Training While Traveling

When life gives you lemons, do biceps curls.

You ran late and couldn’t get to the gym.  Or maybe you’re on vacation and there’s no gym around.  Don’t give up on your training! Get creative with your surroundings.  Make something of what you have.  Look for an outdoor bar.  Do pull-ups from a tree branch or the crossbar of a soccer net; superset them with pushups and bodyweight squats.  Throw on the backpack your traveling with to add weight to your exercises.  Gym-less workouts can be the most memorable.

I learned it one hot summer evening in Athens, Greece.  The gym was closed for a holiday and I had to adapt my training.  I decided to run up the tallest hill in the city as fast as I could.  Thirty minutes later, powered by the adrenaline rush of dodging the occasional stray dogs that chased after me barking, I reached the top.

With the glistening white rooftops of Athens spread out below me, and the glittering Aegean Sea just beyond, I decided to try some biceps curls. I grabbed two of the largest stones in sight, each the size of a coconut with the husk still on.  I balanced them in my hands and managed to do sets of ten controlled reps with a good squeeze at the top.

By the time I was done, I felt like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV.  Bounding side to side like a boxer with my hands in the air in triumph, I stopped myself just short of yelling “Draaagoooooo!”

When it comes to training in new places and unforeseen circumstances, think of yourself as a master chef who can walk into a stranger’s kitchen, open the refrigerator, and make a gourmet meal out of whatever’s in there. Instead of looking at the scarcity of ingredients and saying “forget it; I’m getting takeout,” be an artist.  Create something new from the material you have on hand.

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