Travel and training

For many, going to the gym has the end goal of being in good shape when it comes to boarding the plane to go on holiday and step out onto the beach. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your goal. However, for those of us who travel and view fitness as a part of our lifestyle, going away can cause some worry. We don’t like to admit it but booking a holiday can often include:

  1. Choosing our hotel based on the quality of its gym
  2. Looking to see if food is good quality in the hotel and surrounding areas
  3. Scouring the local area to see if there are good training facilities nearby.

Not only this but breaking from our home routine can cause concern that our fitness may take a hit, unfamiliarity, lack of resources, no programme etc.

Vegas Sign
Walk, run, jog to the different places you visit

As I have got older and visited different parts of the world, I have realised that this doesn’t have to be the case. We go to different countries for various reasons.

  • To see new places
  • Experience cultures
  • Relax and to enjoy ourselves

Fitting training into our travels shouldn’t impact these and it can be easy to train and travel provided you’re smart about it. The two can go hand in hand and you can get the best of both worlds. Here’s how…

1. Pack the travel essentials

Okay, so you are never going to be under the baggage allowance with a 32kg kettlebell. However, there are some essentials you can take that will give you a good workout anywhere in the world.

  • Skipping rope – A lightweight and useful addition to any backpack, guaranteed to get you breathing hard in any workout
  • Rings and straps – Generally weigh nothing. They can be hung anywhere and fit easily into your luggage.
  • Yoga mat – Not all workouts have to be freakishly intense. Lightweight and dynamic for a good stretching workout anywhere. Maybe use it to go harder with burpees, sit-ups or handstand press ups.
  • Massage balls – Take a massage or hockey ball to ease the tension from flying or workouts, travel essential.

2. Travel and get creative

Obviously when travelling the usual resources and equipment won’t be available. It is easy to worry that not having equipment will lead to lower quality workouts, but that’s not true. Training whilst travelling just means you have to get more creative with your workouts. Most hotels have a basic gym and that is enough to get a good workout in. My staple resource when training whilst I’m away is from Crossfit athlete Jason Khalipa. Jason has put together, trialed and tweaked on his travels. Each workout requires minimal equipment and are travel specific to fit your needs. For the record they are just as devastating at home.

Alternatively, most destinations have some form of swimming facility, be that a pool or just the ocean. There are some great swimming workouts available via WaterWod. This site is similar to the old Crossfit main site website. Some workouts require equipment but some only simple movements such as swimming and press ups which will see you breathing heavily.

Swim when you travel. They are some of the funnest, toughest workouts.

Possibly the best option is to go and try an activity locally. If there is a lake they will hire kayaks or canoes and some further afield destinations will have surfing. If you’re in the mountains hire a bike or use one of the trails. Anything along those lines will likely give you just as good, if not a better, workout than in the gym. It is a new stimulus that will challenge you in ways that you haven’t been challenged before. If nothing else they’re just fun, that should be enough motivation in itself!

3. Aim for intensity

Intensity is the foundation of improving fitness. Understandably being on holiday or travelling, can make it hard to find the motivation to train intensely. However, for those of us looking to keep our fitness up it is important to maintain intensity. The likelihood is that you do not want a workout taking up the majority of the day. Therefore, the usual 2 hour workout that makes up training at home is not practical or desired. That means it is important to get the most out of the 10-20 minute window we have.

Get outdoors, get creative and up the intensity for fitness when you travel

The easy way to do this is to keep the workouts as intense as possible. It will be a shorter workout than you would normally get in at home so just get after it. Whatever you choose to do just give it full effort, even all out shuttle runs will get bad.

The reason Jason Khalipa’s workouts are so good is that they’re founded in intensity. Working hard for that brief window will make sure the workout achieves the right stimulus. It allows us to feel good about enjoying the rest of our day and most importantly, holiday foods.


So they are the 3 simple steps that I’ve found help to keep up fitness when on holiday or travelling. Try to take some key items, get creative and most importantly give it all you’ve got. I hope this helps, good luck and have fun!

Let me know how you combine travel and fitness?

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