It's time to hit the road again but you keep running into the same issue of what to do about your fitness routine. Half the time we travel places, we don’t know where we're going until we get there, which means that relying on a traditional gym routine may not be practical. With the long hours and unexpected changes, it can make planning a workout very frustrating. I struggled during most of my TDYs when it came to exercising; often making excuses for not doing it when I couldn't train in an ideal environment, which led to failed PT tests, which I could have lost rank for. Looking back now, if I had just followed these simple hacks, I wouldn't have stressed so much about going TDY and working out. Take it from me, without preparation and self-accountability, there's nothing but hard roads ahead. So do the smart thing and check out these five easy hacks to stay fit while on the road:
1. ALWAYS STAY READY!
Always pack a set of workout clothes including a comfortable pair of running shoes and headphones for workouts. Regardless of where you're at, you'll have the opportunity to workout, even if you have minimal downtime on the ground. No gym? Go on a long walk. Security issues prevent that? Create a challenging workout that can be done at your lodging building. Have a flight of stairs? Start doing sprint drills. Have space in your lodging room? Do a 30-minute HIIT routine without the running. It’s all about being prepared, so pack those compression shorts and get moving!
2. KEEP YOUR NUTRITION IN CHECK!
Pack healthy snacks with you instead of buying snacks on the road. It is far too common to ruin your healthy eating habits when traveling places where the food options aren't always the best. Pack wholesome snacks that can be stored anywhere without spoilage such as roasted almonds, tuna and cracker kits, dry cereal, or natural peanut butter. Going out to a nice dinner? Drink a tall glass of water before the meal to avoid overeating. Avoid excessive alcohol and fried foods as they will just wreak havoc on your body and leave you feeling hungrier, sluggish, and more irritable.
3. KEEP YOUR WORKOUTS SIMPLE AND FUN!
Overly complex workouts won't be necessary, you won't know what setup you'll have until you reach your destination. Stick to designing your workout program around functional movements that can be done in a limited space. Bodyweight movements like burpees, push-ups, core circuits, jump squats, and balance exercises are perfect implementations for a simple, yet effective workout. Going somewhere tropical? Go do your workout on the beach. Got mountains? Go hiking. Going to the city? Find an outdoor basketball court and work on those handles. Explore with the time that you have and take advantage of the opportunity!
4. TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK!
Rarely will you travel TDY by yourself, so it is recommended that you invite your co-worker with you during your workout sessions or collaborate on building a workout together. As service members of the world's greatest military, being prepared both mentally and physically is necessary, so why not get in shape and motivated with a fellow brother- (or sister-) in-arms?!
5. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE!
The biggest obstacle that arises when making the commitment to work out while TDY is getting in your own way. It's okay to acknowledge when you're tired and need to rest but there will be other times in which that complacent side of us wants to just "take it easy" and worry about working out when you get back from the trip—IGNORE THAT VOICE! Keep yourself motivated and avoid making the same mistakes which led me to get bigger and bigger, pushing the limits with every excuse I made. Do yourself a favor and stay Mission FIT!!!