Reader Profile: The Cardio-Happy Traveler

“There are plenty of machines available, even when I travel. But I don’t do such a good job of using them.” - Jeff Vincent: Age 42, Private Equity Investor, Boulder, Colo.

HIS CHALLENGE

Jeff is good about getting in his weekly cardio. “I run 20 to 40 minutes, three to four times a week.” That’s impressive in itself because this father of four is constantly shuttling children, attending various school activities, and on the road for work one or two days a week. When he’s finished with his cardio, Jeff treats strength training as an unstructured option. “When I do use the machines, it’s kind of random in both amount and frequency.” And that prevents progress.

OUR ADVICE

Jeff needs a few lessons on how to stay motivated while on the road. He’s good about getting in cardio but just needs to change his mind-set about strength training—frequent travel can actually work to his benefit there. He can use the hotel’s gym or rely on a few equipment-free moves that will have him feeling stronger soon.

  • Embrace the vagaries of travel. Using the same weight-training workouts again and again can be counterproductive: Muscles adapt to an exercise routine after performing it six to eight times, which takes less ­effort thereafter. Traveling means you’ll have different gear, a fresh workout, and better muscle response.
  • Create an exercise log. Noting each workout (weights, reps, etc.) gives you numbers you can refer back to with your next workout. Plus, it can keep you motivated by revealing how far you’ve progressed—and you will progress, remarkably quickly.
  • Use two travel-friendly classics. Push-ups and lunges utilize your body weight to build and strengthen muscle without any exercise equipment.
  • Change everything on the first. The best time to throw out a workout is before it becomes stale, not after. Switch up your routine on the first of every month, especially if you’re seeing results. Set a calendar reminder in your smart phone so you don’t let it slip your mind.