Thomasville Times Enterprise

November 30, 2013

Stay in shape while you travel

Amanda May

— At one point or another, we all tend to find ourselves away from the comfort and routine of our home lives for an extended period. Whether it’s halfway around the world for vacation, another state for business or just out of town for the night, one thing is certain while traveling: your daily routine is completely thrown off. With so much going on while away from home, it can be a bit (OK, entirely) overwhelming to accommodate your normal fitness routine and eating habits. Luckily, with a little planning and preparedness, you can fit it in, or at least the next best thing, and your progress doesn’t have to go flying out the window.

First things first: plan for the worst. In a perfect world, you can find a 24-hour fully equipped gym within walking distance, or better yet, attached to your hotel. Perhaps you’ll find a grocery store along the way where you can buy food to cook all your normal healthy meals in your fully equipped kitchen.

Ah, if only life was that easy. If we’re being honest, we know that’s probably not going to happen. In fact, if you have my luck, the hotel gym might consist of a single treadmill already in use by someone else, all the gyms will be closed for the holiday and there will be no available refrigerators to rent for the hotel room. Such is life.  

In the case you can’t find anywhere to work out or, worse yet, nothing good to eat, you should always have a back-up plan in place. At the bare minimum, you should be packing running shoes, a workout outfit and a good amount of portable foods and snacks.

Examples of some foods that travel well are nuts, beef jerky, oats, protein shakes and bars, and even canned chicken or tuna. If your travels allow, and you don’t mind people looking at you a little funny, a cooler packed with things like hardboiled eggs, cooked chicken, Greek yogurt and string cheese, etc., can go a long way.

Portable snacks are merely the next best thing to a whole foods meal. At some point, I’m sure you’ll find yourself at a restaurant, hopefully, one of the sit-down varieties where you can modify the menu to meet your needs. As long as your requests aren’t too lengthy, restaurants are typically more than happy to make something off the menu or modify just about anything.

Safe bets are usually something like grilled chicken or fish, vegetables, plain sweet potatoes, egg white omelets, oatmeal, etc.

As far as exercise, if you can’t get to a gym, you may have some exercise bands or an exercise video you can take with you to do in your room.

You can even make a decent workout out of good old-fashioned jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, etc; anything to get you moving. In the end, whatever you choose will probably end up being a great workout given it’s more than likely something very different than what your body is used to.

If all else fails, throw on your running shoes and get your heart rate up anyway you can. It doesn’t have to be the exact same fitness routine you are used to following. Just do what you can and what works. Are you in a safe area? Go jogging. Does the hotel have a pool? Go swimming. When I’m low on options, I’ve even been known to do lunges around a parking lot. 

At the end of the day, as with all things fitness, the most important thing is that you fit it in one way or another in whatever way that means for you. Even if the only time you have is during a layover at the airport; use it.

Take the stairs and rejoice in the fact you are one staircase closer to being the fittest you possible.

Amanda May is a Factor X Fitness personal trainer. Reach her at and