Exercising on the road has always been a little tricky for me, especially with a family. But now that my kids are getting older, I’m getting better at making time for myself and finding creative ways to fit in bursts of exercise.

When my family started on our East Coast road trip a couple of weeks ago, I was extremely wary about how I was going to keep up with any type of fitness routine. Would the hotels have decent gyms? Would I even have time to exercise?

But I did manage to get my heart rate up during my trip. The secret? I didn't rely solely on hotel gyms—I realized I just needed to get creative.

My exercise routine started long before we even arrived at our first hotel. On the first day, I snuck in 50 jumping jacks in the restroom at Starbucks!

Our first overnight stop was Chicago. I woke up about an hour before the family (even without setting an alarm), so I dressed in my workout gear, tip-toed out of the hotel room, and hit the stairwell. I lost count how many times I went up and down the four flights, but at the end of the day my Fitbit said that I had climbed 21 floors! Not too shabby considering we spend the rest of the day in the car.

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The next night we arrived in Pittsburgh, where we ended up staying three nights at the downtown Renaissance while we visited family-friendly museums and explored the city. I had read on the website that the hotel offered guest free passes to Gold's Gym, so I decided to jump on the offer. That was, until I saw the hotel’s gym. It had everything! There are various weight machines, free weights, and more than a dozen cardio machines (bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills, galore). I managed to work out a couple of evenings after dinner thanks to the hotel gym heaven.

While I was happy I could keep up my weightlifting routine, I decided to challenge myself as much as possible by taking the stairs to our fourteenth floor room instead of the elevator, and the experience ended up being a real treat. The marble stairs were the building's originals that dated back to the early 1900s. Over the next three days, I climbed 84 floors, and one day I even reached 12,000 steps. By the time we checked out, my legs felt like rocks!

I did my best to keep up the climbing routine once in Brooklyn since I didn't have a chance to hit the hotel’s gym, and I did manage to rack up 59 floors. In my spare time I did lunges, wall-sits, squats, and side lunges in the hotel room. Plus, we managed to walk a lot. The week’s total was almost 60,000 steps, and that includes four full days of driving.

If there was one thing I learned on this trip, it's that exercise while traveling may not be perfect, but it’s the effort to get creative that makes all the difference.

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