Staying in shape on the road may sound like a bit of a stretch but with a little planning it can be a cinch.
So whether you’re a 747 pilot flying long haul or a salesman driving 100,000 miles per year, this can work for you.
It really can.
After all, the great Russian powerlifter Konstantin Konstantinovs kept in world-class shape while working as a professional bodyguard.
That meant a grueling schedule of world travel, weeks away from a decent gym, and sometimes only being able to do push ups, and squats with someone perched on his shoulders(!).
Now, Konstantinovs working out in a hotel gym is a bit like Michael Phelps swimming in a hot tub.
So you and I have no excuse.
OK, first off here are the two most important things about staying in shape on the road.
1. Have a plan
2. Have a bombproof back-up plan
Why? Because stuff like this happens all the time:
• The hotel gym isn’t as “fully equipped” as the ad claimed
• The neighborhood isn’t the kind of place you want to take a walk or go jogging
• Your work schedule means you can’t get to the gym during operating hours
The bottom line is a little upfront planning can save a bunch of frustration further down the track.
So let’s get started!
The 7 Ps
Now, the first question is what kind of exercise or training program are you doing?
If it’s an exercise program like our quick and awesome PHA workout, you can do that pretty much anywhere with little or no equipment.
On the other hand, if you’re following a dedicated strength-building program, that makes things a little trickier.
So let’s check out our options for both.
If You’re Training
To do these safely, you’ll need access to a power rack, a bench, and an Olympic barbell set.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t find these in any hotel gym in the world.
So here are the options:
1. Find a gym close to your hotel that allows “walk ins” – it’s quick and easy to check online and that’s exactly how my friend Julian found a gym to train at in Lisbon, Portugal while he was there on vacation.
Just keep in mind that if you’re frequently traveling to new destinations, this could be a bit of a hassle.
2. Become a member of a gym chain like Anytime Fitness – they’re open 24/7, and your membership will allow you to use over 2000 gyms in the U.S, and another 800 worldwide.
If neither of these is possible, the best bet is to do an exercise program (like our PHA workout) while you’re on the road.
While exercise is nowhere near as effective as training for building strength, it’s a thousand times better than doing nothing.
If You’re Exercising
The good news is a hotel gym is just fine for exercise – they’ll probably have some dumbells, a flat bench, and maybe even a lat-pulldown machine.
The best hotel gym I’ve ever worked out in was at the airport in Taiwan a few years back.
That place had more than enough equipment to get in a great PHA workout.
But how about if your hotel doesn’t have a gym?
Well, bodyweight exercises like push-ups, step ups, lunges and squats are easy to do anywhere there’s a floor and a chair.
Rowing movements are a little tougher: you could try to improvise inverted rows using the edge of a desk/table, or maybe try using your bag or suitcase as a dumbell.
Another option is to wrap a towel around both sides of a door handle, pinch the edge of the door between your knees, and use it for rows (just be careful that the hinge doesn’t pull out of the wall).
Yet another option is to get hold of some exercise bands and use them for one-armed rows (like I’m doing below).
The bottom line is there’s always something you can do.
And with a little imagination and improvisation, you should be able to get in an awesome PHA workout pretty much anywhere.
Check out this video for an idea of how it could look.
So, What Do I Do?
I always plan on training in a well-equipped gym – this is now super-easy as I always travel to the same places and use the same handful of gyms on a walk-in basis.
Crazy as it sounds, I even have a favorite barbell that I use in a gym located on the other side of the world!
So, training in those gyms is my plan, but what’s my back-up plan?
Well, that’s my TRX Suspension Trainer.
I’ve had mine for close to 10 years now and it goes in my bag every time I take a trip somewhere, even if I know there’s a gym I can head to.
Staying in shape on the road is precisely what the TRX was developed for.
It was invented by a Navy SEAL who wanted to stay mission fit when he was on deployment in places that didn’t have a conventional gym.
Even better, it weighs only 2 lbs and packs into a bag the size of a six-pack of Sapporo Classic.
And my go-to workout?
Well, that’s the good-old PHA template – it’s quick, efficient and adds a bit of variety (as much as I love squats, deadlifts and chin-ups, it’s good to do something different every once in a while).
That way my plan and my back-up plan cover all the bases.
Find The Way Or Make The Way
With a little bit of planning and preparation, staying in shape on the road is nothing like as tricky as it may seem.
Have a plan, a bombproof back-up plan, and do the best you can with what you’ve got – it really doesn’t need to be any more complex than that.
Hey, if it works for Konstantinovs, it will work for us ;)
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