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Fitness and nutrition while traveling

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  February 12, 2013 03:06 PM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Fitting in exercise and eating well while traveling does have its challenges, but it can be done! I recently went away for three nights and want to share with you some tips I used for staying on track while away from home.

fridgeRyan.jpgMy best advice in this department would be to find a hotel that provides a mini-fridge as an amenity. My boyfriend and I stocked ours with strawberries, broccoli, greens powder, protein shakes, carrots, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, hummus, chicken sausage, low fat cheese, snack size packets of guacamole, blueberries, string cheese, limes, clementines, and my slightly different version of these lemon poppy protein bars. We packed everything in a cooler for the ride up. If you don’t have access to a fridge, you have a few options. You can keep the cooler outside if the temperature is low enough, fill Ziploc bags daily with ice from the hotel to keep your cooler cold, or pack foods that don’t require refrigeration. Examples would include almonds, walnuts, nut butters, apples, bananas, oranges, protein and/or greens powder, canned beans, the protein bars mentioned above, or peppers.

If you’re dining out, many restaurants now display their menus online and sometimes even the nutritional content of their items. Taking a look at these will help you make better decisions once you get there. Items that are baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled are usually lower in calories. Descriptions that use the words deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce generally indicate meals that are higher in calories. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra vegetables, or to swap the rice, potatoes, or pasta for vegetables. Restaurants are usually very accommodating. If you’re dining out multiple times throughout your stay, try picking one meal or dessert that you want to indulge in, and choose healthier items the rest of the time.

Booking a hotel with a fitness center or pool is a huge bonus, and makes fitting in exercise much easier. Even a basic one that has a few dumbbells, a bench, and a treadmill, like the one where we stayed, can provide countless options. For instance, after a dynamic warm-up, I performed 6 sets of the following three exercises back to back: goblet squat, 3-point row, and half kneeling overhead press. The next day I did treadmill hill sprint intervals.


A great strength training routine can even be done in your room by incorporating exercises such as bodyweight squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, or hip bridges. For more intensity try squat jumps, burpees, plyometric push-ups, lunge jumps, up/down planks, or single leg hip bridges.

If your hotel has a pool, you can do laps or water running. Try running the stairwells, or walk around the hotel. Sneak exercise into your vacation with activities like walking tours, skiing, biking, hiking, or snow shoeing, depending upon your location. Be creative! There are countless ways to fit in exercise. Just because you don’t have your usual gym nearby, don’t let that stop you. Doing the best you can in these situations is much better than doing nothing at all.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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