Any fitness program/workout looks easy on paper but tends to come apart at the seams when real life kicks in. Your calendar will more than likely say that a certain workout and protein level is not negotiable but you are in an odd town and nothing familiar remotely close to fitting is close by.
So what are your options? Thinking about strapping a kettlebell into the kids seat or a barbell on your roof rack? Think again, instead prepare for the unexpected by having a few lightweight fitness essentials with you at all times.
Toss any of these five in your trunk or back pack and you will never be unprepared but don’t be surprised if this workout quickly becomes your favourite.
1) A Jump Rope
Do you want efficiency? Then you want a jump rope. It works just as well as a warm-up, general cardio or for density work, where you alternate intervals of strength work and jumping.
Try that last method and you might gain a new appreciation for just how many muscle groups jumping rope actually works out. It does hit the calf muscles but also does wonders for the shoulders, glutes and lungs. You will burn more calories than jogging, all while staying put in the same place.
If you have not used a jump rope since high school then focus on simple two-footed jumps to start with, gradually building up to 30-60 seconds without missing a rep. Then start to integrate techniques like alternating skips, single-foot skips or double-unders.
2) A Timer
If you have got a smart phone then you have a timer. And if getting in a quick but intense workout is your goal that timer may just be the best tool at your disposal.
Everyone currently seems to be talking about how great interval training is these days and they are right as well. It doesn’t mean it has to be done on a cardio machine to work though. If you are accustomed to doing strength moves for reps, doing them for time will be a shock to your system that will send your heart rate up and make you feel well worked in no time.
Here is an example workout to help you get started using nothing more than bodyweight and that jump rope you just packed.
Portable fitness essentials circuit
Perform 3-5 rounds, resting 1 minute between each exercise.
- Pushups – 5 sets, AMRAP in 40 seconds.
- Rope jumping – 5 sets, AMRAP n 40 seconds.
- Bodyweight lunge – 5 sets, AMRAP in 40 seconds.
- Side bridge – 5 sets, 40 seconds hold per side.
- Body weight squat – 5 sets, AMRAP in 40 seconds.
3) Resistance Bands
Time to join the band! Resistance bands are a perfect portable option for anyone who wants to maintain strength whilst on the go. You can get bands for many different strengths. Once you know the basics, allowing you to get a quick pump, you can take a bodyweight workout up a notch or just hit the muscles that seem to bear the brunt of all the sitting that goes along with travel.
Need some ideas where to start? That’s easy, curls which is an obvious choice but if you have been sat all day on an airplane or in a car, a few sets of high-rep rows or rear-delt flies can feel like a lifesaver. Pull-downs, pull-aparts, overhead presses, push-ups etc. They are all on the table once you have got a little extra resistance.
This is just the upper body though. One of the best things you can do with resistance bands, especially when travelling a lot is use them for lateral band walks. If your butt is asleep from sitting like most people’s, a couple of sets of 15-20 steps in either direction will wake those glutes up and also make you more resilient to back pain. If you did this every day for a month you would definitely be more bad ass so to speak than before.
The best benefit to these bands is they keep constant tension on your muscles as they contract, allowing you to feel the most resistance at the peak and maximize muscular time under tension, they are also cheap, light and can be used a million different ways.
4) High-Quality Protein Bar
When it is time to eat, the road is full of choices, most of them are very questionable so how do you find the sweet spot between I’ve gotta eat something and I’m gonna eat everything?
Rather than grazing or trying to keep an over ambitious schedule of 4-6 meals per day, try for three squares a day and make use of a nutritional ‘bridge’ like a protein bar.
This bar will easily go anywhere with you but it goes just as well with your conscience too it is not a candy bar in disguise that will make you hungry again in half an hour. Choose a decent protein bar with at least 20g of protein in and 10g of fiber. Both are essential for keeping you full and satisfied, have it after a workout, during a long drive or just in case of an emergency.
5) A Yoga Mat
Of course you can make do with a towel or the mystery mat at the local gym but there is no need to be a hero when a real yoga mat or just a lightweight travel mat offers better grip and none of the muck.
Even if it is not a class setting, a few minutes of the main yoga poses can have a magical ability to melt away the stress and tension of travel. Do you feel like you are in need of teacher? There are literally thousands of free or cheap online classes out there. Toss your mat on the ground at a park, beach, airport or out of the hotel balcony.
You will always find that a busy lifestyle throws challenges in front of you but letting them stop you entirely should not be an option!. Pack one or more of these workout tools and you will feel good and stay active no matter where the road takes you, this will help you to stay fit on the move, I also would recommend you take a look here for one of the best ways to lose weight the safe and assured way.