Whether you're traveling for work or leisure, the following list of 14 tips will help you keep your fitness momentum going while you're away from home:
1. Pack a resistance band.
Resistance bands are a portable, multi-functional and inexpensive gold mine of fitness potential since they can be used in place of dumbbells or machines.
You can always buy an extra one to just store in your luggage or travel bag so you never leave home without it.
Lost on what to do with it? Check out the exercise guides included in the box with the band or research some resistance band routines on YouTube to incorporate into your workout.
2. Ask for a room on the same floor as the fitness center.
You know the saying: out of sight, out of mind.
If you want to work out while traveling, but think you'll blow it off once you get to the hotel, you'll be more likely to make time for the hotel gym if you have to pass it on the way in and out of your room.
Accessibility and convenience are key to making your on-the-road fitness routine work for you.
3. Know before you go.
Many hotel chains now offer more fitness amenities than just a fitness center.
For example, Kimpton Hotels in some cities offer a yoga mat service with a free yoga video that plays on one of their closed circuit channels, as well as complimentary bikes for guests.
Westin Hotels charge a $5 fee for workout clothes and sneakers to traveling guests, which is great if you need to save space in your luggage and opt to leave bulky running or training shoes at home.
Call your hotel or travel agency to find out what other fitness rewards might be available to you during your stay.
4. If you belong to a national gym chain, choose a hotel nearby.
There's no place like home, and if being in a comfortable or familiar environment is likely to motivate you to get your workout in while traveling, book your lodging accommodations near the closest gym location in the city you're visiting.
That will motivate you to get in your workout.
5. Ask for a refrigerator or microwave.
Having access to a refrigerator and microwave in your room will enable you to pack, store and heat pre-prepared food, taking any potential guesswork out of figuring out macronutrients and calories from restaurant or takeout meals.
Alternatively, you could take advantage of a meal prep service during your stay and have your healthy meals delivered to your hotel.
Nutritional consistency and compliance are key to reaching your fitness goal whether or not you are traveling.
6. Stay in a suite with a kitchen.
Kitchen-equipped hotel suites enable you to cook whatever you like while you're on the road.
These types of accommodations are particularly useful for longer term travel when trying to manage food on a nutrition plan.
Housing share and rental services like Airbnb are also options for finding kitchen accommodations during travel as their listings typically consist of actual homes or rental properties.
7. Research farmers market days.
With so many cities – and rural towns – expanding access to farmer's markets, it's a matter of finding out the market schedule for the duration of your trip to get access to great locally grown produce and farm products.
This is also a great way to support local markets and make sure they have the capital and traffic they need to continue serving the community.
8. Utilize the city bike share program.
Pass on the double decker tour bus and utilize the bike share program many cities are implementing to ease vehicle traffic and promote more climate friendly transportation policies.
If you're unfamiliar with the layout of local streets, you can use an app such as MapMyRide to find pre-mapped routes in the area and interesting sites to see.
9. Pack measuring cups and spoons.
One of the contributing factors to Americans' expanding waistlines is the ever-expanding portion size of food offered in restaurants, concession stands and packaged goods.
Some varieties of trail mix may be considered a healthy snack (others may as well just be candy), but eating all six servings in the bag it's packed in won't do you any favors.
Pack tools that will help you stay relatively within normal portion sizes while on the road, and bring Ziploc bags with you as well so you can bag or portion out leftovers.
Or if you're eating out, just ask for the portion size you want.
Most chefs are perfectly willing to accommodate only sending out 6 ounces of sweet potato fries with your meal instead of 10 ounces if you request it.
10. Bring your bathing suit.
Does your hotel or host have a pool? Pack your swim trunks and swim some laps during your trip.
Swimming works muscles throughout the entire body and is great for cardiovascular conditioning.
11. Take your supplements in packets.
My advice is to just make it a point to avoid trying to figure out how to pack a plastic baggie full of white supplement powder so that it doesn't draw curious stares from your friendly TSA inspector.
Next time you're at the store, buy small, packet-sized options of your favorite supplements, whether it's protein powder, a pre-workout or green juice blend.
The manufacturer-sealed packets are much less likely to draw suspicious looks and are very convenient for mixing on the go.
12. Suggest a “walking meeting.”
If you're traveling for work and the culture of your organization allows for it, you can suggest a walking meeting instead of a sit-down gathering.
The physical activity can also help reduce sluggishness and increase alertness, which can make your meeting more efficient and productive (ie. shorter).
13. Pack clean protein.
You can almost always find fats and carbohydrates to eat on the road, so if you are limited on space, time or storage, choose to pack clean proteins to carry with you.
Freezing cooked proteins like chicken and beef or opting for vacuum-sealed packets of tuna and salmon are convenient methods of transporting proteins during travel.
Canned options are available as well, but don't forget to pack a can opener! And protein bars can be used in a pinch, provided they don't have too much sugar or too many additives.
14. Walk around and stretch.
Most long-distance travel requires long periods of sitting in cramped conditions.
If traveling on a plane or train, take a stroll at least once per hour of your trip to get the blood circulating throughout your body.
When you arrive at your destination, make sure you stretch, particularly the lower back and hip flexors, which are often stressed by sitting positions.
Due to conditioned postural imbalances and inefficiencies, sitting can exacerbate the effect of patterns of bodily tension, including hunched and rounded shoulders and slumping.
These patterns can lead to headaches, pains elsewhere in the body and fatigue. Stretching is a quick and easy way to alleviate some of these symptoms.
With these helpful tips, you don't have to let a trip foil your fitness.
Prioritize your workouts and diet the same way you would at home while being flexible and creative with the resources you have at your disposal to stick to your healthy lifestyle.