In my previous job, I travelled around a lot. Mostly in the south west of WA, but occasionally overseas too. As a creature of routine, I found it extremely hard to keep up with any kind of workout regime during the first year or so, and would often find myself going a whole week at a time without having fit much of a workout in.
Once I started training for my first bikini comp, I realised that it didn’t have to be as hard as I’d made it seem to get myself moving whilst on the road -it was simply a matter of priorities.
Now before you tell yourself (or me) that it’s simply impossible – your days are too long, or too taxing, let me give you a little example of how a typical few days on the road was for me.
Leave home at 6am on day one, drive for four hours with one five minute pit stop, arrive at destination ready for a five hour meeting. Quick one hour gap to check into accommodation and attempt to spruce hair and makeup, back out for an evening networking function and dinner.
Day two, meetings on the road all day starting at 8:30am, with an over night stay in a tiny remote town containing one hotel and one pub (both in the same building).
Day three, on the road by 8am for the now five and a half hour drive back to the office to make a 2pm meeting.
It sounds insane, I know – but I loved it. Amongst all that, I still managed to keep my body moving – essential when you’re spending so much time sitting down in the car.
Here are some of the tips and tricks I picked up over the years that kept me on track…
A ‘chain’ gym membership
Getting the obvious one out of the way to start with. If you are a gym goer, consider being a member of a gym that allows you access to multiple gyms across the country. It’s super easy to check online if there is a branch in the town you’re travelling to, and then factor in a 45 minute stop into your itinerary. I’ve managed this before with one hour between meetings – just enough time to squeeze in a workout and a shower before hitting the road again.
Do not underestimate this bad boy. No, walking alone is not going to help you meet your goals, no it is not a substitute for heavy weight training, and no it is not a miracle worker. But it’s a darn sight better than nothing. Last Christmas, whilst staying at a caravan park, I walked twice a day for a good 45 minutes. After two weeks of indulgence and no weight training I was positive I had done some damage – and yet came home to find I’d put no weight on and lost only the tiniest amount of muscle.
NB: I gain weight (fat) by simply looking at a box of chocolates the wrong way.
My point being that whilst walking won’t fix everything, it can certainly help keep you on track.
Take advantage of your work travels, get up half an hour earlier and head out for a fast-paced walk. I was lucky enough to always be staying no more than a stone’s throw from either a stunning beach or a national park, which made heading out for a walk a real no brainer. Saying that, when working in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur I was surrounded by buildings – I still managed to walk 10,000 steps in half a day just by exploring the shops!
My Dad, who is in his early sixties, has got up and walked the dogs just about every day of his adult life. Living in Northern England that’s quite a feat considering 80% of those walks have been in pouring rain or -4°C temperatures! He is one of the most physically healthy people I know, and I’m sure he’d agree that a huge part of that is a brisk daily walk and all that fresh air that comes with it.
Hotel Room Workout
Over the years I have squeezed in many-a hotel room workout. Unless you’re lucky enough to always stay in accommodation that has an on-site gym, you’re going to have to get creative, and plan ahead. A colleague and myself once packed a yoga mat each and a set of dumbells when heading off on a three day road trip, fitting in our workouts at 6am and 9pm… #dedication.
This is just a very simple fully body workout designed to keep you moving whilst on your travels. It can be done with a couple of square metres of floor space, so no excuses!
REPEAT X 3
Lunges x 40
Hand Release Push ups x 10
Burpees x 15
Ab Bicycles x 30
Tricep Dips x 15 (use a chair or edge of bed)
Wall Sit x 60 seconds
Leg raises x 20
Make Good Choices
If time is not your inhibiting factor whilst traveling, take a look at how you get around. Do you automatically order an Uber when you want to go somewhere? Do you get in your car before finding out how long it would take to walk?
Take a beat and reassess before you automatically avoid what could be a great way to get some exercise in, and a great way to see the sights. If you’re heading for breakfast, do a bit of research before you leave and select a café that’s a nice 15-20 minute walk away. Whilst looking through the various activities on offer at your destination, try to select ones that get you moving, like a surfing lesson or a hike through a nature reserve – that way you won’t feel as guilty during that winery lunch.
All in all, don’t use travel as an excuse to fall off the wagon and abandon your goals. Plan, research, and make moving your body a priority.
Much love guys,