The benefits of healthy living at home far exceed anything that you can do on the road as you know what gym or equipment or space you have available. You have access to your own workout gear and your fridge and cupboards are filled with healthier options than what you most likely will eat on the road. However, remember that all of your hard work will not disappear in the matter of a couple of days and your body may actually need the recovery more than you may have thought. If you are still in need of a workout, take some of the notes from below, be creative and enjoy a bodyweight focused travel workout.
Workout or Rest?
Many people ask whether working out while on the road, be it for business or pleasure, is a good thing? The answer varies depending on the person and the duration that you are away from home. For some, working out while on a business trip is a great way to maintain a daily routine, channel focus or burn off stress.
For those who are on vacation, the desire to leave everything back home and just relax and recharge is completely warranted and often times much needed. If you are headed out for a couple of days, recovery is a good thing as your body and mind need to repair itself.
However, if your trip is a lengthy one, you don’t want to let all of your hard work go to waste. Just remember, it takes about 10-14 days for your aerobic fitness levels to decline and muscular strength can start to drop after three weeks.
Benefits of Working Out While On Vacation
High calorie fatty foods and extra sugary drinks are often staples when it comes to vacations as even for the best of us, the desire to let ourselves indulge in letting go can sometimes take over. However be cautious of letting “cheat days” and bad habits like oversleeping take over your entire vacation. As humans are creatures of habit, maintaining a workout schedule while away from home is important. If you work out every day at home or even every other day, absence from the gym on vacation could become a mental burden that takes away the enjoyment of your holiday.
If you are on a weekend getaway, don’t think twice about it, let your body recover. However for longer trips, some people find working out while on the road beneficial as can help adjust to time changes and assist with sleep and eating schedules. You may find that one of the benefits of working out while on the road is the opportunity to get out and explore the parks, trails and beaches by biking, hiking and walking all that new places have to offer. Instead of camping in a sweaty gym that pretty much offers the same equipment regardless of where you are, new visual attractions and physical challenges are awaiting in the great outdoors. Just remember that all the walking that you would be doing while sightseeing or splashing around in the pool with your kids counts as exercise too, so if you miss out on your usual cardio session, don’t beat yourself up.
If getting in touch with nature isn’t your thing, heading to the hotel or local gym or taking in a yoga class also has its benefits. A new environment or instructor can provide you with a different outlook on tweaks to make your workout better, more challenging or more fun.
Workout Plan While Travelling
Often our schedules on work trips or holidays don’t always allow for keeping the same routines as at home. Meetings, presentations, company dinners all come into play during business trips while sightseeing and family adventures take over our holiday time. This means that your daily workout may have to be kicked to the side or at the very least abbreviated. Depending on the purpose of your trip and the duration, you may or may not be able to get in a full workout session every day or even every other day.
However if you are motivated and creative enough, there should be no reason why you cannot find 20-30 minutes at least a couple of times during your travel schedule to stretch (very important for those flying or on long road trips) or partake in a calisthenics workout. As bodyweight workouts tend to put less wear and tear on your body than a traditional gym workout does, you can break down your workouts into three different groups. Doing workout “A” on Monday and Thursday, workout “B” on Tuesday and Friday and then a cardio focused workout on Wednesday or on the weekend will help break up the week.
For those who are looking for a challenging workout routine that uses minimal equipment, try these program below. Options are either to complete it or challenge yourself and compete against the clock.
- 50 Pushups (Max depth)
- 25 Squats (Elbows to Knees)
- 200 Jump Rope
- 20 Burpees with Pushups
- 30 Crunches
- Wall Sit (Until form fails)
- High Plank (Until form fails)
Workout B: If you are short on time and space this full body blast is a great pick-me-up. Set the timer for 5 minutes and cycle through each exercise for 10 reps, then repeat until the time expires.
- 10 Pushups
- 10 Star Jumps
- 10 Frogger Crunches
Top 12 Calisthenics Travel Exercises Without Equipment
The great thing about all of the exercises listed below is that you can do them anywhere and with very little space needed. If you are in the airport, at a rest stop, in your hotel, at the cabin or anywhere that you feel you need to burn off a little energy, grab the wife, the kids or even a co-worker and have some fun.
There is almost an infinite variety of pushups that you could do. You can stick with the tried and true basic pushup or challenge yourself with a variation that targets different muscle groups. Focusing on your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, back, core, quads and glutes, pushups, when done properly are a full body workout. Variations include, wide hands, star, diamond, Spiderman, single leg, incline, decline, no hands (lower yourself completely to the floor, raise your hands and then start the push back up, keeping your body completely level), explosive/clap pushups. The list is endless.
If you wanna have an additional training effect and increase the range of motion when doing push-ups, we recommend you to use some push-up bars. They also avoid wrist pain due to unnatural buckling of the wrists and offer you a joint-friendly neutral grip.
As previously mentioned, there are a number of different grip positions that change the focus of pull-up exercises. Now technically you can do pull-ups at a playground or using a tree branch or some sort of beam, so you don’t have to bring equipment with you. Alternatively if you don't have a proper pull-up option, we recommend you to bring some gymnastic rings or our mobile pull-up bar, which is perfect for travelling and can be used nearly anywhere you can find a tree or post. Starting with negative pull-ups, progression moves to regular and then feel free to experiment with side-to-side, knee twists, leg raises, bicycles and weighted. Targeting your lats, upper back, arms, chest and core, many say that pull-ups are the ultimate upper body strengthening exercise.
As with pull-ups, technically you need a piece of equipment to perform a dip, however that equipment can come in the form of a bench or a straight bar if by chance there a dip station available. Working your triceps, chest, shoulders, back and core, the key focus on doing dips is the proper position of your body. A forward lean will work your chest more, while staying upright pinpoints the triceps more. Making sure you have your elbows tucked in and only lowering until your shoulders are level with your elbows will help lower the risk of potential injury.
As with any exercise, if you do sit-ups incorrectly, they can do some major damage to your body as they can place major strain on your lower back and neck. However, if you protect your lower back with a towel or stability ball, this multi-muscle exercise will help strengthen your abdominals, hip flexors, lower back and chest. There are many variations of sit-ups and crunches that can be done in order to target different areas of your core and challenge you mentally and physically. Bicycles, Legs Raised Crunches, V-Sits, Froggers, Butterflies, Straight Leg Toe Touches (legs in the air)
One of the most popular exercises that translates to daily movement, squats are the best exercise to strengthen your legs and firm the junk in your trunk. Working the quads, glutes and core, as with all exercises, form is important. Make sure that you keep your chest up and open and do not allow your knees to pass your toes when you lower yourself. Adding a plyometric element to this exercise, jump squats will increase your explosiveness while also improving the flexibility in your hips and ankles.
A great exercise to help build core strength in your abdominals and lower back, Superman’s are a very basic exercise that also targets your glutes. Depending on the strength of your back, abs and glutes, variations include opposite arm/leg, double arms only, double legs only and both arms/legs at the same time. Elevating your limbs off the floor roughly 10-15cm, aim to hold your Superman for between 5-15 seconds and then repeat.
Forward, Reverse, Lateral, Jumping, Walking, Dragon, whatever your pleasure is, lunges are an excellent functional and unilateral exercise that focus on strength, power and stability in your glutes, hips and legs. As with performing a squat, you want to make sure that your upper body stays up and open and that your knee does not exceed your toes. As a multi direction movement exercise, lunge exercises can translate into daily activity. Depending on your flexibility, your goal is to lower your front leg 90 degrees and your back knee to hover just above the ground. If bodyweight lunges are too easy, grab your suitcase and add some resistance to your workout. You can of course also use some loop bands as resistance to create an additional training effect.
Whether you want to work on strengthening your glutes or improve the range of motion in your hip flexors, glute bridges are a great combo exercise. Making sure that you have a neutral spine, keep in mind that you do not want to put strain on your neck, so keep your shoulders on the ground. Lifting your hips up until they are level with your bent knee. Option here is to either hold the lift for a set amount of time, raise and lower for a set amount of reps or pulse slightly. If you are looking for an advanced progression, single leg glute bridges (s. above) with the same options are a great next step.
When they are performed correctly, burpees are a great combo exercise that targets strength, cardio, stability and flexibility. When done incorrectly, they can put your body at risk in a variety of places. Targeting your core, upper back and shoulders (if you add in the pushup you can include arms as well), as well as your glutes, hamstrings and quads, burpees are a full body exercise. With correct shoulder positioning as well as stabilization of the hips and lower back, burpees provide a high intensity, full body workout to any program. Whether you start from a walk-back burpee to a half burpee, to a pushup burpee, to a one legged skater burpee, this exercise offers a challenge to any routine.
Holding a plank for over four hours is a little excessive, yet still completely amazing. It may be a bit more realistic to set your goal for 1-2 minutes. A great full body exercise with a ton of options for progression, a plank engages your shoulders, neck, back, abs, forearms (or wrists if you are doing a straight arm plank), glutes and legs. Should you choose to add some resistance to it, that is one option, however increasing the challenge is as simple as increasing the time under tension.
You might have to get creative in order to find a box. Maybe a park bench or a tree stump or a playground platform. Focusing on your lower body muscle groups including your abs, quads, butt, hamstrings and calves, box jumps are a great explosive exercise. Keep in mind that when you perform your box jumps that you want to try and land as softly as possible, use your arms to help propel you upward and keep your core engaged. Once you master the two foot box jump, challenge yourself by either doing lateral jumps, finding a bigger box or doing single leg jumps.
If you are an elite or experienced athlete, high intensity, high speed mountain climbers are a great exercise that pinpoints your entire core. If you aren’t yet up to that level, the best way to execute mountain climbers is to slow them down in order to maintain perfect form and prevent injury. Combined with a straight arm plank, there are a number of options for mountain climbers, including regular, cross body, single arm and elevated arms. If your accommodations have hardwood floors, put a pair of hand towels or paper plates under your feet and use them as sliders.
Eating On The Road
Finding a place to workout while on the road is a challenge for many, but so too is eating properly. Drive-thru fast food, sugar filled snacks and drinks are common place for those who are stuck in the car for long road trips. Let’s not forget amusement park or beach concession stands. Did we mention budget?
Holiday meals can become expensive and challenging for many of us. If you are stuck in business attire, quick meals between meetings or after a long day or presentations become the norm as you just want to put food in your belly. It’s ok to enjoy yourself from time to time while on holiday, but try to plan ahead that for days when you know dinner isn’t going to be picture perfect that you engage in healthier options during the rest of the day.
While not every meal is going to be as healthy you may eat at home, keep in mind some of these healthy tips:
- Prepack non-perishable snacks in resealable bags like nuts, seeds, trail mix, beef jerky
- Use the hotel fridge or a small cooler for fresh fruit, cut veggies, cheese and cold cut meats
- Drink water. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. For business or pleasure dinners, try to alternate between a glass of water and glass of alcohol.
- Avoid multiple restaurant meals in a day. More often than not restaurant meals are bigger than need be, so either ask for a half order to take half of your order to go and put it in the fridge for another day.
Gear: Some hotels now offer workout gear that you can borrow for a small fee. For some, this is a great idea as it saves packing smelly gym clothes. If sharing with others isn’t in your plan, bring either older clothes that you can throw away or light dry-fit clothing that you can wash in the sink if you desire. If you work out in your hotel room, minimal clothing is always an option.
Plan an active trip: At the very least instead of taking the elevator, hike up and down the hotel stairs each day. Get the cab or bus to drop you off a couple of blocks earlier than needed. If you have some downtime or are on a holiday, plan a walk/hike, bike ride or paddleboard, all relatively low impact activities that will keep the heart rate up.
Personal Workout Equipment: Most of the time the hotel gym has enough equipment and space for you to get in a decent workout, even if it is the simplest of exercises. However if that isn’t an option for you, packing some of the following items add resistance and challenge to the previously mentioned exercises and take up very little room in your luggage.
Resistance Bands – Come in a wide range of tension options and sizes. Bands can be used for curls, rows, presses, squats etc.
Rings – Not only a great piece of equipment to just play on with your family if you want, a set of rings offer the ability to do dips, pullups, leg raises, muscle-ups and more.
Push-up bars offer both assistance and a challenge for those looking to make modifications or progressions to their pushup exercises.
The most well-known sling trainer, the TRX, is probably the one single piece of equipment that provides you with a full gym worth of options all in one. Upper body, core, legs can all be targeted and challenged with a sling trainer.
Pull-up and dip bar
If you have a little bit of extra space in your vehicle, our portable pull-up and dip bar is a great piece of equipment that allows you a full body workout at the cottage or in the park.
Are you looking for the perfect Calisthenics equipment to work out at home and during your travels? We at Pullup & Dip offer you various high-quality Calisthenics equipment. Go check it out now!