Monday, April 02, 2007

How to Workout while Traveling

I have recently had requests from clients for a travel workout while they're on vacation to ensure that they don't loose any of the fitness they have gained at fusion.

Certainly, it would be hard to complete the HEART.MUSCLE.MIND
Cross-training program outside of fusion without the coaching and equipment, however there are plenty of ways to exercise and maintain your fitness that don't require much time, know how or equipment. You might not improve much on vacation but you certainly don't need to fall off the wagon and gain weight either.

I've been both a marketing consultant, living in airports and hotels, going out for luxurious meals, as well as, a poor backpacker traveling around the world, without gym facilities, sometimes without electricity or a bed, but I found ways to weave cardio, strength and flexibility/relaxation into my travels. Below I'll discuss some of the ways you can maintain your fitness that will actually improve your travel experience, as well as, provide you with an outline for a good, easy, quick workout on the road.

First comes planning. If you are truly committed to having a healthy lifestyle a vacation does not necessarily have to be sitting idle on a beach and drinking beer nor does a work trip mean you pig out at the buffet. It can certainly have some of that, but plan ahead to achieve balance by scheduling activities for physical and mental well being, like hiking, swimming, etc. I have found that doing so enhanced my overall experience, allowed me to see more and feel good about the trip afterwards.

Here are some examples from my travels:
  • When in Tuscany, my friends and I opted for a cycling tour of wine country versus the lame tourist bus.
  • In Cambodia, during relaxing days on the beach I'd swim along the beach and run back.
  • In Capetown, we opted for hiking up and down table mountain, 4-5 hours round trip.
  • On a long-term project, I found a local rugby team to practice with during the week.
  • On a short consulting trip in St. Louis, I took my boss for a run down to the Arch.
Given any place or situation there is almost always a way to work fitness into the mix.

Here are my recommended practical exercises for a holistic travel workout:

HEART: Running, biking, and hiking can be the easiest and most enjoyable forms of exercise while traveling. They actually let you see a lot more of a place than typical sight seeing and in an entirely different perspective. So instead of going for shorter, high intensity bouts of cardio, like at fusion, go for more distance (as far as you want to explore)and take it at whatever pace feels good to you at the time (you want to enjoy it).

MUSCLE: If you stay at a hotel with a decent weight room, by all means use it, but if all you have is the bed and a chair, here are some easy exercises to keep you toned. Do 2-3 sets of the following circuit, performing each exercise to fatigue.
  1. Push-ups - few exercises are more effective, try both regular and wide hands and if the floor is filthy, do them on your bed.
  2. Side Planks - prop your upper body up on one forearm, keeping the body straight and holding as long as possible. Repeat on opposite side.
  3. Squats with Raised Arms: raise your arms straight forward or out to the sides while you squat at a steady pace.
  4. Dips - prop your body up on the edge of the bed, chair, air handler, or anything sturdy, and lower your butt towards the ground and push back up. Prop your feet up for more challenge.
  5. Crunches - knees bent, hands behind the head, curl both shoulders and legs/tail bone up off the ground on an exhale, contract for half a breath and lower back down on an inhale.

MIND: the sun salutation series incorporates most of the stretching to keep you flexible as well as the breathing and flow that will help you chill out.

Breath arms up-> forward fold->step back into plank and lower-> bend into upward dog-> press back into downward dog (take a few breathes in downward dog and step forward)

All these segments can be done at different, appropriate times as well. You go for a run at sunset and finish with the sun salutations, and work the strength in right after waking. Anyway you weave it in works, get creative and do what feels right.

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