CrossFit on the Road

a road

In the modern world in which we live, many of us are required to travel for our jobs, and we often travel for personal vacation.  We have probably all experienced, first-hand, the problem of finding a way to continue this crazy thing we have grown to love called CrossFit without our local CrossFit box.  As you probably know, hotel fitness centers are not CrossFit friendly.  They are usually extremely small with the typical treadmill (or two), a stationary bike, an elliptical machine, and occasionally you may find some type of cable machine for bicep curls and tricep extensions.  So, what do you do when faced with this situation while on the road?  Your options are numerous.

Getting a good CrossFit workout on the road is not actually as difficult as you might think.  Only a few things are necessary to make it happen.  Desire is number one.  If you have the desire, then the remaining factors (finding a workspace, setting aside some time, and improvising with equipment limitations) will come with ease.  Let’s assume as CrossFitters that the desire is a given.  Next, we have to find a place to workout.  The hotel fitness center, if it exists, is an option.  However, many workouts can be done in your hotel room or outside in the parking lot.  Local parks also make sufficient workout areas when the weather is nice.  What about time?  The time variable is easy to overcome.  10-20 minutes is sufficient for squeezing in a decent travel WOD.  Simply cut out 10-20 minutes of television time or set your alarm 10-20 minutes early and you have it.  Equipment limitations can be defeated with some imagination.  Hotel chairs make good dip stations.  They can also be used to anchor your feet while doing sit-ups.  That nice little fold out luggage rack stowed in the closet can be used for dips as well.  Improvise and be creative with your surroundings. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish.  Truth is that many WODs can be done without any equipment.  For an extensive list of body weight WODs suitable for travel, click here.

Now, that we’ve talked a little about the necessities, let’s hit on some luxuries that are nice to have but not totally necessary. for CrossFit workouts on the road.  A few things that come to mind are a stopwatch (of any type), jump rope, pull-up station, and maybe a kettlebell or dumbbell.  The stopwatch and jump rope are easy.  Each can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Target, or any other retail store very inexpensively. They can be easily packed in your luggage while consuming little space.  Your cell phone also likely has a stopwatch function. However, it’s not easy to find a suitable pull-up station at hotels.  Some common things that can serve as a modified pull-up station are fences, treadmills, and low hanging tree limbs.  Again, be creative.  If you are lucky, you can find a pull-up bar or something to serve as one at a local park. Look for monkey bars or something similar that kids might play on, and then kick them off of it.  Okay, packing a kettlebell or dumbbell is not exactly feasible if you are traveling via airplane.  However, if you are going on a vacation or a short business trip via car, then throwing a kettlebell or dumbbell in the trunk is not a big deal.

Another great option is to search for local CrossFit affiliates in the area.  Most affiliates allow experienced CrossFitters to drop-in for a small fee of $10-20.  CrossFit Impulse encourages you to drop-in with other affiliates because it allows you to see how other affiliates conduct classes and who knows, you could learn something to bring back to share with your CrossFit friends at home.  If you can’t find a destination CrossFit affiliate, then a “globo gym” lurks in almost every town.  Some gyms have special rates for guests of local hotels. Ask your hotel staff about this. Going to a “globo gym” is not the end of the world.  At least you have access to weights for strength training, probably some dumbbells, and maybe a pull-up bar.  However, be careful doing anything outside the norm in a globo gym.  Some CrossFitters have been known to accidentally kick people in the face while mounting the wall for a handstand pushup at a “globo gym.”

In summary, if you have the will to continue CrossFitting when on travel, there are many ways to satisfy it.  Depending on the length of your stay at your destination and time availability, simply performing a few body weight WODs from the list provided may be the most convenient solution.  However, if you are traveling for a week or more, it would be a great experience to research the local area for CrossFit affiliates and drop-in for a few WODs.  If no CrossFit affiliate exists within a reasonable distance, you can ask the hotel staff about their specials with local “globo gyms”.  You will probably have better luck asking about local gyms minus the “globo” adjective.  Remember, be creative.  Try taking the luggage rack out in the parking lot for dips and maybe do some handstand pushups against a large portable storage container.  You’ll be amused at the looks you get.