Travel and Fitness
I am really excited to be able to have my first guest blogger join me today! Today we have ActorFit joining us to talk about staying fit while traveling. ActorFit is run by an incredible young man – Jim Schubin (the much younger one!). I am a big fan of the work he puts into staying in shape and working with clients to help them meet their goals. Not just because he is my son but due to the fact that he does great work! His passion for staying in shape and building a healthy lifestyle is contagious and has helped many actors and non-actors alike. His focus for us today is on staying in shape while traveling. As well, he has asked another young man to help demo some of the exercises he is going to talk about. Give it up for CaliRevGym!
I know from personal experience that when I am home I work out regularly and I enjoy the routine. However, when I travel, I find that my routine is out the window for obvious reasons and I tend to push working out further down the list. Sometimes it is due to the fact that where I’m staying they just don’t have a proper pool to swim laps in. (Excuse #1) Other times it is because I’m there to “see” things and not workout, right? (Excuse #2) Other times…well you get the picture. Excuses, excuses, excuses! In order to travel they way I want to and deal with all the crazy planes, trains, different beds, etc., I need to stay healthy and that means regular exercise.
So without further ado, please let me introduce you to Jim Schubin of ActorFit. Jim – take it away…
Howdy, folks! My name is Jim Schubin (the younger) and I’m doing a guest blog this week for JourneysofJim. I have my own blog, ActorFit.net, which is a fitness/nutrition blog geared towards actors, singers, and those in the entertainment industry. My Dad, Jim Schubin (the wiser) asked me to share some tips on exercising while traveling and I couldn’t be more excited. I just recently finished a year-long stint on the Sound of Music National Tour. I visited 30 cities in that year and stayed in more than 33 hotels/hostels/Airbnb’s (Yep, that math is accurate) so I have lots of experience with working out on the go!
Do I Really Need a Gym?
Most places you stay at will have some kind of gym. Usually there are a few treadmills, a stationary bicycle, some kind of weight lifting machine, and (if you are really lucky) some dumbbells. That’s about it. So the real question becomes, how do I get in a solid workout without much equipment? My answer? Calisthenics! What are calisthenics you ask? Webster defines them as; “systematic rhythmic bodily exercises performed usually without apparatus”. For example, push-ups, crunches, squats, pull-ups. Body weight exercises, really. That you can do ANYWHERE! I know, I know, you can’t just do a pull-up anywhere, but we’ll get to that. What I discovered was I didn’t need anything but my own body to get in a great workout. No weights, no fancy machines, no bizarre infomercial exercise equipment, just me. I gotta tell ya, it was rather liberating.
As I mentioned, you can do callisthenic exercises just about anywhere, but I prefer not to do them in my hotel room. I have a tendency to sweat A LOT when I exercise and I prefer my room doesn’t smell like a gym locker, thank you very much. If at all possible, I like to get outside and workout. Soak up that Vitamin D and breathe the fresh air. It’s also a great way to discover some of the area around where you are staying. Often you can find cute parks, hiking trails, and little known spots that most people miss. I’ve even discovered small outdoor gyms specifically designed for these kinds of exercises! Of course, if it’s too cold out, you can also do these exercises in your hotel gym.
There are countless variations for each of these, but here are a few of my favorite calisthenics:
- Shoulder Pike
- Reverse Plank
- Tricep Dips
- Jump Squats
- Side Tri-Rise
Let’s Get Warmed Up!
Every good workout involves a warm-up, and I generally like to start with some jumping jacks, high knees, quick feet, and a few arm swings to loosen up the shoulders. (Remember, if you are working out in your room, there are probably people below you, so keep the jumping to a minimum!) The real purpose of a warm-up is to start getting your heart rate up and the blood flowing to your muscles in order to prevent injury. A normal warm-up should be between 3-5 minutes in length and involve some light cardio and overall body movement. Nothing too strenuous yet. Once we are properly warmed up, it’s time to hit the bricks.
I try to find a park or public area that has some kind of a bar I can use for pull-ups, a raised platform or bench for different levels, and some open space for sprints, push-ups, and more. For pull-ups, anything from monkey bars to a sturdy tree branch to a bridge can work. Just so long as you can get a grip and have enough space to lower your body without touching the ground. Almost anywhere you travel will have some kind of park. If you check out the city’s Tourism Bureau, there is usually a list of outdoor parks and trails available to the public! If the outdoors isn’t your style, there is always at least a 6ft x 3ft space at the hotel gym where you can do PLENTY of exercises. I just enjoy the sun on my face.
Speaking of working out in small spaces, you don’t need any more room than the size of a bath towel to do YOGA! There are a myriad of free yoga videos on YouTube (mine is coming soon!) you can use and wherever you’re staying will most certainly have spare towels. Yoga can be especially helpful to work out the kinks after a lengthy day of traveling on uncomfortable planes or sitting in meetings. And you don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. The entire point of it is to help stretch out your muscles and center your mind before or after a long day. I love to start my day with 15-20 min of yoga. It helps center my breath, open up my blood vessels, and stretch out any twinges from sleeping funny.
Variety is the spice of life, and also workouts. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I LOVE push-ups. It’s kind of a weird obsession. On tour, the backstage crew and I would do push-ups during intermission. When I was in The Fantasticks Off-Broadway, a couple of us would do push-ups at the 15-min call (We called ourselves the BroShow. Besides our love of push-ups, we also watched football backstage, relentlessly pranked each other, and went out for beer after shows. Broadway Bros, if you will). So, yeah, I’m really into push-ups. But not just the regular kind. Diamond, decline, clap, 1-arm, speed, balance ball, sphinx, walking, prison, the list just keeps going. My point is, if you are going to do push-ups, don’t JUST do regular ones. Try some with your hands farther apart. Then some with your hands super close together. If you have a bench or chair, you can put your feet up on the chair and then do push-ups. Find ways to make it more difficult and work your chest muscles in a different way. To learn the proper form for a push-up, as well as some of the different variations listed above (and more) check out my video blog about push-ups here: ActorFit Pushups
The same goes for all calisthenics. There are dozens of different variations for squats, pull-ups(check out this video!) , plank (another great video!), and the rest. The more you use your environment, the more fun you can have! When our tour was in Greenville, SC I went for a run along the river that flows through town and every 3 min, I would stop and do a different exercise for 1 min. First, Push-ups on some rocks over in the shallow part of the river. Second, jump squats onto a bench overlooking the arts center. Third, Bear Crawls up and down a grassy hill beside the path. Fourth, Pull-ups on a sturdy tree branch hanging out over the water. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
Top 3 ActorFit Tips
With all that said, you are still out traveling/on vacation/working. A lot of folks I’ve spoken with often tell me they find it hard to motivate themselves to work out when they would rather be out exploring the city they traveled to. So; here are the Top 3 ActorFit Tips for Working Out On the Go!
Pack Workout Clothes: Even if it’s just a pair of sneakers, a t-shirt and some shorts. Not having workout clothes is the easiest way to talk yourself out of exercise. No one can, nor really should, workout in a dress shirt and jeans, BUT if you’ve already committed the suitcase space to your workout clothes, you will feel more obligated to put them on and get moving!
Get Outside: I’ve already talked about this, but whether you go for a walk to the nearest monument, on a nature hike, or do calisthenics in the park, by getting outside you eliminate excuses. You are exploring the city AND getting in your workout at the same time. Killing two birds with one very healthy stone!
Set a Timer: Most people complain that they don’t have time to work out, especially when they have hectic travel schedules. You don’t need to run for an hour to get in a good workout. Set the timer on your phone/watch for 25 minutes and see how much you can sweat in that time. You ALWAYS have a half hour somewhere in your day to commit to your health. When the timer goes off, you are done! Trust me, you will feel more accomplished for having done your daily exercise and your body will feel better for the pump.
No matter where you are headed or what your schedule looks like, making time for physical fitness should always be a priority. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with travel plans, sightseeing, meetings, and more. By exercising, you are helping your body and mind to cope with these stresses and enjoy your time more! I hope you found some of these tips helpful. You can check out my weekly blog at actorfit.net for updates, recipes, and more!