Complete Guide to Fitness When Travelling (Part 2 – Training On the Go)

Posted on Feb 01, 2019

In Part-1, we covered the principles of adhering to nutritional goals whilst travelling, whether it be for work or pleasure. The same application should be conformed to with your training.

Life doesn’t wait for you to finish your program!

One of the biggest challenges many fitness enthusiasts face is trying to stay strong when travelling, but this doesn’t mean you need to put off those trips in fear of losing your gains.  

It all comes down to utilizing the time you have, and the space available to you.  Now unless you’re staying in some 5* complex with full facilities available to you, I won’t ask you to go and bust out a session in your hotel gym should you have one, because, let’s face it, they are appalling!  A couple of 2kg dumbbells and a treadmill won’t get anyone anywhere fast!

I also won’t encourage you to travel with equipment, gym outfits, gym shoes, and other such wonders, as very often you are travelling light between destinations, and so have little room for additional items to be carried.

Quality is dictated by performance.

This article will help you maintain your strength during your time away from home by using what you have around you.  It’ll encourage imagination and deviating a little away from what would seem normal, but you’ll be sure to have an effective workout if you follow these principles.


On entering your hotel room, scan your surroundings and focus on how to make the most out of the area you have.  You’ll need to adjust your mind-set temporarily from seeing this space as bedroom, to a temporary “gym”. What equipment can you use to simulate movements you’d do in a gym?  Is there furniture available that you can work with? Can you transform an area in the room to create an environment to suit your needs?

I’ve said this before in previous articles, and I’ll say it again, you’re only limited by your imagination!


You may be confined to a restricted space within 4 walls, but don’t forget them when designing your new workout.  Walls, and floors, can be used to implement leverage effectively, and can challenge the most advanced fitness enthusiasts if the angles are correct.  

An example of good utilization of the area around you would be for push-ups.  This challenging upper body can be made increasingly more difficult if you practice a change in your leverage.  So instead of placing your feet on the floor, try placing them on the window ledge. This makes the classic push-up into an intense inclined push-up.  The same principles could be applied to a standard lunge, by lifting the rear foot and resting it on a wall, chair, bed, or anything you can find, making this classic staple exercise into a jaw-clenchingly difficult Bulgarian split squat.


Focusing on large muscle groups, when away from home and limited on equipment, will encourage optimal energy expenditure.  The more energy you expend, the more calories you’ll burn, and this will benefit you even more so if you’re finding the nutritional side of things difficult to keep on track.  

There are many exercises you can perform to get the very best out of your body in restricted situations.  Let’s have a look at some exercises you could perform to ensure you maintain strength. In all cases, I’d stick to a similar rep and set range that you have been used to, or perform the exercises as a complete circuit for either time, or set yourself a rep range to hit; a nice starting point would be 10-20 reps of each exercise performed as a circuit, 3-6 times.

Squats.  In my opinion, the best exercise you can perform if you are restricted to where you train.  If you have space to stand, then you have space to squat. Squatting trains your legs, glutes and back muscles, and can even be adapted to suit your needs and make things more challenging.  Why not squat your suitcase? You can place it on your back, overhead, or out in front, to target difficult muscle groups. I’d only encourage using equipment in this way if you find the common squat with bodyweight too simple.

Deadlifts.  Deadlifting is a staple exercise for most gym enthusiasts, and can be used in a variety of programs.  The issue with being away is the limited use of equipment to perform this popular move. So instead, perform a Romanian deadlift as a variation.  This exercise works well in a hotel room as can be modified to suit needs. There’s single leg Romanian deadlifts, tempo Romanian deadlifts, or you could even pick a “weight” from the floor, which could be a person, and perform the reps from the top down.  This way you’d use your posterior chain of pulling muscles.

Rows.  No need to miss out on back focused exercises when away, but you just need to be a little imaginative when performing them.  Options could be bent over row with suitcase, or another “weight” you can find to simulate the movement; single arm rows, again finding something to be your “weight”; plank with single arm row, this can be performed with just body weight; or an alternative back exercise could be a pullover performed over a chair.

Push-ups.  As mentioned in point 2, the push-up is a great exercise for upper body strength work, and can be modified to suit any fitness addict.  Changing variables such as leverage, tempo, or resistance can make this simple exercise extremely challenging.

So leave your isolations at home, and get your full body moving.

There’s no need to get stressed with not being able to train when away, you just need to open your mind to the options available to you.  They may seem simplistic, and a little restrictive, but with understanding how you can adapt these exercises to suit your requirements, will ensure that you continue to be strong when away from your home.

Give it your best, even if your environment is the worst!

Don’t cheat yourself by performing reps poorly, just because you are not in your preferred training area.  Ensure you use control, and perform each movement with full range of motion. Sure things around you may not be optimal, but your body will move in the same way no matter where it is, so don’t let little things dampen your workout.

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