100 Days of Fitness: Week 13 – Travel Training

How long does it take to change your life? Follow author Robert Fure as he begins a 100 day trek to a fitter, healthier life by following this simple program. Today, we talk about training while traveling on the 100 Days of Fitness program.

There are many reasons excuses people come up with for not exercising – they work too many hours, they have too many responsibilities, they don't know how, they don't have enough room, they travel too much.  As you can probably guess, I'm about five seconds away from telling you that's all a bunch of bullshit.

It's all bullshit.

Hopefully by this point in the series, you've already started working out so most of those excuses aren't ones you're using.  Though, perhaps you still have “I travel too much” in your pocket as an excuse to take four days off every month as you're out of town. No matter where you are, you can still get a fantastic workout.

But do you have to workout when you travel?  Even I say “no.”  It just depends on where you're going and why.  If you're leaving town for a few days on business and that's a rare occurrence, you might want to treat that as some rest and recuperation time. Keep your diet strong, but its okay to not exercise.  If you're going on vacation, I'm not going to tell you to get up at the ass crack of dawn and go for a run on the beach. Vacations should be relaxing. So I don't mandate anyone exercise on vacations, but if you want to, all the power to you, brother. But if you're someone who travels frequently, and it's part of your life, you're going to have to come up with some solutions.

So I've sort of decided there are two types of trips – short trips that serve as breaks from our hardcore workouts and frequent trips that must be accommodated.  Below, I'll talk about how to stay on the program either way.

Taking It Easy

Just because we're taking it easy, doesn't mean we give up on fitness all together. Sure, like I said, if it's a vacation, have fun. But if you're out of town on business for three days and don't want to kill yourself exercising, there are still some things you can do that are fitness related but less strenuous and may even help you relax.

First of all, there's never a reason not to bust out 4-5 sets of 10-12 push-ups during the day. It helps get the blood flowing, your energy up, and is, after awhile, actually pretty fun.  I like doing push-ups. There's something primally strong about being able to do a bunch.  Toss in some sit-ups if you want, or, to mix muscle massage with a core work-out, check out a foam roller like The Grid from Trigger Point Technologies.

The Foam Roller

Foam rollers have been a part of the personal trainers kit for at least a decade and they've slowly been infiltrating gyms and home set-ups over the last few years.  In terms of taking it easy, the foam roller can help you relax via myofascial release techniques. I know. Big word alert. Basically foam rollers started out as a way of self-massage to release strained and tightened muscles. The Grid is laid out in a (surprise!) grid that has different textures that simulate different massage techniques. This feels surprisingly good and this roller actually penetrates rather deeply thanks to the studded texture.  There are also a bunch of core moves you can do with The Grid – a basic, low strain exercise would involve laying your legs on the Grid, propping yourself up, and performing crunches.  In the next section, though, we'll talk about how this cute little bit of foam can actually kick your ass.

But, since we're talking about travel, do you really need a foam roller packed in your bag? Well, if it was like most other rollers and solid, no. It just takes up space. But The Grid is hollow, saving space, as you can shove your socks into it, your underwear, some gym clothes, etc.  So it takes up far less space than most other rollers.  Who wouldn't want to pack up a mobile massage parlor and core worker in their bag?

So when you're taking a relaxing weekend off from the murderous kettlebell circuits you've been engaged in, pile on some maintenance push-ups and give your muscles a deep, healing rub down.

Man demonstrating a foam roller

Kick-Ass Mobile Work Out

First and foremost, while these things we're going to talk about are definitely awesome for travel, this stuff is also just great home exercise equipment. It's like a gym you can take with you 10% of the time, but the other 90% of the time it's at home ready and willing to make you sweat.

If you're ready to get your ass whipped by an orange foam roller, whip out The Grid.  If this thing wasn't bad ass, we wouldn't take the time to talk about it.  Like Alton Brown, one of our favorite scientist-slash-cooks says, every tool you own should have at least two uses.  The Grid fulfills the role of a masseuse like any foam roller, but it also replaces that junky Ab-Roller wheel you've been holding on to since 1987. Instead of gripping handles, you set your wrists or elbows on the roller and crunch away.

Where The Grid makes itself more useful, is that you can then move the roller to your legs and crunch upwards.  With your forearms flat on the floor, you can turn a plank into a rolling crunch. Just holding a plank for 30 seconds is challenging, so multiply that by 12-15 crunches? Hell yeah. But that's all. When you combine a traditional push-up with crunch, you get a fully body work-out that is more comparable to a kettlebell swing than a regular push-up. Translation? This is an arm, chest, core blasting move that will leave you slightly embarrassed that foam covered plastic just made you beg for mercy.

But if traveling is part of your life, or if you'd rather an entire gym at your home, the Portable Monkey Bar Gym by LifelineUSA is one product kit that, not to sound like a salesman, you should own. This set is definitely Primer Approved as since I've owned it, I've literally used at least one component at least 5 days a week.

Different home gym straps

Working out at home or in a hotel can be monotonous – push-ups, body weight squats, etc.  The Monkey Bar Gym series of components brings a whole new arena into play by packaging a few simple things together and allowing you to increase the number of exercises available to you anywhere, anytime, by 300%.  Included in the kit are a jump rope, an elastic band cable, and a webbing system. Let's take a look at each individually.

Jump Rope

While any jump rope can kick you ass, the Lifeline jump rope is adjustable, so many people can use it, and has ball bearings in the handles, allowing for a quick, responsible spin. This is a firm, heavy rope, not for little girls to do tricks with, but if you're ready to bust ass and jump a lot, this is a quality tool. Some even suggest jumping rope is a better exercise than running. If you haven't jumped rope in a while and are skeptical, pick one up and I'm sure you'll be convinced — you'll be sweating out of every pore in your body.

A man jump roping

TNT Fitness Cable

I've been using fitness elastic bands for years now, and this is the best one I've owned and is my favorite part of the Monkey Bar Portable Gym. Why? Variety. Each handle has three slots for the elastic bands, which gives you a lot of variety in how much resistance you're using.  Instead of buying 3 separate workout bands, you just by this one and change the amount of elastic in it.

With the accompanying door jamb attachment, you can add, basically, a cable system to your home. Mount it above the highest door hinge and you can do pull downs, chest presses, and ab work. Mount it near the center and you can do chest presses and rows for your back. Put it underneath the bottom hinge and you can do more chest, more rows, triceps, and biceps.  Even without a door, you can just step on the bands and open a world of shoulder presses, curls, and tricep extensions.  The elastic band cable is one of the first pieces of equipment I recommend someone get and this is a great one for all people – from beginners to big guys, thanks to the adjustable resistance. I workout with bands a minimum of four times a week.

A man using bands

Jungle Gym

The Jungle Gym is a suspension training system that costs about 25% of what other similar systems cost (The Jungle Gym alone is $50, while many suspension training systems are $190).   This system can be set-up in the home or hotel by using an included door jamb or you can take it to the park and loop it over a bar or a tree.  Then you just adjust the bars and open a whole world of new bodyweight exercises. You bring new depth and variety to push-ups, rows, presses, and you can even do chest flys and tricep layouts. When you're set up outside, you can do even more, including dips and varied grip pull-ups.

jungle gymtricep extensions

All three of these items fit into a small carry case that can be tucked in a suitcase, overnight bag, or even carried on a plane. An entire gyms worth of equipment in your hand.  Perfect for the apartment or the far off hotel room.  There are fewer and fewer excuses for you to use to escape working out.

Straps back row

So whether you're taking a short weekend away to relax (massage yourself, do some push-ups) or you need a mobile home gym for your travel heavy life-style, there are answers and methods available to you to make sure you're always on top of your fitness game.

One more excuse crossed off the list!

My Results

Since I already wrote 1600 words on travel and exercise, I'm going to keep this short and to the point – I'm down one more pound to 232 for a total weight loss of 19.5lbs.  I've got some travel coming up and some birthdays, so there are some road bumps ahead, but as we previously discussed – there are answers to every excuse.  No matter how bumpy the road, even if it turns you around a little bit, stay on it and heading in the right direction.

Robert Fure

Robert Fure is a fitness, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in Los Angeles. He is also a certified Personal Trainer and the Creator/Editor of Fit and Furious, an online outlet dedicated to the pursuit of a fit lifestyle. His entertainment work can be viewed at Film School Rejects.