I don’t like traveling. Besides my dislike of smelling other people’s long lingering farts while trapped in a small metal tube with no fresh air supply, travel is so disruptive to any good health and fitness routine – you don’t know how much sleep you’ll get, you don’t know if the hotel will have a gym, TSA likes to confiscate my good toothpaste, etc.
It’s actually much harder to stay in a good workout routine when you own a gym vs. being a gym member (its easy to spend 16 hours in a gym and not exercise). It seems like as soon as I recover from one business trip, and get back into a good workout schedule, I’m on the road again (or having a baby) and my schedule (and body) are knocked for another loop. For a long time I would just be angry about my circumstances, but after far too long (especially for a fitness professional) I realized that this was pretty stupid way of dealing with reality.
Here are my top go-to workouts for when I’m on the road. (Oh, and, yes, these workouts do not really conform to the long term goals and program for my fitness. I’d rather do something imperfect than do nothing at all.)
I always do some mobility exercises pre-workout. I get stiff enough sitting at my desk, but sitting in a car or on a plane for four to ten hours is like pouring cement into my pelvis. Jetlag tempts me to skip the mobility work, and whenever I do I feel it in my back or knees; so it’s pretty self-reinforcing.
#1. The push up matrix: I stole this from somebody, but it’s been so long I can’t remember who (sorry!). After you warm-up, you do three push ups and one tuck jump (a tuck jump is when you squat down and quickly jump, bring your knees up to waist height and then land softly), then six and two, then nine and three, and (if you can keep going) then twelve and four. If you are pooped at this point, rest for twice as long as it took you to do the above, otherwise work your way back down to three and one. For ladies and for anyone else who finds pushups to be harder than tuck jumps, reverse the numbers here – 3 squat jumps and one push up (doing them with your hands on the bed or desk is fine).
#2. Body weight circuit: As much as we can we’re going to use three non-competing bodyweight exercises – that is, something that has more of a lower body emphasis, followed by something that has more of an upper body emphasis, then back to lower body emphasis. We’re going to do this to increase the quality of the work we get done – if I do a lower body exercise, then rest and move to an upper body exercise my lower body is still recovering while I am doing the upper body exercise. This is local recovery – my legs are still going to be able to deliver intensity and safety, but I am not going to take the extra time to rest my entire body.
A good example would be side lunges followed by a push up variation (or a plank if push ups are too hard for you to do correctly right now) followed by squat thrusts (or burpees – make them harder or easier as needed). Start with ten reps of each with minimal rest between movements, and about a minute of rest (or more if you need it) after the circuit. Start with just three to make sure you can walk the next day – it’s much more important to be able to workout again than it is to try and crush yourself in a single workout.
#3. The Program Minimum: I stole this from Pavel Tatsouline (the guy who brought kettlebells back to America). If business takes me somewhere within driving distance I put a kettlebell in the trunk of my car so I can get this done in my hotel room with the TV on in the background.
Do five Turkish get ups per side. Then do ten sets of the following (resting as needed between): two goblet squats and ten swings. Of the three this is by far my favorite, but I don’t always have a kettlebell on the road.
When you are done traveling, come in and try out 15 Day Kickstart to see if we are right solution for you.