If you’re serious about fitness, travelling can be a real downer.
Sure, it might be necessary, either for work or even just to get away and enjoy yourself with your friends or family, but who in their right mind would want to take a break from working out?
Whilst taking a break or a de-load week can prove beneficial, often a short break can be the catalyst to a period of demotivation and laziness.
If you want to stay determined and focused at all times, you’ll need to find out how to stay fit whilst travelling.
I’ve rounded up my favourite travelling fitness tips below:
Find Local Gyms Before You Travel
This tip is self-explanatory, but it’s amazing how many people will forget to check if their accommodation will have suitable fitness equipment — or even any fitness equipment at all.
Check if the hotel you’re staying at has a gym (or make sure it does before you book!) and if it doesn’t, research the local area for pay-as-you-go gyms.
If you’re not able to get to a gym whilst you’re away, then I have rounded up the best exercises you can do on holiday without any weights or machinery:
The Best Hotel Room Exercises
These are the best exercises you can do whilst in a hotel room or anywhere else whilst away without access to decent fitness accessories.
Ah, the traditional plank.
I promise this hotel exercise list gets more exciting than this, but the plank is seriously underrated.
It’s great for the core and it’s really simple too.
Ensure that you actually learn the proper form for this exercise.
It might look simple, but it’s hard to get it right. That’s why some people claim not to feel any benefit from them — they’re almost certainly doing them wrong.
Everything up from your buttocks to your shoulders should be in a straight line.
Buttocks not too high and not too low.
Abs braced (and hopefully burning after a short while).
Once you master the basic version, do them with one leg raised in the air and alternate.
Don’t feel like holding the plank for several sets of one minute? Here’s a thing for you!
These are something that gymnasts often do on the rings.
You can do them on the floor, and it will still be very, very hard!
To do an L-sit, sit on the floor and place your hands to your sides. Either open palm or closed fist, whichever you prefer – we’d recommend open palm if you’re on a solid floor.
Now, push yourself off the ground with your hands so that the hands become the only point of contact with the floor.
Hold yourself in the air for as long as you can, and repeat 3-5 times with rest between.
Not everyone can do the L-sit, and that’s because either the core or the upper body strength is insufficient.
To make it easier on the core, do it with your knees to your chest and legs bent.
To make it easier on the upper body, leave one leg on the floor.
A traditional exercise whilst travelling that can be made a little bit harder by elevating your legs as much as possible is the chair dip.
Place your hands by your side, facing away from the chair, and your legs on a table, or whatever else you can find.
The floor will suffice for your feet if necessary, as long as you have a chair, or a small table, to lean on with your hands behind you.
Keeping your hands on the chair, lower your butt towards the floor and use your arms to lift the weight back up.
Complete 10-12 reps and do 3-5 sets, ensuring you don’t flare your elbows at any point.
Press-Ups & Push-Up Variations
Not everyone can do press-ups, and at the same time they aren’t really a challenge for some people.
Fortunately, there’s always a way to make press-ups easier – or harder, depending on your needs.
If you want them easier, you can elevate your hands, and do pushups with hands on the table or on the chair. No need to try and make your chest go lower than your hands, if they are level that’s enough.
Alternatively, you can rest your knees on the floor rather than your toes.
If you want your push-ups harder, try propping your legs up so they’re raised off the floor (keeping your hands at ground level).
You can also try ‘clap’ press-ups where you clap your hands together between reps, one handed press-ups and more.
What are burpees?
A burpee is where you go from a standing position, do a squat thrust and then return to a standing position. That’s one rep. To do a squat thrust, crouch down, put your hands out and kick your legs back as if ready to do a press-up. Then ‘jump’ your legs back in.
Burpees can be very, very brutal, but as with push-ups, you can easily adapt them to your needs.
To add difficulty, you can hold the squat and plank positions whilst still remaining explosive during each piece of movement.
There’s a reason there’s almost never a queue for the pull-up machine at the gym — because they’re so hard.
They work so many muscles in your back, arms and more.
In terms of gaining results, pull-ups are one of the most efficient choices you can make and also help to improve muscle endurance.
Unless you have incredible grip strength and can use a doorframe, you’re going to need a bit of equipment for this.
A portable pull-up bar is one of the only things I take with me everywhere I travel.
Because of the fact they double up as equipment for other workouts too (such as push-ups) and they are so cheap, it will be one of the best investments you ever make — especially as you can use it at home too.
Guess what, you don’t have to be able to do pull-ups to get a back workout while on the move.
All you need is some kind of a heavy, solid, dependable table that won’t tip over. Get under it so that your body, up to your shoulders, is under the table, face up.
Now grab the edge of the table and pull your chest up to it while your feet stay on the ground.
Slowly lower yourself back down quietly hoping the table doesn’t flip or break.
For this one, you’ll need a bit of strength and the ability to do a headstand.
Use the wall to headstand up against, with your legs resting upright.
The next thing is to use your shoulder and arm strength to do upright press-ups, with your legs still against the wall.
Can’t do a full push-up?
Start by trying to hold yourself in position above the floor for as long as you can.
If you keep repeating this, you’ll be able to master the movement in a matter of days or weeks.
This will work your shoulders incredibly effectively, you’ll effectively be shoulder-pressing your bodyweight.
If you can do it, you must do it.
It can benefit your muscle all over your body.
It can be done everywhere outside, perfect if you have roads, grass or beaches nearby.
It doesn’t even count as real cardio — sprinting uses anaerobic energy as opposed to aerobic.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It’s great for building strength. It’s great for losing fat. It’s great for building endurance, it’s perfect for speed, and it’s a whole body exercise.
Is that enough advantages for you?
Pack a pair of running shoes with you and ensure you head out to a quiet area where you can get some sprints in.
Make sure you have a decent pair of trainers that support and help to maximise your workout; check out my guide to the best running shoes for help.
Hill sprints are ideal:
They are both safer and harder.
Flat ground sprints are better if you specifically want to learn to sprint faster, but there’s more impact and more chances to injure yourself.
If you don’t have much time, sprint 100 meters, walk back on foot, sprint again, repeat.
If you do have time, rest for several minutes between sprints. By giving your body time to recover, you will be able to push it harder.
Don’t just start sprinting without proper warm up.
Proper warm up in this context means at least three or four runs where you start out slow and gradually build up to your maximum possible speed, then slow down.
It’s incredibly easy to injure yourself — particularly in your hamstrings and groin — when you’re unaccustomed to sprints and start doing them without warming up, or without correct form.
Did You Know…
With the above exercises, you have a full body workout for travelling.
You will hit your chest, back, abs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, legs and more.