By Clay Giese
It’s a struggle, sticking to a regular exercise routine in your day-to-day life, let alone while you’re traveling. C’mon, when you’re on vacation, how easy it is to roll out of bed late and make a beeline for breakfast instead of working out? Or maybe you’re traveling for work and that consumes most of your day.
Exercising while traveling takes dedication, but it’s not as hard as you might think. For those of you who really value your exercise, there are plenty of ways to achieve a great workout.
As a baseball coach in the summer, I’m constantly in hotels on the weekends, forced to find different ways to break my daily sweat. I’m writing these tips for anyone who’s in the same boat, whether they’re a runner, a hardcore lifter, or a casual exerciser. Hey, we’re all just trying to stay fit, right?
Look for hotels with good workout centers: A majority of hotels have some sort of workout facility, but they’re not all created equal, and it’s worth doing some research to find a good one. Earlier this summer I stayed at a hotel whose workout room was essentially a large closet, with just enough room for two treadmills and a small rack of dumbbells. A good facility will have multiple cardio machines, free weights or weight machines, and a couple of benches for weightlifting and ab work. When you’re booking a room, hop online and look for pictures or descriptions of the workout center you’ll potentially be using. One caveat: Some larger, older hotels in metropolitan areas might not have any workout facilities whatsoever but instead an arrangement with a nearby athletic club. These tend to be a good-news/bad-news story: The facilities are often wonderful, but there’s often a charge involved. Make sure you’re clear on that before booking.
Talk to the concierge or hotel staff: These people are great resources, so use them! Ask a concierge or front-desk employee where in town you can play tennis, rent a bike, do some Hot Yoga, practice tai chi, or find a good jogging route. If you need a full weight room, ask which fitness centers in town offer a day pass. Whatever your question is, they can steer you in the right direction. Some hotels even organize their own fitness activities and running groups, but the only way to know is to ask.
Fitness videos are your friend: The internet, especially YouTube, is littered with workout videos. Just search for the type of workout you want (cardio, abs/core, lower body, upper body, arms) and select one. It’s really that simple. There are even “hotel-room workouts” on YouTube that you can do in the semi-comfort of your room without competing for space in a crowded fitness center. Bookmark some workouts you like in the days prior to your trip and they’ll be ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Some hotels have workout videos available for rent through their TV packages, but don’t spend the money if you don’t have to.
Utilize online workouts: We mentioned YouTube, but there’s a bevy of websites that offer online workouts for free: Darebee.com, mensfitness.com, fitnessblender.com, shape.com, Pinterest, and many others. I recommend Darebee.com. It’s easy to navigate, the workouts are easy to follow, and you can breeze through them in about 20 minutes (not saying they’re easy, though). They have workouts for every part of the body and most can be done using just body weight. Check out the examples and see how simple they are!
Invest in travel-friendly workout equipment: This seems obvious, but having the right equipment can really expand your options. It starts with your footwear. You can’t run cardio in flip-flops and you can’t lift in dress shoes. If you always pack a pair of athletic shoes, you’ll never be able to cry, “I have no shoes!” Other useful items include ab-rollers, roll-up exercise mats, and resistance bands — all fairly inexpensive and, more importantly, easy to pack. This may not classify as equipment, but don’t forget a nice pair of sweat-resistant earbuds, because you’re going to want your music. It can put you in the mood to work out, it makes the actual workout more enjoyable, and it helps push you through the finish.
Get up early and get it done: Now that I’ve given you some options, your last obstacle is finding the time. Twenty to 30 minutes is all it takes to kick off the day with a great workout. If you exercise frequently, you know how much better you feel on the days when you crush your workout. Morning exercise increases your energy for the rest of the day, helps you burn more calories all day after your workout, and helps you rest better at night. Also, you’ll be more focused, your metabolic rate will receive a quick boost, and you’ll be less likely to skip future workouts. Lastly, working out right away in the morning gives you that much more time for the rest of your daily endeavors. That’s what we call a win-win.
Finally, remember to have fun! Exercise should be enjoyable. So crank up the tunes, grind out those workouts, and enjoy your trip. I hope you found something here that’ll be useful. No more excuses, no more guilt nagging at you for skipping, just good fitness and of course, safe travels!
Clay Giese is a member of the marketing team at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
Editor’s Note: Working out in a new city is always a thrill. Protect that thrill with full-featured travel coverage from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. Get it here.