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Health / Fitness

On the road: how to maintain your workout while travelling

No regular gym? No problem. Here are the best ways to keep in shape while on the move

Even when you have a stable routine, getting a frequent workout is not always easy. So trying to work out while travelling is exponentially more difficult. Nobody wants to spend their precious travel/leisure time lifting weights and jumping on the dreaded treadmill for hours on end, so try these strategies on how to maintain your health and fitness while you are on the move.

You can do a workout anywhere

Just because your hotel does not have all the bells and whistles (and they mostly do not) that does not give you the excuse to not work out. A hotel room has plenty of props such as chairs, beds and desks to do push/pull movements in a workout. And if you are not in a hotel with a gym, ask the reception or concierge for a local park so that you can do a bodyweight workout using the children's playground equipment. If there is no park, find a place to do pull-ups.

Work multiple muscle groups at once

Instead of going for exercises that focus primarily on one muscle group, try to incorporate exercises that use major muscle categories to raise your internal temperature and heart-rate. The more muscles you use, the more energy required and the more you will burn. Great exercises that require many muscle groups are burpees, thrusters, rows, planks and jumping jacks.

How much time should I work out for?

When you are on the road, any workout is a good workout. Ideally you want your heart rate to be elevated in training state fort at least 20 minutes every day when you are travelling. This may not be possible, but try to get at least three workouts in a week to maintain a level of fitness.

What type of training should I be doing?

Try to do strength/resistance training. This will elevate your heart-rate, keep your strength and activate your metabolism long after the training session is over. If you cannot find weights or a substitute (for example, luggage), use your bodyweight as much as possible.

A free pass to equipment? 

If you really need the comfort of going to a gym to use facilities that your accommodation cannot provide, we may have an answer for you. A great way to make sure you get to work out is to research local gyms nearby the hotel you are staying. Many gyms now offer one-week or daily free passes to try out a gym. You can use these to make sure you are still getting your workout in without sacrifices the quality of the equipment or breaking the bank.

Make fitness the constant

There are so many variables when it comes to travel, so make fitness your constant. When all else is scrambled and out of routine, make sure your workout is the time in the day you stick to. Maybe you have to get up 30 minutes earlier to get your workout in before meetings, or go for a half-hour run instead of your standard one-hour. Plan your workouts ahead of time and schedule them into your calendar.

A hotel gym workout

  • A five-minute warm up, to get the blood flowing

  • A push movement (a push-up)

  • A pull movement (rows)

  • Core exercises (planks, crunches)

  • Leg exercises (squats, lunges)

  • Active movement (such as skipping, bear crawls or mountain climbers)

Try to do these movements in a circuit if you have no equipment, consisting of several different exercises with low amounts of rest (30 seconds maximum). The idea is to keep your heart-rate elevated as much as possible. This type of training will allow you to build muscle, burn fat and increase your performance.

A hotel room workout

  • Warm-up (20 star jumps, 20 mountain climbers, 10 sit-ups, 20 high knees)

  • Exercise 1:  20 incline push-ups

  • Exercise 2: 20 rows

  • Exercise 3: 20 bicycles

  • Exercise 4: 20 air squats

  • Exercise 5: 20 jump lunges

After each repetition of 20, move immediately to the next one. Once you have finished exercise 5, go back to the top. Repeat this cycle three times (or if you are feeling up for it, try four times through).

The average amount of time in an elevated heart-rate state for getting physical benefits from training is 20 minutes minimum. If you are traveller, finding this precious time is even harder, but 15 minutes is only about 1% of your day, so surely you should be willing to give up 1% of your day to take care of your physical appearance, health, confidence and happiness?

If you are a little more serious about your workouts, look at purchasing a TRX to take on your travels, plus a foam roller and an elastic band to help with your stretching.

The writer is co-founder of travel-centric online platform AdventureFaktory

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