Thanks Stephen for asking me to write about how I keep fit on the road. Obviously I cycle, but I haven’t had the circumstances to cycle regularly for a couple of years now.
When I first became so nomadic that I had to get rid of my free-weights I was pretty gutted. For years weightlifting had been my favourite way to work out. I felt at sea having neither a cycle routine, nor any other kind of exercise routine. I couldn’t believe how rubbish I felt travelling whilst being unfit. After just a few weeks, aches and pains appearing, shoulders so tight you can’t concentrate, period pains twice as bad. Yet I now manage to keep up a very good level of fitness and do strength training wherever I am, with no equipment and no gym.
Using bodyweight exercises of course. However, I’m not expert enough to design myself a program, so I use exercise DVDs. Yes, that’s right – I take my laptop to the park, stick it on a bench and work out in front of it – I don’t care how mad I look. Other workout locations have included underground car parks (when it’s raining), living rooms, supermarket car parks and by the sea.
The best thing about it has been that when I’m travelling so much I’m sleeping in a different place every night and getting stiff on long train/van journeys, I can get myself back to feeling normal even by doing half of one of the videos. Even on my tightest schedule I’ve been able to fit this in at least every 2-3 days. When I do get to ride my bike, I’m still fit for cycling, in a way I wouldn’t be if I’d focused on running rather than full body calisthenics in the mean time.
The key to doing bodyweight exercises that simulate heavy lifting for muscle gain is to leave the ground. When you land, you seem heavier. As such, much of the exercises involve jumping or leaping from foot to foot. As a result, I’ve discovered that you can’t really do it upstairs, especially at a friend’s house. You also can’t do it on grass, since the worms feel the vibrations and come up from the ground in hoards, leaving you squashing a worm per minute with your feet – yuk!
So, that’s how to stay strong and fit on the road whilst still avoiding worms – stay on the road! Jump up and down by all means, but make sure you do it on concrete not grass!