If you’re into your fitness, you’re probably like me and stress out about how you’re going to keep making progress when you’re on the road.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ve got to be equipped with the right tools – or better yet – the best hacks to get you that maximum results with the least amount of time and resources.
I wish there was a way I could take my entire gym in my suitcase, but most often you just have to make do with what you have available to you. And let’s be honest, most hotel gyms suck.
I personally like barbells, dumbbells, and some plate-loaded equipment, which virtually no hotel or airbnb has available to me when I’m traveling. But hey, we can’t be too picky right? We chose to make this trip, so now it’s about how to do what you can with that equipment.
Here are some of my favorite exercise hacks when on the road:
- Body weight squats – Squats are fundamentally one of the best exercises you can perform. They engage more than just the legs, they help activate the stabilizers of the core and spine, the mobilize the hips and knees (which can prevent injuries and common pain), and they expend a ton of energy for being relatively simple. Try doing 10 sets of 20 reps with 30 seconds rest between sets. And if you need more load, instead of holding weights just put one foot in front of you (with heel on the ground and toe up) and a chair behind you (as a safety net) and perform single leg squats instead.
- Static Handstand Against the Wall – Isometric holds are one of the best things you can do for strength. And the handstand is easily one of my favorites because it helps build upper body strength and shoulder stability (which is useful to prevent injuries and improve movement). My recommendation is to start with 5-10 second holds and do it against a wall to provide support. If you need to regress it further, just lay on your stomach on the edge of the bed and have your lower body supported by the bed as you have your hands on the ground. Try to do 3-5 sets of with 30 seconds rest between sets.
- Blood Flow Restriction Training – BFR training is a methodology that is backed by over 200 studies and 25 years of research which involves wearing straps around the upper arms or upper legs, using super light weight (or just body weight), and doing high reps and sets. The effects are incredible. The research has found that it accomplishes similar results to training with heavy weight – without the same stress on your body or brain. The way to perform this is to wear elastic bands around the upper arms or upper legs and tighten them to a perceived tightness of a 5-7 (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being tightest). And then perform an exercise like push ups for 30 reps, rest 15 seconds, do 15 push ups, rest 15 seconds, do 15 push ups, rest 15 seconds, and do 15 more push ups.
- Brisk Walking or Incline Walking – If you’re not a runner, a brisk walk outside or an incline walk on the hotel treadmill can be a great exercise not just for your body but also your mind. I believe that most gym rats tend to over train, so use your travel time to get in some intentional recovery too. Lower intensity cardio not only burns calories but it can help you clear your mind which helps activate more of the “rest and relax” side of your nervous system (aka brain) instead of just “fight or flight” which is chronically overstimulated. You can also bolt-on the BFR Bands to this routine by wearing them on your upper thighs while walking. It will amplify the effects of your cardio, “tricking” your brain into thinking you’ve been running and activating fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones that have the great propensity for growth and muscle definition, and are usually only activated during sprinting or heavy lifts).
Try these simple hacks when you’re on the road, and you’ll be surprised by the results you’ll not only keep but the progress you’ll make.