Staying Fit Over The Holidays (Even While You Travel) | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 033

Staying Fit Over The Holidays (Even While You Travel) | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 033

The holiday season can sabotage your exercise routine, especially if you’re traveling to meet up with family. Too often, people use the holidays as an excuse to skip their workouts — but this can have a devastating effect on your routines long after the holidays end. 

That’s why it’s crucial to do some sort of exercise while you’re traveling for the holiday season. 

Not only will it make exercising easier when you return home, but it’s also an opportunity to bond with your family in a different way. 

Before my son was born, I traveled every holiday season. Even though we haven’t traveled as much since he was born, I’ve picked up some simple tips and tricks to make working out while traveling a breeze.  

In this episode, I’m sharing my favorite workout hacks (and mistakes to avoid) when traveling, so you stay fit and motivated over the holidays. Plus, I have a special surprise for you at the end of the episode. 

Want to stay fit while traveling this holiday season? Listen now.

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 033

Staying Fit Over The Holidays (Even While You Travel) | Ep. 33

Episode 033 Highlights

  • The 4 major mistakes to avoid for staying fit while traveling this holiday season (2:57) 
  • Why exercising the first day of your vacation motivates you to workout for the duration of your trip (5:04) 
  • The “Environment Energizer” secret for having better workouts while traveling than you do at home (7:01) 
  • How to trick your brain into creating a “workout groove” on vacation so exercising becomes automatic (11:16)
Episode 033: Staying Fit Over The Holidays (Even While You Travel) | Dean Pohlman – Transcript

Hey guys. It’s Dean, welcome back to another solo podcast from The Better Man podcast. And in today’s episode I want to talk about staying fit over the holidays and particularly while you are traveling.

So I know a lot of you are going to be traveling for the holidays. I travel myself for the holidays. I’m going to be traveling again this year for the holidays. So I have experience with this and I’ve come up with a lot of strategies that have helped me to stay consistent with my workouts, but also don’t set me up for not hitting my goals because I’ve got too high of expectations. So I’m going to talk about a few things in the solo podcast that I think are going to be really helpful to you.

First off, I’ll talk about why it’s so important to exercise the first morning you start your vacation. I’ll talk about how you can stay consistent with your workouts, even if you are with your family. I’ll talk about why you should invite your family to join, even if they don’t. And we’ll talk about equipment you should bring. And just a few other tips I think, that are going to be really helpful for you.

I’m also going to talk about four major mistakes that you should avoid to make sure that you actually stay active. And a lot of these tips and strategies aren’t super obvious. I’m trying to give you suggestions. I’m trying to give you tips that you haven’t heard before. So it’s not just like a boring, oh duh type of video. And all these tips and strategies are based on personal experience. I travel for the holidays a lot. It’s only recently that I have stopped traveling for the holidays every year, but prior to having my son, our son, I traveled every year. And I, fortunately, I do have a family that is very understanding of my fitness habits. So they don’t get mad at me if I go off for 30 to 60 minutes and do my thing. But I do find that there are certain practices that help you be consistent without cutting too much into your family time. And these are the strategies that I’ve developed and that I’m going to share with you right now.

So first off, the four major mistakes to avoid. You don’t want to travel with too much equipment. Less is more here. It’s a pain in the ass to travel with more stuff you’re probably not going to use at all. And also, more choices leads to lower compliance, meaning the more exercise equipment that you bring, the lower likelihood you’ll end up deciding on something and actually using it. So don’t bring too much equipment. It’s going to make it a lot easier on you if you if you bring less.

Second step is to: don’t NOT have a plan, so make sure that you have a plan. You can always revise that plan later on. But I would go in it with a plan. It’s always easier to to do that as opposed to just going in and saying, I’m going to work out four times over the next, you know, five days. But if you don’t know what time of day you’re going to work out, if you don’t know where you’re going to work out or even what type of workout you’re going to do, then that’s going to make that all very difficult. So have some sort of plan going in, be willing to revise it.

I also recommend that you don’t just disappear. Don’t just ghost your family or ghost whoever you’re with, and run away to work out. Now you can do this in the morning. That’s the best time to do this. And that’s actually going to be one of the tips that I give you later on is to do your workouts in the morning, but I would highly recommend you don’t just run away in the middle of the day because someone’s going to get mad at you. So, yeah, don’t just run away.

And then my, my last major mistake that I would recommend you avoid is to not is to avoid setting high expectations. You’re probably not going to have as much free time as you like. You’re not going to be as motivated as you think you are. Something is going to come up. So just go into this knowing that you can work out, but you’re probably not going to do everything you want to because, you know, life gets in the way here.

So one of the tips that I have is to exercise the first morning you start your vacation. And the reason why this is so important is because new environments lead to new habits. So if the first thing that you do on your your trip is you, you know, you go there, you sleep, you wake up and you go get breakfast, then it’s very likely that the next day your body is going to kind of just automatically move into that groove or that pattern and you’ll go and find breakfast.

So the reason why it’s so important to do exercise the first morning is because then you’re setting up this pattern, you’re setting up this groove that your brain is used to and your probably going to be more likely to do a workout in the morning as long as you’re in that familiar environment. Again Conversely, if you don’t do a workout in the morning, then you’re less likely to do a workout in the morning as well.

So that’s that’s a big tip. Make sure you workout the first morning that you’re there and let’s also talk about why working out in the morning is a is a is a good idea.

So, you know, the morning is the best is the best time to work out. I mean, I won’t say it’s the best time to work out. I will say it’s the best time to work out if you’re with other people because you know, you can wake up earlier, you know, you’re not going to be doing stuff later on. There’s not going to be an expectation that you’re going to be, you know, doing things together later on in the day. But early in the morning, that’s a that’s a great time. No one’s going to be, you know, emailing you or texting you or whatever or saying, hey, we need to go do this right now. Right? So morning is just like the rest of life. Morning is a really good time to work out, so I would highly recommend I’m trying to fit in in the morning.

Next step is to use your environment as motivation. So this might not work out for everybody, but this is something that I’ve personally used. So just to give you an example, my parents, when I used to go home to visit my family or my immediate family, meaning my mom and my dad, we were they have a condo building or they don’t own the condo building, but they live in a condo building, has a gym and it has a weight room.

And prior to me putting a gym, putting a little gym in my house and then in my garage, I didn’t always have access to weightlifting equipment. I wasn’t lifting weights as often as I am now. So for me, going home or going to Cleveland and then going to my parents and having that weight room, there was motivation for me. I was like, Oh, cool, there’s a weight room. I can use the weight room.

Another example, and I’m doing this again this year, but I went to go visit my grandparents and my whole mom’s side of the family and Door County, Wisconsin, shout out to Door County if anybody’s here is from northern Wisconsin but they’re there is a lot of hiking. There’s beautiful trails. Peninsula State Park is there. I even did a polar plunge myself a couple of years back. And so this is motivation for me when I’m there is that’s the environmental motivation There is I can go hiking. I can you know, I can do my workout by going hiking. So you can use, you know, use your environment as an innovation.

Is there something that you can. Oh, in another year I went to my whole family, met up in Tennessee one year, and there was some hiking nearby. So we all did a group activity and went hiking. So that was a planned workout as well. So point here is that you can use your environment as motivation and you can do something that you don’t normally have access to or, you know, don’t normally aren’t able to normally do.

So there some other advice here, maybe there’s a nice view where you’re working out so you could work out and do yoga with a nice view and in a room with equipment that you don’t normally have access to or maybe you have access to, again, maybe you have access to different things. Is there a particular piece of equipment or is there a setting that you don’t normally have access to that you would like to incorporate into a workout? If so, you can kind of plan for this in advance. So the point here is to try and think about what you’re going to have access to. What about that environment or those available resources could could boost your motivation to make you more more excited to work out and then plan on doing that. So that’s using your environment as motivation.

The next plan, the next part of this is to plan ahead, to stay consistent. So I talked about this before, but you really do need to plan ahead. So have a very good idea of what what you’re going to be doing when you’re traveling in terms of working out, have an idea of when you’re going to do it. You know, are you going to be watching a workout on your phone? Are you going to be are you going to be going to a, you know, a gym nearby? Are you do do is there a little exercise room where you’re going? So think about what you’re going to have access to, but then also be ready to revise the plan.

So be ready to revise the plan. Right. So you don’t want to just go into this plan thinking this is the only plan that I can have and nothing else will work. So go into it with the the expectation that you’re going to have to revise it a little bit. And that’s fine. That’s much better than going into it with no plan because that makes makes it very unlikely that you’re going to do anything.

My next step is to that was pretty short that section but yeah just plan ahead make sure you’re planning ahead to make sure that you’re consistent and be willing to revise your plan. The next piece of advice I have is to do it in the same time, in the same place, every day. This kind of goes back to the idea of doing it in the morning. But the point there is that you are kind of creating the habit, right? You’re building, you’re creating that groove, so to speak, so that your brain goes to it creates this association between this particular time of the day or that particular setting and you doing your workout. And in this case, when we work out at the same time, in the same place, we’re creating that expectation that at this time, in this location, I’m going to be working out.

So if you can do that the first day that you show up, then that’s going to encourage you to want to do that every day that you’re there. So work out in the same time, work out in the same place. And that’s going to be different if you plan on doing different activities, right? If you’re planning on going on a hike one day or going out in the snow and cross-country skiing, whatever it is one day, you know, and weightlifting the next day, then obviously not going to be in the same setting. In that case, you’re going to want to try and do it in the same time. Right. But obviously not going to be able to do that in the same place. And that’s fine. So but as much as possible, try to work out in the same area. If you are concerned about being consistent.

My next step is to make it a group activity. Chances are high that somebody with in your immediate party is going to be mad if you are noticeably absent. So my recommendation is to invite people to come with you. And then even if they don’t come, at least they will feel included as opposed to you ghosting people and running away in the afternoon because it’s time for you to work out.

And again, that comes back to, you know, if you really do need to work out on your own, you can do that in the morning. But you know, it’s kind of cool about Man Flow Yoga is you can just put it on TV and follow along and hopefully somebody else will do it. We I see tons of photos in the Man Flow Yoga community on Facebook of people sharing them and their families doing yoga together. It’s usually they’re they’re kids, you know, five year old six year olds doing yoga with them. But we also see other people doing yoga together. So anyways, that’s a great group activity. It’s a cool new tradition to establish for your family. So I would I would say definitely try to get people involved and invite people even if they don’t even if, you know, they won’t come, just invite people and then they can’t be mad at you when you go off and do your workout.

I also want to talk about what equipment you should bring and it shouldn’t be much. You know, you shouldn’t be lugging around an 80 pound kettlebell. Not a great idea. And you don’t want to bring too much equipment because you’re not going to, you’re it’s going to be a pain to carry it all. You’re you’re less likely to use it the more that you have. And there might be some equipment to, you know, at the place where you’re going. So either way, I would recommend that you have access to at least two or three of the following.

The first is resistance bands, and resistance bands are really helpful because most people who, if you’re traveling for a long time, if you’re in a car for a long time or if you’re on a plane, your body’s going to get pretty tight and your shoulders are going to get tight. Definitely your hips, but also your shoulders are going to get tight. And that can lead to shoulder pain, at least for me. If I travel, I know that my shoulders are going to hurt and I know that I need to do some exercises, some resistance based exercises to help with really getting the muscles of my upper back active again and kind of making my shoulders feel better.

So I would highly recommend bringing some resistance bands. They’re very inexpensive, they’re easy to travel with. They weigh about a pound and they’re going to be great for your shoulders. I mean, you can usually find something to hook them in, and if you can’t, you can always stick it in a door in a doorframe.

The second thing I’d recommend you bring is a lacrosse ball or a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball. And this is a super tiny piece of equipment that’s really useful because, again, if you’re traveling, you’re probably going to end up with some tightness. That lacrosse ball or that tennis ball is really good for getting into muscle knots, and it’s also good for helping you sleep. So if you do some lacrosse ball or some tennis ball work on yourself in the hours leading up to bed, that’s going to help you wind down. It’s going to help you shift and kind of activate your parasympathetic nervous system and that’s going to help you wind down and get better sleep. So lacrosse ball, really great for a lot of things, but it’s also helpful for going to sleep.

And then, you know, if you can bring your yoga mat, great to bring a yoga mat. But then again, you know, yoga mats are big, especially the Man Flow Yoga mat. It’s big, it’s heavy. I’m completely unapologetic about that because it is a high quality mat. And when you make something that’s good, it weighs a lot because it’s got good material. So, you know, but it is hard to travel with. So for me, I like to if I travel and I don’t have my yoga mat, I will use a towel from the hotel room. I can use a rug for restorative poses and I’ll stand on a hardwood floor or a more firm floor of some sort if I need to do balance or standing poses. So there you go. I find that you don’t really need to bring a yoga strap because you can usually get by with some piece of clothing. You can use a T-shirt, you can use a piece of dirty laundry or something like that for your yoga strap. So but then again, it is very small. So, you know, you could bring it.

Next thing to adress is weight training. So, you know, most if you’re a weight trainer and I totally get this I’m I’ve been lifting again since I know it’s 2020 I think 2020. And and I know that if I actually I don’t know, I don’t remember when it was 2021 or 2020. I can’t remember. Anyways, I get it. If you don’t have access to your normal weight training workouts, it’s really frustrating because you feel like you’re losing your gains. But this is actually a really good opportunity for you to focus on building strength in other ways. So if you don’t have access to your gym, you’re going to be able to do some and you’re listening to this episode. I’m assuming you’ve you’ve done some Man Flow Yoga or you’re considering doing Man Flow Yoga. So this is a great time to work on some strength in other ways. Our Strength Foundations challenge is awesome for that. So take a look at some of that. You can also do some bodyweight exercise if you if you’re concerned about getting enough intensity and and volume into your workouts, if you slow down the reps and use your body weight, you’re going to get a really tough workout. Even just doing some some split squats at a very slow pace and doing a high amount.

I know personally with me, you know, with with what I’m working on with with my coach is to in order to build my back up because I talked about this. But my I’ve had some low back issues after I had COVID and was moving and then just wasn’t doing the exercises I knew I should be doing.

But I’ve been recovering from that and that means that I haven’t been able to do some super heavy lifting. So what we’ve been doing instead is a lot of high rep, slow bodyweight exercises. So one thing that you can do is do some really slow split squats and do 20 per side. So do a 3 second eccentric split squat with the 3 second eccentric portion. So you’re counting 0, 1, 2, down, 0, 1, 2 up, right? And so if you do that, that’s a really slow rep and that’s going to be tough on your lower body. So the point here is if you slow down the reps, use your body weight, you’re still going to get a challenging workout.

And also, you don’t have to you don’t have to keep doing weight training every day, taking that week off, focusing on active mobility training, doing stuff like what you see in the strength foundations course is going to help your strength training in the long run. It’s also going to give your joints a few days to recover. You know, taking a week off, it might seem like the end of the world, but I promise you it’s not. And there’s a good chance that your body needs the recovery anyways.

And then I want to say don’t be embarrassed about working out. You know, people are maybe not everyone you’re with is, is into working out like you are. You know, maybe it will seem weird if yes, especially if you’re also, you know, if you’re if you’re getting if you’re new into working out regularly, then it might seem weird for you to to leave people and say, hey, I’m going to go do a workout. You know, there might be some judgment, there might be some whatever. But I’m just here to encourage you to not be embarrassed about that because it’s good for you. It’s good for them, good for your family, because hopefully you working out means they won’t have to take care of you as much. And you know, for me, I also just need that time. I need that time to myself. I am not an extrovert by nature, so me being around people for too long gets kind of overwhelming. So I do like to have working out as a time for me to kind of be on my own to make sure that I’m, you know, just just keeping myself in a, in a mental and emotional state that’s going to be more enjoyable for everybody. Because if I’m just with people constantly, it’s not going to be fun for me and it’s not going to be fun for you either.

So there you go. So those are my tips on staying fit over the holidays while traveling. I hope you found this useful if you are checking in right now [November 23-28], I would say we have a Black Friday sale going on right now.

This is our biggest sale of the year and we are not doing a new year sale telling you straight up right now. You can come back in a month and check, but we are not doing a New Year’s sale. This is the biggest sale of the year for man for yoga. This is the time to sign up. If you’ve listened to this podcast, if you’ve listened, if you’ve done the workouts on YouTube or done some of the workouts through Man for yoga before, this is the time to sign up.

You’re going to get something like 64% savings compared to what the normal price would be. When you sign up with Black Friday. So go to ManFlowYoga.com, follow the buttons, follow the banner, whatever the images that says Hey Black Friday and sign up. Get started with the program. I’m going to walk you through every aspect of getting started.

Make it super easy for you. But if you are struggling to establish a habit of working out consistently, if you’ve tried other workout programs before and you just couldn’t keep up, you wouldn’t motivate, you weren’t motivated or your body just felt too sore. If you have a back knee or shoulder pain on a daily basis or on a regular basis, and you’re ready to address the root causes of that and get rid of it for good. Guys, This is what Man Flow Yoga was made for, so I encourage you to sign up for the Black Friday sale. Thanks for listening to the Better Man podcast. I hope this has been helpful for you. I hope it’s been enjoyable. It’s been inspiring to you to help you be the better man. And I look forward to welcoming you back on the next episode of the Betterment podcast.

So I’ll see you guys later and happy holidays. Bye bye.


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