Training While Travelling – How to Make the Most Out of Your Workouts
- DAN NORTH
A lot of my clients travel frequently for work, so it’s important that we incorporate strategies to help them maximize their workouts so they can stay on track whether in a hotel room or in a gym.
While it depends on where you’re travelling, you always should assume the worst in terms of the gym at your hotel. If you’re serious about training, you’ll usually look to find a gym around the hotel or already have that planned out ahead of time. But, if there are no gyms around the area or you are strapped for time and can’t travel to another gym, you need to make the most out of what you have available at your hotel (whether it’s just in your room or in their gym).
Here are some guidelines I want to share with you so you can maximize your workouts and continue to build muscle while travelling.
1. WORKOUT OR DO SOMETHING ACTIVE IMMEDIATELY AFTER LANDING AND FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
When you reach your destination, you’ve been sitting on a plane for hours and are stressed out from travelling and feel like a complete bag of shit. Go to the gym and do something to recharge. This helps adjust your eating patterns and set you to the new time schedule more effectively. Even if it’s going for a long walk or doing some light cardio and mobility, your body is craving movement and your hips and lower back will thank you for it.
2. MAKE THE LIGHT WEIGHTS FEEL HEAVY WITH ECCENTRIC AND ISOMETRIC EXERCISES.
Most of the time, hotel gyms are pretty brutal when it comes to strength training equipment, and the dumbbells usually only go up to maybe 50lbs. But, that’s not to say you can’t get a serious workout in with that amount of weight. If you don’t think you can get a good lift in with only 50lbs dumbbells, you’re wrong.
Two ways you can do this.
- ECCENTRICS: SLOW DOWN THE TEMPO OF YOUR EXERCISES DURING THE ECCENTRIC PHASE AND MAKE THEM WORK HARDER FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. YOU WILL NOT ABLE TO HANDLE AS MUCH WEIGHT AS YOU USUALLY DO BECAUSE YOU ARE PUTTING MORE DEMAND ON YOUR MUSCLES TO SUPPORT THE EXERCISE FOR A LONGER DURATION. THIS CAUSES THEM TO BREAK DOWN AND GROW BACK STRONGER.
- ISOMETRICS: HOLDING A POSITION AND ADDING PAUSES TO EXERCISES PUT MORE DEMAND ON THE MUSCLES TO SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT. THIS IS REALLY EFFECTIVE ESPECIALLY FOR BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES LIKE SQUATS, PUSH UPS, AND PLANKS, ALL OF WHICH CAN BE PERFORMED IN ANY HOTEL ROOM. YOU CAN ALSO OBVIOUSLY ADD PAUSES TO DUMBBELL EXERCISES LIKE BENCH PRESSES AND BENT OVER ROWS IF THE DUMBBELLS ‘DON’T GO HEAVY ENOUGH’ FOR YOU.
PERFORM UNILATERAL EXERCISES AND FULL BODY WORKOUTS.
Unilateral (one-sided) exercises put more demand on your core to balance and challenge the smaller stabilizer muscles to perform movements like step ups, lunges, one armed presses, etc. This is actually another great way to make the light weights feel heavy if you take movements that you normally perform bilaterally (ex. dumbbell bench press) and make it a unilateral exercise by pressing with one arm at a time. Your core will work harder during the bench so you don’t topple over to to the side and you will be able to press less weight as a result but still get the benefit of the exercise by challenging your muscles in a new way.
4. GET IN AND OUT WITHIN 30-40 MINUTES.
If you’re hitting the gym when travelling, get in and out within 40 minutes tops. You have better shit to do (I’m assuming) then be in a gym all day. Go out and explore and don’t stress about the gym, that’s always going to be there when you get back home. But you might not always be able to hike up the Swiss Alps or go for a bike ride through wine country in France. You’ll have other opportunities to stay active but gain experiences as well.
BONUS: MUST-HAVE TRAVEL ITEMS
1. FOAM ROLLER OR LACROSSE BALL: OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LUG AROUND A HUGE FOAM ROLLER, WHICH IS WHY THEY MAKE TRAVEL SIZE ONES. IF YOU DON’T HAVE SPACE IN YOUR LUGGAGE, A LACROSSE BALL CAN ALWAYS FIT. EITHER OF THESE TWO ARE GREAT TOOLS TO HAVE, ESPECIALLY WHEN TRAVELLING BECAUSE YOUR MUSCLES COULD USE SOME SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE AFTER SITTING ON A PLANE.
Get your own foam roller and lacrosse ball by clicking here.
2. FAT GRIPZ: YOU CAN PUT FAT GRIPZ ON BARS OR DUMBBELLS OR KETTLEBELLS TO CHALLENGE YOUR GRIP STRENGTH AND MAKE THE LIGHT WEIGHTS FEEL HEAVY.
Get your own Fat Gripz by clicking here.
3. HIP CIRCLE: IF THERE’S ONE PIECE OF TRAINING EQUIPMENT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO ALMOST ANYONE, IT’S THE HIP CIRCLE. IT HELPS STRENGTHEN THE GLUTES AND HIPS, TWO AREAS OF WHICH CAN USE SOME SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ANYONE WHO SITS FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. A LOT OF MY CLIENTS WILL COME TO ME AND SAY THEIR LOWER BACK HURTS AFTER TRAVELLING SO MUCH, AND IT IS TYPICALLY BECAUSE THEIR CORE AND GLUTE MUSCLES ARE WEAK OR INHIBITED FROM SITTING DOWN FOR SO LONG. IF YOU’VE EVER USED THE HIP CIRCLE, YOU KNOW THAT THE ONE THING IT DEFINITELY DOES, IS STRENGTHEN YOUR GLUTES. THE LARGEST MUSCLE GROUP IN YOUR LOWER BODY AND ONE OF THE PRIME SUPPORTERS OF THE LOWER BACK, WHICH CAN TAKE A LOT OF PUNISHMENT WHEN TRAVELLING.
Get your own hip circle from Sling Shot by clicking here.
If you have any questions or comments about training while travelling, shoot me a message down below!