The Prevention Column

The Prevention Column

Fitness Tips for the Traveler

By Anthony Bonazzo

Just because you are traveling, doesn’t mean that your fitness routine needs to go out the window. The old adage that “failing to plan is planning to fail” will ring true but can easily be avoided with minimal effort. 

First, call ahead. If you’re staying at a hotel while traveling, find out whether there is a fitness center. Nowadays, most hotels have one as part of their amenities. If you belong to a chain gym, see whether they offer a travel pass that allows you to use their facility in the city that you will be visiting. Or call the hotel and ask what gyms are nearby and ask what the daily guest fee is.

If you know that your travel schedule simply won’t allow for a trip to the gym, bring along a resistance band and a jump rope. They’re both affordable and don’t take up much space in your suitcase. Focus on a very short workout that maximizes caloric expenditure and is high intensity.

100 Jump Rope Turns (usually around 1 minute)
10 Body-Weight Squats/10 Lunges
10 Push-Ups
10 Burpees
*Repeat and aim to do 5 to10 total rounds
Another option would be to do a total-body workout and jump rope between sets.


20 Push-ups
1 minute of Jump Rope
20 Resistance Band Bicep Curls
1 minute of Jump Rope
20 Resistance Band Back Rows
1 minute of Jump Rope
20 Resistance Band Triceps Kickbacks (or if you have the space, Push-downs)
1 minute of Jump Rope
20 Resistance Band Flies
1 minute of Jump Rope
Try to repeat 4 times for a total of 4 rounds and 20 minutes of Jump Rope.

If you are really hard pressed for time, do 5 to 15 minutes of as many Burpees as you can.

If you’re on a plane, or in a car, and are susceptible to lower-back pain, bring a DynaDisc with you to sit on. It will keep your hip flexors and lower extremities open and active, so it will be as if you are walking around instead of being crammed in your seat like a sardine. You’ll feel less stiff when you arrive at your destination and even more awake because you will have increased blood flow.

While seated, it’s always good to do shoulder rolls and basic neck stretches. Do this by resting your ear to your shoulder and lightly pressing down on the ear toward the shoulder. Hold it for a few seconds, then switch sides.

If you take a bathroom break, stretch out your piriformis—a muscle in the gluteal region that sits partly in the pelvis and partly at the back of the hip joint. A tight piriformis is the culprit of stiffness and lower-back pain. To stretch it out, place one foot over the opposite knee and squat down, pushing down on the knee of the elevated foot. You can also do some basic quad stretches by lifting your leg up and pulling your foot behind you.

If there’s no way to be physically active at all while on the road, mind your diet. Eat wisely and healthily. Limit your alcohol intake. If you eat a big meal at an event, eat lightly for the remainder of the day. No need for everything to go out the window just because you aren’t home.

Whatever you choose, especially if you are pressed for time, make sure it is as intense as you can handle. Really push yourself. Finding the time to include exercise when you seem overwhelmed by meetings, or the potential stress of a vacation, is what will separate people who will have long-lasting results from people whose results will be short lived. Not only will you look better, but you will feel better, too. And you will not have lost any ground when you return home and won’t have to start all over again.

Taking care of your body is not an option—it’s a responsibility!

Anthony Bonazzo is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. He has been a Personal Trainer for over seven years and teaches and trains all over Chicago through his company AB Fit.