Whether it’s for business, pleasure, or vacation, at some point, we all depart from the comfort of our homes to another location. It might be a quick trip to the next town over or a thrilling adventure halfway around the world. No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing stays true:
Our normal routines get thrown out the window when traveling because:
• If you work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment.
• If you run around your neighborhood, you now no longer have a familiar path.
• If you usually prepare your own meals, you don’t have access to a kitchen or fridge.
• If you’re used to a good night’s sleep, you’re faced with odd hours in different time zones.
My aunt loves to travel. She has visited nearly every continent and if she had her way, her feet would never be on the ground.
On the other hand, I had just visited Europe for the first time last summer. Needless to say, for a former collegiate athlete and a fitness junkie like myself, the thought of being away from barbells loaded with plates was, and still is, a paralyzing thought.
The first trip my family took after I completed my collegiate athletic career, my training continued but was inconsistent and directionless.
When we visited Europe last summer, I was unable to find a gym so I had to resort to being satisfied with walking, since we were walking over 13 miles a day.
We are creatures of habit – while working a normal day job, we can stick to a routine pretty easily (wake up, eat meals, work out, and go to sleep at the same times). However, when we start traveling, nothing is familiar and the tiniest speed bump can be enough to screw things up. Fortunately, there is hope! It’s time for you to establish a specific plan that you can take with you on your next trip.
For me, this year, I have a plan, a direction, and more importantly, a purpose for my training.
In my time traveling after being in a workout environment 24/7, I’ve come to realize one thing - you won’t get stronger. Unless your partner is a fitness rat as well, and you are happy with spending your time in another country ravenously searching the streets for somewhere that will allow you to lift some heavy metal, it’s more than likely your AirBnb room or hotel gym won’t have the necessary equipment or space for you to hit a one rep max. Therefore, there are a few things that you can do:
1 Take the time off and deload. If you are like most hardcore lifters, myself included, you wait for life to tell you to deload when in fact, you could probably use a week or two off. Regardless of what people say, you won’t become catabolic and shrink or become overweight all of a sudden because “your muscle turned into fat”. In fact, you’ll probably come back stronger and more determined post-vacation.
2 Start moving your body. Bodyweight workouts are greatly underestimated. Most people don’t see the benefits they can reach using solely their own bodyweight. Some of the strongest guys out there specialize in Calisthenics and are some of the most shredded people out there.
3 Now’s the best time to work on mobility. You know you have been telling yourself to do more stretching and/or foam rolling because you’ve been sitting all day at work and your hips are so tight you can barely squat. Well, guess what? You don’t need any fancy gym equipment to open up your hips. So go do it.
4 Lower the weights and up the volume. Bodybuilding style training and using time under tension (TUT) will allow you to use the 15lb weights in the hotel gym to stimulate some growth. Still don’t believe me? Use 40-50% of your 1RM dumbbell bench press, employing a 2-3-2-1 tempo (two second eccentric, a three second isometric hold, a two second concentric and a one second pause at the top position.) As for your lower body? You may not be able to squat or deadlift as heavy as you’d like, so why not switch to some single leg variations to work on the tiny yet crucial stabilizer muscles that you never focus on in your training anyways?
Designing a Workout
So you’ve decided to still exercise to help yourself feel mentally better about enjoying all those delicious high carb, high fat foods. Below are a few time-efficient examples to help your metabolism stay as efficient as it was when you first stepped off that plane.
1. Super Sets
Pair two exercises together and rest minimally between sets and repeat.
1A) DB bench press
2A) DB one arm rows
2. Compound Sets
Pair two exercises together that target the same muscle groups. Rest 30 seconds between exercises and repeat until all sets have been completed. You’ll find that you’ll get a mini metabolic training effect along with a desired pump.
1A) DB bench press 4 x 10
2A) DB incline bench press 3 x 10
3A) Cable or DB chest flyes 3 x 8
3A) push-ups 1 x 20
3. Tabata Rounds
Select an exercise, preferably a bodyweight one, and perform 20 seconds of caffeine-induced adrenaline all-out reps. Rest for ten seconds and then repeat for 8 total rounds (4 minutes of total time).
Exercise is not something that is confined to four walls.
Nobody wants to be that person who turns to a loved one and says, “Sorry, I can’t travel to XYZ with you because I’ve got a back day scheduled and I can’t miss that. What really defines someone who loves fitness and exercise, is the ability to adapt to different circumstances and still put in the necessary work to grow and progress as a person.
I always found space to work out no matter where I was and so can you.
You might have a decent hotel gym or a spacious Airbnb room. Maybe you will need to do lunges in your hallway, or find a park nearby. A jump rope and TheraBands are easy to travel with! Go for a walk, pick a direction, and try to find a small patch of land to do your push ups, squats and jump rope. Go get em!
Learn more about Coach Cheri here!