Holidays can represent a bulk of the annual time away from home for many, if not most, travelers.
You head off to see family and friends in other states or countries. These trips also take you away from your hometown gym and typical fitness routine. We try desperately not to let our workouts suffer too much when we're on the road, especially around holiday time when the temptations of rich and plentiful foods and desserts are constantly and tantalizingly within easy reach.
So, what can you do to make sure you keep on track with your fitness program during the holidays?
I use a mix of modification and moderation during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's celebrations that might otherwise risk sending me on a dietary and fitness death spiral.
The moderation involves my diet. Of course I'm going to partake in food and drink. I might even consume a little bit more than during my average week of eating, but I will not become a glutton.
Have a nice little pep talk with yourself each day and set your limits. Then, stick to them. Work with a partner to have each other's back. Share how many beers you plan to down. Then, don't get mad when they remind you that you've already had two more than you said you were going to have.
Then, have just one more and call it a night.
The modification is in my workouts. You can get ready for your time on the road by scheduling your current fitness program (if you routinely construct a six- or eight-week plans, for example) to wrap up right as your trip starts. This way, you won't be affecting a strict regimen you are trying to keep with a travel interruption.
If I am on a six-week weightlifting plan using heavy weights, I'll finish right before the vacation and switch to a higher repetitions, lower weights plan that I know I will be able to stick to even if I can't get to a traditional gym.
Here are additional tips and tricks to stick to workouts when traveling for the holidays.
Pack exercise bands. These handy items fit right into your luggage, and you can perform exercises for any body part with a variety of added resistance (depending on the thickness on the band). Search "fitness band workouts" on YouTube to find all sorts of challenging programs to follow.
Guest passes. Ask whether your friends or family whom you are visiting can get you a guest pass to their gym. Or ask a fitness center whether it offers weeklong memberships or day passes.
Hotel gyms. Staying at a hotel? It probably has a gym with at least a barebones setup. But some of these facilities have the full range of equipment you would need for a fantastic workout. Also, use the pool to swim laps if the hotel has one.
Get creative. If the weather is mild, you can use the time at your holiday destination to do more running or sprinting workouts outside. Nice long walks are fine, too, and maybe you will take this period to let your muscles recover for your return to the gym back home and your next weightlifting program. Make sure you keep up with your stretching and abdominals work, though, while traveling. This can be done anywhere. So can basic bodyweight exercises.
For a challenging workout, try to do 300 pushups and 300 situps a day while on your trip. Add some pullups, too, if you find a good spot to execute those moves (maybe a tree branch or playground area).
The possibilities are only limited to what you come up with to stay active no matter where your travels take you this holiday season.
When you . . . Travel fit!
You . . . Travel happy!
And you can . . . Travel often!
Thanks for reading,