I’ve had a lot of friends and family ask me how I keep up with my workout routine when I’m traveling. Or they’ll just give up on their workout because they know they have a trip coming up and won’t have access to a gym. You can still have a GREAT workout while traveling! But also, you don’t HAVE to workout either!
Take A Break
Before I get into how to maximize working out while traveling, keep in mind, if you are the type of person even asking this question, then there is no doubt you consistently already go to the gym and workout. However, that also means you probably don’t take many deload weeks off to recover from all your hard training. Use this as a time to take a break! Our bodies won’t just lose all your hard earned muscle from a one or even two week vacation! Especially if you have been training like crazy, you might find you even grow more muscle taking the week off. It gives your joints a break, allows your recovery to catch up to repair and grow your muscle.
Our bodies need time to recover, especially when we do high volume. So if you are this type of person, use your travel time to take a week or so off from training, try to eat healthy, and see if your performance improves when you get back. A lot of times if I know I have a trip coming up, I’ll program my training block so that my deload week falls the week I am traveling so that I don’t mess up my program.
Maximizing Your Training While Traveling
Now, if you are like me, and either already take deloads, or want to workout while traveling, all is not lost. Sure, you may not have the machines, and dumbbells that you need to progressively overload. That’s totally fine.
You just have to get creative using your bodyweight. Here are some examples.
Legs – Bodyweight squats (if there is something heavy you can hold you can do that too), single leg squats onto a chair, lunges (flat or on some stairs)
Chest – push-ups (flat, or elevate your feet),
Back – if there is something you can do pull-ups on try that
Variations To Make It Harder
If those are still too easy, now it’s time to manipulate it to make it more challenging.
Isometrics – Try holding the contraction for 2-3 seconds where the muscle is full engaged before repeating your next rep
Eccentrics – Slow down your lowering pace. So for push ups, take 3-4 seconds to come back down to the floor before doing the next rep.
Bands/Suspension Trainers – You can get resistance bands or a suspension trainer for relatively cheap these days. I like to bring them with me if I want to add further challenge to the exercises listed above. Not to mention a suspension trainer allows you a lot more options for all muscles.
Also keep in mind, you don’t ALWAYS have to be doing reps of 5-15 to see growth. Research shows as long as you can make the exercise challenging enough to get as much as 20 reps, you can still stimulate some growth. Now, don’t expect to create a bodybuilder caliber physique from this limited training, but the point is you can definitely maintain what you currently have.
You can also take that time to work on any nagging injuries or mobility issues you’ve been putting off. Focus on MAPS Prime Pro movements, and choose one to two big areas (shoulders, hips, ankles, etc) where you can increase that range of motion and get the reps in, so that when you do go back to the gym, you can now increase your potential to grow with this new found range of motion.
At the end of the day, choose whatever you can easily incorporate to your daily life. Working out is a journey. It doesn’t always have to revolve around getting your 5 resistance training days in the gym. Increase your NEAT and find time throughout the day to get more energy expenditure through long walks, or other ways to get your heart rate going.
If you’d like more detail on this topic, be sure to check out Sal’s new book The Resistance Training Revolution where he goes into more details that you can follow along with.