Tips for Keeping Fit On the Road

March 14, 2015 2 Comments

Packing for a trip?

If you are or have been doing a lot of it lately, than you know, keeping up with the prescribed workouts is no easy task.  At all ; )  Whether you're a professional athlete or fitness enthusiast, we all face the same challenges: how to schedule, where to train, what to pack...

Here’s a brief overview of what I’ve used to keep me on track when travel schedules and circumstances often work against me.  Some of this is also borrowed from our earlier post on the 4 Major Challenges to staying in shape while traveling.

1.Schedule it.  Schedule your training session like you would business meetings. Seriously ; )  This doesn’t have to mean one-hour or longer training sessions.  You might be amazed with what you can accomplish with just 15 to 30 minutes of training.

My routine typically involves swings, deadlifts, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, plank-holds, pushups and Russian twists.  I vary weight, reps and intensity based on my objective and might stack two PKBs for a heavy press or single-leg deadlift or do single-arm swings versus double-arm swings.

I've found that sticking to a schedule when on the road has been the most important part of my mobile fitness regime, second only to my nutritional intake. More on this second point below.

Of course things will come up and you may have to miss a planned training session here and there.  But when I keep to an overall schedule and even make up a few sessions when possible, I typically get back home at or close to my original performance levels (I use my one rep max for the shoulder press and back squat as strength indicators and the 1,500 meter row as an endurance indicator).

2. Nutrition.  What you eat when traveling merits a post on its own right.  For now, here’s what’s worked best for me.

Supplements.  Supplements do not equal whole foods, but they won’t hurt you either.  I pack the same source of protein supplement I use at home (Progenex More Muscle), though I am currently reviewing a very capable meal supplement designed for the military athlete, so stay tuned...

My supplement comes in soft packaging, so I am able to pack it in the same.  I place it inside my check-in luggage versus carry-on and have had no issues with either domestic or international airline carriers.

If your choice of protein or meal supplement comes in a tub, try repacking your powder inside two layers of zip-lock bags.  So far, those I've heard from that use this method have reported no troubles with air carriers.

Micronutrients. Once again, because there just isn't a substitute for real food, I try to maintain my micronutrient intake via a “green drink” concoction I've now been using for over three years (see recipe below).

It’s fairly robust in terms of ingredients, easy to prepare (although you’ll need a blender) and the taste, even for someone that is not a big-time salad eater, is pretty good.

But how do you pack a blender?  To be honest, I haven’t had to yet.  My last few extended trips involved staying with friends, family or at BnBs where a blender was available.

Although I am eyeing a couple from Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach.  The ideal solution is to use one that doesn't sacrifice power and quality for portability.  To this end, I've recently discovered one made by VitaMix - very intrigued.  If I can manage to get my hands on one, this blog will be the first place to hear about it!

Green Drink Recipe:
  • 2/3 Coconut water (I prefer Zicco)
  • 1/3 Filtered water
  • 1/2 Organic Spinach
  • 1/2 Organic Kale
  • Half a Cucumber
  • Half a Yellow or Green Squash
  • 1 Banana
  • Half an Apple (your favorite variety)
  • Optional: half an Avocado for a creamier consistency

3. Equipment.  Packing weights is nearly impossible not to mention impractical while suspension trainers like the TRX are great for enhancing bodyweight exercises.  The other most common solutions I've used are rings (gymnastics) and the tried-and-true jump rope.

I like to pack the jump rope and because I like to minimally vary my on-the-road workouts from my at-home workouts, I pack Portable Kettlebells for weight training.

Because these can be used with water, albeit not as heavy as sand, I can still train out of a hotel room when sand is not an option.  If I'm limited to water and have more than one bladder I'll stack two PKBs per hand for added weight.

There is also the possibility of accessing a gym or training center at certain destinations.  I'm not necessarily referring to the hotel facilities, although these are a no-brainer if you have access to them.

Again, if your thing is to vary your regimen the least while on the road, than planning is key.  And if you're not traveling with your usual quiver of tools, find out in advance what may be available at your intended destinations.

4. Problem Areas.  This is all about knowing how life on the road may impact any preexisting conditions.

If you have lower back issues at home, it would be best to understand how travel may affect them and implement strength and stretching exercises that will help. The importance of keeping to a schedule is only magnified when traveling since you'll be sitting or limited in space more so than at home.

Some quick tips: be aware of your posture and use exercises that keep the shoulders in place and engage the core, keeping the rib cage in line with the hips and avoid an exaggerate arch of the lower back.

As I mentioned in my last post Keep Injury at Bay, it's key to consult with a sports therapists for an accurate assessment of possible problem areas and effective ways to address them. I recommend Active Release Techniques (ART), or Airrosti certified practitioners. And remember, if you can do this while you travel - you can do this ANYWHERE!

Keep it up at home and you'll find doing it on the road only gets easier!

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2 Responses


January 21, 2016

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P. Richter
P. Richter

March 17, 2015

Have a TRX, and it’s a great tool for working out. But it can’t do everything, so a while back I ordered two “red” portable kettlebells. Can’t wait to get them, and start training.

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