How should you train when you’re traveling or while you’re on vacation? Should you find a way to stick with your current program? Should you skip training all together and participate in some other physical activity? Should you simply adapt your current program based on the equipment that’s available.
I’m going to answer those questions and more in this article.
I’ve managed to create four distinct categories and options for people to choose from when traveling or enjoying a much needed vacation. No matter which one you choose, rest assured you can still Lift Like a Girl, have some fun, and get the results you’re after.
It’s time for me to introduce you to The Loyalist, The Tweaker, The Experimenter, and The Player.
This is the person who is determined to continue with their current training program, and they’ll hunt down a gym that can accommodate their training needs. Furthermore, this individual will train the usual days per week to which they’re accustomed. Basically, this individual will approach the training program completely the same as if they weren’t traveling or on vacation; nothing changes in regards to their workouts.
I don’t need to give any information for this category, because you just keep on doing what you’ve been doing by finding a gym or other facility that has whatever you need to stick with your current program.
This is the person who will make do with whatever they have available. Perhaps they’re staying at a hotel with a small gym and they have no interest in finding a gym in the area. They adjust their training program according to the equipment they have within their grasp. This could mean doing goblet squats instead of using a barbell, or dumbbell bench press instead of a barbell if the hotel gym only has dumbbells. This individual simply adapts to whatever is at their disposal.
No barbell for hip thrusts? Then they’ll do single leg hip thrusts. This person will keep doing their scheduled workouts, but making a few tweaks based on equipment availability.
In addition, this person may scale back their training. Instead of training four days per week following an upper/lower split, they may train two days week using total body workouts. They tailor their training program based on the equipment they have in addition to available training time, tweaking away as needed.
This trainee will do well taking the travel or vacation time to do something completely out of the ordinary. Maybe they’ll use the hotel gym and do exercises they don’t typically do. For instance, if they primarily train with a barbell, maybe they’ll do nothing but dumbbell and bodyweight exercises.
Maybe they’ll do all unilateral work instead of strictly bilateral lifting, per usual. Maybe they’ll go outside for a bodyweight workout or run hill sprints instead of training in the gym like they usually do. Or maybe this person will take along a few simple training tools, like a Jungle Gym, some resistance bands, and maybe a kettlelbell or two and put together some out of the ordinary creative workouts.
Maybe this person will train exclusively with total body workouts setting up all the exercises in a circuit fashion because, normally, they do upper/lower splits focusing on a single exercise at a time.
No matter what, this individual will find a way to train hard and consistently, but they’ll do so in a way that’s quite different from when they’re at home. This could serve as a “mental break” from their typical training and provide a refreshing, energizing, change of pace.
This individual takes advantage of new surroundings and “plays” instead of worrying about training. They don’t even think about stepping foot into a gym, much less searching for one, and following an organized training program. They’re also not likely to even look at the hotel gym facility. That means this individual thrives on being active and having fun in a way completely different way, unrelated to lifting weights or training in a gym.
The activities they participate in depend on what’s around them. In my own case, for example, I went to Maine and New Hampshire last month. I spent a week hiking, climbing on rocks, and exploring the area. Not once did I even think about training at the hotel gym or doing some structured strength training program. In fact, the picture at the top of this article shows me about to hike up some rocks to check out a little waterfall in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
In fact, I’ll be doing the same thing in a couple of months when I go to North Carolina. I’ll be hiking, mountain biking, and doing other physical activities that the area provides.
The Player’s main goal is to have fun while being active, and the options here are limitless. Maybe you can go snowboarding or skiing, or hiking, kayaking, or some other physical activity. To The Player, the only thing that matters is having a blast while being physically active.
To The Player, staying out of the gym for the duration of the vacation, or while traveling, and being active in a completely different way can be a welcome mental and physical break from training in the gym. Once they return home and to their normal routine, they pick up where they left off with a new excitement for lifting weights, as a result of the break.
Which One is Right for YOU?
You’ll probably have figured this out as you read the article. Hopefully you found yourself nodding in agreement with a particular category, or maybe one sounded more exciting or suited to your personality then the others. If so, you know which protocol to follow.
This can even change overtime. For instance, I used to be The Tweaker back when I participated in powerlifting. Later on I was The Experimenter. Finally, and currently, I’m a The Player. When I travel now, I don’t worry about strength training, and more often than not I don’t even take along travel tools like I used to. I play and have fun.
The category you fit into can change overtime, depending on your physique and performance goals. I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” category as long as you’re having fun in the process and getting closer to your goals.
Just choose the category that fits your goals, personality, lifestyle, and whatever will make you happy. In the end, you need to enjoy your training, however you choose to do it while traveling and on vacation.