Exercise Plan for Traveling

The holidays are an amazing time of connection with family, friends, and tradition. This time of year also provides lots of opportunities to overeat, get stressed out, and have limited resources for exercise.

What to do?

With Thanksgiving around the corner this week, I want to share a few helpful tips for holiday traveling. Put these to practice this week, be sure to eat mindfully, and the holidays will not impact your waistline one bit!

If you already do long-distance cardio several times a week (running, cycling, swimming, etc.), keep doing it, no matter what. 

Even if you are out of town and not near your normal gym, you can get a guest pass at local gyms at YMCA’s or 24-Hour Fitness if the weather is inclement. If your family lives in Florida and you will enjoy an 80-degree holiday week, feel free to do your exercise outside!

The biggest challenge to cardio is when you stay with friends or family and feel constrained to their schedule. Make plans with yourself for exercise as if you are making plans with someone else.

Remember, you need to value yourself and your wellbeing as much as you prioritize other people.

As the cliche goes, you can’t “pour from an empty cup!” Take care of yourself and you will be a lot more fun to spend time with over the holidays!

Make movement part of the day with your family and friends. Depending on the weather, instead of vegging out in front of an addictive TV show with your cousins, suggest going for a walk, making snowmen, or playing a pickup game of basketball.

You may be surprised how many of your relatives, friends or other loved ones are interested in staying healthy through the holidays. You can share your ideas with them for physical movement, and include them in your wellness routine! There is strength in numbers when it comes to making healthy decisions.

In addition to (or instead of) cardio, you can also do the following moves that can fit in the smallest hotel room, with no equipment! 

Day 1 – Lower Body

  • Standing
    • Squats – 3 sets of 20
    • Lunges – 3 sets of 15 on each leg
    • Pistol Squats – 3 sets of 10 on each leg
  • Mat (or Bath Towel)
    • Donkey Kicks – 3 sets of 20 on each leg
    • Fire Hydrants – 3 sets of 20 on each leg
    • Leg Lift from Plank – 3 sets of 10 on each leg

Day 2 – Upper Body Mat Work (or “Bath Towel” work!)

  • Plank – 2 sets of 30 seconds
  • Side Plank – 2 sets of 30 seconds on each side
  • Mountain climbers – 2 sets of 30 seconds
  • “Inchworm” to Plank – 2 sets of 30 seconds
  • Pilates “Marches” (also known as “Toe Taps”) – 2 sets of 20 on each side
    • make sure your lower back stays glued to the mat!
  • Bicycles – 2 sets of 30 seconds

Remember, the holidays are a time to maintain your weight and stay consistent, not a time to beat up your body, overtax your endurance, or attempt to lose weight. Overdoing it means that you will be too sore to exercise each day. Focus on consistency and completing a simple workout that gets you out of breath each day for at least a half hour.

If you stay consistent throughout the holidays with your exercise and eat mindfully, you will have no problem maintaining a healthy weight over the next few weeks!




Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

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