Thursday, November 10, 2016

Heading to Las Vegas?

Getting your workout on while traveling, EVEN IN LAS VEGAS

I’ve been traveling a lot lately.

When I travel to a new city, even one that’s in my own country I love to explore it by either going for a run or an extended walk with no particular plan in mind, other than to breathe in and experience the city in the most visceral way possible.

In this way I’ve explored Paris, Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Nice, Chicago, Rome, Florence, Spoleto, Quito, Philly, Orlando, and many other cities and towns around the world. It’s an awesome way to travel and appreciate what a city has to offer.

But what if you’re in a place like, say, Las Vegas in August, the hottest place on earth?

Doing a little T-25 in my hotel room
There’s the food, the shopping, the crepes, the shows, the people-watching, the burgers, the Bellagio, the casinos, the buffets, all the things you've found on the page, and the throngs and throngs of people milling about and enjoying themselves twenty-four hours a days, seven days a week, 365 a year no matter how hot-as-Hades it is. Is there even space or time for a workout?

When I was in Vegas this past summer to tape Who Wants to be a Millionaire for Teacher’s Appreciation Week it was HOT! Like 107 degrees hot. It was so hot, in fact, that I felt like I was melting every single time I stepped outside of my hotel and I actually like heat. Like, I really LOVE heat. But this was too much.

Did I mention it was hot?

So what do you do when you want to get your run on or do some exercising and it’s a brick oven outside? I’m 100% a fan of exploring the outdoors, but if it’s like you’re on the surface of the sun and your body is not acclimated to the extreme, dry heat of the Mojave Desert, maybe you can go with Plan B or Plan C or Plan D which is stay-in-your-room-until-it-cools-down-and-then-you-can-run-but-it-never-cools-down-and-now-you’re-screwed

If you are dead-set on getting your workout on, you totally can! Here’s what I usually do, wherever I go:

After a session at a swank hotel gym
  1. Once I get to my hotel, I drop my stuff of in my room and head immediately for the fitness center, if there is one. I generally exercise early in the morning, so I check out the schedule and make sure I can do what I need to at an insane hour. I also check out the equipment to make sure it’s in working order, because been there, done that.

  1. If the fitness center is non-existent or gross, that’s when Plan B comes into play. I work out in my AIR-CONDITIONED room. In Vegas, the rooms are nice and spacious, so I can move around and do what I need to do.
  2. To make sure, I don’t miss important workouts, I almost always travel with the following, especially if I’m not sure about a hotel’s fitness offerings:

a yoga mat and strap
running shoes
a running outfit (weather appropriate)
and if I remember, a resistance band

These things are all light, and except for the yoga mat they don’t add a whole lot of bulk in your luggage (unless you have a fancy, expensive, foldable travel yoga mat)

In addition, since I always carry my computer or tablet with me, I can also access exercise videos via Beachbody’s streaming service, Beachbody on Demand. So if I’m not in the mood to make up my own workout, I turn to Chalene or Shaun T and his fine self.

One time, I even tried to put 10lb weights in my carry-on and they were confiscated. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either…

So I’m all set. If it’s too hot and the fitness center is not to my liking, I work out in my room. There are many things that I can do to ensure that I get my workout in--especially before I go out and get all sun-tired and Cirque de Soleil’d out…

I can do yoga on my yoga mat. There are tons of videos on Youtube so pick one and go! (My favorite series is Yoga with Adriene. I love her!)

I put together 3-4 sets and do 8-12 reps of the following bodyweight exercises:

  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Planks
  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Speed skaters
  • Jumping lunges
  • Leg lifts
  • Mountain-climbers
  • V-ups

If I have remembered my resistance band I try to diversify my sets by adding some strength-training to the mix with the following (obviously not a complete list):

  • Overhead press
  • Bicep curls
  • Triceps kickbacks
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Chest press
  • Boxing moves (jabs, crosses, uppercuts, hooks)

You can create cool sets and supersets, or make up your own AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible), create stations in your room (or hallway if you’re brave), and/or get your intense cardio in by running up and down the stairs.

There are so many things you can do to keep yourself moving, even when you’re on vacation IN VEGAS. Working out wherever I go makes me a better (and more tolerable) traveler.

Do you exercise while on the road? How do you do it?


  1. My step mom would work out with canned food when we were on vacation and stayed at hotels with kitchens. It was a little weird.

  2. I'm a born and raised Nevadan and Vegas can be a scorcher so inside is great but if you want to attempt the heat I recommend just wait until the sun goes down or go run through Red Rock Canyon. It has some shadier areas and is a pretty place to see the desert scenery. I'm a bit of a gypsy now so when on the road I just ask a few locals if I'm staying in a safer area and then go run with my sister or myself for just a mile near where I'm at. If I have to run that same mile a number of times, no big deal, it means I have a plan and I can observe places that are both beautiful and risky. I'm an early or late runner so that helps me a lot when it's hot. Or maybe limit the amount of a work-out if you want to run in the heat. We did the Desert Dash last summer and it was two 5ks (well the portion we did) in Vegas and it was an early and a late run. It was great! We got some heat but not the mid-day sun. Good luck with all your runs in the future. You inspire me lady! You surely do!

  3. Hi Mima, You are inspiration for all who think they are fat so they can't run. Excited for knowing more about you. Keep sharing your experiences. All the best for trip to new city Vegas, hope your journey is beautiful.

  4. Awesome advice! I travel a good amount, and have had to make know what I mean! I have been to Vegas in the sweltering heat and have taken advantage of the two-hour time difference to hit the Strip running. 6:00 a.m. in Vegas in 8:00 a.m. in Chicago, so I am up and out the door when the Strip is pretty empty and have gotten some really good runs in before the day gets too hot. I am heading to Vegas again on Friday. With lows in the 40s and highs in the low-60s, getting my runs in won't be a problem!

  5. I also travel a lot, always for work, which means 15+ hour days and my time and my eating (schedule and content) are not always in my control. Most of where I go are developing countries, it's hard to get quality run time because it's not safe to run before daylight (open gutters, rutted dirt roads) and there are no fitness centers. Like you, I travel with resistance bands (but not a yoga mat, I take my chances on the hotel carpet, ugh). I also have downloaded some tabata workouts onto my phone - there are free apps for as little as a 4-minute and 7-minute tabata! There are also 9, 10, 15, etc. I can fit any length in, and can string them together if I want. They work without any wifi connection (also iffy where I travel).

    I've followed you for the last couple of years, I think - sporadically. I'm a bigger runner too, and even though I have done a bunch of marathons (most recent was 2 weeks ago) and ultras, I still have many self esteem and body image issues - some internalized from years of - well, you know, and some from just the things that people say to someone who doesn't "look" the part. I'm glad I've found your blog. Thank you for being a voice.

  6. thanks for all your inspirational ideas and encouragement !
    I also like to explore cities when I am traveling, often by running 3-4 miles around wherever I am staying. Gives me a great feel for the city. Last year, I ran the Charles river and through the Harvard campus while I was staying in Boston. But the greatest one was in Barcelona - ran from my airbnb apartment to the Sagrada Familia church and back, and running around one of the most beautiful building in the world was incredible :)

    When you listed the exercises you can do in a hotel room, you said you do 3-4 sets. One question: do you do the 3-4 sets of each one before moving on to the next one, or do you do 1 set of all the exercises, then go through them all again?