Strength and Muscle Training While You Travel

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If you travel a lot, or have traveled in the past for any length of time, you know how hard it can be to get a workout in, eat right and maintain or make progress in your fitness training when you are in and out of hotels.

The fitness center that most hotels claim they have are often not adequate and seem to be a stationary bike with no seat and maybe a battered, multi-station weight stack machine. Some hotels have deals with near by gyms that offer discounts or free passes, but you could be too busy to take advantage of those offers—or worse yet, you could be staying in a place that has no equipment at all.

This article will help you while you’re on the road and want to workout and eat right. There are training programs, nutritional advice and some exercises that don’t require special equipment except for what you can locate within and around your average hotel room or home.

Tips on planning your traveling workout
Of course, the more planned out your trip is, the easier it is to accommodate working out, but honestly, when you are traveling you often don’t have a fully laid out plan and have no idea what equipment you will have access to.

When ever you have a chance to workout, workout your total body. This is great because if you don’t have a chance to workout again for a couple of days, you’ve already worked everything. If you do have a chance to workout again within the next couple of days, you’ll benefit from this different training than your body is used to. Here’s a sample total body workout arrangement. When doing this, only take short, 30-60 second rests between sets. How many reps you get will depend on the exercise you use, but you should shoot for around 10 to 15 reps for each set.

5 sets chest, 5 sets back, 5 sets thighs, 3 sets shoulders, 2 sets biceps, 2 sets triceps, 2 sets calves, 3 sets abdominals

Your body is virtually motionless while you are traveling, so when you feel up to it, especially on days when you’ve been traveling for a long period of time, do some stretching to help loosen up. Resistance training may not be very productive after being motionless all day and stretching is easy to do, doesn’t need any special equipment and can really help to relax you. When you know you have a long trip coming up, begin to ramp up your current training schedule up to the date you leave.

You will want to start building up and working your body with more sets and using intensity techniques that begin to move towards overtraining. This way, when your trip comes, your body will need the break and the infrequent bodyweight training will help you recover and improve. If you travel often for business, the same strategy can be applied to you—for a couple of workouts right before you leave, make them extremely tough. Then on shorter trips, do a couple bodyweight workouts or just focus on stretching.

If your main goal is to lose fat, you can do fat-loss circuit training while you are traveling. This means basically doing cardio training in between sets of resistance training instead of taking a rest period of non-activity. This method is very powerful and gives you a strong metabolic response which gives your workout as much punch as possible. Here’s a sample of what a fat-loss circuit training workout looks like in action: 1 set chest30 seconds of cardio1 set chest30 seconds of cardio1 set back30 seconds of cardio1 set back30 seconds of cardioetc. In your hotel room, you have a number of options for cardio—you can pack a skipping rope, use stairs or a low bench or even just step-ups onto a stable, un-rolling chair in your room.

If you want to build muscle, do the total-body workout but use more challenging exercises that allow only eight to 12 reps per set. When you get right down to the heart of the matter—it doesn’t matter where you train, as long as you give your body a strong training stimulus, you’ll still be able to build muscle.

Nutritional advice for the traveler

When you travel, eating can be unpredictable. You just might not know what kind of food you’ll be eating, when or where on any given day. Here are some tips to keep your eating on track when you are traveling. Most of these are really just common sense, but it’s hard to watch what you eat when you travel, especially if you are with a group of people. The key to this is to do the best you can and not stress yourself out if you eat something you didn’t plan on. The stress is worse than the effect of doing it.

The more control you have over food choices, the better off you are. When you can choose, opt for healthier food without fancy sauces or fatty toppings. Stick to foods that are less processed and do your best to stay away from fast food as much as possible. If your hotel room has a fridge, you can stock your fridge with good food from a grocery store. If your room doesn’t have a fridge, do the best you can with non-perishable food items. Stick to foods that aren’t processed such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Bring a protein supplement with you on your trip. This could be protein powders, ready-to-drink formulas or protein bars. You will likely find that while you travel, it’s tough to get enough protein without getting the fat that goes along with it. With a protein supplement, you have control over how much protein you get and what is in it this way. Don’t forget to take your vitamins. You should be taking at least a multi-vitamin and extra Vitamin C to keep your immune system strong, especially if you’ll be packed on a plane with others who could be sick).
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