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Stay in Shape on the Road with These Resistance Band Workouts

Stay in Shape on the Road with These Resistance Band Workouts

Do you worry about how to stay in shape when you travel? Going out of town can be a great way to relax, break up your routine, and give you a fresh perspective. When it comes to fitness and weight maintenance, however, the list of benefits stops. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, traveling can halt or even hurt your progress because your daily routine is thrown off, you’re constantly busy, you may not have access to a gym, and you eat out more.

There’s good news, though!  With a little planning and creativity, you can stay in shape while you travel, or even improve your fitness level. Use these travel hacks to stay healthy and return even better than you left!

1. Carry Your Gym With You

If you’re staying with family, friends, or at an Airbnb, you may not have a gym nearby. Even if your hotel has a gym, there’s a good chance it’s nothing more than three old treadmills, a bike, and a rickety multipurpose machine that appears to be from the 80s.

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Rather than get stuck with whatever you can find, pack a portable resistance-training workout in your suitcase. Three of the best items to include for both men and women are a set of resistance bands with door anchor and ankle strap attachments, loop bands, and a jump rope. It’s also a good idea to take a flat band, which is ideal for warm-ups and post-workout stretching. All of these are compact and lightweight so they’ll easily fit in your luggage, and will equip you to do both strength-training and cardio in your hotel room or outdoors.

    2. Rely on Resistance Bands

    Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights because they create tension throughout the entire movement, requiring more control during an exercise. By forcing the muscles to constantly work, this form of resistance will increase the muscle fiber recruitment for better results. They also allow you to work from more angles, which gives you greater variety with less equipment, and aids in increased mobility and flexibility.

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    Using a door anchor with resistance bands adds multiple exercise options to hit your full body, and an ankle strap will make leg and glute workouts much simpler. Loops bands will allow you to do a greater variation of lower body exercises with more effectiveness than bodyweight alone. These are great for activating the glute (butt) muscles as well. And by activating them before heavier leg exercises like squats and lunges, you’ll see better results because you’ll be using the correct muscles to perform the exercise, not relying on stronger muscles like quads and hamstrings to take over.

    Even if you’re an experienced gym rat, when you switch to bands during vacation, you’ll stimulate your muscles in new ways, which is a helpful trick for busting plateaus!

    Make sure to take a set of 2-4 bands, because you’ll need different levels of resistance for different muscle groups. See below for sample workouts you can use on your trip!

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    3. Do High Intensity Cardio

    Whether your travel is for work or vacation, you’ll have time constraints and higher priorities than working out (Mai Tais on the beach, anyone?!). So keep your cardio short but effective. A great way to do this is high intensity interval training (HIIT) or Tabata. The method behind both types of exercise is to perform the moves with all-out effort for a short period of time, followed by a short period of rest. For Tabata, this looks like 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 rounds. For HIIT, there is more flexibility, but may be something like 30 seconds on, 1 minute off. The key to both methods is to work as hard as you can during the work period (we’re talking sprint, not jog), then rest completely to let your heart rate drop back down.

    The benefit of both is that all you really need is your bodyweight. You can also do this on any cardio equipment. You’ll likely burn as many calories as you would during  longer duration, steady-state cardio, plus you’ll use more muscle, which torches additional calories post-workout.

    Example HIIT:

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    • Jump rope, sprint, or run stairs – 30 seconds
    • Rest – 1 minute
    • Repeat for a total of 15-20 minutes

    Example Tabata:

    • Mountain climbers – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)
    • Jump rope – 20 seconds (rest  10 seconds)
    • Squat jumps – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)
    • Burpees – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)

    (Repeat 8 times)

    Sample Workouts

    Start with the following warm up, then complete 3-4 sets of each exercise, either in a circuit or one at time (if one at a time, rest 30 seconds between each set).

    Warm-Up (using a flat therapy band, perform 15-20 reps of each)

    • Pass throughs
    • Bent over rows
    • Pull-aparts
    • Squats (standing on band, holding ends in each hand by shoulders)
    • Jumping jacks

    Upper Body Resistance Band Workout

    • Plank – 1 minute (no band needed)
    • Back row (anchor in door) –15-20 reps
    • Resisted push-ups (with flat band)– 10-15 reps
    • Mountain climbers (no band needed)
    • Bicep curl – 15-20 reps
    • Shoulder press – 12-15 reps
    • Triceps Extensions – 15-20 reps

    Lower Body Resistance Band Workout

    • Lateral walks (place loop band around lower thighs) – 15 each direction
    • Glute bridge (place loop band around lower thighs) – 20 reps
    • Squats (holding band in hands at shoulders )– 15-20 reps
    • Jump rope – 1 minute
    • Stationary lunges (holding band in hands at shoulders) – 10-12 each leg
    • Glute kickback (using ankle cuff and door anchor) – 15 reps each leg
    • Leg extensions (using ankle cuff and door anchor) – 15 reps each leg
    • Jump rope – 1 minute

    Full-Body

    • Plank – 1 minute
    • Core rotations (anchor in door) – 12 reps each side
    • Fire hydrants (with loop band around lower thighs) – 12 each leg
    • Squat with bicep curl – 15 reps
    • Bent-over row – 15-20 reps
    • Jump rope – 1 minute
    • Lunge with shoulder press – 10 reps each side
    • Burpees – 10 reps

    Be sure to stretch at the end using a flat band, including hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, chest, back and shoulders.

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    Published on November 29, 2018

    When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

    When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

    “I don’t have time”

    is the number one excuse people give when they’re asked how come they don’t exercise.

    In the book The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, it says that it’s management of our energy levels and not time that is the key to higher performance. If we kept our energy levels in check and made sure that every part of our lives contributed to positive energy levels, we would be able to get more done.

    One of those aspects that give us energy is exercise.

    Exercise is the fuel that gives us energy and an activity that keeps on giving even if we are sitting around day in the office and in meetings.

    Reaping the benefits of a good workout is immediate. We have better focus and concentration; we are more alert and awake; we manage our mood better and have more creativity after a good workout than if we skipped the gym.

    If you’d like to get started working out I’m going cover the pros and cons to exercising at different times of the day so that you can find a time that fits for your lifestyle and schedule.

    So, when is the best time to work out? Let’s get started!

    Working out in the Morning

    Most people aspire to exercise first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. If this is you, read on to find out the additional benefits of getting your workout done in the morning.

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    Benefits of Morning Workouts

    1. The rest of the day is yours

    Exercise and lifting weights is a staple and a habit in my life but it’s also the biggest to-do on my list. When I exercise first thing in the morning, then I’m free to do whatever I want the rest of the day. This is why I have a very strong preference of exercising in the morning as oppose to afternoons or evenings.

    I schedule my day with my biggest to-dos first while I have the energy and focus at the beginning of the day. But the more I procrastinate about my workout and putting it on my list for later, the bigger that reminder to exercise sits on my shoulder.

    My mind feels free when I finish my workout and this is the main reason I get my exercise in as soon as the day allows; and if I have to get up before the sun rises, then so be it.

    2. Gyms are less crowded and there is more equipment available

    Here’s the best part about working out early in the morning – there is not competition for equipment.

    Most people typically struggle with getting up early in the morning except for the elderly. And in the morning, the gym floors are pretty sparse, this means there is no wait for equipment or competing for floor space.

    I live in the crowded city of San Francisco where the gyms are packed once it gets to 9 AM, so the best times to get in if I want a squat rack is before 8 AM. Plus, the gym equipment is organized so I can find the free weights I want without much effort and there is usually a bench available.

    3. You have more energy and more clarity to fire up the day

    After you drag yourself to the gym at the crack of dawn, you will walk out of there with more energy and clarity then when you stepped in. Not only will you wide awake but you have extra energy on top of your cup of coffee.

    The extra burst of creativity and focus keeps you productive so that you’re able to make more progress on your projects at work and finish earlier.

    4. You become more consistent

    The ones who see results are the ones who are consistent and morning people are definitely more consistent than people who postpone their workouts later in the day.[1]

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    This is because as the day starts to unfold, unexpected meetings and events come up that can cut into or even eliminate gym time. If you want to workout more consistently, get your workout in first thing in the morning before life happens.

    Downsides of Morning Workouts

    1. You’re a zombie on the floor

    Of course dragging yourself out of bed before the sun rises is why most people struggle with morning workouts. Some of us, like me, don’t want to talk to anyone before a certain time and get really short on a lack of sleep.

    To combat morning zombie, make sure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

    2. Your preparation starts the night before

    Your workout may happen in the morning but your preparation starts the night before. If you’re a last minute person and not a planner, you will struggle in the mornings to get out the door in time.

    Packing everything you need for the gym in the morning is the key to getting to your workout in that day. Support successful mornings by modifying your night time routine in order to prepare for the next day.

    How to Make It Easier to Wake Up

    The first step is to make a commitment and stick with it. Don’t go back and forth the night before on whether you should go to the gym in the morning.

    Make the decision to go in the morning and focus your energy on making it happen.

    When you create that habit, you do it even if your workout is less than optimal and you’re not completely ‘all there’ or you’re a zombie in the morning. Just keep going because repetition makes it easier and the more often you go, the easier it gets.

    Eventually your brain will catch up and start to automatically be awake at those times.

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    A question you can ask yourself is what can you do to make it easier for you?

    Can you set your workout clothes out the night before? Or have your breakfast prepared the night before? Or if you’re an alarm snoozer, put your alarm across the room and set back up alarms to make sure you get out of bed to shut them off.

    Again, what can you do to make it 20 seconds easier to help you get up and out of the door in the morning?

    Working out in the Afternoon/Evening

    So what about working out in the evening? Is it a good time to help achieve your fitness goals?

    Benefits of Evening Workouts

    1. Your body performance is at its peak

    When you’re training in the afternoon, your warm ups can be shorter because your body temperature increases throughout the day.

    A higher body temperature leads to increased flexibility,[2] overall muscle strength,[3] and increased endurance.

    Not only does the combination of low blood pressure and heart rate in the afternoon lead to faster reaction times and better performance, but also less likelihood injury.

    At the same time the muscle growth hormone testosterone also peaks in the afternoon which is great for maximizing resistance training.

    2. An accountability partner is easier to come by

    If you’re someone who needs accountability partner to make it to the gym consistently, it could be easier to find a workout buddy in the afternoon than it is in the early morning. There is more flexibility in scheduling during lunch or after work as oppose to early mornings because it could cut into your sleep.

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    3. You have more class options

    If you’re a class person or like to attend group classes, I found that there are more class options in the afternoon/evening times versus mornings. So your favorite instructor may teach a couple more classes in the afternoon during the week giving you more flexibility in your schedule.

    4. It’s a great way to destress after a long day

    One of my favorite reasons to workout in the afternoon is the relief it provides after a long day at work. This is especially true for those who work long stressful hours. That hour you spend at the gym is dedicated you time to zone out is completely relaxing for the mind.[4]

    Downsides of Evening Workouts

    1. Consistency could take a back seat

    Postponing your workouts till later in the day means you are more likely to skip your workouts because of an unexpected event. You’re also more likely to be low on energy after a long stressful day or you have to stay late at work and cancel your workout.

    I find afternoon and evening workouts challenging because I’m ready to wind down after a long day and instead have to find the energy to wind up and be mentally prepared for my workout.

    2. Crowded gyms and classes

    For the most part, gyms are packed in the afternoon because of the after work crowd and in some cases gyms require you to RSVP to classes ahead of time due to limited spots. Majority of the people prefer working out after work and you’ll see an influx in crowds at the gym.

    3. Additional preparation required

    Working out after work means you need to be more mindful of your meals and make sure that you have prepared additional snacks to help you get through your workout.

    It also means lugging around an extra bag with your gym clothes and other essentials.

    Conclusion

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what time of day you workout because your body will adjust to your schedule when you go the same times every time. What’s important is that you find a time that you can go to the gym consistently that works with your schedule.

    It’s important to be consistent because consistency is what’s going to get you results. The road to results is simple but not easy. Mastering consistency year round is what is going to make you leaner and stronger one year from now.

    Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

    Reference

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