Take your gym with you!

Take your gym with you!

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!

My Gym?

So, what was my ‘gym’ that I brought with me?

My TRX system.

Suspension Trainer/s

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.

Resistance Bands

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.


Side note:

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!

Keep training!



This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hi Brad,

    Thanks so much for this article. I really enjoyed reading it! In my gym, they have TRX, but to be honest, I rarely use them. However, I know realized their real purpose: to train when traveling. TRX combined with some resistance bands can lead to a killer workout on the go. 

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Los, 

      Thanks for stopping by!

      TRX’s are fantastic pieces of kit for training and should be part of every fitness enthusiasts kit!



  2. Great post and it is something what I really need!

    We love to travel, but I’m a dedicated exercises, I spent 6 days out of 7 in the gym .

    But be out in the forest or in the wild and without having anything to workout is killing me since I have the feeling my body will lose muscle size.

    I was looking for something like this to maintain them so I’m very happy I came across this post.

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    1. Hello Emmanuel, 

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Glad to hear from another avid exercise enthusiast.  🙂  I do feel compelled to tell you though, it will take more than a few days of not training for your body to lose muscle. This is purely psychological, and I get it, as I used to be that way also. Remember, your muscles are not growing when you train them, they are growing when rested and repairing, so downtime is extremely important…

      Best of luck to you and do come back.



  3. Hi Brad, I never thought of bring gym when travelling! You have suggested very good ideas, to work out while travelling. My dad is a business man travel a lot, I know what to get for his birthday already! I have resistance band as well but I didn’t have the motivation to do it. I think it’d because if I have no step by step guide to train up myself. Do you have any good suggestions?

    1. Hello Emily, 

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Great idea as a gift for your dad, you could give either a TRX, or a set of resistance bands and either will work great!

      As for workout ideas, I have many and those will come in a future post…  🙂  I think your best bet for now though would be a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find hundreds. 

      Best of luck, 


  4. I have definitely brought resistance bands with me and it has been less of a hassle when it comes to carrying as oppose to traditional dumbbells and other heavy portable exercise equipment.

    As far as TRX is concerned, where are you hooking the straps at? Do you have a door strap hinge with you?

    1. Hello Jessie, 

      Thanks for stopping by…

      With regards to the TRX, it will depend on if I plan on working out in my room, the hotel gym, or a nearby park. I do have a door strap hinge that I use and for outdoors, you can just wrap it around the trunk of a tree, or from a low hanging, but sturdy branch!

      Be creative, that’s part of the fun!  🙂

  5. Hey Brad,

    It’s no doubt that rubber bands can give an exceedingly superior workout.

    About 15 years ago I had an issue where the outside of my hip was sore.  Not down in the joint, but in the muscle.  It got to the point where I was actually limping at work (I worked at a warehouse at the time).

    Needless to say that I went to the doctor and he sent me to physical therapy.

    At the end of my first visit, HealthSouth gave me a length of rubber, tied the ends, and told me to put it under my door and do the assigned exercises.  I thought, what is this piece of rubber going to do for me.

    Needless to say, the workouts with that piece of rubber were some of the best workouts I have ever had.  The hip muscle was so strong after about a month that I was released from physical therapy with a clean bill of health.

    So, when you say that rubber band will work, I definitely second that notion from personal experience.  But-at least in my mind-nothing will replace free weights.  I guess it’s a habit at this point.  

    But for a workout method while on the road, I certainly endorse the use of resistance bands.

    Have a great day Brad.  

    1. Hello Sean, 

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 

      Glad to hear that you were able to heal with, what sounds like no lasting or permanent injuries!



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