Traveling is such a fun thing; however, it also might take you away from your daily health and fitness routine. Whether you are on the road for work or visiting family for the holidays, scheduling in some exercise breaks is critical to your overall health and well being. If you have big performance goals for 2021, your end of year travel can either catapult you forward towards those goals or make you take a colossal step backward.
When traveling a few things occur.
1) You fall out of your usual sleep/wake routine.
Sleep is one of the most challenging aspects of travel. New beds, new surroundings, and different timezones can make your usual sleep schedule impossible to follow. This change in routine can make it much more challenging to get up for that morning training session and makes processed treats look even more delectable.
The first step in managing this is just understanding that it is a side effect of a change in your sleep routine. You can try your best to stay on cycle regardless of where you are, but this is quite the challenge. Do not let dehydration become a multiplier. Dehydration will make cravings more intense and the changes in sleep schedule more pronounced throughout your day.
2) Your equipment availability changes.
Unless you have a father-in-law who has a sweet basement gym (Shoutout to my father-in-law!), you might have access to a completely different equipment setup when you are on the road. This scenario can lead to paralysis by analysis.
What exercise variation should I use? How much resistance does this band apply? How many sets and reps should I do?
All of these things might flood your mind and result in decreased motivation to complete your fitness training.
Pro Tip: Use RPE as as way to standardize your training, regardless of equipment.
3) You have to manage other's expectations.
A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends what their biggest struggles were with fitness and nutrition during the holiday season. The most charged answer I received was in regards to the effects of other's expectations.
Trying to eat healthily and you probably get shamed by a few family members at the dinner table. Aiming to manage your portions? Mom gives you a mountain of mashed potatoes.
Gas stations and airports provide convenient food options. Are they the best for your health and well-being? Not always.
How can you maximize your health and fitness routine while on the road? Not always.
1) Commit to some small goals.
Accept that your fitness training might not look the same as your usual day-to-day plan. Do not make this a reason to do nothing. When I am traveling, I like to commit to some small goals. Make the goals something attainable.
For example, I might make a goal to commit to 30 minutes of structured activity every other day while I am on the road. This could be a run with my wife and our dogs or a bodyweight circuit in my hotel room. I aim to complete this activity early in my day so I don't get caught in the, "I'll do it later" cycle.
Small goals are great for mental trickery. When I hit the small goal, it helps me feel good about myself and want to strive for a little more. It is a bonus since I already accomplished what I needed to do.
2) Have a "skeleton" plan.
By having a plan in place, I can take the guesswork out of what to do on a day. All I have to do is show up! This also gives me the flexibility to adjust my schedule as needed. Maybe Thursday is supposed to have better weather than Saturday. I'll adjust my course and complete a run on that day. Having a plan takes away excuses. The key is to not make it too rigid to the point it causes unnecessary stress on top of the stress of travel.
3) Get creative with training variables.
Volume: Since I didn't have access to a heavier load, I completed more sets and repetitions than usual. This helped me match the overall training volume when I have access to more weight.
RFE Squat Normal Gym
5 repetitions x 150 lbs=750 total lbs per set
3 sets x 750 total lbs per set=2,250 total lbs for exercise
RFE Squat RV Life
10 repetitions x 45 lbs=450 total lbs per set
5 sets x 450 total lbs per set=2,250 total lbs for exercise
Base of Support: While a goblet squat with 45-lbs would not provide me with that much of a challenge, utilizing a single-leg pattern decreased my base of support and made things much more challenging. This is where different variations of a movement pattern become extremely valuable.
High-quality fitness training can happen while you are on the road. Utilize these tips to stay the course!
Ready to hear something shocking? The holidays are here!
Hopefully, the holiday season is a time of excitement and joy for you. With that said, it is also a time of expanded waistlines, stress, and inactivity. There's a reason why the New Years Resolution season exists and it is often enhanced by the effects of the holiday season.
What if this year could be different?
What if you could ENJOY the holidays (and holiday treats) while staying the course with your health, fitness, and well being?
That would be a welcomed change!
I encourage you to explore, Healthy Beyond The Holidays! I have teamed up with Olivia Young, RDN to create a 45-day challenge to help you through the holiday season. Starting on November 15th, we will be guiding individuals on a fitness and nutrition journey through the holiday season. We will help you enjoy the holidays while not feeling like you have lost all of your nutrition and fitness momentum.
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