Whether you want to maintain or build muscle mass, you need to apply the right amount of resistance to your working muscles. This can prove to be difficult if you’re traveling, especially if you’re accustomed to a five or six-day workout routine in a well-stocked gym.
Thankfully, travel fitness has become increasingly popular with plenty of ways to train while traveling. Let’s take a look at the best ways to work out when you’re on the road.
In order to figure out the best way to train while traveling, you’ll need to plan ahead. Ask yourself: “How long will I be traveling?” The length of your travels will determine what type of travel workout will be most convenient for you.
In general, the shorter the trip, the less fitness equipment you’ll need. If you’re traveling for a week or two, we recommend bodyweight exercise workouts. If you’re traveling for a month, resistance band workouts should do the trick. Anything longer and we recommend a combination of resistance band workouts with investing in a day pass at a nearby gym.
Figure out how long you’ll be traveling and match it with one of the options below.
GO BACK TO BASICS
If you’re on a short trip, bodyweight exercises are convenient and require no additional equipment. If you can find a park with monkey bars and a bench, you will give yourself more exercise options, but it’s not a requirement.
Bodyweight exercises can provide a full-body workout that strengthen and reinforce those foundational movements you may have learned years ago. Regardless of your travel status, we would recommend incorporating a bodyweight workout into your routine every few weeks for that reason.
Bodyweight exercises can be manipulated to provide an intense challenge. You can perform them at a dramatically slow pace, shorten the length of rest time between sets, or crank up the intensity during your workouts.
Here’s a bodyweight workout that you can use next time you’re traveling:
- Jump Squats: 3 sets of 20 repetitions
- Push-ups: 3 x 15
- Walking Lunges: 3 x 25
- Pull-ups (if bar is available): 3 x 15 / Superman (if no bar is available): 3 x 30
- Mountain Climbers: 3 x 50
- Side Plank Dips: 3 x 20
- Burpees: 3 x 5
INVEST IN RESISTANCE BANDS
If you’ll be on the road for longer than two weeks, we would recommend investing in a pair of durable resistance bands. No matter how often you travel, resistance bands are a worthwhile investment. You can use them anywhere and they are a complement for all types of fitness routines.
When you’re traveling, resistance bands conveniently fit inside of your bag so you don’t have to worry about losing packing space. What’s more, you can easily attach them to a door frame or wrap them around poles or trees for exercises like the crossover and reverse fly.
Most importantly, these bands are a fast solution to providing the resistance you need to support muscle building and muscle maintenance. For example, the Iron Bull Strength resistance bands offer up to 165 pounds of resistance; that’s more than most commercial gyms.
If you’re traveling, use that as an opportunity to get outside and exercise. You’ll soak up sunshine and have a chance to connect with locals. Here’s a resistance band workout that you can use no matter where you are in the world:
- Deadlifts: 3 sets of 25 repetitions
- Front Squats: 3 x 25
- Reverse Fly: 3 x 20
- Crossover: 3 x 20
- Overhead Press: 3 x 15
- Side to Side Twist: 3 x 30
- Woodchopper: 3 x 20
GO TO THE GYM FOR THE DAY
If size is your main concern, bodyweight exercises and resistance band workouts can only go so far. At some point, you’ll need to step into a well-stocked gym. If you’re traveling long term, make it a point to buy a day or week pass at a nearby gym as this will give you access to more equipment, especially weight plates.
When you go to the gym, we recommend going heavy and performing a full-body workout. Take advantage of the fact that you have access to a lot of weight. Use low repetitions, high sets, and plenty of 45-pound plates. If you are using this type of workout now, pick up where you leave off. If not, here’s a workout you can use:
- Barbell Back Squats: 5 sets of 3 to 6 repetitions
- Romanian Deadlifts: 5 x 5 – 8
- Incline Barbell Press: 5 x 3 – 6
- Low Cable Row: 5 x 6 – 8
- Cable Crunch: 3 x 25
Regardless of how long you’ll be traveling, make sure to pack your schedule with fitness-focused activities. Here are some of our favorite travel activities that keep you active:
Sightseeing while jogging lets you see famous landmarks and cities in a new way. You’ll get a hands-on feel of your travel destination instead of feeling trapped on a tour bus.
Going to a coastal city? Surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all excellent activities that demand the most from several major muscle groups.
Staying near a mountain? Go hiking and rock climbing. Your legs will get one hell of a workout, especially if you’re staying at a higher elevation.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT NUTRITION
Training aside, if you want to ensure you build or maintain muscle mass, you can’t neglect your nutrition. Be sure to eat plenty of protein-rich meals such as chicken, steak, or fish. Don’t forget to pair those proteins with complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potatoes.
DO YOU TRAVEL OFTEN?
What concerns do you have about building or maintaining muscle mass while traveling? Have you backpacked around the world while maintaining your fitness routine? Tell us about it on our Facebook.