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How to Stick to Your Exercise Regimen When You Are Traveling for Business or Pleasure
by Bob Bonham


How to Stick to Your Exercise Regimen When You Are Traveling for Business or Pleasure

NEW YORK—Whether you are traveling for business or taking a vacation, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a regular workout routine when you are on the road, living in hotels or staying with family or friends. When you are busy with business meetings or taking a well-deserved vacation for a week or two, it is easy to forget about your exercise regimen because you are able to come up with so many excuses for not training or eating properly. Although a few days off from the gym is not going to hurt you, you should never cease all exercise for more than two weeks because studies have shown that muscles start to atrophy after 14 days if you are used to pumping iron—and that can make you lose the muscle tone you have worked so hard to acquire. It is indeed possible to stay in shape while traveling if you make the proper preparations, says Bob Bonham of Strong & Shapely Gym in East Rutherford, NJ. Here, Bonham offers advice for staying fit, exercising and eating a healthy diet when you are traveling for business or pleasure.

Exercise At the Same Time You Do So At Home: Whether you normally work out in the morning, afternoon or evening, it is always best to exercise around the same time when you are traveling. Doing so will help you adjust to the stress of traveling and time-zone changes. If you are feeling the effects of “jet lag,” remember that a little exercise may help energize you. This is especially true when you travel to Europe or other faraway destinations and need to stay awake once your arrive in order to adjust to the time zone. If you are on a long transcontinental or trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flight of more than eight hours, try to get up and walk around a bit to improve your circulation and stretch out your body. Doing so will help you feel less “jet lagged” when you land.

Take Advantage of Hotel & Cruise-Ship Health Clubs: Most of the better hotels both in America and abroad have some sort of fitness facilities. Although hotel gyms usually are not as big or have as much equipment as your local neighborhood health club, most have basic weight machines, treadmills, stair-climbing machines and exercise bikes. Some even have personal trainers. Most cruise ships now have a health club and some offer classes in aerobics, Pilates, weight training, etc. When you are booking hotels for a trip, check travel Web sites or with your travel agent to see what type of fitness facilities are available. Even if you cannot spend the same amount of time working out in a hotel or cruise-ship gym as you would at home, you can still maintain what muscle tone you have built, and if you are on vacation, training for even 20 minutes can help you stay fit and work off those extra calories and high-fat meals that you may be eating while traveling. If you are on a trip and the hotel in which you

are staying does not have a gym, ask the desk clerk or concierge where the nearest health club is located. Most gyms will sell you a daily or weekly pass to use their facilities. Take Advantage of Airport Layovers: If you travel frequently, or even just once a year on your annual family vacation, you likely know what a hassle air travel can be, especially if you have to catch a connecting flight at a major hub airport. If you have a long layover at the airport, or your flight is delayed, kill some proverbial time by getting a little exercise. If you have been cooped up on a plane for several hours, there is no better way to stretch your body and beat fatigue than doing some brisk walking around the different concourses at the airport. Remember to wear comfortable athletic shoes when traveling and when you walk around the airport, pump your arms to increase your heart rate to maintain good cardiovascular health. Some airports have health clubs that you can use for a nominal fee of $10 to $20. If you have carryon luggage and have a long layover, consider putting your bags in an airport locker to avoid putting added strain on your muscles.

Quick Makeshift Workouts When You Cannot Get to a Gym: If your hotel has no health club and there is no gym nearby, there are still things you can do to exercise. Do some basic calisthenics such as jumping jacks, pushups, abdominal crunches, running in place and leg squats. Bring along a jump rope to get in a quick cardio workout. Another good item to use are resistance bands (available at most sporting goods stores). The bands are lightweight and pack easily in your luggage, and you can use them to keep your muscles toned whenever you simply cannot get to a gym and lift real weights. Regular use of resistance bands can also build strength in your arms and other muscles of the body. Finally, remember that swimming laps in a hotel pool is a great way to get some exercise while cooling off from the heat, and it allows you to unwind after a long flight.

Eating Healthy While Traveling: It is difficult indeed to eat healthy when you are traveling, but there are a few things one can do to eat healthy. Bring along healthy snacks such as carrot sticks or low-fat pretzels to eat on the plane. If you are in an exotic place and want to try something unique and different, go for it, but then pass on fattening desserts. Of course, it is certainly fine to “cheat” a few times on vacation or a business trip and indulge on a gourmet, calorie-laden meal. Just make sure you are not loading up on high-fat desserts and rich foods every day.


The September 2007 issue of Men’s Exercise includes a feature on Bob Bonham’s tips for healthy eating for busy people in the magazine’s “Fantastic Facts” column. The January 2007 issue of Exercise for Men Only magazine wrote that Strong and Shapely Gym in East Rutherford, NJ is “widely renowned as one of the best training centers in America.” The December 2005 issue of MuscleMag International noted: “Bob Bonham is one of the great experts in the field of health and fitness.” The gym is the training center for everyone from top athletes to business people just trying to stay in shape. The gym has 334 workout stations, with 12 computerized circuit machines (9 in stretching rooms), 60 leg machines, 35 for chest, 30 miscellaneous benches, 5 Smith machines, plus 1 neck, 14 shoulder, 41 back, 72 cardio, 7 lower back, 25 ab and 23 arm machines. Also look for 40, 675 pounds of free weights, 20,000 lbs of plates, 17, 700 lbs of dumbbells, 2075 lbs of fixed barbells and EZ-curls, 990 lbs of Olympic bars, and a posing room and sauna. For more information, visit


Bob is a regular contributor to many bodybuilding magazines.





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