With spring break just around the corner, and summer following in quick pursuit, travel plans for all of us are going to accelerate into high gear. I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I find it very easy to let everything go by the wayside. And that is definitely not a good thing…
My sister and I took a three-week cross-country trip with my boys two summers ago, traveling by car. For the first three days I got up in the morning and went to the hotel gyms and went for my run….and day 3 is when it ended. My sister, on the other hand, woke up every morning for the entire three weeks and went outside for her run while exploring every little town where we stopped. Needless to say, I’m the one who put on the pounds and played catch-up when we got home, while she looked as radiant as ever….
If only I had followed a few simple rules.
1. A LITTLE IS BETTER THAN NONE AT ALL
Just because you may not have time for a full workout like you would do at home, doesn’t mean you should just skip it all together. If you don’t have time for your usual, complete run, at least do part of it. Or, if you don’t have a full hour for a good pilates session, plop down on the floor and do a quickie session. This is the most important thing for me to remember – for me it’s always all or nothing, but sometimes, on vacation, you have to adapt!
A quickie session could be something like this:
- Pilates Hundred (Inhale 5 counts & exhale 5 counts 10X)
- Half Roll Backs (4X)
- Full Roll Ups (4X)
- Pilates Series of 5 (8X each exercise, without stopping in between if you can)
- Shoulder Bridge (4X each leg)
- Back Extensions w/ hands stacked under forehead (8 times)
- Quadruped/Watchdog (2X each side)
- Plank (hold as long as you can)
- 8 Pilates Push-ups (1-2 sets depending on time)
If Pilates isn’t your thing, other options include, but are not limited to: quickie Yoga, walking around the block, jogging around the block, squats, push ups, jumping rope, lunges… the list goes on and on. Just do something that gets your blood pumping and muscles working.
2. DO WHAT THE LOCALS DO
Sometimes the best way to incorporate fitness is to find out what keeps the people who live there fit. For example, there was one great day when we were in Colorado, and we got to take an amazing hike. The workout was just a bonus really. I got to take in the beauty of my surroundings and spend some quality time with my sister and my boys – I was loving it….boys? not so much. 🙂
If you aren’t traveling somewhere like Colorado with obvious fitness options built-in, you can still make this rule work for you. Let’s say you are traveling to NYC. Guess what the locals do…
The majority of New Yorkers do not have a car. They get around the old-fashioned way, on their own 2 feet (with a little bit of Subway mixed in). Again, it’s a great way to take in the sites and really get a feeling of the vibe of the city. I highly recommend putting on your walking shoes and just going out exploring. I promise it won’ t be nearly as scary as it sounds.
3. BRING TOYS!
Fitness toys that is… You don’t need a gym to get fit. I am certainly not suggesting you lug dumbbells around with you. I’m thinking something more like this:
This little magic toy is a gym in itself. If you combine it with this little toy (which can be deflated & fit into any carry on):
Back Rowing with the Stretch Band:
- Sit tall on top of your sits bones with the legs long in front of you and the band around your feet.
- Bring your knuckles together in front of your chest with the elbows out to the side.
- Pull the abs and ribs in and round back off your sits bones stopping about the top of your pants.
- Deepen the scoop in the abs be pressing the belly button straight to the floor and keeping the ribs closed.
- Extend the arms open to the side with the palms facing back (think of windshield wipers).
- Press the band back as far as you can without moving & then dive up and over your things as the arms reach to the back with palms facing each other.
- Lift your abs and ribs as far away from your thighs as you can & bring the arms back around to the front (the band will lose tension).
- Roll back up to the starting position.
- Repeat 2-3X.
Make sure when the arms reach back that the shoulders are sliding down the back, far away from the ears. Also, even when you lose tension in the band towards the end, maintain engagement in the abs as if you were just at the end of your roll up.
**You can add pulses when the arms are reaching back for more triceps.
**You can add bicep curls before you begin the rowing series by swiveling the arms so the fists & elbows are in line with the shoulders and then extending the arms out front.
Toe Taps on the Small Ball:
- Lie on your back with your feet flat& knees up
- Lift your hips and place the ball under your pelvis (1/2 way between your lower back & butt)
- Deepen the abdominals by connecting the hips to the ribs & bring one leg at a time into table top (knees over hips & shins parallel to the floor)
- Without changing the bend in the knee, dip your right toes down towards the floor & then back up to table top.
- Switch at dip the left toes down.
- Keep alternating 8-10X total
Make sure you are moving from the hip and not the knee. As the thigh moves away, pull the hip point on the same side up towards the rib more. It’s not about touching the floor… it’s about keeping your spine and pelvis still against the movement of the legs.
**If you want to get fancy, you can try bending the elbows & lifting the forearms off the floor or reaching the arms straight up to the ceiling above the shoulders. (MUCH more balance and core strength required)
**Once you have mastered the alternating legs, try moving both legs together.
4. DON’T GET CRAZY
Assuming your trip is not much longer than 5-7 days, and you miss a workout (or 2 or 3) DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP! Instead of planning your trip around your fitness, plan your fitness around your trip. If you are on vacation and relaxation is the goal, for goodness sake, relax. Stressing out about how much you are or aren’t working out will defeat the purpose of the vacation. If you are traveling for work, obviously you have to work (& most likely have a pretty tight schedule), so do your “quickie” Pilates or walk around the block whenever you can & be proud of yourself for making the effort.
And above all, remember – STUDIO BE will be here waiting for you when you return.
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