My Not So Earth Shattering Tips on Staying “Healthy” While Traveling

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As many of you know I’ve spent the last three days up here in Canada (Edmonton, to be precise) hanging with my boy Dean Somerset as he and I joined forces to perform round two of what we’re jokingly (but not really) calling Dean and Tony’s Excellent High-Five Workshop.

<—— If that’s not the most baller workshop pamphlet ever printed I don’t know what is.

We did round one a few months ago in Boston as sort of a practice round, and since no one died or walked away with 3rd degree burns or anything, we figured we take the show up north to Canada.

Much like Boston we kept it fairly “intimate,” limiting our seats to 20-25 people, and much like Boston we couldn’t have asked for more switched on and enthusiastic group of people to attend.

We spent the entire weekend talking assessment, breathing patterns, squat and deadlift technique/troubleshooting, corrective exercise (and how most of it makes my corneas perpetually bleed), and Dean even shared some of his voodoo anatomy wizardry with a few of the workshop participants.

As an example he demonstrated how taking just 15 seconds and hammering lateral core stability (what he refers to as reflexive stabilization) can drastically increase someone’s hip internal rotation by leaps and bounds.

No stretching involved.

In any case, unlike Boston, this time around we filmed the entire shebang – 12 hours worth of content – which we’ll be releasing in the near future.  So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.

Don’t worry, though:  I’m sure Dean and I will be the first to let you know when it’s available…..;o)

As an aside: we’ve been discussing the possibility of us taking our “tour” to the west coast (California) or the mid-west (Denver?), or maybe even Middle-Earth (Rivendell?). Just to throw it out there, if there’s anyone reading interested in setting up something with the two of us, we’d love to explore the opportunity.

And with that, because I want to leave you with at least something beneficial to read, here are some random thoughts on tips to keep “healthy” while traveling.

TG’s Not So Earth Shattering Tips on Staying Healthy While Traveling.

Funnily enough I once had a client who lugged a 32kg kettlebell with him all the way to Italy for his two-week family vacation in Tuscany.  Granted, he was a different breed and would rather cut off a limb than miss a workout, so I won’t hold any of you to that same standard.

Regardless, I do feel that many people use travel as an excuse to be a bit more lackluster with their training and eating habits.  And that’s fine…..when you’re traveling for work or for pleasure, a few days away from the iron isn’t going to be the end of the world. In fact I’ve often touted that traveling is a fail proof way to informally introduce “deload” days or week(s) into the mix.

But lets be forthright: most of you reading this blog probably take his or her’s health a bit more seriously, and “just taking a few days off” isn’t really an option.  So, what to do when you’re traveling?

1.  It’s only been within the last 1.5-2 years that I’ve found myself traveling more for work.  Whenever I’m invited to speak somewhere one of the first things I look into is whether or not certain hotels or resorts have some sort of fitness center or nearby health club.

Recognizing that more and more travelers are a bit more health conscious and see having access to a fitness center as a nice perk to their stay, more and more hotels are going out of their way to provide this amenity to their service.

Of course, if you’re used to training in s state-of-the-art facility where you have access to platforms, power racks, sleds, and music that doesn’t make you hate life, most (if not all) hotel “gyms” aren’t going to come close.

Nevertheless, even if you have to MacGyver a workout out of a treadmill, a pair of rusty dumbbells up to 25 lbs, a rubber band, and a spiral notebook, it stands to reason you can do something while away.

2.  Even better: bring your gym with you!  Nowadays it’s not uncommon for people to pack a TRX suspension trainer or a pair of ValSlides in their suitcase alongside their business suit, toothbrush, and copy of 50 Shades of Grey (don’t worry, I won’t judge).

Both take of minimal space, and both can EASILY be utilized in a hotel room.  In fact, while I did have access to Dean’s gym while here in Edmonton (which I used twice), I also knew that my schedule was going to be hectic on the days that we were actually presenting.  As such, I brought along my ValSlides so that I could do a quick 10-15 minute circuit in the AM before heading down to speak.

A1.  Prisoner Squat x10
A2.  1-Arm Bodysaw Push-Up (in the video I use a slideboard, but you can get the idea on how to incorporate ValSlides) x5/arm

A3.  Valslide Reverse Lunge x10/leg
A4.  Prone Plank Arm March x10/arm
A5.  ValSlide Leg Curl x10

Repeat for 4-6 rounds, with 60s rest in between, pound a protein shake, and call it day.

Easy peasy.

Bonus points for doing the entire workout in only your underwear.  BOM CHICKA BOM BOM.

It doesn’t have to be a ball-breaking, lying in a pool of your own sweat type of workout all the time.  The objective here was just to get my blood pumping, elicit a bit of a neural boost, and prime me for the rest of the day.

3.  And finally, while nutrition is a whole nother bag I don’t want to get into to any high degree, it stands to reason that it’s REALLY easy to eat like an asshole while traveling (as apparent by the DOUBLE ice-cream sundae I ate on Saturday night).

Either way, when traveling, I like to load up on things like beef jerky, nuts, fresh fruit, and Larabars on my actual travel days because all of the above are cheap and easy to toss into my backpack.

I’m not going to sit here and say something lame like “avoid the bread bowl,” or “order extra veggies in place of starches,” although both are viable options. Instead all I’ll say in this context is to eat like an adult.

Traveling doesn’t mean you have to resort to a six-pack of donuts from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast; nor doesn’t mean you have to crush the all-you-can-eat chicken wing buffet.  If that’s what you want to do, cool.  Do whatever rocks your boat.  But don’t use the excuse of “oh, I’m traveling and don’t have time to plan a head” as an excuse.

Okay, that’s it my end.  Like I said, nothing earth shattering. I’m sorry if you were expecting something more profound.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Wish me luck on my flight back to Boston!  God, I hate flying.

UPDATE:  Just arrived at the airport and I’m looking out the window at the plane I’ll be flying into Minneapolis in (it’s my layover to Boston).  It’s tiny.  Like, I think I can deadlift it tiny.  Shit.

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  • Brian H

    I’d pay for one in Denver, I simply won’t fly anymore (thanks TSA).

  • Kennet Wwaale

    It’s not that the airplane is tiny – your deadlift is just hooooooooogeeee! 🙂

  • Barath

    Larabars? Cheap? No, sir. Delicious, yes. Cheap, no.

    When I am stuck in a hotel room, I simply resort to push-ups and BW squats. I like push-ups, and hate BW squats. I do them nevertheless to balance things out.

  • John

    Hey Tony – I would be interested to hear any tips for “super travelers” if you have any…..I’m a young consultant who works for a big firm and I essentially live in hotels (travel 75+%)…I load up on beef jerky for snacks (great tip!) and am going to try picking up protein powder to just mix it with water and slam it in the morning for breakfast when there isn’t a convenient/safe way to get some eggs. I say safe because (as if this isn’t difficult enough) I’m allergic to dairy products (Anaphylactic shock carry an Epi-Pen everywhere, I’m not lactose intolerant). I bring my TRX with me everywhere, so I think that is a great tip as well – I work crazy hours so I like to power out pushups/rows and lunges/squats in my room before I crash. I’m an ex-Div I sprinter who is still training around some lower body issues from competing (and I ran on the tough NYC concrete way too much for 6 months) but BW stuff with the TRX doesn’t bug me too much…..Sorry for the novel and thanks in advance! If I’m ever in Boston I’ll be sure to call in and try to schedule a session.

  • Ryan

    Tony, I’d attend if you made it out here to southern california. How much does a seat cost?