How I Stay Fit on the Road

a vintage image of a woman in a swimsuit hanging over a pool

Traveling is as good for your emotionally, spiritually, creatively, as it can be bad for you physically. Maybe you’re disciplined. I’m not: I eat food I don’t like at airport food courts, give up on finding a nice restaurant and eat KitKats in my hotel room, and bail on my workouts. It’s not great.

I’ve gotten better over the years, though. I still struggle with food, though I’ve been making a valiant and often successful effort to pack meals for the airport and the plane. Working out — now that I have figured out. Here’s how I do it:

1. I don’t have a gym membership at home.

2. Instead, I subscribe to two streaming services: Beachbody on Demand and My Yogaworks. Beachbody has cardio and strength workouts, My Yogaworks is, as you would expect yoga, with some meditation (but unfortunately not much Pilates — I love the streaming Pilates Anytime, but I can’t justify the extra expense.) Together, they’re about $25 a month ($15 for My Yogaworks and $100 for 12 months Beachbody; there are shorter-commitment options toop.)

Beachbody offers a load of streaming workout programs — including big names like Tony Horton and Shawn T. Right now, I’m doing 80 Day Obsession (seen above), in part because I am traveling so much and many of the workouts require bands or sliders rather than hand weights. Sliders and loops are relatively inexpensive and they’re small and super-light — making them easy to travel with.

I use this set of sliders and loops from Lifepro. The sliders included in this set are good — but the bands are only OK. They’re super thin, and they can roll, which is annoying. On the other hand, though, there are some exercises that require bands this flexible. So though I don’t love them, I need them.

But I also have these:

These Gymbandit mini loops are way thicker. They’re so thick that there are a lot of exercises that are next to impossible to do with them — but they don’t roll; they stay right where they’re supposed to be. I basically use these for everything except for the odd move that requires something lighter.

I do a Beachbody workout when I’m traveling: ideally 80 Day Obsession, or a Shawn T. cardio workout if I want to work out for 25 minutes rather than 60. And then, if I’m super tired, I’ll pick something on My Yogaworks, which has a ton of great instructors. My favorites are Jesse Schein and Vytas Bauskaukas.

Basically, this is another way of saying, If you could only subscribe to two streaming workout services, which would they be? But it’s a real relief not to have to work about finding hotels or hostels or Airbnbs with gym access, or worry about getting in a run before dark in an unfamiliar place. For me, streaming workouts and this lightweight equipment help me keep from losing all my fitness when I travel. I’m happy when I travel, and I’m happy when I work out. And for sure, there are times when I can integrate working out into traveling — with a hike or a super-long day of walking; I’m not going to drive myself crazy. But if I’m on the road for two or six or ten weeks, routine helps keep me sane. And this routine keeps me fit.

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Filed under: travel advice


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Hi, I'm Diana. I've written about travel for The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, The Cut, Travel + Leisure, Outside, and lots of other places. This is my blog.