Skip the Hotel Gym? How to Stay Fit While Traveling

After a month off to travel with their families, Ryan and Andy are answering questions and sharing their tips for working out on the road.

As always, there’s a bit of a twist here:

If you want a generic list of “killer ab shredding” exercises to “torch belly flab” in a hotel room, Men’s Health probably has you covered, but…Why not take a step back and ask yourself what you’re really trying to get out of your training in the first place?What do you wanna get out of your workouts while you’re traveling?Will your workouts contribute to or detract from your ability to do what you went on this trip to do?

Once you’ve answered those, you’ll have a way easier time figuring out specifically what to actually do.

We’ll share our experiences on recent trips and some of our favorite tricks for making sure we make it back home feeling better than when we left, without sacrificing our fitness and happiness.

Click here to see all our podcast episodes.

Resources mentioned

Maintaining an Exercise Routine On The Go5 Quality Sleep Strategies to Feel Well-Rested Cut Through the Diet Hype and Eat for Your Goals

Andy: All right, all right, all right. Welcome to the Grandma’s Marmalade Biscuits Podcast

Ryan: Them biscuits are good.

Andy: That’s right. There used to be, I grew up in Atlanta and on Buford Highway, there was a place called Grandma’s Biscuits in Doraville that was there for, it was probably there for 40 years or something. It closed down 10, 15 years ago. I had already moved away. But I just remember Grandma’s Biscuits was one of the fixtures of the Doraville and it was just straight up Southern cooking. We would go there and get chicken biscuits, red-eye gravy, and grits. You pull up and all the cop cars are in the parking lot, that’s how you know it’s a good place because cops eat free any damn place.

Ryan: Yeah, right? Yeah. Or here in Japan, all the taxis parked outside of a restaurant, really good.

Andy: Yup. Grandma’s Biscuits, man. I miss it. So, today, well, this is our first podcast in a little bit of a break that we took. We had a couple of emails asking what the hell happened. We were doing a podcast again and then we weren’t for a little bit. The reason is that, well, we took some time off. Yes. Yeah.

Andy: I went on vacation with my family and you went on vacation with your family.

Ryan: Hell yeah.

Andy: And we came back.

Ryan: We did. We came back. That was weird. Yeah. I wasn’t sure if we were going to come back. But we decided that, hey, we got a company to run. We should probably be there.

Andy: That’s right. People are depending on us for these podcasts. People are counting on it, man. We can’t let them down.

Ryan: All about the podcast, social media, my Instagram.

Andy: That’s right. That’s right. Your poor Instagram followers.

Ryan: I know. I tell you what, poor people.

Andy: They had to suffer through you posting pictures of pasta for two weeks.

Ryan: Speaking of which, yeah.

Andy: Yeah. Yeah. So, we today are going to be talking about training and fitness while traveling. This is a topic that has come up in Alpha Posse lately, it’s come up in our Facebook group of people for the podcast. It’s a question we get by email a lot. It’s a question that just comes up all the time. Since we have been traveling lately, I guess it seems like this is an appropriate time to address this and talk about how we think about training while traveling, how we approach that, some of the things we do. We’re also going to answer some specific questions from people in our community and get into that.

Ryan: Groovy.

Andy: Yeah. So, let’s just go. All right?

Ryan: Go.

Andy: We’re going to start with a question from an Alpha Posse member. He said, “I’m interested to hear you guys’ thoughts on setting expectations. I feel like I do this all the time where I’ll plan and I’ll do a ton of stuff on holiday, read a dozen books, go for long walks, get so many workouts in, but I end up doing none of it every time.” I think this is a really important question to start with because, one, I think this is an experience that a lot of people I have. I know I have had this experience before. But it also gets to something that’s really, really, important when we talk about this, setting context and really thinking about why are we working out in the first place?

Ryan: Yeah. Yeah.

Andy: Yeah.

Ryan: Definitely. That’s really what this comes back down to is looking at that why, everything, and if you should even be doing anything at all. Now, to preface this again, when we’re talking about travel, we do know that there’s a lot of different meanings behind that. For example, Andy and I travel a lot for work. If its work related, of course, is going to be different from when we take a vacation like we just did a couple weeks ago.

Ryan: So, need to preface that and also look at basically, what is the purpose of your trip? That’s what it comes down to, looking at that. What else? How long is the trip going to be, and just going from there. So, let’s just get into it then. Right?

Andy: Yeah. So, let’s just start with in terms of expectations, do you even need to be working out while you’re on this trip? Is this something that’s important? Why is there an expectation that you should be working out? So, to us, I think that this is really, really key. People ask questions about what are three triceps exercises I can do with no equipment in a hotel room the size of a coffin? I don’t know.

Ryan: Yeah. I don’t either. Yeah. Sorry.

Andy: Let’s get more fundamental than that because why are you traveling? Is this a trip where the purpose of the trip is to relax? Is this a trip where the purpose of the trip is to experience things and activities and sightseeing with your family? Is this a trip where you’re on a routine sales rotation and you just have to hit some spots before going back to the regional office? Is this a trip where the whole thing is centered around one really high stakes negotiation that has to be done in person? What is the purpose of this trip?

Andy: So, the point of this is asking where does your body need to be to support the purpose of your trip? If it’s just relaxing, then you should really just be relaxing, right? If it’s being able to go sightseeing, then you need to be able to walk all over the place and do stuff and have energy for that, carry suitcases up and down stairs and stuff. If it’s something where you’re just phoning it in, collecting data until you get back to the office, no big deal. Right? If it’s something where you have some really big, important work related outcomes that you’re trying to meet, then you need to be mental clarity and restfulness, absolutely on top of your game there so that you have the energy to be able to approach that with the right mindset.

Ryan: Yes. So, a lot of other factors come into play when we’re talking about that. So, looking at your sleep. You need to look at how far you’ve traveled. So, this is another big one because you need to take into consideration that the jet lag is going to be present when you’re doing this. So, you also need to look at, of course, what are you eating? I’m not saying that you should follow a strict diet. What I am saying is looking at exactly what you need in order to get that job done, whatever that job may be, when you’re traveling. Okay? Again, that job could be literally doing nothing because you’re on vacation. If that’s the case, eat anything you want. You’re on vacation. Okay?

Andy: Right. But if it feels good to get in a workout while you’re relaxing and stuff, then do that too. I wasn’t saying that you should not do that either. But just look at the idea of working out in the context of what this trip is about. Working out is not the purpose of the trip. Working out is something that you’re considering adding to a trip that probably has a purpose outside of that.

Ryan: Yeah. So, when setting up for your particular trip and you start thinking about your exercise and what you’re going to be doing, always think about, okay, what Andy just said. So, what is going on in that trip? This can take just a second because sometimes, it can just be like, oh, there’s no reason for me to be working out or even thinking about it when I’m there. This is a big load off your mind when you’re there because a lot of us tend to put a lot of guilt on ourselves and thinking that we have to be doing something. We have to be exercising. If we take a break from doing something, we’re a bad person or something.

Andy: Horrible. Horrible.

Ryan: Yeah. Horrible person. No. Great example is when I was in Italy. I did nothing. Okay? Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t active. Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t moving around and doing things. But the thing is, is I wasn’t working out. I told myself before that trip I would not work out in terms of thinking that I need to be doing something this day. I need to go and do dead lifts or I need to go and do locomotion or something like that. Hell. I told myself, “I’m not even going to take pictures of myself doing silly crap in front of these monuments and stuff,” because I-

Andy: What?

Ryan: Yeah. I know it’s all about getting likes on Instagram, but come on now. But the thing was, is my simple goal, my one goal for that trip was to enjoy the trip with my family as much as possible, and that meant I don’t even want to be thinking about working out. Now, that’s just an example in terms of me literally being on vacation. Okay? Again, it comes back down to-

Andy: Specifics on some of these things later on, but let’s get back to thinking about expectations for fitnessing on holiday. Let’s just say that before we start talking about workouts, and what’s more important than that, and I think the number one thing you need to be thinking about in terms of your health and fitness is your foundation for health. GMB, in terms of training methodology, we always focus on health and longevity and function first. Right? Reduce pain, reduce friction, reduce the things that are holding you back, and then we start adding things on top.

Andy: So, it wouldn’t be a GMB way of looking at this if we started by telling you all the kinds of workouts you should do. Instead, we need to start by focusing on the foundation for your health. One of these things, what Ryan alluded to a bit earlier is especially if you are someplace where you’ve had to fly more than three or four hours, your circadian rhythm’s going to be all thrown off, you may have jet lag, and you’re probably going to have poor sleep. Other things that … poor sleep, change of environment, sleeping in a different bed, different food, all kinds of stuff like that. Activities or whatever.

Ryan: The excitement of being there.

Andy: Right.

Ryan: Right, right. Yep.

Andy: But sleep, right? So, before you start talking about what kind of workout you’re trying to get in your hotel room, what are you doing to make sure that you’re getting the best sleep you can and the most out of the sleep that you can get?

Ryan: Exactly. Exactly. Something just in terms of me, and Andy, I know you’re a little bit different in terms of that, but generally when I’m traveling, it’s because I have to teach. So, when I’m on an airplane, anytime I get on an airplane and I leave Japan, it’s a minimum 10 hour flight, minimum. Typically, it’s about 12, even sometimes 15 hours, depending on where I’m going. So, my goal when I’m on an airplane is not to watch all of the movies and drink and eat as much as possible. I’m actually more concerned in trying to sleep. It’s very difficult, I know, to sleep on an airplane and things like that.

Ryan: But what I’m getting at is I know my sleep is going to be off wherever I’m going. So, when I’m going there, when I’m going to that particular place, I try and sleep as much as possible. Now, on the way back, a little bit different. I’m done with my work, I’m just enjoying it. Yes, I will watch all the movies. I am going to have some wine or whatever on the airplane. But my purpose in going where I’m going is to work. Therefore, I need to make sure that I can do that work, and I know it comes down to sleep. So, it’s also why whenever I travel on the airplane, the earplugs, noise canceling headphones, I’ve got the eye mask and everything. So, I’m trying to make sure I’m focusing on what I need for that.

Andy: Yeah. It’s funny you mention that. I used to try to sleep on planes, but back in April of this year, Delta added a particular title to the in-flight entertainment system. You might know a little ditty by the name of Purple Rain. My last trip, I watched Purple Rain three times on the way from Tokyo to Atlanta and twice on the way back to Tokyo.

Ryan: That is hilarious.

Andy: I know. I’ve watched this movie 500 times. I can’t help it. It’s just too good. But anyway.

Ryan: No, that’s exactly right, though. The thing is, it’s not like you don’t need to be rested when you go, but I just mean because a lot of the stuff that I do is also physical. So, I need to make sure with that. Another thing too is I typically just don’t sleep well anyway. So, I know I’m just going to be tired. You know this. So, no matter where I go, it really doesn’t matter. I know I’m going to be up at 4:30 AM. It’s not for work. Literally, I can’t sleep. So, that’s why I try and get in as much sleep as possible. So, this is something to look at is before even thinking about what workouts and things you’re going to be doing is trying get set on understanding how your sleep cycle is going to be affected wherever you’re going.

Andy: Right. So, with that said, next one that’s going to always be thrown up in the air when you travel is your food. Right?

Ryan: Yep.

Andy: Unless you always eat out at the same kind of places when you’re at home or traveling, then you’re not going to be eating at home. You’re not going to be eating the meals that you’re used to. You’re not going to be eating at the same times you’re used to. Different quantities, qualities, different kinds of food. There’s a few things that go into this. One is just you’re, again, throwing your digestive system into a loop, which affects-

Ryan: Absolutely. Yeah.

Andy: … your immune system and everything too, makes it a lot easier to get sick. But also, well, we do this fitness thing and people tend to have one of two goals. They’re either trying to lose weight or they’re trying to build muscle. If you’re doing that, then nutrition is really important and you need to be able to control that. So, you have to know that while you’re traveling, you’re going to either have to do some prep work to find out where you’re going to be able to get the meals that you need or you’re going to have to really work hard at making sure that you’re getting the things that you need and not more than you need or less than you need or whatever when you do go out and eat.

Andy: Since a lot of this stuff can be social, you don’t always have the … You can be the person at the table when everyone’s laughing and drinking and eating lots of food that’s like, “Oh, no. I shall abstain from this merrymaking and good times. No, I’m not a killjoy. I’m just silently judging all of you and thinking myself morally superior because I am not having the dessert.” You know what? You are not better than people. You’re making everyone uncomfortable. Stop it.

Ryan: Andy knows this about me. When we’re traveling, it really doesn’t matter. Even when I was in Italy, I did this. What did I do? I basically, I just IF. I’m always about the IF. I don’t eat anything until lunch and then dinner. The thing is about that, it’s not like I’m trying to diet or anything. I have trouble when I go overseas and I eat other foods, it upsets my stomach, greasy foods and stuff. So, what I’m actually doing is, it’s more along the lines of so that I can enjoy the trip, so I can be involved with everybody that’s around.

Ryan: Also, I know the food is heavier than what I’m used to. So, if I tend to eat more by including breakfast in there, I know that I’m going to be lethargic, it’s going to mess up everything else, and whatnot. So, I’m not saying that everybody should do that, but that is just something that I take into consideration.

Andy: Right. Well, intermittent fasting is something that’s easy to do and it’s a good way, it’s a simple way to exert some control over what and when you’re eating.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Andy: When you’re traveling, even just being able to control that, I think, is a big
achievement. So, it’s a good strategy for that. Another thing is if you are traveling, especially if it’s a long trip on an airplane or something or in a car, you’ve been sitting down for hours and you’re just … When I get off a plane, I take a lot of 10+ hour flights, a lot of them. When I get off a plane for 10 to 12 to 14 hours, man, my body is just so locked up. So, whenever possible, I actually try to get a massage within the first 24 hours.

Ryan: That’s a great idea. Yeah. That’s really good. I was also going to suggest a lacrosse ball. Even if you can’t go get a massage, having a lacrosse ball with you is going to be your new best friend during that trip.

Andy: Right. Right. So, it’s a luxury to try to get a massage, but at the very least, some stretching, some light movement, trying to unwind yourself and loosen up that tension, that, I think, is about five times more important than trying to get a workout in. I would much rather spend 15 minutes stretching than trying to get in a hit workout or something like that.

Ryan: Yeah. Now, something else that’s along those lines, this is another reason why I always sit on the aisle seat in the airplane because I always want to be able to get up and go. I’m not saying I go and I stretch all the time, but I just want to be able to move when I’m on the airplane.

Andy: Do not be that person on the airplane trying to do yoga in the galley area.

Ryan: No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Andy: Please just never, ever be that person.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s a matter of just being able to get up and move around and things like that. So, really look at that, and just being able to move your body a bit rather than
thinking that you should be working out.

Andy: Absolutely. So, the main point of all this is just think about … before you’re trying to think about details about what kind of workout you’re going to try to get in on the road, just put things in perspective and really identify what you need to be able to do on your trip and make sure that your body, your energy levels are prepared for that first. Right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: Get good sleep, take control over your food, loosen up your body after the travel so that you can actually do your work. You can actually walk around with your family, you can actually participate in the activities. Be present and do those things that are the purpose of your trip. That’s the most important because no workout can make up for poor sleep or food or sickness because you didn’t take care of yourself.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Andy: So, then the next question then is let’s say that you’ve then determined, though, that all that is fine and you have a time that you would normally be … Wednesday. It’s time for my workout. What workout am I going to do? Well, then the next thing is it really depends on what are your fitness goals at the moment? Right? Are you working on skills? Are you working on strength? Are you working on mobility? Are you working on something else, and really understanding that so that whatever workout you choose fits that.

Andy: But the point I want to make is that probably, most of the time, unless you spend shit loads of time traveling, unless you are a traveling salesman or a regional director of something where you are traveling constantly, the road is probably no place to be concerned with gains.

Ryan: Absolutely. Yeah. You’re not going to be setting PRs and things.

Andy: In your hotel gym.

Ryan: Yeah. No. No. That’s probably, well, 99.9% of the time, you’re not.

Andy: For some people, it is. But most of us, your travel workouts are not going to be moving you forward. They’re going to be focused on maintaining.

Ryan: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. The other thing too, always take into consideration, when you are traveling, the day you arrive, okay, yes, it might be good to move around and whatnot, things like that. But you’re not going to have a great workout. So, don’t think you’re going to be able to have the same type of workout at the same intensity level with the same results that you have here. That’s what we’re trying to say.

Andy: Absolutely. Then along with that, if it’s a workout, if it’s a trip for fun or for recreation, or even if it is for work, and if you have a few hours rather than just a few minutes, maybe look at ways that you can get some physical activity into your routine rather than trying to do some joyless crap workout that’s not even going to be a good workout. What about renting a bike? A lot of cities have rental bikes. A lot of hotels will hook you up with something really simply, and riding around for 30 minutes, 45 minutes.

Andy: Take a walk, go for a run, if you’re someplace you can take a little hike or something. Right? These things are a lot more fun to do and it also, whether it’s family or work related, it can be something that if you are doing this with other people, it can be a chance to spend some time with your family or a colleague-

Ryan: That’s a good … Yeah. Yeah.

Andy: … in a way that isn’t the normal setting and is fun.

Ryan: So, something else that I do whenever I travel, again, when I’m traveling, it’s usually work related, but I still like to move around and do things, is I purposely try to do something different than what I usually do. So, for example, if I go somewhere, man, because I have the opportunity to go to a lot of different gyms. So, let’s say I go to this Crossfit gym. There’s a piece of equipment or something that I’ve never really used or I haven’t used in a very long time, I’ll purposely play around with that rather than stick with the stuff that I’ve been doing before. So, that’s if I’m there and I want to do something. I remember when-

Andy: Then somebody’s filming you and then it posts on Instagram later.

Ryan: And then tell me how it’s incorrect and stuff. Remember … Yeah.

Andy: Yeah. Like ostensible fitness guru who swears by body weight exercises in gym dead lifting incorrectly. Obviously, you can’t trust this guy.

Ryan: That’s right. We were in California at Gaines Performance and there was the, what do you call it, it’s like the-

Andy: It’s a SkiErg.

Ryan: SkiErg. Yes, and I was doing that. It was so much fun. I’d never done it before and I was like, “Aw, this is so much fun.” Then, of course, I posted it on Instagram and everybody was like, “You’re doing it wrong,” and I’m like-

Andy: Of course I’m doing it wrong. I’ve never done this before.

Ryan: I was just having fun. But yeah. But that’s something else to think about. So, get outside. Maybe you’re going out and you’re, go for a walk or something and happen to come across a outdoor gym or whatever, playground, or just something and just have fun with it and try something different because if you really want to get in your workout or something like that, change it up, be creative, and yean, get away from the norm, basically, is what I’m trying to-

Andy: Yeah. Yeah, and again, we’ll talk about a little more specifics on some of these things in a little bit. But just another thing to think about is that all great programming for fitness includes cyclic deloading, which is just a fancy way to say that you take some breaks periodically.

Ryan: That’s right. Yeah.

Andy: Every fourth week, every fifth or sixth week, you cut your volume in half or something. Unless you’re always traveling, like always traveling, then travel is a really convenient time to take a deload, to reduce your volume, to do a little less activity, a little different activity, and it will actually increase your progress overall. So, don’t sweat it if you feel like you have to stay hyper, hyper consistent with a specific program or something. Right?

Ryan: Yeah, and we can talk a little bit about this later, but that’s actually how I design all of my programs and making sure when I travel that it is my deload weeks.

Andy: Yeah. But also, the last thing here talking about expectations and context here is I just want to come back to something that you mentioned earlier, Ryan, is just to be honest with yourself. Are you doing this, are you trying to get in a workout on your trip because you think you need on or because you want to do one or because you feel guilty if you miss it? Really just be honest with that because I think a lot of us have very deep seated feelings about this stuff. We compare ourselves with other people and all this stuff and we think that we’re going to lose everything if we miss a workout. That’s just not true.

Andy: So, if you’re just doing something because you think you’ll feel guilty, that’s really not a good reason. Instead, let’s try to come up … We’re going to make some suggestions now for ways that you could maybe turn this around and make it something that’s better for you that you can have more fun with, a better attitude about. Then at the end of the day, though, if you don’t need to be doing it, you don’t need to be doing it.

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: Right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: Right? So, some examples, some recommendations. First, a couple of specific
questions from the community here that we got. So, Paula says, “Where do I begin? Are basic sets of exercises that you should always make sure you cover when on the road? On average, I’m away 10 days a month.” So, 10 days a month is pretty significant. That’s a third of the time. Now, I didn’t follow up with Paula. It does make a difference if those are 10 days in a row or if that’s three sets of three or four days.

Ryan: Yeah. Let’s say it’s 10 days straight. Okay?

Andy: Okay.

Ryan: Yeah, just keep it easy. What I would say for that is … Actually, what I hinted at earlier is basically, what I will do is I will set up my sessions based around my travel. So, I know if I’m going to be off. Or pardon me. If I know that I’m going to be gone for 10 days, the remaining time when I’m at home is where I’m going to hit the bulk of my training. Then what I’ll do is I’ll use those 10 days either as recovery type of thing, or basically, I’ll just focus on one single thing during that time.

Ryan: So, if I were away during that time, it might just be, okay, I’m only just going to do some locomotion or maybe I’m just going to focus on stretching while I’m there. But again, instead of setting up your program and thinking that it just needs to continue as is while you’re traveling, again, I base everything I do off of when I’m traveling to make sure when I am traveling that it’s not a part of my particular programming.

Andy: Right.

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: Then if your travel is split up, so are there basic sets of exercises you always make sure you cover? Well, first, it depends on what you’re able to do. If you’re doing GMB locomotion and body weight type stuff, well, then you’ve got a lot of options. But I would say don’t try to do everything. Pick your most important one or two or maybe top three exercises and just do a set of each of those. If you have more time and you feel good, do another set. Repeat until you’re out of time and not feeling time. That’s enough. You don’t need to do everything. Just pick the most important stuff and focus on that. If you only do one set of each of your most important exercises, then that’s a lot better than if you just try to do a little bit of a bunch of things half assed.

Ryan: That’s right. You’re going to be fine. You’re absolutely going to be fine. You actually might find that when you go back to your normal sessions, if you will, that you’d probably be better because you’ll have a little bit of that rest.

Andy: Right. So, speaking of doing a bunch of things half assed, Jamie asks, “Ideas or approach to split workouts up into smaller bits, i.e. use a staircase for body weight squats. What if I just get 20 or 30 minutes a day, stretch in an office chair? How best not to drink every night like colleagues do?” Right. So, there’s a lot of things in here. But the main thing, Jamie, is that you’re trying to do too damn much. You’re trying to turn every part of your trip into an opportunity to make up for not getting a proper workout. But you don’t need to do that.

Ryan: Yeah. It was kind of funny because when I was reading this, I was kind of like, “Well, it sounds like my Italian trip,” just for the fact that I was just, throughout the day, walking so much I was squatting and walking up steps and things like that. But the mindset, of course, was different. I wasn’t working out. But like what you said, I would just suggest getting away from the idea of thinking that you have to be doing all this stuff during the day.

Andy: There’s no quota.

Ryan: No, there’s not. Reframe the way that you’re looking at it and get very clear on why you’re doing it and if you even really need to be doing it when you’re traveling. As far as drinking every night with your colleagues, how best not to drink every night, hey, well, if you want to drink every night, then feel free. Andy and I actually, we do drink pretty much every night. Okay? Might surprise people out there. Might not surprise people out there. The thing about it, though, we’re not getting slammed every single night.

Ryan: It’s everything in moderation, but the thing is, is it’s depending on what you want to do. So, again, just like your exercises, just look at your food, look at what you’re drinking and everything in relation to what you want out of it. Really, I think that’s what it just comes down to.

Andy: Yeah. We’re not trying to say don’t do a bunch of stuff. If you feel like doing a bunch of stuff, do it.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Andy: But if you’re sitting in an office chair, you don’t need to be trying to stretch in the chair. Stand up and walk around the office for five minutes. That’s so much better for you than trying to do some chair yoga thing. Right? When it comes to drinking, yeah, if you want to get specific with things, skip the beer and have a highball instead.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Andy: Liquor is probably better, especially if it’s got a low calorie, no calorie mixer. Also, when I’m with a bunch of people and everybody’s grabbing these 10% alcohol craft brews, I enjoy that sometimes too. But usually, I’ll look over at the bourbon list and I’ll find something. I’ll get a straight double of the nicest bourbon they have and sip that for most of the night and I’m very, very satisfied with that.

Ryan: You know me. Me, I only drink really tequila.

Andy: Knowing what you like and picking something and not getting caught up in the wave of everybody passing Buds around. That’s the main thing with that.

Ryan: Something else too real quick, what I’ll say too is if I’m working and things like that, I will have a drink. But I always make sure that I have a glass of water for every drink I have.

Andy:Ryan: That’s right.

Andy:… because, well, because I’m an idiot, and other things. But in general, I don’t really do that. I always drink water before I go to bed and when I wake up and throughout the day as needed. But I don’t do the thing where if I drink a beer, then I drink a water, then I drink another beer. It’s just, that’s weird. That’s a really good way to not enjoy your beer to me. So, I don’t do that. But if it works for you, it works for you. So, let’s talk a little bit about your trip to Italy. So, you and your family-

Ryan: Oh. Oh, it was so good.

Andy: … went to Italy. Also met up with a good number of some GMB friends.

Ryan: Yeah, some GMB folk, which is great.

Andy: … which has been around for a good long time. That was really cool.

Ryan: That was cool. Yeah.

Andy: So, how did you structure things? So, you mentioned earlier you cycle things
around your trip.

Ryan: Right. Exactly. So, this is the deal. This was a family vacation. This only
happens once every year, if that. This is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. I knew this was happening. It’s been on the schedule. It was on the schedule for over a year. So, what I did was, again, it was a vacation. Not going to be working out at all. At all. The funny thing is, I happened to run into … Well, not … I knew I was going to meet him. But GMB guy, he wanted to do handstands. I did two handstands and that was it, just because he was doing them.

Ryan: But anyway, I cycle things so that I know before my trips that I’ll be finishing up that particular phase of my problem. Okay? So, I finish up and I always like to finish up two days before I’m supposed to travel. Part of the reason for that is I don’t want to get on an airplane all jacked up and sore and stuff like that because I’m going to be traveling. So, this is just something I like to do, and this goes for even when I travel for work. I always try and finish up a particular phase in my program and give the day before my travels a rest.

Ryan: So, anyway, finishing up, I’m in Italy and basically, we walked an average of 20,000 steps a day. I mentioned before, I do the intermittent fasting thing. Part of the reason that I was doing the intermittent fasting thing this time around is simply because I was eating so much food and literally eating anything I wanted that-

Andy: When you wake up in the morning, you’re like, “No.”

Ryan: Yeah. Seriously. I would have an espresso and I’d just be like, “Ugh. So fucking full.” But we’re walking around all morning and things. Lunch comes around, pretty much standard every day, it was either pasta, pizza, or a version of something of that. Okay? Then I typically would even have a glass of wine at lunch. Then we would walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and then in the evening, I would just basically repeat exactly what I did for lunch.

Ryan: The thing, though, that I did do, and I didn’t even have any plans to really do this, but we were there for, it was quite long. I think it was 15, 16 days that we were there. Coming into the second week, I really started stretching pretty much every morning before we went out. The reason for this is just because we were walking so much. Also, carrying a backpack wherever we went. The beds, even though the places we stayed in were really nice, just the pillows and my neck and shoulders, things like that.

Ryan: So, what I would do is I would say maybe, maybe 15 minutes, it basically would be this. I would be the first person up, I would go buy everybody’s breakfast, which is basically just cappuccino for my wife, espresso for myself, and the kids would want juice or something. So, I’d go buy that, I would come back, they would still be asleep. I would try and stretch and then someone would wake up and I would have to end my stretching thing. So, maybe 10 to 15 minutes.

Ryan: But the thing is, is all I was focused on were just three basic stretches and people are going to be like, “Well, what stretches are those?” Well, basically, they’re just the stretch so that I could do for my hip flexors, for my ankle, and for my shoulders. Literally, that was it. Pick any stretch you want. It doesn’t matter. But I would just do that. Throughout the day, whenever we would stop, window shopping or something like that, all I would do is I’d circle my hips a bit, circle my arms, and just, that was it. So, basically, that was 16 days of Italy right there for you, and that’s all I-

Andy: You mentioned something too that I just want to make sure that people know this too. So, you walked a lot.

Ryan: A lot.

Andy: A lot. So, when you are not used to walking that much, and you do hike and you take long walks, but that’s still a lot of walking for you. So, if you are traveling and you find that you’re walking more than usual, one thing that you need to be aware is going to happen, don’t be worried too much about going and getting on the treadmill or anything. But
the thing you need to think about is your calves are going to be locked up.

Ryan: That’s right. That’s right.

Andy: Then, yeah, like you said, carrying a backpack, yeah, shoulders and neck, for sure. But yeah. Working on your ankles, this is something that I always find. Anytime I’m traveling and walk more than normal, I have to do a lot of work on my ankles. By work on, it’s very casual, like you said. I just, I move my ankles around. I just do foot circles and stuff. It’s not a big deal.

Ryan: So, interesting you bring this up because I knew that we were going to be walking so much and my wife too. So, we actually, couple weeks before we went, we were going on longer walks and that was just prepping ourself for that particular travel. So, this is just the matter, though, of us understanding that we were going to be doing a lot of that walking with very frequent breaks throughout the day. It was hot, making sure that we were drinking a lot of water along with the wine.

Ryan: But the thing is, though, my purpose of Italy was just to enjoy the crap out of it. So, I wasn’t thinking about working out. I didn’t even take a computer this time because I didn’t even log in for work. I had my iPhone, but all it was is it acted as a camera. That was it. So, what I’m getting at, though, is there are those times where … or this is a great example of where, yes, I’m in the fitness biz, but downtime. I took 16 days where I did not work out. I’m fine. Okay? I didn’t die. Okay? Everything was okay.

Andy: You didn’t gain 30 pounds.

Ryan: Didn’t gain 30 pounds.

Andy: Didn’t lose your gains.

Ryan: As a matter of fact, I actually lost weight, which was kind of funny, and that was because I was walking so much. But the thing is, is that it is very good and necessary to have these down times and I want everyone who’s listening out there to understand that taking breaks is a good thing. Okay? So, add that into your training regimen. It’s taking time off.

Andy: Yes. important.

Ryan: Yes. What about you, man?

Andy: Okay. Well, in the last four months, from Tokyo, I went to Austin and New York and Atlanta and back to Tokyo. Then I went to Toronto and Atlanta and Croatia and back to Tokyo. That trip was interesting because I went all the way around the world. I didn’t go back the way I came. Then I went to Sweden and Finland and back to Tokyo and then to Atlanta and back to Tokyo.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s some crazy shit right there.

Andy: It was a lot. So, on those trips, my workout basically looked like, well, I did jack shit. I did nothing. Now, I will say when I was back in Tokyo in between those, I was at the gym and doing martial arts and doing my regular routine as well as possible. But when I was on those trips, man, some of those were pretty brutal. The Toronto-Atlanta-Croatia around the world thing, that was brutal. That was hard on me. If I had been trying it like, oh, I’ll get in a run and do some yoga, and no. No, no way. No way in hell, man.

Andy: I was not optimizing my diet and for three of those trips, there were so many timezones that I didn’t even bother trying to adjust. I didn’t even bother trying to get over jet lag because I knew by the time I adjusted, I’d just be back in Japan. So, this is a thing that I think with very long haul travel and especially with complex itineraries and going to different countries, you also have to think about just what is feasible in terms of your health. This is just going back to what we said. I wasn’t worried about trying to work out or anything. I was worried about passing out in my rental car. I just wanted to keep myself awake and be able to be present at the things I was present at and have a good time.

Andy: So, those, I think, were my priorities. The trip included martial arts practice. All of those trips did, and most of them included a good amount of walking, and that’s more than enough. More than enough. I was mostly just trying not to get sick more than anything from the diet and sleep.

Ryan: That’s it right there. Yeah, I think that’s the big one is-

Andy: Yeah.

Ryan: … yeah, not get-

Andy: Yeah. So, also, Sandy asked a question that I think was probably more directed at me than anybody. “How do you say no to one more craft brew and yes to one more monkey?” I think the main thing is that there’s no world in which doing monkey crawls and craft brews are mutually exclusive. I say have another brew and do the monkey. In fact, do the monkey with a can in each hand.

Ryan: There you go.

Andy: Right? You’re working your wrists there, you’re introducing novel stimulus. I think it’s a win for everybody.

Ryan: Focusing on motor control is great.

Andy: That’s right. So, real quick, you mentioned this a little bit earlier. But let’s talk about, because we get questions about this, what kinds of things we carry, buy, use, look for while traveling, specifically related to working out and health and fitnessing and stuff like that.

Ryan: Right. You and I are both very similar in this and that is we basically try and carry nothing when we travel. I remember, okay, so Chris, our lead trainer, he used to travel with me a lot when I go teach seminars. Prerequisite for traveling with me is if you can’t fit everything into a single day pack, then you’re not going to be traveling with me. So, I ended up buying him a backpack, it was a Osprey backpack, and I said, “This is what you’re taking with you and that’s it.” That’s how I travel.

Ryan: I did post a picture on Instagram of me carrying two big ass backpacks. That was for four people traveling for 16 days in Italy. Little bit different, but typically, when Andy and I, when we go travel and we’re together going somewhere, we have no check in baggage.

Andy: Yeah. We each have a bag.

Ryan: We have a bag that fits underneath the seat, and that is two weeks. That’s for two weeks of traveling. I only carry, I carry three pairs of underwear, three pairs of socks, if needed. Thing is, all of our clothes, we can wash in the sink or whatnot. The thing that I’m getting at is basically, our idea is if it doesn’t fit in a backpack for a day pack, you don’t need it. That’s us. Of course, I understand people have different things. Some people want to take their RumbleRoller. Did I say that right?

Andy: Yeah.

Ryan: They want to take a lot of other different stuff. I just don’t need it. Again, a lot of that comes back to looking at our why. Why are we going on this trip? How have we prepared for that trip? In other words, have I looked at cycling my training? Where am I going to be going? What am I going to be doing? It all comes back down to that. I know that a lot of people, when you travel for work, you might need to take a suit, extra pair of shoes, or things like that. But like Andy and I, we just basically, whatever we wear is good go to.

Ryan: Even some of the videos recently I posted about the clothing that I wear, I don’t like workout clothes. The reason why is because all my clothes are workout clothes because basically, I want to be able to wear … If my jeans, if I can’t do something in my jeans, well, then, yeah.

Andy: I will say if you’re traveling around by car a lot, like the regional sales manager example kind of thing, and if you want to have a foam roller in your trunk, that’s not a bad idea.

Ryan: Oh, yeah. That’d be great to have.

Andy: That’s cool. But I’m not carrying a RumbleRoller on an airplane.

Ryan: Oh, hell no. But that’s why I mentioned the lacrosse ball, right?

Andy: Right.

Ryan: Because, yeah, and I know they’re different things and I get that, but it’s-

Andy: Yeah. So, you and I both actually, a lot of times, will travel with a lacrosse ball. I actually haven’t carried mine the last few trips. But I’ll find something else to use instead. But sometimes, I’ll carry-

Ryan: Yeah. I forgot mine in Italy. I actually used, I used a empty beer bottle and just, it worked fine.

Andy: Yeah. Something like that is fine. If you need to go to a gym or if you run, if running is your thing, then yeah, extra shoes and workout clothes, if you need to pack that, that’s fine. For me, Ryan, same as you. I pretty much wear shorts or jeans all the time and if I can’t do whatever activities I’m going to do in those clothes, then I just don’t need to be doing them. This is the thing is, also, since we train, our training is organized not around running more or lifting more or whatever. Our training is organized around being better at living, being able to do everyday stuff, right?

Andy: So, we pack for living everyday life in these places and then we fit our activities around whatever that looks like. So, whatever we would normally have, whatever we’d normally be wearing is the same we’d need for our workouts. This is one of the things, central tenet to GMB is that you shouldn’t need a lot of extra stuff because all of these things ideally should become natural and comfortable and regular for you. Right?

Ryan: And adaptability.

Andy: Right. So, in terms of what gadgets we carry so that we … I don’t fly with a door pull-up bar that I can hang in my hotel room so I can do pull-ups. Sorry. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe that pull-ups are that important to anyone.

Ryan: I’ve never done a pull-up in a hotel room. There are some things you could do. If you really want to get in your pulling session, if there’s a table, you can hold the edge of a table and do pull-ups. That’s great. But the thing is, I’m just like, “Why even bother?”

Andy: Yeah. Yeah. So, instead of that, instead of pull-ups, what would you recommend? What are some of your favorite exercises if somebody has decided they need to be exercising? What are some of the things that you think are good to be using to try out, to try to work out if you are in a situation where you can’t really do your normal thing, where you don’t
have equipment?

Ryan: Yeah. Absolutely. So, I would preface this by saying that the movements also need to be focused around mobility and also take into consideration that you’re not going to have a lot of space. You might not have a lot of space. So, with that in mind, I would say one of my mostest favoritest movements of all would be going from the A frame into a squat and then back into an A frame. So, I’m doing this very slow. So, then you could be focusing more on the stretch. So, when you’re going from that A frame and you forward and you can drop your hips towards the ground.

Ryan: So, it’s like you’re doing an upward dog. You’re getting a really good stretch in there as well. Then you pop into the squat, so you’re also focusing in on the ankles and whatnot, then slowly going back into that downward facing dog and popping up into that A frame. So, that’s an example of one movement. We’ve also got, I love to do this, and you can do it slow with control, it acts as a very good stretch, that is a slow forward shoulder roll to a sitting position. You could even go into a squat if you wanted to, and then sitting back down and slowly doing a backward shoulder roll. So, forward shoulder-

Andy: Yeah. They’re one of my favorites too.

Ryan: Yeah, man. It’s great because you’re just hitting so much in there. You back and your hips, everything in there. Squat to a straight legged frogger to a squat. Now, you’re starting off in a squat position, you put your hands on the ground, and then you just bring your butt up into the air as if you’re doing a hamstring stretch, you load your arms, and you just do a straight legged frogger, and you sit back down into the squat. This is great because, again, you’re hitting the hip flexors, you’re hitting the hamstrings.

Ryan: You’re also really thinking about strength because you have to have that control in order to move forward and press. There’s one thing, one other thing that I think is good, because a lot of people, when they’re exercising, they’re only thinking about that forward, backward, lateral type movement. But we also need to make sure that we’re adding twisting movements in there, things that are helping us to get that good stretch because we’re traveling, right? So, straight arm twisting bear.

Ryan: If you don’t have the room to move forward, then just do an A frame. So, you go from an A frame and then you go forward, keeping your arms straight. It’s as if you’re going to do a Spider-Man, what we call the Spider-Man. But you keep your arms straight and you drop your hips and you’re twisting to the side. So, that’s a very nice stretch movement that I like to do. Finally, the last one would be where you go from a squat position, you put your hand behind you, and then you perform a three point bridge. So, you’re reaching up over and then you go right back into the squat.

Ryan: So, notice I didn’t mention anything where you’re needing a lot of space or you’re doing crazy kind of tricks or anything like that. Again, it comes back down to these can be for stretching, these can be for mobility. Over time, do them for a duration, a period of time, they could actually be a workout. So, a lot of different options with these movements.

Andy: Yeah. I think the most important thing is that you’re doing movement, focus on mobility, and it’s not that these aren’t going to give you a little bit of strength challenge too. You’re going to feel these. But you’re not trying to replace workouts. You’re not trying to be like, “I need my two pushes and two pulls,” kind of thing. Remember that the purpose of trying to get in exercise while you’re traveling is not to replace your regular exercise.

Andy: So, these are things that are, they feel good, they will help you with the specific things that you’re going to be feeling while you’re traveling, and they will help you maintain your strategy at the same time too. The other thing is just don’t forget about taking a long walk. Go out and explore what’s out there. Personally to me, every 15 minutes spent stretching in a hotel room is 15 minutes I’m not walking around and seeing what’s in the neighborhood.

Ryan: Totally agree with you there. Totally agree. Go explore. Explore, explore, explore. I think that’s so important. Yeah.

Andy: Yeah. All right. So, last question, which I think is also a really good one. This has turned into a pretty long discussion, but this is, I think, is also really important is, this is from an Alpha Posse member. “My question is how best to approach the return to strength training when the holiday ends. I often feel refreshed and ready to push on, but also a little weaker, less flexible, and maybe a bit heavier after the break.” Well, for one thing, I think the things that we’ve already discussed should help you not feel weaker, should help you not feel less flexible, and maybe not heavier.

Andy: I don’t know. Maybe you’re broken my omelet eating record. But the thing is, is what do you do when you come back? I think that this is an important thing, is should you be judging yourself based on what you did before you trip? Probably not because after a trip, you have at least a handful of days of just recovery from that. So, your first day back is not going to be your PR day. But that doesn’t mean that you have to take multiple weeks after especially a short trip.

Ryan: Right. Yeah. Just great. It’s great. Another example would be when I came back from Italy, I was gone for 15, 16 days. Thing is, I understood that when I come back to Japan, I’m also going to be jet lagged and I’m not going to jump back into things. So, I just understood that and I knew I’m not going to be able to get back into my sessions. So, what did I do? I stretched. I continued to stretch, I slept as much as I possibly could, and then I slowly worked on getting back into my routine.

Ryan: So, it wasn’t even, it was probably, well, I know it was a week. I gave myself a week before I even started a program, a programed program to do that. So, during that week leading back up, I did whatever I wanted to do, just slowly getting back in. I had no expectations of where I thought I should be during that time.

Andy: Yeah. So, I think, well, one thing is we did an episode a good while back on returning to training after a break. This episode was focused on if you were injured or if you had to take some serious time off. But I think it applies to travel equally as well. The main point is that your first session or your first couple of sessions, you should treat as assessments and it should be gentle and you should do less than normal so you can slowly ramp up. But if you really want to learn more specific about that, I would suggest go and look for that older episode about returning to training after a break because we got into some really good specifics on that one about things you should do and how you can look at how much to do and how to ramp that up.

Andy: So, real quick, we covered a lot of ground, I think, today, but the most important thing when you’re traveling is let go of the guilt that you think you have to get some workouts in. Your health and your function come first so that you can actually do the thing that your trip is about. Right? Get yourself prepped and feeling good to do what you’re there to do. If you do work out, be clear on what your purpose is, what you’re trying to gain from it. You don’t need to worry.

Andy: When we travel, we don’t worry at all about getting a sweat on or anything like that, and we travel a pretty good bit. But we’re able to do that because we maintain a high degree of physical autonomy all the time and our goals don’t require a strict or a punishing routine. Right? Also, just look for things that you can do to experience your travel, like get out and see the place that you are and enjoy it. Be active in whatever environment you’re in.

Ryan: I think that’s a big one with me. I don’t want to be working out. I might go and it turns into a workout, but it’s because I’m exploring someplace.

Andy: Yeah. I think that’s the main thing. If you are going to work out, keep it simple. Do some stuff and focus on mobility and function. But for the most part, the main advice is just don’t sweat it too much. Don’t worry about it. Do things that feel good. Have fun. Keep yourself healthy. If you do that, I think that it’s far more successful trip for your health than I got in three short hit workouts.

Ryan: Oh, yeah. I’m right there with you, man. Yeah.

Andy: All right. Anything else you want to add to wrap it up, Ryan?

Ryan: I tell you what. We covered a lot. Like you said, we covered a lot. But I think this is good. Just enjoy the shit out of whatever you’re doing.

Andy: Amen to that.

Ryan: All right.

Andy: All right. Thanks for listening.

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