Travel can wreak havoc on your training goals. But just because you have to travel doesn’t mean your gains have to stop. You can be successful at sticking to your plan when you travel.
Airplanes, long car rides and days filled with business meetings mean one thing. A ton of sitting.
We have all heard the term “sitting is the new smoking”. But some people don’t have a choice. They have to sit through business meetings and travel.
That is the purpose of this guide, to give you all of the tools you need to hit your goals while travelling.
This is going to take work on your part. It isn’t going to be easy. At first I am sure there will be challenges. But nothing changes if nothing changes. If you want to reach your goals you must change the way you do things.
What to pack.
You can make things way easier on yourself nutritionally if you prepare in advance. Stock up on healthy snacks and some key supplements. The more you can stay consistent during travel the better success you will have.
- Pack yourself a bag of protein powder or buy some individual serving packs. I usually use a small container or a medium sized freezer bag. Don’t forget a scoop!
- If you have healthy snacks on hand in your hotel room it will save you money and help you stick to your goals. Pack stuff that isn’t perishable, nuts, bars, and dried fruits that don’t have added sugar.
- This one is really important. We need to make sure we get all of our nutrients when we travel. This helps us stay focused for work and keeps our bodies functioning properly. The last thing you want to do is get sick while you are traveling.
- Hotel gyms almost always suck. Not training while you are on holidays sucks even more. Bringing some bands will give you more options and some added resistance even if you are just doing circuits in your hotel room. Get a pair of lighter bands and a heavier band. A small hip circle band is great too.
- Most hotel gyms only go up to 50 lb dumbbells if you are lucky. Throw a fat grip on the handle and you have just made whatever exercise you are doing harder and given yourself a new stimulus.
These are the basics of what you can bring. There are tons of other portable fitness tools out there but I really don’t think that they are necessary for you to bring travelling. It’s just more stuff to get lost or forget.
You really don’t need anything but your body to keep yourself on track. But if you travel a lot and don’t have access to gyms doing just bodyweight movements all the time can get repetitive.
How to be successful
Stay hydrated. Coffee and water are what I try and stick to when I am traveling. This is why.
- Hydration is so important, keeping our body functioning properly is goal #1 when we are travelling. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated.
- When you are hydrated you have to urinate more. This means you have to get up and walk to the bathroom. Now you just got a little bit of activity in on the flight. I know it’s a pain in the ass to go to the bathroom when you are flying but a little annoyance is worth staying hydrated and getting some blood flow to your lower extremities, especially if you are on a long flight.
Sitting for a whole day when you travel wreaks havoc on your hips and your back. Your focus must be on mobilizing your hips, and upper back.
One of the best things you can do to keep your posture aligned when you are standing is to squeeze your glutes. Hard. Really hard. This resets you pelvic alignment and helps alleviate some low back tightness. Simultaneously pull your shoulders down and back. Then extend your upper back.
Here are some great mobilizations you can do while waiting in the airport:
Hip Flexor Stretch
Standing Thoracic ext/flexion
The absolute best thing you can do for yourself when you land at your destination is to go and sweat. Go train or just go run on a treadmill or elliptical and get a good sweat. At least go for a long walk. This is important for a
- Getting some movement in recharges you. You get blood flow to your whole body, and you will feel awesome after your done I guarantee it.
- Sweating is your best friend when you travel. Sweat is where we push out toxins and other crap that can make us sick. Airplanes are one of the worst places for bacteria and passing germs from person to person. Sweat that shit out!
- If you are switching time zones try to acclimate yourself as much as possible to the new time zone as fast as possible. Don’t eat on your regular time schedule, push it until it is time to eat at the time zone you are now in. The same goes for sleep, try to stay up until the right time in the time zone you are in, not your regular time zone. This all helps reset your circadian rhythm.
As far as training goes, when you are traveling I would push you to do something that makes you sweat every single day. Even if it’s just a 20- minute run or one of the quick circuit workouts in here. A minimum of 20 minutes of hard activity EVERY day. If your progress and your health are important to you, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of what’s going to keep you on track while you travel…
For the purpose of this guide I am going to focus most of the talk around the fact that you are travelling for work. I would approach a holiday differently and we will talk about that at the end.
Focus your nutrition on three things.
- Protein. Try to eat more protein than you normally would. Protein is satiating and keeps you full longer so you aren’t raiding the vending machine and the hotel fridge.
- Vegetables. Get them in as much as possible. Order side salads not french fries. Get entrees with seasonal vegetables. Take your greens powder everyday.
- Healthy fats. This is trickier when you travel, because almost every restaurant uses shitty low quality toxic oils when they cook and make dressings. Do your best to get real EVOO, avocados, eggs, and some nuts.
If you are going to drink try and consume drinks without a sugary mix. I am not going to tell you not to drink, but instead, if you’re planning on drinking with your dinner don’t have carbs with your meal. Meat and veggies. Then have a
Earn your carbs. You don’t need carbs to survive. You need carbs around your training, and if you are trying to build muscle. Travel is when I recommend people take a more keto approach. Because most of the carbs you get when you travel are going to be lower
The exception to this is always fruit. Eat lots of fruit. Fruit is filled with fiber which is another key nutrient we want to make sure we consume all the time, especially when we travel. Fiber feeds our gut biome which helps us digest foods better. The best choices for fruits are berries, they are lower calorie and higher in antioxidants. As long as your portion sizes are correct any fruits will work.
Stock up on water in your hotel room. Stay hydrated at all times. The best way to do this is to down a litre of water as soon as you wake up. Keep a water bottle with you during your day and make sure to order water with all of your meals as well.
Hotel gyms almost always have the same stuff, there are exceptions to this but I have spent a lot of time in hotel gyms and they almost always have the same setup.
DB from 5-50lb
This may not sound like a lot but it is all you need to get a great training session in.
1A) Alternating DB press 4×15 ( If the weight isn’t challenging enough use a ISO hold at the top or bottom of the rep).
1B) Chest supported DB rows 4×20
2A) DB Squeeze press 3×12
2B) One arm DB row 3×12(side)
3A) Single arm DB overhead press 3×10(side)
3B) Chest supported DB rear delt flyes 3×15
4A) DB Hammer curls 3×12
4B) DB Skull crushers 3×12
1A) DB Goblet Squats 4×20
1B) Single leg Romanian Deadlifts 4×10(side)
2A) DB Rear foot elevated split squats 3×10
2B) DB Romanian Deadlifts with pause at bottom 3×15
3A) Single DB Racked front squat 3×12(side)
3B) Goblet alternating lateral lunge 3×12(side)
4) Band or DB hip thrust 4xAMRAP
Hotel Room Training
1.A) Glute bridge with 3 sec. ISO @ top 4×15
1.B) Push up 4×15
1.C) Plank shoulder taps 4×8(side)
1.D) Side planks 4x20sec.(side)
1.E) BW Squat 4×25 ALAP ISO @bottom of last rep.
1.A) RKC Plank 4×20 sec.
1.B) Copenhagen Plank 4xALAP(side)
1.C) Dive bomber push-ups 4×10
1.D) Alternating lunges with OH reach 4×20
1.E) Dead bug 4×20
Go through exercises with with minimal rest in between sets, then rest for 30-90 seconds and repeat for 4 rounds.
If you have a circular band(10-30lb resistance is perfect for these exercises) you can travel with add 1 or 2 of these to any of the workouts. The band can loop around a door handle or anything else in the room that is solid enough.
3 way band pull aparts 15 (5 per movement)
½ Kneel pallof press 8-12 per side
Face pulls 8-12 reps
½ Kneel pallof overhead press 8-12 per side
OH Tricep extensions
There you have it. The ultimate guide to crushing your goals while traveling. There are no excuses for not reaching your goals. All it takes is some effort on your part.
You can be successful no matter what obstacles may be in front of you. Consistency leads to success.