When traveling for work, the hotel gym might be the only option I have to stay active. After all, since work is my priority during these trips, I often don't have time to find a full-service health club or a local pool, and I might only have time to work out when it's dark outside - when it may not be safe to try a new running trail.
But a poorly equipped hotel gym (i.e., rusty weights and one treadmill that everyone competes for at 6:00 in the morning) can spoil my workout plans. To supplement the hotel's equipment, I often carry exercise bands. They're light, don't take up a lot of space, and allow me to do resistance training wherever I go. I'll also do exercises that use my body weight for resistance, such as push-ups and tricep dips. And because many core exercises can be done without equipment, I might spend more time doing them.
I try not to stress out about not being able to do my normal routine, although it can be difficult since I look forward to my workouts and use them to relieve stress in the first place. Anticipating lower intensity and lower volume workouts, I treat these travel days as recovery days, giving my body time to rest from hard workouts I did the previous week. After all, my body is probably already under physical stress from the travel itself, so it could use the downtime.
I used to turn-down long trips to areas I knew had less-than stellar fitness facilities, but I realized I missed a lot of experiences. A little ingenuity can certainly keep us fit while on the road. As far as toting your own materials, two biggest concerns are the weight they will add to your suitcase and the space to reserve in the case. So long as you know how to use bands, Geri's bagging the no. 1 pick for travel, as bands are lightweight and foldable thus you won't have to sacrifice precious shoe space for them. If you haven't worked with bands before, many come with an exercise video when purchased. I've also been known to throw a pair of 3 or 5lb dumbells in my back for light arm work, plyos and enhance bodyweight exercises on the floor, such as planks with presses and the whole gamut of Yoga and Pilates matwork. Lastly, a pain to inflate/deflate...for a short trip, but for an extended stay you could pack a deflated stability ball and pump. If traveling in the car and you've got the room, put the big boy in the back seat, no deflation necessary.
Alternatively you could check out the area gyms. Many will charge a guest fee, or you could fib about having just moved to the area and are shopping for your new fitness sanctuary. Ahem, I'm not endorsing this one!
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