Travel and training rarely mix well. While on the road we don’t have access to our kitchen, our gym or our training partner or trainer. As a result, we’re thrown from our daily routine just enough, that scheduling a decent workout can be a bit of a chore. Add an occasional change in time zone and you can have a bit of a mess on your hands. So to keep you from taking a few steps back in your training, here are some valuable tips on how to keep killing your workouts while hitting the road.
Look up gyms near your destination BEFORE picking your hotel
If you’re traveling for work, you generally have to work around your final destination – typically a client’s office, your own company’s local office, or a conference venue. Before signing up for the closest hotel to your venue, do a quick search for reputable gyms in the area. You’ll usually find a lot that pop up, but only a few that will fit your needs.
Narrow it down and try to find a hotel that’s not far from those gyms, but still reasonable enough to get to your venue. Be sure to inquire into gym partnerships when you contact your hotel. Plenty of hotels offer free or discounted day passes to gyms in their area. Being close to the gym will make you more likely to follow through with your training. Aim to strike a balance between distances traveled from venue-hotel-gym and the quality of the gym you’re looking for.
Reach out to local sports groups & global communities
Two words: social media. Join some international fitness groups on Facebook or expand your online community on Instagram and Twitter. Being a part of community-driven groups makes things easier when it comes time to travel to a new city or even country. Do a quick post and ask for any recommendations if people have been to the area or live nearby, and you’ll find some of the best gyms that won’t come up on the first page of Google results.
Hey, who cares if they have a strong SEO game if they have an unreal training environment in the end? As an added bonus, you may even find some training partners for your trip!
PRO TIP: Try joining the IIFYM global group on Facebook with 50K users.
Do a background check on your top three to five gyms
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the top gyms, do a bit more research. Nothing is worse than taking the time to look up a gym close to your hotel, and arriving to find out it’s a nightmare – or worse, closed.
Read any customer reviews you can find, check the hours listed, the equipment available, their drop-in policy, and any photos of the facility to get a first-hand look. This requires a little time and effort on your part, but if you are serious about your training, its safe to assume you are not a stranger to time and effort.
Contact the gym ahead of time
By simply shooting off a quick email, you can get connected with the gym management before ever stepping inside the gym. This can help to avoid miscommunications when you show up at the gym ready to train, and their drop-in policy doesn’t match what you found online.
Send an email to the manager to let them know you’re hoping to use their facility, and you can also ask any questions about concerns you may have. Am I allowed to use chalk if needed? How many squat racks do you have? Getting answers ahead of time can help avoid frustration that comes from arriving at a gym to find out it can’t accommodate your needs. Sometimes they will even offer you a special price if you’re from out of town and hoping to get a few training sessions in during the week or they’ll leave a note at the front desk to make sure you don’t get in any trouble for not being a member.
Pick a hotel that makes your life easier in any way
Some hotels have a pretty solid boutique gym that you can work with. You may not be able to get your full, regular workouts done, but it could help to reduce the number of days you have to find an actual gym to train. Some offer cardio equipment, dumbbells, swimming pools, and a few basic machines that can work for at least one of your workouts.
You can also find hotels that have a shuttle service to help you get to the gym on your own schedule at no cost or ones that include breakfast with your stay so you can quickly get some necessary carbs before your workout or your needed dose or protein afterwards. These things may seem small, but they can make the difference between a smooth trip and making a mess of your training.
Adjust your workouts while traveling (before and after too)
This one is not ALWAYS required, but can be helpful depending on scheduling or whether or not you’re currently in training for something specific. If you compete in a strength sport like powerlifting, Olympic lifting, CrossFit, or strongman, try to be conscious of your travel when you’re planning your peaks for programming. If you have a competition coming up and can’t avoid the peak, try to adjust your training the week before and after to better accommodate your travel circumstances. This one is usually linked to our next point…
Factor in how travel affects YOUR body
Figure out what travel does to your body. If you are arriving Monday morning and heading straight to the office, is your body able to handle a workout Monday night the same way as usual?
Try shifting your schedule to better match when you can be most efficient in the gym. Maybe you need to lower your working weights for that week, shorten individual workouts, or shift everything by a day, but no matter what you choose to do, don’t forget this differs from person to person. You may be lucky enough you can sit on a plane for 12 hours, hit the gym right after and absolutely kill your workout. On the flip side, you may need a solid 24 hours and a long night of sleep before being fully functional. Also, be sure to keep in mind the fact that air travel will dehydrate you more than you think. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water on your flight and continue to stay hydrated throughout your trip.