How to Stay Active While Traveling

You’ve managed to stay motivated after Thanksgiving and continue to kill your workouts on your schedule, but now it’s time to leave the familiar to visit family over the holidays and you’re not sure how you’ll be able to keep it up. Instead of fearing how this small change to your routine could derail your progress, give yourself the opportunity to prepare and experience new forms of movement while staying on track.

How to Stay Active While Traveling

There are two pieces of the equation to staying active while traveling: One, be prepared by packing only the essentials you know are important to your workout process. Two, have go-to workout options ready so you’re not trying to create a plan on-the-fly, especially if you’re limited on time!

4 fitness essentials to keep you moving when you’re not at home

Tennis shoes. Some of us just love owning every type of workout shoe available, but see if you can find (and pack) only one pair you know you’ll feel comfortable walking, jogging/running, lifting, or power training in.

Ear buds. Music can be a powerful motivator during a workout - which is sometimes the only motivation you have to get moving. Remember to pack your earbuds (or headphones) and extra batteries/charger (if they’re wireless) so you can feel the adrenaline rush everytime the beat drops.

Your favorite workout gear. Whether it’s a sassy tank top, baggy sweatpants, ultra moisture wicking shorts (which also happen to fit perfectly), your favorite headband or ball cap to keep the sweat out of your eyes, having the right apparel on-hand for your sweat session may help you feel less hesitant about squeezing your workout in.

Pre-workout fuel. This looks different for everyone, but if you know you won’t have quick access to the right foods then pack a couple pieces of fruit or a few extra protein bars into your bag. A pre-packed banana might mean the difference between dragging through a quick holiday run vs. running that mile in beast mode.

4 workouts to keep you active while traveling

The do anywhere, no equipment needed workout for all levels

This will not require one. Single. Piece. Of. Equipment. Just your body! The best part is you can determine what level of intensity you want to work at as you progress down the list. For less intensity, cut the number of reps in half for each movement. For more intensity, add explosive power to turn the routine into a plyometric workout.

  • x10 - bodyweight squats/jump squats
  • x20 - alt. rear lunges/jump lunges
  • x30 - mountain climbers
  • x40 - speed skaters
  • x50 - jumping jacks
  • x60 seconds - walk/jog/run (in-place, on a treadmill, or around the block!)

Repeat this sequence for as many sets as you have time for to create a full routine - minimum would be three sets, maximum would be 10 sets.

A killer kettlebell workout to elevate your heart rate

Kettlebells can be deceiving with the amount of work you exert by pushing the weight around. If you’re fortunate to have access to various weights of kettlebells, then try this total body kettlebell workout to combine strength and power.

  • KB single leg deadlift
  • KB swings
  • KB high pull
  • KB hip halo
  • KB goblet squat

There are two options for the number of repetitions for this progression: Option one is to keep the reps low (x8-10) and weight heavy, or perform a higher number of reps (x15-20) but keep the weight moderate-to-light.

Get pumping with this dynamic dumbbell workout

If you’re fortunate to have access to a full set of dumbbells, then you can put together a comprehensive lifting routine to target your main muscle groups.

  • Front squat
  • Stiff legged deadlift (SLDL)
  • Bench press
  • One-arm (bent over) row
  • Lateral raise
  • Alternating bicep curls
  • Lying tricep extensions

Similar to the rep scheme for the kettlebell workout outlined above, you can again choose to keep the reps low and weight heavy, or perform high reps with lighter weight.

Or try a new workout with your family

If one of your relatives is really into a specific style of working out, like Crossfit, but you feel too nervous to go to a class on your own then ask if you could tag along! Hopefully they’ll be able to recommend the right instructor or an entry-level class tailored to your fitness level.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a gym buddy to try a class with then search for “gyms near me” on your phone (with GPS enabled) to get an idea of what’s available near you. Many gyms will offer holiday passes at a discounted rate!

Bonus workout for that holiday hustle

Add 10 pushups and 30 second alternating plank holds (right side/center/left side) between every set in the routine you choose!

Don't forget about routine recovery

The holidays are a wonderful time to relax, recharge and let your body recover from your usual routine! But, that doesn't mean you should be completely sedentary during your trip, either. Even if you opt out of "exercising" in the traditional sense you can still keep yourself moving by helping around the kitchen, playing chase with the kids, or catching up with someone while going for a long walk. Don't let the thought of traditional holiday weight gain snowball your fun, just take it one day, one choice and one moment at a time.

Happy holidays and safe travels!

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