How to Stay Fit While Travelling

This is a guest post by Capable Men.

Much of our travel will find us roaming on adventures far and beyond. As a result, we will often find ourselves skipping meals, missing out on sleep and breaking good eating habits that we perhaps had in place (I’m looking at you, Fast food!)

Our travelling lifestyle may find us slacking in our individual training routines and our fitness will inevitably suffer. Our travels can often offer obstacles in our efforts to maintain high fitness standards but as aspiring capable men, we all have an obligation to remain disciplined and adaptable to such challenges. Today we’ll be looking at some tips for staying strong on the road.

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Upon checking into the hotel a common habit of mine is finding myself scanning for the hotel gym. But often than not, even the availability of a hotel gym leaves little to be desired. Low weights, out of date equipment, cramped spaces and an out-of-town businessman leaving sweat marks over all the surfaces means I’m often not inspired to play along. But fear not, as we now intend to turn our hotel into our very own private fitness centre.

hotel bedroom

Not every hotel is going to offer the same stuff, but we’ll now get creative and take a look at our makeshift workout equipment:

The Bed: Let’s start with the thing I’m sure your room has. Give it a lift, there’s a good chance your bed is pretty heavy and will give us something to work with.

Deadlift: Or bed lift! (Cue tumbleweed) Bring yourself to the end of the bed, bend over and lift the bed until you are standing erect. Keep your back straight and lift with your legs as you would with a deadlift. This is a good exercise and can be customized by adding weight (your luggage) to the end of the bed to increase difficulty.

Knee tucks: Find the corner of your bed, with plenty of space facing and sit on the corner with your hands located to your sides. While gripping the bed, lean back a little and straighten your legs. Slowly and smoothly bring the knees up and in until they are roughly 7 inches from your chest. Exhale as you bring your knees in. Hold for 1 second then reverse the motion. This is a great exercise for the core.

Your Gear: That luggage bag in the corner that you used to carry all your kit into the room can be a great tool. We can fill it up with a desirable load and use it as a deadlift tool, added weight for squats or perhaps curls if it has a suitable strong handle.

Tricep dips: These are a favourite exercise of mine and I’m often looking for platforms that can support 95kg without me having to explain to the reception that something is broken. Disabled toilet bar handles have been an adaption tool of choice of mine in the past, kitchen surfaces etc but if nothing seems suitable simple chair dips will do.

Disclaimer: Capable Men is not liable for any damages to hotel equipment. Put the TV down!


With the hotel room now firmly gutted of potential workout equipment, it’s time to fall into good ol’ fashioned body weight training. For years I have always played with the convict system, which advocates functional strength via bodyweight training.

convict conditioning quote

This quote in the above image comes from the creator of the convict program. Paul Wade spent more than two decades behind bars for being a big-time heroin dealer. During this time, he formulated a training system that created powerful strength using six basic bodyweight moves.

  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Pull Ups (Not typically possible within a hotel room)
  • Leg Raises
  • Bridges
  • Handstand Pushups

All of which (With the likely exception of the pull up) can be performed in the confines of your humble dwelling.

foldable water carrier


These things are an excellent addition to our travelling gear. They’re even available in those large 15L foldable containers that can easily fit in your luggage. Simply get them under a tap, fill up our litres and suddenly our 15L carrier is a 15kg water bag of weight.

I came across this idea from an old friend who I used to work with on my travels. He used the hotel room broomstick and started attaching these carriers to the sides. Used them for squatting, deadlifting and benching.

kettlebell workout ballistic exercise tool


Finally, I am a big advocate for the kettlebell workout. This old ballistic exercise tool was developed in Russia in the 1700s, primarily for farmers to weigh crops. It is said that these farmers became much stronger and found them useful for showing off their strength during festivals.

Today, kettlebells have become an excellent tool for the road and If you’re a frequent traveller I couldn’t recommend one enough. The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once. And using your whole body is exactly what you’ll be doing when you’re engaging in a functional, athletic task. Perhaps a difficult tool to bring along for air travel, but if you’re moving around in your car, it’s absolutely perfect.

In life, you very rarely find yourself isolating muscle groups when performing natural movements. Take throwing a ball, for example, you don’t just use your arm, you put your whole body into it and that is what I truly enjoy about working out using kettlebells. A true functional strength tool.

So there we have it, a few tips to utilise next time you’re on your travels so you can get creative and keep on top of your training regime. It’s quite easy to lose motivation on our adventures, eat crap food and promise ourselves we can catch up at a later time. But our environment offers us a challenge that we as capable men must always be looking to overcome.

This guest post is written by John Fee. John is one of the co-founders and writers at Capable Men: A Men’s Lifestyle brand that discusses indispensable skill-sets, adventurous lifestyles, stimulating enterprise, enriching relationships & innovative ideas.

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