No matter who are or what your goal, it is safe to say that you will likely find yourself on the road, away from home and outside of your normal routine. By nature, we’re creatures of habit and for most of us, breaking our routine presents some challenges. As bodybuilders, we hold eating, sleeping and training most essential; being on the road conjures up thoughts of missed meals, a lack of sleep and unfamiliar gyms/inadequate equipment. Considering the daily efforts we put forth, none of us needs another threat to maintaining uninterrupted consistency. And if travel is the very antithesis of consistency, we must find ways to foolproof our efforts.
One of the ways to do just that is to adjust our training splits in order to minimize the potential interruptions caused by travel. For example, in the attached arm/shoulder training video I was attending the 2016 Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas. Knowing that I would be staying in Vegas from Thursday to Sunday I assessed my training. My split, at the time of the trip, looked like this:
Friday: Chest + Biceps + Abs
Saturday: Shoulders + Triceps
Already, I was looking pretty good. The two most demanding bodyparts to train are back and legs and I would rather not do them while traveling. This is for a couple reasons. First, back and leg training are heavy and heavy can be dangerous when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Second, back and leg training can (although it doesn’t have to) require more in the way of equipment. Lastly, working at an expo and standing in place for 8 hours can be tiring to the lower back and knees but not have much an effect on bodyparts like arms, chest or shoulders. Luckily, as it were, I would already have back and legs done before my trip leaving chest, arms and shoulders to be completed. Easy enough. So why did I decide to train arms and shoulders on Friday? First, chest is a muscle group that I like to train with heavy weight. On Friday, I had to train in the morning and for me, morning training isn’t conducive to training with maximum poundages. Consequently, I found Friday morning better suited for arms and shoulders allowing me to focus entirely in chest training at the ABC event on Saturday night.
Did I do my typical arm and shoulder workouts on Friday morning? No. The second thing I do when traveling is adjust the way I train if necessary. For example, in this case, the gym I was using was very basic and didn’t have some of the usual equipment I might use. This, combined with the fact that I was a bit worn out from the traveling, I decided to not make it a marathon style workout but instead, make it a basic, fast paced and intense workout. Granted, I always lift as heavy as possible but I’m not foolish enough to try and blindly move numbers that I might have in a previous workout.
The bottom line is that whether it’s the exercises we choose or the amount of weight we lift, we do what we can and we do what makes sense under the given circumstances. Consistency is key and on a daily basis we do all that we can to not break it. Each day presents us with unique circumstances and we must be conscious to properly apply ourselves in training. We may like to think that we are machines but the truth is that the body is a biological entity and in order to reach our goals, it’s paramount that we properly adapt ourselves to given situations. The master of any craft reads the information he has available and makes a plan. Only an amateur applies the same blueprint to every situation. Be consistent, kick ass and stay safe.