Top 10 travel fitness tips for summer vacation - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Top 10 travel fitness tips for summer vacation

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Posted: Friday, June 4, 2010 3:30 pm | Updated: 3:23 pm, Fri Sep 16, 2011.

Summer is fast approaching and, even if you are not leaving town, the hot weather can make it hard to keep focused on fitness.

Whether you are on your vacation or at home, the following 10 tips will help you blast some last-minute body fat, tone up those hips and thighs and look and feel great.

1. Commit to performing short 10- to 20-minute maintenance workouts first thing in the morning. Time is not an excuse. A brief workout first thing in the morning will set the tone for the rest of your day

2. Use body weight exercises that you can do anywhere. All you’ll need is your body to get the job done. We highly recommend using mostly body weight-based exercises with the exception of some resistance band exercises to get that pulling component in since it is often difficult to access body weight rows and pull-ups when on the road. Body weight-based exercises allow for some much-needed rest and de-loading for the muscles and joints, in addition to the fact that they can go through customs when you are vacationing.

3. Build your own vacation workouts for fun. Working out with intensity can get old real fast so if you are in it to be fit for the long run, you better find a way to mix things up as often as possible with your workouts to keep yourself motivated. Travel allows for all of this and more. Maybe hit the beach and alternate between intervals of sprints and body weight strength exercises so that you can burn fat and get some Vitamin D in at the same time. Or hit up the local park and do a playground-style workout using benches, monkey bars, etc.

4. Bring portable fat-burning snacks. This may very well be the most important tip of all. Over the years, I have built a list of go-to lean traveler foods that have been absolutely critical to maintaining my fitness:

• Mixed raw nuts

• String cheese

• Protein powder and/or amino acids

• Organic deli meat (unsweetened, low in salt)

• Fruit and raw veggies

5. Perform 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. It is important to avoid letting a vacation become a time of laziness. Rather, the lean traveler looks to be active whenever possible. Look to walk as much as possible, sign up for local trips and excursions, and engage in some recreational sports with your travel buddies.

6. Perform daily corrective stretching and self-massage. We tend to pay less attention to the small details that keep our bodies safe and pain-free year-round when on the road. It is critical to still do some daily flexibility work and foam rolling to keep your muscles, and your joints healthy. You can always bring a half foam roller, a tennis ball and/or a rolling pin in your suitcase for all of your self-massage needs. Try to get in at least 5 to 10 minutes of some combination of rolling and stretching both first thing in the morning and before bed for best results.

7. Don’t worry about being perfect all of the time. My boot campers train with me consistently for four to six weeks at a time with short one- to three-week transition periods throughout the year due to work travel or vacations. In total, they are in full boot camp mode for 40 to 45 out of the 52 weeks each year. What we try to instill in our campers is perfection during those 40 weeks that we are together to allow for the desired flexibility during the 15 weeks that we may not be. Our clients move to maintenance mode during off weeks allotting themselves one to two free meals per week, performing a few short maintenance workouts each week, focusing more on improving flexibility and tissue quality.

8. Plan your reward meals in advance. Let’s not forget that you don’t need to be perfect and eat like a saint when on vacation. After all, the occasional indulgences are a part of living the good life, especially those treats that are unique to certain travel hot spots. But it is key to at least plan and prepare for them. In other words, we have found most people can allot themselves one to two free meals per week and still maintain their results. A free meal, or as some call it a reward meal, is basically a meal that deviates from ideal nutritional guidelines, but in moderation. This means that you eat the same healthy foods that you typically eat, plus any other foods you may desire until you are satisfied, but not stuffed.

9. Limit alcohol and empty liquid calories. This is always the hardest tip to sell because of how indispensable alcohol can be for some people who want to have a good time and wind down while traveling. The reality is alcohol not only stops fat burning in its tracks, but it actually promotes fat storage. Alcohol also lowers inhibitions and opens the door to host of junk food cravings that will further set you back. Plus, many alcoholic drinks contain high-calorie sugary mixes that further tip the proverbial scale in the wrong direction. Consuming two to three alcoholic beverages per day could easily result in an extra 500 calories per day that would, in theory, result in at least 1 pound of fat gained in a week’s time just from booze alone.

In general, limit, if not eliminate, empty liquid calories since they provide no nutritional value.

10. Bring your supplements. Just because you are away from home doesn’t mean that you should abandon all of those healthy habits you have worked so hard to establish. I always take my daily multi-vitamin and fish oil supplements with me. I also bring some protein powder and/or amino acid formulas so that I always have access to some high quality protein every two to four hours to best keep all of my hard earned lean muscle mass.

These 10 travel fitness tips will without a doubt allow you to “travel light” so that you can come back from your trip with souvenirs in some other form than blubber and cellulite.


Ahwatukee Foothills personal trainer Lee Gough is a certified fitness professional. Reach him at (602) 791-5314. This month Gough is leading a “Drop a Dress Size in 21 Days” boot camp. For more information, visit

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