Keeping on Track When Traveling

Travel is hell on a fitness routine. Jet-lag, airport food, hours stuck in planes, shuttles, and Ubers. The only thing worse for fitness than a long business trip is a case of mono. And at least you sleep well with mono.

An extended stay away from your own kitchen, bed, and gym is not conducive to making progress, but with a little planning, there’s a lot you can do to make sure you don’t lose your hard-fought gains.    

Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water every day is always a high priority, but it becomes crucial when you fly. Studies show that extended flights exacerbate the loss of body water, due to the low relative humidity of an airplane cabin. These dry conditions can also increase your chance of catching a cold. The moist mucous membranes in your nose and throat help catch germs before they enter your body, When they dry out, bacteria enter your system more freely.  

Plank in Your Room: When it comes to fitness, anything is better than nothing and there is plenty you can do in a hotel room. Try to do five, one-minute planks or see how many sets it takes you to reach 100 push-ups. Another option is to fire up your laptop. There’s a ton of free guided workouts on the web. 

Use the Hotel Fitness Room: Almost every hotel has some sort of fitness room. We can’t get ourselves to actually call some of them “gyms,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent workout. Most will have a couple types of cardio machines and a dumbbell rack that might go up to 45 pounds. Warm up on the cardio machine and then pick five compound exercises and do 100s. That is 100 reps in as few sets as possible. Choose the squat, lunge, overhead press, bent-over row, and chest press. This will burn some calories and give you a heck of a pump, all with just a set of 20s or 25s. 

Find a Park: The park is the poor man’s gym. These days, most parks have some type of exercise equipment, or at least a pull-up bar. Create a circuit of bodyweight moves and sprints. Do three to five circuits of 20 reps each of push-ups, bench dips, lunges, burpees, and sit-ups, followed by a 400-meter sprint. Rest one to two minutes between each circuit.    

Walk: Most of us don’t think of walking as a form of training, but when it comes to weight maintenance, walking has worked for several billion people over many thousands of years. And it’s the very best way to explore a new city.

Pack Your Supplements: Even if your trip is a week-long bachelor party that makes The Hangover look like The Sound of Music, you can still do some dietary damage control if you pack your multivitamin. Besides, studies show that zinc and B vitamins can make you less nauseous and miserable the morning after having one too many.

Watch Your Diet: The fact is you won’t have to go to great lengths to find a way to work out when you travel unless your diet really goes off the rails. And that is usually the issue with travel: you are either subjected to lousy late-night fast-food options, or you experience amazing native cuisine you can’t pass up. Two vastly different experiences, but both can put you deep into a calorie surplus. When you are abroad, try to follow the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your intake can be relatively healthy as long as the rest is on point. Another good rule is to try to never have two unhealthy meals back-to-back.

MIKE CARLSON

MIKE CARLSON

Medical Science/Health Writer and Editor - http://bit.ly/3anof4K

Mike Carlson is a freelance health and fitness writer and a lifelong Southern Californian. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles what feels like a long time ago, and has been a full-time editor for Los Angeles Magazine, Men’s Fitness, and the UFC, as well as a copy writer for various nutritional supplement companies. As a health reporter, he’s crafted features for the American Optometric Association, Stanford Health Care, the National Hemophilia Foundation and USA Today. Mike spends most of his free time applying sunscreen, but between slatherings he coaches soccer, competes in various endurance races and loves to explore the culinary and outdoor majesty of his home state. Current obsessions include the Los Angeles Dodgers, kombucha and distilling bourbon at home. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and a bulldog named Frankie.