Why not ‘bring your gym’ with you?
Here’s another unique (at least I thought it was) idea on maintaining my fitness when traveling, taking my gym with me!
Ok, so I can’t, nor can you, actually take your gym with you, However, there are some things that you can take with you that will give you a great workout while traveling. You can use most of these either in the hotel gym/fitness center, or in your room.
As a side story for a minute, I once attended a work conference that was being held in a large hotel in Boston. Unfortunately, as with most hotels, the gym/fitness center seemed to be an afterthought and for someone who trains even semi-regularly, was almost useless. Luckily, I had brought ‘my gym’ with me!
So, what was my ‘gym’ that I brought with me?
My TRX system.
If you’re not familiar with TRX, they are probably the dominant maker of suspension training kit, and for me at least, their kit was my first introduction to Suspension training, or body weight training.
TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise
There are numerous different brands out now and most are pretty good, however for me, it’s TRX.
So, for those that are not familiar with Suspension training, what is it? Suspension Training is a workout method where you use your body weight and gravity as resistance to increase strength, improve balance, coordination, and flexibility.
By simply leveraging your body weight to perform hundreds of exercises, you get a full body workout, while simultaneously working your core. And because you’re working with one training tool, and can adjust your resistance quickly, you can either shorten your training time, OR increase your intensity by shortening your rest period and modifying the resistance.
By moving your body into different positions, you are able increase or decrease the amount of ‘resistance’ you are working against. Leveraging gravity, basic physics, and geometry, you will be, as stated above modifying the resistance you are working against.
Another very viable and easy alternative “bringing your gym with you” are Resistance Bands.
These bands, that normally come in varying sizes and tension difficulties, can pack up very small and take almost no room in your luggage.
Some of the Resistance Bands on the market that I have tested and used, allow you to combine the bands, thus increasing the resistance quite substantially. One of brands that I have used, allows you to combine all of the bands, for a total resistance of 100Lbs/45Kgs.
I don’t know of anyone that cannot get a solid workout with 100Lbs of resistance, be it Dumbells, Kettlebells, or Resistance Bands.
As one who travels frequently for business, I like to pack as light as possible. If I am flying, I almost never check my bag. I like to get on and off the plane as quickly as possible and not have to deal with waiting for my bag. Nor do I want to risk my bag not making it to me when I need it. (I have had this happen on more than one occasion and although mistakes happen, I am going to do what I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to me!)
So, with my luggage being as small as possible and my packing being as tight as possible, anything I bring with me, has to serve a distinct purpose and be as compact as possible.
So with that, Resistance Bands are a fantastic tool in my ‘fitness arsenal’!
What are Resistance Bands?
Simply put, Resistance Bands are ‘rubber bands’ with handles that provide varying levels of resistance, allowing you to pack them easily, and get in a workout anywhere you can stand. Depending on the brand style you purchase, you can use the bands alone, or some can be combined to increase the resistance level. This allows you to have a small ‘gym’ with you in your luggage and vary the level of resistance based on the Body part you are training.
Like Suspension Trainers (TRXs), with Resistance Bands, you can quickly modify your resistance levels, increase or decrease the intensity, and move from exercise to exercise. This provides the benefit of getting a very good workout, in a short period of time, again, and very importantly while traveling, regardless of where you are!
Another thing that I like about using my Resistance Bands in the constant tension. With traditional weights, Dumbells and Barbells, while you are working against gravity on the negative portion of the lift, your muscles are not truly under tension. With Resistance Bands, like Cable machines, your muscles are under constant tension throughout the entire movement. This increases the total ‘Time under tension’ for your muscles, which is a powerful growth stimulant and calorie burner.
In addition to the compact and traveling benefits of Resistance Bands, and the fact that you can use them to increase your strength or muscle toning, you can also use them to assist you with your flexibility or mobility training.
Which to bring?
Sometimes, I will bring both my TRX and my Resistance Bands, other times it will be one or the other.
The determining factor/s will be what I expect to be training while I am traveling, whether or not I want to focus on a specific type of training, how many sessions I expect to be able to complete and yes, how much room I have in my luggage for my training ‘kit’.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Easy ways to stay fit while traveling, preparation is key!
When you know you have a trip coming up and start to think about it, decide what you want to achieve, fitness wise on this trip. Take a few minutes and be realistic about what you’ll have time for and will be able to get done.
If you normally use Suspension training in your program at home, perhaps you take a ‘break’ from them while on the road and use your Resistance Bands. Conversely, if Resistance Bands are part of your routine, but Suspension training isn’t, then bring the TRX!
Hope this helps and as always, please feel free to add some additional thoughts and/or ideas to the thread!