Making Time for Exercise While on the Road
When on holiday, daily exercise routines and goals have a tendency to go right out the window but they don't need to. I used to be terrible at making myself exercise when I travel and tell myself that I would get back into the swing of things full force once I get home. However, not only would I avoid exercise during my time on vacation, but I would also eat like a pig and then have a lot of training to catch up with after getting home.
These days, I travel so much that I cannot afford to skip workouts anymore so I am always finding ways to stay fit while on the go. Here are a few tips that I hope will help for those that are wondering how to best workout without a gym around.
Go for a hike
Traditional morning routines can be substituted out for hiking if you are traveling to scenic places. The view while climbing mountains certainly beats one from a stair stepper at the gym. And even if there is nothing to climb on, when exploring a new city, try to do it by foot or bike instead of using public transportation. That way you can burn calories while taking more time to enjoy the local surroundings.
Take a dip in the pool
Does your accommodation have a swimming pool? Or is there a beach nearby? If so take advantage of it! Most hotel pools are most likely too small to do laps in but there are all sorts of exercises that can be done in one place. For legs, I often practice kicking drills and leg flutters. And for arms, the weight of the water is perfect for tricep extensions or assistance when practicing planches and L-sits in shallow water. If you are at the beach, swim a few laps before laying down to relax so your rest will feel more deserved.
Skip some rope
Some people might complain that out on vacation there isn't any place to go jogging for cardio. That can easily be taken care of with a jump rope. A jump rope is not only great for cardio and speed, but it is also light and small so fits in your luggage without taking up space. I usually start off most mornings with a bit of skipping.
String up gymnastics rings
For those of you worried that you won't have access to weights on the road, I highly suggest buying a pair of gymnastics rings. I take mine with me everywhere and they don't weigh that much at all. There are so many great body weight exercises you can do with them and they help build stabilizer muscles better than traditional bars too. If you are new to rings, check out bodybuilding.com for a list of things you can do with them.
Grab some parallettes
After years of breakdancing, I have developed some pretty bad wrists so I try to stay away from moves like traditional pushups that hyperextend them. With parallettes, I can not only do pushups with straight wrists but I can also use them for L-sits, handstands, planches and lots more. They aren't too heavy, don't take up too much suitcase space, and add variety to your workouts. Men's Fitness has some basic muscle building workouts to check out for the parallette bars if you are wondering where to start.
Roll out the resistance bands
Resistance bands weigh less and take up less space in a suitcase than anything I have mentioned above so there is no reason not to take them on your next trip. Resistance bands can come in different strengths so you can do anything from physical therapy and recovery to hardcore training. An example of a way to add intensity to a workout might be using them against your body weight when doing pushups or dips. Or if you are training for new skills on the rings such as a front lever, they work great as an assistant. For some ideas on all the things you can do with resistance bands, check out these 33 resistance band exercises.
You always have yourself!
If you packed so many clothes that you can't even add a resistance band to your suitcase without going over the weight limit, you always have yourself to work with! Pushups, pullups, air squats, jogging, planks, burpees, the list goes on. Even on a long plane ride, you can do some basic stretches in the aisle, or contract your abs for a few sets to get the blood flowing. Since your body is everywhere you go, you can never have a valid excuse for not being able to get a workout in.
How I train
The order of my workouts, intensity, time and the exact movements I do are always changing but the equipment I travel with is consistent (See what is in my suitcase). Below is an example of what I might do if I don't have gym access and want to get a full body workout in. (In all honesty, even if I had gym access I prefer working out with body weight)
- normal skipping (5 min)
- double skips (5 min)
- L-sits (5-second holds x 4)
- Planches (hold until failure x 4)
- Handstands (30-second hold x 4)
- Pushups (25 x 4)
- Front lever holds (hold until failure x 4)
- One-handed pullups (until failure on each arm x 4)
- Pullups (until failure x 4)
- Hanging leg raises (12 x 4)
- Windshield wipers (12 x 4)
- Dips (12 x 4)
- Air squats (20 x 4)
- Crab walks (20 x 4)
- Static squat-sit (30 sec x 4)
- Calf raises (100)
I might write more in depth in the future about body weight workouts since it is all I have done for the past few years. For now though, I just want to remind those out there traveling that there are plenty of ways to stay fit while on the road and away from the gym.