Stick to your Fitness Routine while Traveling with These 5 Expert Tips

By: Shannon Decker: Celebrity Trainer, Fitness Expert, Sports Model and Avid Traveler

The rapid growth of technology throughout the 20th Century has encouraged and allowed for regular travel to become a prevalent part of “normal” life.  This is especially true for the worldly, on-the-go, (and?) health focused population of LA. But, as a local personal trainer, and group fitness instructor, I can attest that regular athletic training has as well. I’m talking about a large percentage of the city’s population making health and wellness a way of life, not just a passing fad or phase. All you must do is look up while in the (not so bad traffic, come on,) to see the many, many signs of this claim. In one city block alone, there can be three specialty juice spots, book ending a vegan donut joint, next door to the farm to table pop-up, with a macrobiotic lunch eatery next door, all servicing the patrons that spill out from the four different gyms nestled in between. Exercise is a slice of the organic, non-GMO, no sugar added pie that represents the LA way of life.

In my profession, I get asked constantly for tips that will help my clients stick to the health and fitness routines they’ve worked so hard to establish.  What I share with them, are simply tricks of the trade that I’ve learned and used myself. Some of these include how I continue my exercise regimen while away on vacation or traveling for work as a fitness model. Fitness is such a personal and unique journey for each person though, so I encourage you to keep soaking up and trying all that you can, until you discover what ultimately works best for you.

But let’s be real. Very few of us, no matter how hard or how often we work out, and no matter how healthy we eat, are going to feel like we stayed as committed to our fitness routine while on vacation, the same as when we are home. It’s just unrealistic. You’re on vacation! Or your priority is work! So, to help, I’ve chosen my top five tips that I think will best assist you to not feel like you’re starting all over when you return home; No matter how long you’re away.

Sourcing is Sexy

Most likely you’re going to know your destination and the location of your accommodations in advance. Then there’s this thing called the internet. Okay, okay, but seriously it’s that easy! I asked my friend and 15 year MLB veteran, Jerry Hairston, what he did and does to stay on his fitness routine while on the road and he gave me just one sentence, “I find the gym.” Do a search of local gyms, notice the hours, find classes. You can also research if there are bike paths and rentals where you’re heading, map out a good jogging route, and so many other options. Take the time to do your research.  A little bit of planning can go a long way. Plus, when you source gyms or athletic activities, it’s a perfect way to see the area that you’re visiting. I’ve also met friends that I still have today while participating in the local athletic scene while traveling.

Pack Proper Pieces

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve showed up for a trip, only to discover that I’m the only one in the group that packed workout attire and shoes. That sounds crazy I know, but it’s true! This has happened while traveling with family, friends, and even other models on shoots. I like to leave home with a fitness plan, and pack what you’re going to need to execute it. When I travel I always make sure I bring running shoes and several changes of exercise clothes. That way I give myself less room for excuses. Talk about LA way of life, us women LIVE in our black yoga pants almost 24/7. So, wear them on the plane and you’ll be ready to find the hotel gym or nearest running path as soon as you arrive. Once that habit is established you can graduate into packing equipment that can be used in a hotel room or any open space. You’ve heard it before, but jump roping is the easiest, and most efficient exercise to do on the road. Here is an easy 30-minute cardio jump roping workout that I sent to one of my own clients while she was away at a work fashion trade show:

5 min. jump rope warm-up

1 min. plank

1 min. sit ups

1 min. body weight squats

1 min. alternating lunges

1 min. bicycles (opposite elbow to knee then switch.)

*Repeat 3 times through

Morning Mantra

Get up early?? On vacation?? I know, I get it. But I promise you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to exercise in the tiny hotel gym while on vacation. What I’m suggesting is to try to get your exercise in during the first part of the day at least. As the day goes on, a workout becomes harder and harder to fit in and you naturally get more and more tired as well. If you’re on a work trip getting up early for a workout will help energize and get you focused and ready for your day. If you’re on vacation, I recommend doing a group workout with other people you’re with, finding a class on your own, or even planning a guided fitness activity. Use your travel time to try new things. Ride horses, find a local hike, take a surf lesson, play some golf or tennis, the possibilities are almost endless depending on where you are. Another friend of mine, and LA celebrity trainer, Nick Hounslow recommends eggs for breakfast and then a vigorous 30 minute weight focused HIIT circuit, before tanning by the pool.

Recommendations & Resources

If you’re anything like me, you’re quick to share information and to help anyway you can, but hesitate when reaching out to a resource for your own benefit. I’ve learned that I’m only doing myself a disservice and it never hurts to just ask. If you know you’re traveling soon, don’t be shy about mentioning it here and there. It’s almost scary the way the universe works, because suddenly you’ll start talking with people that have been to where you’re going and have valuable information for you. And people are willing to share…yes, even in LA! If you’re active in the fitness scene reach out to your favorite instructors or trainers and ask if they’d be willing to email you some workouts for when you’re away. I always like knowing when my regulars are going to be gone from my classes, and I’m more than happy to equip them with some workouts while they’re away. It’s my job and doesn’t take me very much time to get someone a couple workouts that I know will help keep them on track. If you don’t have anyone you can get tailored workouts from, there are so many apps and videos available online. For myself, I like to write out a list of 8-10 moves and then use the Tabata timer app and try for 3-4 rounds. It’s easy, inexpensive, fast and most importantly efficient. But for those of you that don’t even want to try to think of ANY “moves” on your own, I recommend my friend, model and trainer’s new training guide, KATG, or Kick Ass Training Guide. She shows you a lot of body weight HIIT training and has 10 years of experience and knowledge behind it. You can find it at

Rest and Relaxation

The truth of the matter is that we all go too hard most of the time. I don’t know how sometimes, to be honest. A lot of my clients get up very early to exercise, shower and change at the gym, work all day, have a social life at night, then get back up and do it all over again. Whether on a work trip or vacation an approach I also recommend and have done myself, is to use your time almost as a hectic life detox. Catch up on sleep. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Go to the spa and get a massage. Order room service and a movie. Get a couple easy workouts in, but enjoy your down time so you can come back refreshed and ready to tackle it all again. If you’re on a work trip and you’re feeling the pressure of eating out and drinking with colleagues and/or clients, once again go in with a plan and stick to it. Go to the local grocery store and buy healthy snacks for when you’re there. Set limits for dinner; one cocktail or glass of wine that you’re going to sip slow. Before you even see the menu, decide that you’re going to order a protein, and a veggie no matter what. The little things will make a big difference and will help keep you in line.

You’re in control of your time, stay aware of it and use it wisely. You can still have a productive and enjoyable trip without getting derailed off your fitness habits. I always tell my classes that there is a lot that we’re not in control of in this life, but the thing we can control is ourselves. Our energy, attitude and effort. Decide what your priorities are while traveling, follow through on them and make some memories!