Hacks for Maintaining Fitness While Traveling

This weekend is for many people the unofficial start of summer, and whether you travel for pleasure or business, you don’t need to let the lack of a [decent] gym or instructor be a deterrent (or excuse!) from scoring your workout.  There are several tools at your fingertips if you have a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.  No matter what your fitness bag is, here are some great resources that will keep you looking and feeling your best.  All apps referenced below are FREE!


Yoga Download logo

“Take Yoga Anywhere” is the motto of Yoga Download, and you can do that by logging in or installing their free app!  Most videos are +/- 20 minutes, and they come in a wide variety of yoga disciplines that address at least as many goals: stress relief, sculpting, weight loss, release after a long sit or a lot of standing, to name only a smattering.  Choose a single class, do a couple at different times of day, or string some together for a longer workout, and if you find a practice/instructor you really like, you can purchase and download more videos and/or longer sessions.

Note: Apple devices may present a challenge when attempting to download your purchase, so you might need to install the iDownloader app or something similar.

Another tip: pick up a foldable yoga mat – there are several offered on Amazon.  It’s hard enough fitting what you need into carry-on luggage without swinging a yoga mat down a narrow plane aisle.  The folding yoga mats are thinner, so not always great on hardwood floors, but they are perfect for your hotel room, plus, they fit into your luggage easily.

Strength and Endurance Training

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To borrow a successful tagline, make your body your machine!  Invest in a TRX suspension training system (roughly $200 for the basic kit), download the TRX app, and you are on your way.  Throw a jump rope into your bag and you have the makings for a killer workout at any time of day.  The TRX app has some bugs yet, but it comes with a few short and sweaty workouts to get you started, and you can purchase additional routines that will reside inside the app for whenever you have the nerve to do them.

Name it and Claim it

Fitness Blender logo

For a broad selection of challenging workouts, ranging from bodyweight to kettlebells to Pilates to HIIT, check out Fitness Blender.  Daniel and Kelli, a husband and wife team, will whip you into shape no matter what you like to do.  You can easily sort for the type and length of routine you want, and instruction is clear, human, and often enough funny, and nothing beats the burn better than an unexpected laugh.  Create a free account and you can even save your favorite videos for easy access!


If you deliberately don’t work out on your vacations, then have at it!  Enjoy and leave the guilt at home with your gym bag while your body gets a good rest, or maybe just a total departure from the norm.  Whatever you do, make the best of it!

Do Nothing Logo

Damn the Protein-Coated Nucleic Acid Molecule!

cold meds
Part of my arsenal.

It’s the height of cold and flu season, and I have succumbed.  I nearly forgot that today is the day of week I usually upload new posts, thanks to the foggy headedness that comes along with the sore throat, coughing, sneezing, congestion and aches.  It’s as though my creative energy is either lodged inside my sinus cavities or running out my nose, and everything has gone white:  white monitor screen, white tissues, white towels and sheets being washed almost as frequently as my hands, the white lotion I keep applying to my hands and nose.  I am allowing myself one paragraph to gripe, and then we are on to better things.

I don’t feel like doing much of anything right now, but I don’t know what to do with myself when I am doing nothing.  Worse, I think the futility of my endeavors to entertain myself when I am too fidgety to nap is compounding my relative misery.  I have read every magazine in the house, done crossword puzzles and Sudoku, cleaned and sanitized ad nauseum, watched fluffy snowflakes drift down all day, and even summoned the strength to apply for what looks to be a job I might have invented for myself.  Daytime television is worse than ever, not by the obvious poor quality of selections, but by the sheer volume of the poor quality of selections.  It was bad enough when eight channels ran daytime drivel; now 500 channels run the same types of programs as the original eight.  Why are they doing this to us?

In case you find yourself in the same way I am right now, or for future reference, I’d like to share with you the results of extensive research I have conducted from under a blanket on my sofa.  This is the part where I type the disclaimer that I am not a physician and that if you are experiencing illness, you should close your laptop or smartphone and seek the help of a medical professional.  There are a lot of interesting ways to treat or prevent a cold, some of which are disturbing to put it mildly, but here are some that actually have research behind them:

  1. SLEEP.  Multiple university studies have demonstrated that 7-8 hours of sleep is the ticket to reducing your chances of catching a cold by at least threefold, if not four.  Uninterrupted sleep is best, but if you have to supplement with naps to compensate, that might be better than forging ahead with less.
  2. POWER ON.  As long as your symptoms are from the neck up, your workout is still your friend.  You might not get back to 100% before those who lay low (and vice versa), but you are likely to find your symptoms mitigated.  Which brings me to the next point…
  3. [DON’T] BLOW IT.  I am glad for this reminder as I have just opened my third box of tissue.  Close off one nostril and blow gently through the open one, then switch sides, or maybe better yet, just take a decongestant.  Blowing too forcefully through both nostrils at once can propel mucus upward into your sinuses!
  4.  HUMIDIFY.  This one might be my downfall, because after a humid summer, I am loathe to invite moisture into the air.  I love the dry air, but unfortunately, so do cold viruses.  I personally am compensating with hot showers and lingering over large mugs of hot tea.
  5. INVOKE THE GOD OF CACAO.  YES!  Although I’m not convinced of the research, I would like to be.  Researchers in the UK suggest that hot chocolate might suppress coughing, but they used dairy milk, which notoriously worsens coughing for a lot of people.  I deduce that it’s the chocolate itself that may have suppressed the coughs they induced in their subjects.  In the name of science and compassion for my fellow humans, I am personally taking on this one.
I am 85% sure that this 85% pure dark chocolate bar is helping me right now.

Until next time, be well!