Training and eating on the road

Last week I was on a five day adventure trip in Mexico with a couple of my buddies. When I got to the airport I realized that I had forgotten my supply of food that I always travel with and was not happy. It was definitely going to be a long (and hungry) trip.

When I unpacked my bag I also realized that I forgot my jump rope and my TNT cables and Jungle Gym straps that I always travel with. Another bad sign.

You see, I despise training in most public gyms and would rather train outside on the beach or in my hotel room than set foot into one of these nightclubs. When I found out that our hotel had no weight room I was instantly devastated when I realized that my only option was the Gold’s Gym across the street. For some reason I assumed that a Gold’s in Mexico might be better than a Gold’s here. I have no idea why, but I did. Boy, was I sadly mistaken.

I walked into the sounds of pumping techno music and the sights of countless spandex clad gym goers pumping up their biceps and glutes on more machines than I had ever seen packed into 5,000 square feet. As I shimmied my way between all the Cybex and Nautilus machines in search of the small free weight area in the back corner my desire to train began to plummet by the second. When I saw that they had hexagon plates instead of round ones my plans to deadlift were ruined and I had to improvise.

After taking ten minutes to do a few sets of chin ups (because I had to wait for all the guys to finish doing cable kickbacks in between sets) I went over to the dumbbell rack to complete my workout with some rows, shrugs and Romanian Dead Lift’s.

I left, vowing to never leave for a trip without my training equipment ever again. The next morning, since I forgot my trusty jump rope, I had to improvise. I found an empty 25 yard stretch of sand on the beach that allowed me to run a few 300 yard shuttles in 12×25 fashion. This workout was much better than the one the night before at Gold’s.

As far as the eating goes; this was one area where it was hard to improvise. Since I avoid eating animal products because of all the negative effects that their consumption has on your body and on the environment I was pretty limited. For five days I survived on nothing but fruit, pasta and a nightly salad consisting of pretty much nothing but iceberg lettuce. I had barely a gram of protein or healthy fats the entire time I was gone. And by the end of the trip I felt terrible.

At this stage of the game, there is no excuse for me making these types of mistakes. But unfortunately I did and had to pay for it. When traveling in the states you are usually never too far from a health food store or a Whole Foods market so it’s not as big of a deal. But as I have already experienced three times this year in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, you are not always so lucky when you leave the country.

Even so I will be more than prepared this Thursday when I head down to Austin, Texas for five days. I went out yesterday and stocked up on enough nuts to feed a football team and got two boxes of Raw Organic food bars. I also always bring a small container of Vega with me on every trip. Vega is one of the only supplements that I highly recommend to everyone and is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, probiotics, digestive enzymes and vitamins and minerals. I mix up one of these every morning when traveling to ensure that no matter how limited my food choices are, that I have gotten in a healthy, nutrient packed breakfast.

And I already threw my jump rope, TNT Cable and Jungle Gym in my bag so there is no forgetting them. With those three small, lightweight pieces of equipment I can get a great workout anywhere in the case that there are no good gyms around.

The bottom line is that when you care about your body, train hard and watch what you eat you always have to be prepared when you travel. That means bringing the right food or going somewhere you know you have easy access to it. That also means being prepared for the worst and packing some training equipment or learning and mastering numerous bodyweight only exercises so that you can train anywhere.

For some great ideas on how to train and eat on the road and for muscle building workouts that can be completed just about anywhere in 40 minutes or less, check out

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21 Responses to Training and eating on the road

  1. Chris May 19, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    What’s the problem with doing deadlifts with non-round plates?? Does it really make a difference?

  2. On a Limb with Claudia May 19, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    This article is very helpful for me as I am preparing to do a lot of traveling in the upcoming year. I have a couple questions: 1) how do you get enough protein eating only vegetable products? (I find myself craving tuna – of all things – when I eat vegetarian.) and 2) what is a Jungle Gym.


  3. Ryan May 19, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Vega, organic food bars and nuts are essential for vacations. Good call.

    Can’t beat the sand running…

  4. Chad May 19, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    When are you going to come to Texas to do a seminar or event or anything? And Austin is beautiful so get outside and enjoy the scenery while jumping rope!

  5. admin May 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    When doing deads with hexagon plates the angled ends hit the ground awkwardly sometimes and throw your form off putting you at greater risk for injury.

  6. admin May 19, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    I get protein from Vega and an additional rice or pea protein shake per day as well as nuts, seeds, legumes. Plus there is protein in oatmeal, rice, etc that we usually don’t count but it’s still protein that adds to the daily total. All I need is 100-150 grams per day which is pretty easy to get.

  7. admin May 19, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    Maybe next time. For now I’m just coming to enjoy the sights and live music scene in Austin. I have heard from several people that it’s a great time and I’m really looking forward to it.

  8. Phil May 20, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    I would be really interested to read about what changed health-size-and-strength wise since you became vegetarian.


  9. Billy May 20, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    Great stuff! I read somewhere recently about you being vegetarian and I think it’s brilliant. I’m one too! Would love to know more about those raw organic food bars: who makes them, where to get them etc?
    And on a side note…as i’m sure you’d agree: extra protein is so overrated as the average north american diet gets far more than the recommended daily intake.
    Keep it hardcore.

  10. Brian G May 20, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Thanks for the tip about the deads with the hex plates. It’s all my gym has so I’m stuck with them for now. Just something more to watch for.

  11. admin May 20, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    Nothing changed at all. I was just as big and just as strong for the first 10 months. I sleep way better than I have in years and never got sick once this winter. I have never felt better in my life. Unfortunately, I have a torn rotator cuff right now so my size and strength is way down but it has nothing to do with the diet.

    I have had several friends and clients switch over and they are just as big and strong as ever. Its really quite easy to maintain size and strength when eating like that.

  12. admin May 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    You can get the bars at the Vitamin Shoppe. The oatmeal raisin and the chocolate coconut are delicious.

  13. On a Limb with Claudia May 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    Cool – thanks for clearing up the protein thing.

    What is a Jungle Gym? I couldn’t find anything but that kids thing in Google.

  14. Chad May 21, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    When you are in Austin see if Bob Schneider is playing anywhere. Great live show! Stop by Waterloo records and pick up his stuff also his former band The Scabs.

  15. admin May 28, 2008 at 6:56 am #

    Thanks so much for the Bob Shneider recommendation! We saw him play at Antones and it was amazing! Great show. He’s my new favorite singer. He recorded the show and burned it for the audience to buy. It has been on high rotation since I got back. Plus I got a bunch of his older stuff too.

  16. Jason May 28, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    How do you balance early morning workouts and breakfast? I live in Northern Canada and the only time to get into a public, busy gym is at the gym 6am before work.

  17. Bill July 2, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    Hey Jason,

    Had a similar experience when going to visit my wife’s family.
    Was in a hurry getting stuff packed to take them, and slipped up on
    packing PT gear and nutritious snacks.

    Fortunately could find some decent healthy snacks at an organic market nearby ( love them!)

    For the exercise part, found something to hang from to alternate between pullups & chinups simultaneously doing leg raises. Then dropped and did hand stand pushups alternating arms. Then ran the stairs for a finisher.

    Not bad overall, and trained my adaptability. Also to pack for oneself first!

    Btw, thanks for all the awesome tips and such here, they really motivate.


  18. jasonferruggia July 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    We used to use the Jungle Gym but now we exclusively use the TRX ( ) at Renegade Gym.

  19. jasonferruggia July 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Just make sure you are awake for at least an hour before training and eat a decent, rapidly digesting meal.

  20. jasonferruggia July 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Good stuff. There’s always a way to get a workout in somehow, some way.

  21. Jay Seifer August 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    Tremendous insight from a road warrior! I am going to Whole Foods this evening to take a further look at the aforementioned products.

    Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge – it is a refreshing view from what seems to be a very knowledgable source.