How to keep your routine when you travel (a lot)

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Great! You have established a workout routine! Maybe it looks something like this: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you go to the gym and hit the weights.. You are quite religious about your gym days and are feeling great about it. Then bam! A challenge. You need to travel for work. This will disrupt your whole routine. What now?

If you are like me and travel a lot for work this can indeed be a bit of a problem, but not really. The problem is how you think about the problem. I see this as a chance to adapt and overcome. These few points will help you keep to your routine, maintain your gains and keep your momentum going.

  1. Whatever you do pack some workout clothes

This is so basic I didn't think I needed to put this in, But make sure you pack workout clothes. Nothing stops you from exercising faster than not having the correct outfit. For example most hotel gyms require proper attire and footwear before you can use the facilities. Be prepared.

2. Plan your hotel based on the gym

This is my next step. I have begun to choose hotels based on the quality and access hours of their fitness facilities. Not all hotels, even the international ones, have equal fitness facilities. Choose wisely. I like to go online and search for the hotel to view the facilities, noting time of operation, and equipment. Most hotel gyms these days have a decent selection of resistance machines and free weights such as dumbbells, so you should be covered. If not, choose a different hotel.

Here's an example. I like to do heavy barbell squats as part of my weekly routine. However most hotel gyms don't have either barbells or a squat rack so it is mostly impossible. So I might use machines for leg press + leg extensions + leg curl and/or add in some dumbbell lunges or split squats. It’s not the same, but it will help you maintain your strength and stress your muscles in a different way. Build a travel routine that you can use regardless of the limitations.

3. Pack a workout kit

In a worst case scenario, I may not have access to gym or time to go due to hectic schedules, so I pack a small workout kit that I can use in my room in conjunction with HIIT bodyweight exercises. This kind of workout can take as little as 30 minutes, and definitely can give you a good session if you do it right. I pack resistance loops (one big one and a couple of little ones), a skipping rope, and maybe an ab roller. This kind of setup takes up very little room in your suitcase and ensures you have an instant workout when you need it. Added bonus? You can do this in your underwear, great for the post workout selfies.

4. Go for a run

If you are like me, you know you need to do more cardio, so going for a run in the morning for 30 -45 minutes is a great idea. You only need to pack running shoes. Forgo the treadmill, and get outside for a run. After all, when travelling to a different city, it's nice to get out and see what's around. Speak to the concierge as he will know where the best place is to go is, as a lot of guests have asked him the same question. Don't forget to ask for a hotel card with the address in local language. You are never more than a taxi ride away from getting yourself un-lost.  Bring a small bag for essentials (like a fanny pack) and get out there.

5. Go for a swim

If running isn't your thing then make sure you pack a bathing suit and goggles. Most hotels have a swimming pool although they can be quite small. Again it is always best to check in advance and choose accordingly. A morning swim can be very refreshing and give you a great start to your day!

6. Take a rest week

Working out hard and lifting heavy weights is extremely taxing on your body. You always need time to recover. So for a short trip, you may just decide to take a few days off from the weights, to help avoid overtraining. Going for a leisurely swim (you are not trying to beat Michael Phelps records) or a 30 minute walk is a great, low impact active recovery.


The key here is to plan ahead. Once you know your hotel, it's easy to keep up with your workout routine, Set aside some time to go workout even if it means waking up a bit earlier, 30 minutes of sleep isn't going to make or break you. As an added bonus, you will get to workout in a different way, providing some unique stresses to your muscles which will have its own benefits.

I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ll be posting some travel workout routines soon. Hit me up if you need any advice or have a question. You can always sign up for a free consultation session by hitting the button below. Remember, I am your coach.

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Jamey MerkelComment