5 Tips to Actually Keeping Your Exercise Routine on the Road

If you’ve ever met me before, you probably know the typical set-up in my bedroom before a trip: a pile of clothes spread out on the floor, random pairs of shoes scattered all over the place, and one tiny suitcase. The process of elimination begins.

What will fit? What won’t? And most importantly, how many pairs of shoes can I fit in?

Inevitably, the bulkiest pair of shoes gets left out, and historically, that pair happens to be my workout shoes. There’s a good reason for this. They are bulky, inflexible, and have a super thick sole that can’t contort, be crammed into a tiny space, or flatten out.

So what ends up happening? I go on my trip—even with my best intentions—and I don’t work out because I don’t have the right outfit. It happens all. the. time.

On my last trip (I was heading to Charleston, South Carolina to meet up with the in-laws!), I was determined to save my workouts. This, in five handy tips, is what I learned. I hope it helps you, too!

Tip#1: Buy shoes you can stuff/fold in your suitcase.

What did I do first? I decided to start with shoe shopping. As soon as I got to the mall, I was flabbergasted—exercise shoe technology had advanced way more than I ever thought possible. There were shoes that felt weightless; shoes that had flexible midsoles that could almost fold in half; shoes with upper parts made of semi-collapsible canvas or mesh. I tried on at least ten pairs and finally decided on a pair of New Balance silver and mint ones that could easily be crushed into my suitcase. Success!

Once I got home, I started thinking about which of my workouts would be the easiest to replicate on the road. Typically, I do a combination of kickboxing, yoga, and jogging—two of which require some kind of instructor and some kind of equipment—so I knew I’d have to get creative. I sat down, scoured the web for tips, and made a list of all the ways I could keep myself accountable.

Here are the rest of the highlights:

Tip #2. Exercise before you get on the plane.

One of my trainers at my local boxing gym told me this little trick. Try booking your flights so that you have time in the morning to get a workout in before you leave for or after you get home from the airport. That way, you can’t make up an excuse if you’re still—or already—home. Plus, you’ll get to stretch your legs before taking a super long or cramped flight somewhere, and that’s always a good thing.

Tip #3: Scope out the hotel gym right after you check in.

Then, once you get to your hotel, check out the gym as soon as possible and set a plan of attack for the next morning. It sounds weird, but you’ll feel accountable and have your workout planned out when you wake up, which is a very effective way to guilt your way into actually getting up.

Tip #4: Put a towel on the floor and turn your phone into a yoga teacher.

(Yep, there’s an app for that–of course there is!).

If you’re not into the monotony of treadmills or being surrounded by sweaty strangers, turn your room into a private yoga studio or a personal bootcamp instead. You can try any number of things—download a yoga app with a free trial, lay a towel on the floor, and do a 20-minute yoga routine, or blast some music and try some weight-free intervals like push-ups off the ottoman, mountain climbers on the floor, or jump squats off the suitcase.

Tip #5: Walk places. Walk everywhere.

Of course, the easiest way to get a workout in on the road is to simply make it a part of your trip. Even if you’re traveling for business, take a morning run to the local coffee shop. Walk to dinner; walk to a bar; that kind of thing.

I can tell you this—the tips work. The lightweight running shoes inspired me to get up and out–and in a walkable city like Charleston, it was great to have comfortable shoes that could take me miles and miles.

I’ve also run out of excuses not to exercise while I’m on the road. And that, of course, is always a good thing.

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