I travel. A lot. It’s what gave name first to NomadCelt, and then NomadicCrossFit. We move home every 2 years (mostly), I travel to multiple countries regularly with work, and we get away for annual holidays abroad. With this travel comes the mode of transport, the lack of routine and general lack of equipment. So how is a fitness practitioner supposed to workout?
It would be too easy each time to shrug your shoulders each time and claim, “there’s nothing I can do, I could use the rest anyway”. However, if you travel as I do then your well-gotten gains will swiftly vanish. You have to find a use for what is around you and fit it to your goals. Of course, better yet, ask a coach before you go! You have your bodyweight, you can find heavy shit to lift, there’s always somewhere to run/jump/move. At worst, you can at least maintain your fitness while away, if not improve upon it.
I spent this last week in Spain, away from the awesomeness of Crossfit Watford but inspired by their daily endeavours.
Hypertrophic exercise is a superb way to maintain (and build) strength. This simply means “time under tension”. In this case, holding the eccentric (stretch) phase of a push up, followed by a rapid and explosive release, is great. You may have noticed how we enable new athletes to progress to pull ups through “negatives” – slowly releasing from a complete pull all the way to full extension. It’s the same thing. It builds strength quickly and safely. You can do this with pull ups, push ups, squats, sit ups…be imaginative! Just don’t expect to be able to achieve max reps with this method, they’re tough and they take it out of you 😉
Gymnastic movements are the best way to use bodyweight to build strength. Multi-joint, compound movements that require a good degree of skill, coupled with high volume, less skill movements makes for a good little workout. This particular one requires no equipment other than a wall, and even then can be done as decline push-ups if no wall is forthcoming – as it happened, I had no wall.
Monostructural movements (running, swimming, cycling, etc) are obviously superb and accessible anywhere. Why not add a little something extra though. With a small pool, and no running shoes, you’re almost forced to. Instead of trudging begrudgingly through mindless laps of a tiny pool, throw in some other movements. This has the added bonus of forcing you to move quickly in and out of the pool, practicing muscle up skill movements too! I was also pretty fortunate this week to find a beach with an awesome current that I could swim against in a kind of “infinity pool” fashion – great exercise!
Power and explosive strength work is possible too. This little couplet was a beaut, smashed out on a soft, sandy beach. Sure, it was only 3 mins (or so) of work but I was busting a gut by the end. The squat tuck jump is a unique skill too, give it a try. This particular one workout had me feeling like I should name it… what do you think? Know any particularly mean people you want immortalised as a WOD?
Flight WODs are also possible. Requiring little space (even the space between the aisles), there are plenty of movements that you can stitch together in to a meaningful workout. This particular effort had the cabin crew stealing it for future flights! Of course, that was after staring and laughing at me while I brazenly hammered it out over the north Atlantic. For all of the in-flight advice to do a little light stretching throughout, I think mine is better.