Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Packing Fitness into your Travel Plans

So, I was recently interviewed for Canadian Living Magazine Online for how to continue a workout routine while traveling.  The article is wonderful, but just because of the layout of the article, I wanted to expand on a few of my quotes and points made in the article...

If you are planning a trip in the next little while (which most people are), here are a few easy things you can do on the road...
  1. No need for equipment...
  • I base entire classes and programs on very little to no equipment. Lack of equipment is the worst excuse for not exercising! As a personal trainer, I have heard a lot of good (and not so good) reasons for people to not include exercise in their daily routines. The toughest to work around is no time... the easiest, is no equipment. There is no equipment required for crunches, push ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, planks (and their many variations), jumping jacks, burpies, mountain climbers, hip blasters, alternating lunges jumps... should I bother going on? I started Beaches Fitness in my basement. I had a 10 x 10 space and the big gym machine took up 5 x 10 of that (and I have never used that machine much)... I was not left with much room to work in, but I made it work. I still had great results from my clients and I was still able to change their fitness routines up on a regular basis and keep them motivated. There is so much you can do without machines and in very little space! You do not need a lot of space or equipment to get in an effective workout. I have put together plenty of routines for clients to do while they are away for business or pleasure. Some clients are happy to go down to the hotel gym, but others would much rather workout in their hotel room.
  1. Take advantage of what your travel plans have to offer... hotel gym, pool, scenic walks!
  • Hotel gyms are usually wonderful. The equipment is kept clean and in great working order and they are never too busy. If your hotel offers a gym, take advantage of it! Exercising while on vacation will help keep your energy levels up and help burn off the extra caloric intake you may experience at the restaurants or while out on the town! Exercising while traveling for business will also help with the above mentioned issues, but most importantly, it will help manage your stress level and gives you that hour to yourself and away from your work.
  • If you are able to walk places while traveling, do it. Pack a comfortable pair of shoes and plan some extra time to get from your hotel to your destination. This is a great way to see the city, safe some money and get in some much needed exercise. If you are really looking to burn some calories, but are not into the idea of jogging, why not power walk? Just lead with your hips and push your body to walk a little faster than you normally would. You do not need to speed walk or anything, just push yourself forward a little quicker than you normally would. Let your heart rate increase a little and your body will thank you in the long run.
  • Pools are another great perk to staying in hotels – if you like swimming. Swimming is a great low-impact form of exercise. If you really enjoy swimming, do a few laps. Get in your exercise and decrease your stress all while doing an activity that you enjoy!
  1. Pack a gym... that would fit in your purse!
  • For my clients going away on travel, I have put together a travel fitness pack. Packed in one of my Beaches Fitness totes is a resistance band, resistance loop, a Bender Ball and their workout routine.  None of this takes up any room in a suitcase... most women could fit these in their purse. A yoga mat would be nice, but not at all a necessity. A hotel towel can make floor exercises more comfortable than the being directly on the hotel rug. Everyone knows what a resistance band is... a long, flat band that come in different colours. Resistance tubing is also fantastic and I use that for all my classes, but the bands pack up so much smaller, they are great for travel. The resistance loop is a small loop – much like the resistance band, only a little thicker and about 12” long. This small little loop can do so much! Hips, thighs, inner thighs, biceps, triceps, upper back, calves... the list goes on. I use these loops with all my clients and in all my classes. I love them. They pack up so small. I carry at 30 with me to every class and they take up a very small portion of my backpack. There is no excuse for not taking them with you for your vacation or business trip! Last year, this was the only piece of equipment I used for my Stroller Fitness classes. They are a lot tougher than they look! The final piece of equipment I think it terrific for travel is the Bender Ball. This little ball is inflated by a straw in a few seconds and then deflates to be flat again in a few more seconds. There is so much you can do with the Bender Ball, it has become my favorite piece of equipment for my classes and with my clients. It changes core work, helps with lower back issues, creates great stability exercises and also offers great modifications for lower body and upper body exercises! I could design a full body workout with just the Bender Ball! As for the cardio portion of your workout, you could take a skipping rope, if you love to skip and have a place that you are able to do it, why not? Obviously, jogging would be the simplest answer for cardio, but not everyone loves to jog and if you are working all day, most people do not want to go jogging alone at night in a new city. Some great options for in the hotel room are jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, mountain climbers, burpies, hip blasters, or penguin jog (which includes the resistance loop and works your hips at the same time... so wonderful!).
  • Fitness apps on a smart phone can be great. If you can find an app for your phone that will keep you accountable to your workouts, even better. Most people are quick to say, “I will workout tomorrow”. This is very easy to keep doing and in general, tomorrow never actually comes. There is a reason people have more success with a Personal Trainer; yes, we have greater knowledge of how to safely workout and how to see more results, etc, but the main reason people need a personal trainer is motivation. I am not a cheerleader with my clients and I am not a drill sergeant... but, my clients are accountable for their actions. If they have not worked out for 2 weeks and then come back to me, they then need to tell me why they did not workout and they can see the punishment on the scale. I do not need to say anything to my clients to make them feel bad about not working out, they do that to themselves when they find themselves having to explain to someone else why they had no time to workout. Really? Anyone can find 2-3 hours a week to workout. It just needs to take priority over watching “Big Brother” or what ever show it is for that season... believe me, I watch tv, but I have to record it and watch it later. I am a mother, a business owner, and a wife and I still find time to exercise. It is possible.
  1. Make sleeping part of your travel plans.
  • Needing a proper nights sleep is important for everyone. If you are traveling or if you are at home, we should all make sure we get enough sleep. Our bodies need this time to process our day, recover from our day and prepare for the next. Exercise also helps to promote healthy sleep, so it is a great circle... you need enough sleep to make sure you are working out safely and efficiently, but working out will also help ensure you are sleeping soundly. Our bodies and minds go through so much while we sleep, it is imperative that we allow our bodies this time to recoup and prepare.
  1. Include "exercise" in your day to day travel experience.
  • Stuck sitting in meetings all day? Why not walk to and from the hotel? Sitting in presentations all afternoon? Why not do some “Tummy Vacuums” in your seat? Just pull your belly button into your spine, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat this 10 times and you have just worked your transverse abdominis, which will help reshape (or maintain) your belly. If you have a day off, why not rent a bike and find some bike trails. Even the most metropolitan cities will have some beautiful bike trails. Any hotel concierge should be able to help you locate a bike rental shop and the bike rental shop will be able to lead you to some great trails. Walking is one of the best ways to experience a new city, so do not be afraid to walk instead of taking transit. You will be thankful in the end and see so much more of the city instead of seeing the underground tunnels!
  1. Indulge yourself, but do not overindulge.
  • Counting calories is never fun, but it is a good idea when you are out of your normal routine. It is really easy to over eat and eat the wrong things while you are away. Why not write down everything you eat? You do not need to track the calories, but writing things down tends to lead people away from poor eating habits. If you feel guilty writing it down, there is a good chance you will not eat it. Going out for the evening and having a few drinks? No problem. Why not have a glass of water between each drink? Not only will it help you drink responsibly, but it will also ward off any hang over you may have. Drinking will increase your calorie count more than most people realize. This does not mean you can not drink, but maybe just limit how much you drink.
  • If you are going out on the town for the day, why not pack yourself a healthy lunch? You will save money and have more control over your portions and will be less likely to over indulge.
Why is it important to continue your workout routine while traveling?

The biggest problem with taking time off from exercise, is the chance that you do not return. It takes 3-6 weeks to get your body into a great workout routine and get yourself motivated to allow yourself the time to exercise. It can take as little as a week to lose that momentum and very quickly end up back where you started... if not worse. As a personal trainer, I have seen this first hand. Clients come in 3 times a week, get themselves in a great routine and are on track to meeting their goals... then they get called away on business and way too soon, their weight is creeping back up on the scale and they get discouraged. This can be a very slippery slope. There are so many reasons why you need to workout 3 times a week (minimum), but the the most important reason is routine and momentum. Do not allow yourself that chance to put it off to tomorrow, why not today? In today's society, it is very easy for people to feel that work is more important than exercise. Really, is your job more important than your health and happiness? Everyone needs to take a look at their own lives and decide where their priorities fall. If your own health and happiness is at the bottom of a long list, there is a good chance you need to take some time and re-evaluate what is important to you in the long term.

No comments:

Post a Comment