african american woman business travel

Summer's almost here and folks are gearing up for vacation. Traveling while on a fitness plan is hard. Even for the most advanced of us, it’s haaaarrrrrrrrrd.

Let’s face it:  travel is expensive, and if you’re going to spend your hard earned coins on it, you’re going to want to do it right. You’re going to seek out amazing experiences. You’re going to explore new and exciting locations. And… you’re going to want to taste a bit of what the local cultural cuisine has to offer.

But if you’re not mindful, your incredible adventure could be tarnished by that additional five or so pounds that you put on from overindulging.

As always, mama’s got you covered.

One thing that most people fail to realize about fitness is that the goal is to make it natural, as opposed to an additional burden that adds more stress to your life. You should naturally think about how your travel plans can accommodate the way you live, and since fitness is a part of your life, well… let’s just say you shouldn’t have to think too hard about it.

What about the average beginner? How does the newbie incorporate fitness into travel? How can the neophyte shift their thinking in a way that makes this second nature?

Here are 4 tips to ensure you stay on track while vacationing: 

1) Think critically about the hotel or resort you choose. If you get to choose your locale, lots of travel destinations now have fitness-centered activities that allow for you to get your classes in without even having to leave the facility! The Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa brand offers yoga classes, aerobics, swimming and TRX instruction all on the facility, and that’s before you even hit the sand, where you can find boot camp-esque classes all alongside the ocean.

2) Look for activities that allow you to be on your feet. Quick phone calls to the tourism boards of popular travel destinations will net you tons of information about how active people get it in on vacay. Everything from popular running paths to exploratory bike tours to “food crawls” (where you go from restaurant to restaurant sampling some of the city’s best local cuisine) to dancing lessons and night clubs (yes, that counts, too!) can provide pleasure and lasting memories, while also keeping you moving.

3) Spot holes in your itinerary, and use them wisely. If you’re traveling for business, take a long, hard look at your itinerary and find for holes in it. Does your day begin at 10? If you wake up at 7 and go for an interval sprint session or a brisk jog, you can get back in time to get showered and made up for work. If you get an hour’s worth of time in-between meetings, you can always dart back to your hotel room for some intense stretching and some relaxation. For travelers like me who find their itineraries often become unpredictable, places like the Kimpton Hotels chain pride themselves on creating “fitness atmospheres” for their guests, providing just about anything from in-room yoga mats to on-demand fitness TV shows to keep you on-track in sweaty – and sweat-free – ways.

4) Don’t be afraid to enjoy the food. If you’re doing it right, you’re not going to a giant chain restaurant when you travel – that’s right, I said it. Skip the chain restaurant and try the local and cultural cuisine. Most cultural cuisine is actually high in rich, flavorful, local vegetables and well-crafted cuts of protein, as opposed to being the traditional calorie bombs we oftentimes find in larger chain restaurants. Try new things, learn to love them, and – even better – write down what you ate, and bring the recipe back home with you!

Last – and most important– don’t look at your travel plans as a challenge to your fitness endeavors. Instead, treat them as an opportunity to test out what your travel space has to offer to an active-minded person such as yourself. As I always say, your body will thank you for it!

Erika Nicole Kendall is the certified trainer and writer behind the award-winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss. Ask her your health and fitness-related questions on twitter at @bgg2wl.