How to stay fit during your holiday travels this summer

Summertime often means trips away from home, either to visit family and friends or just to get away and relax.

Too often, these trips become a vacation from your regular workout routine. While adding variety can help prevent boredom and burnout, giving up on exercise altogether can make you lose some of the progress you worked so hard to achieve.

James Villepigue, a certified trainer and author of the best-selling book "The Body Sculpting Bible For Men" and "The Body Sculpting Bible For Women" (Hatherleigh Press, 2001), offers this advice for travelers who want to stay fit.

"We always use traveling as an excuse to not stay in shape. Staying in shape while traveling is more challenging, but it is certainly possible. If you are determined, the key is planning and preparation.

"I have taught my clients to treat exercise as a way of life. This way, you are automatically drawn to exercising even during vacation time. I have gotten some of the best workouts of my life during vacation and traveling. It is refreshing to train in new environments and surroundings, plus it's a great way to meet people."

Villepigue suggests that before leaving on a trip, find out if the hotel has a fitness facility or at least a set of dumbbells. If not, then find out where the closest fitness facility is and plan to work out there.

If there are no fitness facilities in the area then try a routine which uses only your own body weight: dips, push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, lunges, calf raises, crunches and leg raises. All you need to carry is a portable chin-up bar that you can place in the hotel room.

Once you get back home, you can return to your regular workout routine.

As for your diet, Villepigue says, you may need to get creative. Most fast food and other restaurants have a low-fat grilled chicken dish that you can have as a sandwich, in a salad, or with a small side order of vegetables and rice or potato. Look for other low-fat protein dishes, and remember to skip the heavy sauces and salad dressings.

"As you can see," Villepigue concludes, "even though it will take more effort to stay in shape when you travel, it is not impossible. If you are determined enough to change your body, then nothing is impossible."

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