Yesterday in my Facebook group, The Health-usiastic Life (or THL for short!), I did a FB live session talking all about exercises you can easily do while traveling.
A group member asked about travel-friendly workouts because she will be overseas for much of August and won’t have access to a gym, let alone much time to spend exercising while she’s out and about exploring!
I can’t say that I blame her!
In addition to her question, another group member asked about exercises that are “apartment-friendly,” i.e. can be done at home without disturbing the neighbors.
Luckily, these two questions go well together, so I responded to them in a single video.
The way I see it, these two questions come down to this: How do we stay consistent with our exercise routine despite external circumstances?
I mean, let’s be honest: there are going to be times when we’re off our regular routine. We may be traveling for work or leisure, or we may just not feel like going to the gym for, well, any reason under the sun!
In those cases, it’s good to have some movements, tips and tricks in our back pockets to keep the momentum going. We know we can’t rely on motivation–if we could, you wouldn’t be reading this right now!–so we have to find work-arounds.
We have to learn to let the chips fall where they may, and let our best (which varies from day to day!) be good enough.
Traveling/vacation is often an excuse we use to “go off plan,” but that only makes it harder to start up again.
Inertia is very hard to overcome, which is why once we get going it’s helpful to simply keep moving–no matter how slowly!–to avoid having to start all over again.
That being said, here are my tips for how to stay consistent on vacation/while traveling:
Don’t stress!: The last thing you want is your memories of vacation to be of how stressed you were because this or that circumstance prevented you from working out! Take it easy, enjoy the novelty of being in a new place, whether you’re away for pleasure or work–there’s always something to appreciate about a place that’s not home!
Do your best!: Again, that changes from day to day, and obviously is affected by your schedule. Some days, you may have time for a 30-minute hotel/hostel workout. Other days, you may be on-to-go from dawn to dusk. Remember: all that sightseeing burns calories, too!
Don’t have time for a structured work out? Do a “mini rev-up!”: Mini rev-ups are little blasts of exercise scattered throughout the day. More likely than not, you won’t have time for even a 30-minute sweat session while traveling, but I *know* you have 1-2 minutes to spare, here and there! A mini rev-up can be anything: the idea is that since you’re only moving for a very short period of time, you want to make it as intense as possible.
Choose big “bang for your buck” exercises!: Compound movements that challenge the entire body help you make the most of the time you have. The more muscles you’re using to perform the movement, the more calories you will burn, and the greater the metabolic “pay off.”
Do circuit training!: Choose 4-5 movements, and perform them circuit-style, i.e. for reps/rounds or for time (i.e. complete as many rounds of x number of reps/exercise in x time period), resting as little as possible. Chase that burn, aim to sweat, and if you’re breathing heavy, you’re doing it right!
Basically, all these guidelines apply for getting in a quick workout in the comfort of your own home!
More specifically, though, you want to choose movements that don’t require you to jump around.
Regardless of whether you have neighbors to worry about or not, it may not be a good idea to perform jumping movements if your balance, stability, or coordination is compromised do to injury or fitness level.
In that case, I suggest taking regular, compound movements (like squats, lunges, pushups, etc.) and making them more challenging by:
Varying the tempo
Changing up your stance
Altering the height/elevation
Decreasing rest periods
Move more quickly (with good form!)
There are plenty of ways to make movements harder that don’t mean making them plyometric in nature!
You can also progress exercises by adding resistance, and you don’t need weights to do that! Resistance bands and mini bands are great for home workouts, and they travel nicely, too.
Another way to add resistance? Incorporate the kiddos or pets into the workout! Not only will you find it challenging to squat a 40lb kid, chances are he or she will be laughing and wriggling which is a progression in and of itself!
Don’t underestimate the value of instability as a way to progress your training. The more unstable the object, the more muscles you have to use to stabilize yourself. Your whole body–especially the core!–is going to work that much harder to maintain proper form.
(Of course, do not attempt this unless you’re more advanced and used to training on or with unstable, movable objects!)
And there you have it! My best tips and tricks for how to get your workouts in during your summer travels, and get the most out of your workouts when you just don’t feel like changing out of your PJs!