Fitness Tips for Traveling

Shannon Whitney

January is the month for New Year’s resolutions and if you’re anything like me, yours include new habits, good books, healthy choices and a couple more stamps on your passport. Keeping those commitments is easy for the first couple of weeks but I’m quick to fall off the wagon, especially away from home.

Being on the road is the ultimate interruption to any routine. Packing a treadmill is impossible and committing to a regular yoga class when you aren’t in your home city is difficult.

Online Workouts

If you have fifteen minutes and an internet connection you can do a workout video before hopping in the shower. YouTube has a variety of quick, free options. Two I like are BeFitin90 and Blogilates.

be fit screen shot

Apps are a great way to stay on track too. Seven gives a different seven minute high-intensity workout every day. There’s something for every fitness level and muscle group that you can do anywhere in the world.

Other options are available for a subscription fee. Daily Burn is one site with varied workouts for a monthly membership fee. There’s something about making a monetary investment that keeps me motivated.

Using Wello, you can meet a personal trainer or join a group class. Different pricing options are available depending on what you want to use. They stream Pilates, yoga, bootcamp, martial arts and more.

Some of the subscription services also offer forums to create a community. Even though you’re not a regular at a gym, you can still get virtual high fives for your hard work but avoid awkward locker room conversations.

How to Find Local Classes

Obviously walking and running serve as easy and cheap fitness options on the road. To save money on transportation, I walk as many places as I can. Sometimes I’ll sneak in a run on the beach or around the neighborhood if I can’t sleep off jet lag.

A quick Google search of the municipality or city can help you find local parks with mapped routes and free facilities.

BeFitNYC is a great resource for finding a park to fit your needs in New York City. It includes which parks have tennis courts, exercise equipment and recreation centers. Most cities have a web resource to share hours and park specifics.

One of my other favorite ways to try something new and active, is to take a fitness class in person. Many studios offer a trial class for free, which is perfect for travelers. You can drop in on a yoga or dance class at a studio or check local gyms and recreation centers for one day passes.

If you love Zumba or CrossFit, use their national networks to find classes all over the world. If I know someone in the area, I’ll ask for recommendations or to tag along on their workout. If you really need gym equipment Gymsurfing is a great tool to find a reasonably priced day pass in your area.

What to Pack

Online tools don’t take up room in your suitcase and most of them don’t require any equipment. Using your bodyweight for resistance, these videos can help you maintain your routine in the New Year.

I usually take tennis shoes with me as well as a sports bra. There’s always room to toss in an extra tshirt and gym shorts. You can rewear them everyday (just for exercise) and wash when needed.

Of course, you’ll also need a computer or tablet to watch video. A smartphone could work as well, especially if you’re already familiar with the exercise program. I would not suggest trying yoga for the first time on a four inch screen.

Plan It

The best thing I can do to incorporate fitness into my trips is to plan for it. If I pack shoes and clothes and download videos in advance, I’m much more likely to follow through.

Before you leave, check to see if your home gym membership allows you to use other facilities within the network. Some clubs such Bally Total Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and Lifetime Fitness  allow members to use any of their facilities across the country. The YMCA offers a cheap day pass to out of town members. Research the area you’re staying and see if you have a free option!

My favorite vacation memories are adventuring ones. I love to kayak, snorkel and hike whenever I get the chance. In Uruguay I took a surfing lesson, and although it wasn’t my regular workout, I was sore the rest of the day.

What’s your favorite way to stay in shape when away from home?

TL; DR

Staying fit on the road is tough, but technology makes it easier with virtual workouts. Try a free video or subscribe to a service to keep on track.

Make plans to exercise and bring the right stuff. Be sure to pack tennis shoes and clothes to sweat in.

Image: hackerfriendly (Flickr)