Every day is a balancing act, literally! No, really. You balance every single day, even when walking on flat surfaces.…
Summer break, holidays, travel... this one's for you!
Whether it’s summer break or the holiday season, certain times of the year bring more travel, or at the very least take us out of our everyday routines with outings, celebrations, and out of town guests — and for many of us who are parents, a lot more time with the kiddos on break from school.
To make room for so much fun stuff, something’s gotta give. That something is quite often our training, which seems to slip to the bottom of the list without much of a fight.
No matter the circumstances, I think most of us can agree that it’s hard to get to the gym consistently when we get pulled out of our daily routine. Making adjustments so that you can continue training while traveling or under less-than-ideal conditions can be very helpful in the long term. It not only allows you to maintain your fitness, it can also improve your state of mind during times of greater stress.
I believe in the power of movement as form of self care — even a little bit can go a long way when you’re short on time and your attention is inevitably elsewhere.
I want to share some training options with you for those times when life gives you an extra dose of “busy.” Using just your body, you can train practically anywhere, any time. Plus, if you’re traveling and want to pack some equipment for added variety, I’ll also share three of my favorite training tools that will barely take up space in your bag.
Bodyweight training is my first choice on the road because I can do it almost anywhere, and it addresses most goals. Whether you are looking to maintain your conditioning or work strength, you can get a lot out of bodyweight training. Check out these two workouts and use the list of bodyweight exercises below if you’d like some ideas for exercise substitutions:
Push-up /Jumping Jacks
Squat /Jumping Jacks
Flutter Kick/Jumping Jacks
Alternating Lunge /Jumping Jacks
Plank / Jumping Jacks
You can perform this workout for time or for reps. You can also progress it over time, if you’re traveling for a few weeks. The following are two ways you can complete this workout.
Set a timer for the amount of time you want to work out (try 15 to 20 minutes), and then set out to complete as many rounds of this circuit as possible within that time. You could perform the exercises as intervals. For example, try a 30:30 interval. Perform push-ups for 15 seconds, jumping jacks for 15 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then move on to the next exercise combo. Follow the same work-to-rest pattern for each of the exercises in the circuit until you complete the circuit. Take a rest until you feel ready to go again (or rest one to two minutes), then start over. Keep repeating the circuit until the clock runs out.
You could also perform a specific number of reps, for example: 10 push-ups and 20 jumping jacks, rest 30 seconds and move on to the next exercise. Continue until you complete the circuit. Take a rest until you feel ready to go again (or rest one to two minutes), then start over.
Instead of setting a timer, you can complete this circuit for a specific number of rounds, for example, five rounds. You can use the interval pattern or work with specific repetitions as noted above. The only difference is that you won’t be bound by a timer, you’ll just work until you complete the desired number of rounds.
To progress this workout, you can change the work-to-rest ratio to rest for less time, work longer, or a combination or both. You could also increase repetitions, or increase the number of rounds completed within the same amount of time. Remember, at the end of each circuit take a longer rest, then repeat the circuit for the desired number of rounds or until your total workout time is up.
Mountain Climber x 50
Squat x 10
Mountain Climber x 50
Push-up x 10
Rest and repeat
You can complete this workout by performing as many rounds as possible within the desired total workout time, or for a specific number rounds, as described for Workout #1 above.
Each of the following exercises can be done in with different progressions to increase or decrease the difficulty level to meet your current abilities and training needs.
Hollow Rocker (pictured)
By no means is this an exhaustive list. It could really go on forever, but the key is to pick a few that you enjoy and write out some workouts to ensure that you have a plan. The less you need to think about the workout the better!
I’m a big fan of bodyweight training, but I recognize that some training tools can enhance a minimalist workout. If you prefer to use some equipment, my three favorites won’t take up much space in your suitcase:
Resistance bands are my first choice because they take up the least amount of space. You can perform quite a lot of exercises with these bands, like side-step squats, abductor leg raises, and knee-banded hip thrust, just to name a few.
Like resistance bands, a jump rope takes up minimal space to pack and minimal space to use. You can jump rope for reps or time, and use it for a stand-alone workout, or as part of a circuit above (for example, in place of jumping jacks).
Small Ab Wheel
While the ab wheel will take up a bit more space than the bands or jump rope, it is still pretty minimal, especially if it’s one that can be easily taken apart for travel.
Give the circuit below a try using these three items:
As stated earlier for the bodyweight workout examples, you can run through this circuit for a desired number of sets or for as many rounds as possible within a desired time limit.
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