Fitness Tools in My Suitcase

Summer is in full swing! With that comes VACATION! I just got back from an (almost) 3-week long adventure in Europe. It was amazing, I saw so many cool things and had the chance to completely decompress. So – success!

Since I’ve been back, a lot of clients have asked me whether or not I worked out while I was away or how I managed my fitness at all and I thought I’d share my answers with you.

First of all, I think vacation isn’t the time to be stressing about a perfect fitness routine. It is a time to get away from the grind and come back feeling recharged. Depending on the type of vacation you’re doing, fitness may already be a part of it! I approach fitness-on-the-go with the idea that it’s just for maintenance. It’s just meant to keep me feeling good and just to maintain my some level of fitness while I’m away.

If you can arrange to have a gym at your destination, you’re all set! However, if you don’t think you’ll be getting into a gym – or you get turned away because you didn’t know that Germans took the whole wear-shoes-other-than-your-street-shoes rules seriously and get turned away – here are some things you can squeeze into your suitcase for a hotel room workout!


1. Ball

I always bring a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball. This is super portable and a must for me. Since I’m working around some long-term injuries, combine that with sitting on planes and in cars, I really benefit from being able to do some self-myofascial release.

If you’re familiar with foam rolling, this is the same thing. A ball is just a little easier to slip into your suitcase and it also can dig into tight muscles a little deeper because of its shape. If you’re torn between which to bring, a lacrosse ball is harsher while a tennis ball will be more forgiving.

I usually use this to help me loosen up my lower back, hip flexors, upper back, and traps. These are all my spots that get tight with lots of sitting and it’s easy enough to do while traveling!

2. Mini-Bands

Mini-bands are great for some added resistance to some bodyweight exercises. I particularly love having these with me for some glute exercises. I love to keep these exercises up while I’m away because they help keep my hips moving well after all that time on a plane or traveling in a car.

Some exercises you can use these for are glute bridges, band walks, or squats with the band around your knees. You can keep the band above your knees for squats and glute bridges. This will give your glutes more resistance to work against to keep knees apart. For band walks, you can place the band at your knees or at your ankles for the same effect. This is absolutely the smallest piece of equipment you could bring with you so there’s no reason not to.

3. Super-bands

One of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can bring is a resistance band. However, I find when people buy very generic exercise bands, they tend to be far too light for some of the exercises they’re trying to do with them. That’s why I love Superbands. These ones come in many different resistances. Each band has a weight estimate so you can choose one that might be closer to the free weights you use when you’re home and in the gym.

For example, if I want a band to use for a row and you normally single arm row the 25lb dumbbells, you might get the 50lb resistance band to do some double arm rows with. These can also be used for a lat pull-down or a band deadlift. They just take a little creativity and a place to anchor them.

4. Door Anchor

Speaking of having a place to anchor your band – this is key. A door anchor is a small tab that’s made for you to loop your band through so you can close it into a door. You can change the angle of where it’s anchored and anchor it securely by closing it in the door. I’ve had some clients get creative and even close it into a window.

To use this, you just need a solid door to close it in. You can anchor it above you to do some late pull-downs, in front of you for some rows, or down below you for a band deadlift. Just make sure it’s secure and you’re good to go!

5. Slider

A slider is a great way to add some work to your lunges while on the go. This one might seem a little counterintuitive because it doesn’t necessarily add resistance to a lunge of any sort. However, I find with my clients and myself that a slider gives you more of an opportunity to focus on the working leg and “cheat” less with the other leg. This works because if you put too much weight on the sliding leg, you’ll feel how stuck you get or you may even slide all the way down…so don’t do that!

You can use these for reverse lunges, allowing the sliding foot to go behind you and the front leg to do all the work. You can try side lunges, letting the sliding leg go out to your side while you sink into a lunge/squat on the working leg. You can also use sliders to add a challenge to plank variations. Tall planks with one hand on the slider can be killer. The goal is to keep your core engaged and steady while you slide the sliding hand away – whichever direction you want!

There are some exercises that might call for two sliders but I think you can come up with plenty with just one. So, if you’re suitcase is getting full just pack the one!

Have FUN.

These are easy pieces of equipment to toss in your bag to get a full-body workout while you’re away. As a friendly reminder, I hope you remember to have FUN while you’re away. Fitness is great and I eat, sleep, and breath it but SOMETIMES it’s gotta go on the back-burner. Your downtime is just as important as your time working so don’t short-change yourself on this!

I hope you’ll try these items out and maybe even bring them with you on vacation. I also hope you remember to have a blast and enjoy yourself!

Happy Training and Happy Vacationing!

P.S. – Need help figuring out how to put together a workout? Click here to sign up for my free guide to get you started! 

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