[countup date=2012/01/30] I have now been doing Travel Exercise for [timer]! [/countup]

Travel ExerciseIs this term an oxymoron? Can the two possibly coexist beyond the repetitive action of lifting beers while dangling in a hammock on a tropical beach?

Due to a few excessive lifestyle choices, which happened to involve copious amounts of booze and run-ins with Fat-Man Nicotine, this lead to a slight bit of lethargy from yours truly. I was never ‘out of shape’ per-say. I used my bike to get around town when living amongst the busy streets of downtown Toronto. I joined a dragon boat racing team which had 5 regattas and an intensive practice every Thursday over the course of a summer. I don’t eat Krispy Kreme donuts…. often. But I definitely didn’t go out of my way to do much beyond that either.

On January 30th, 2012 – in the midst of travelling, and with a couple other health-based challenges underway, I finally decided it was time to get in shape. The question in front of me, however, was ‘how?’. What obstacles had to be overcome to make travel exercise a reality?

Upon closer investigation, I found that many of the gym memberships were quite expensive, especially when travelling on a budget. Hmm. What about working out at “home”? I have a workout video series called P90X which, over the course of the series, does an all over body workout, with a strict regiment of an hour a day for 90 days. Perhaps I can finally put these to use while abroad?

Well, the first obvious obstacle here is the lack of equipment. It’s a little less than ideal to be carrying around a full set of weights in your carry-on luggage… and doing sit-ups on a ceramic tiled floor is about as comfortable on your spine as getting a paper cut would be in the webbing between your fingers. There’s always running – this is true, and in fact this is how I began my personal challenge. However – after working myself up to the point that I was doing a 10km run each night, as nice as it was to feel that I had been able to accomplish this, I was only getting in my cardio.  How will I accomplish my goals of long term travel exercise a la P90X?

Time to get creative.

I went out and bought a cheap Yoga mat. It is lightweight, can be laid out in most hotel rooms next to the bed, and is fairly easy to transport as it can attach to the outside of most backpacks. Not a bad start – this covers sit-ups, pushups, yoga, and any jumping around I have to do as to not get a noise complaint from the people below me! Check.

Yoga mat in a hotel room

Next up – weights.

After doing a little bit of research, I discovered that 1 litre of water weights approximately 1 kilogram (this measurement is only accurate at sea level – expect it to lighten at higher altitudes). Well, if there’s something a traveller should have easy access to, it’s bottles of water. Tying or taping a few together makes for loosely quantifiable weights, which can be recycled before the next relocation (and can also be used to rehydrate you after your workout!).

Water-bottle weights

Last but not least – chin/pull ups.

There’s different approaches you can take here. One solution, is simply hanging your towel over the door frame and essentially slow humping the door as you pull yourself up and down. Not the most comfortable option, but perhaps the easiest in most areas. You can also search around for secure beams or bars to hoist yourself with. Please do this step in the most responsible fashion possible. Be absolutely sure that the item you’re choosing to hang from can support your weight, to prevent injury to yourself, or the establishment you’re visiting! If you don’t feel safe – don’t do it.*

Makeshift pull-up bar

With this basic setup, I was ready! I had all basis covered, and could now work my entire body. I could now complete pretty much all the videos to my heart’s content, and the video instructor, Tony Horton, would now tell me I was ready to “Bring It”. The next obstacle to overcome is the will power to keep at it. With all there is to do while travelling, how does one find the time to exercise?

Stay tuned for updates and ‘hopeful’ results on how this exercise regiment has come along!

*Please note*

Any attempts to do any of the exercises mentioned in this post should be done so only at the readers discretion. Any injuries which may result from attempting the exercises listed here are entirely the responsibility of the person doing the exercises. Where Sidewalks Ends is just presenting a possible method which has worked for them, but may not be suitable for all people.

[countup date=2012/01/30] I have now been doing Travel Exercise for [timer]! [/countup]