to do some stretching. When I am in a beautiful, warm place, I like to do my stretching or yoga outdoors.
If you are staying in a place where the outdoors isn't an option, there are a number of portable workout solutions you can fit in your suitcase. Resistance bands are a very effective tool to use when you do not have access to a weight room.
You can also use the stairs to get your cardio in. You can even do the body-weight workout detailed above inside your hotel room. All you need is about five square feet of space. Instead of moving from place to place, you will do each exercise in the same spot.
When you get to the sprints, you can either do high knees, running or marching in place, or you can run up a few flights of stairs. Although I am not a big fan of workout DVDs, if you enjoy group fitness classes and your hotel does not offer them, a workout DVD is your best bet.
[Read: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder.]
As you can see, there are a number of workout options you can choose from when you are traveling. I think the most important thing you can do is make your workouts a priority. Just as you schedule your vacation activities and meetings, do the same for your workouts.
If you do this, you will be much less likely to skip your workouts the next time you are out of town.
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Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN is a registered holistic nutritionist, fitness expert and highly sought-after high-performance health coach. He's also a former professional soccer player and served as the head strength and conditioning and nutrition coach for men's soccer at the University of Toronto for seven seasons. For more than 13 years, he's empowered more than 86,000 people to greater health with his no-nonsense approach to health, fitness, and nutrition. He's made it his mission to empower at least 10 million people to greater health and fitness by 2018. Get Yuri's free "Y-Factor" at www.yurielkaim.com.