Times have changed. I used to train just as hard while out of town as I did while training at my regular gym. Of course, I wasn't training around injuries as much then as I am now, but I'm also smarter now than I was in the past, as well. I will share some things that I do, or consider, while training on the road.

The most important thing to remember while traveling is that very few pieces of equipment are truly ever the same. You might have an Icarian hack squat at your home gym that you love, but that doesn't mean the Icarian hack squat at a gym 1200 miles away will be the same. Even the same piece of equipment can have a slightly different angle or even just "drag." Drag is when the machine hasn't been maintained as well, over time, and is harder on the concentric and easier on the eccentric portion of the rep. Some dumbbells are fixed while other dumbbells have rotating plates or handles. Smaller gyms can have uneven floors and if you are rowing heavy or pulling deads, an uneven floor is potentially a huge vulnerability.

Most of us become familiar with the equipment in our gym. One brand of leg press can be completely different than another. This means the angle of the platform to the backrest can be considerably different, and the angle of the platform itself can be different (open angle vs 45 degrees, etc), If you have knee or back issues, this can be an accident waiting to happen. I have even been to gyms where 45-pound plates don't all weigh 45 pounds. I don't know how OCD you are, but I know damn well which 45-pound plates in my gym weigh the same and bet your ass I'm using the ones that match unless it's a fixed machine like a leg press.

Something else I take into consideration while out of town is that I don't usually take my training gear with me (other "gear," of course). I will not take knee sleeves, my belt, knee wraps, elbow sleeves, or even wrist straps. If I am traveling to train with a client, I make an exception, but in this coach log I am talking more about vacations, weddings, daughter having a baby (like right now), etc. You might think this is stupid but I will get to the reasons why, below.

I prefer not to train at 100% intensity while out of town. I usually am pressed for time and just trying to get a solid workout in before going on with the rest of my day. For this reason, I will usually schedule a "cruise" or "deload" week of training while out of town. This allows me to get a great workout in, use some different equipment that I might not have in my own gym, and not run a higher risk of injury.

I approach my cruise or deload weeks like this:

I do not stretch prior to training (like I do for legs and back at home, due to past lower back injuries), and as I mentioned before, I do not bring my training gear with me. These things aren't needed if I am not going 100% trying to put up PRs and training at top intensity.

I keep my usual volume and my usual training split, but I only take the working sets to about 80% as far as weight and intensity of effort. If I can normally get 10 reps, I will get roughly 8. If I can usually get 20 reps, I will get 16. I leave reps in the tank and consider my out-of-town training a chance for my body to recover (actively) and be ready for 100% training when I return home.

I ALWAYS stay on my diet, though. I do not waiver on my diet because there is no risk over vulnerability by doing so. It is incredibly easy these days to hit up a Whole Foods when I land and get the essentials for the week. This week I survived on nuts, prepared chicken breasts, prepared quinoa with sweet potatoes (mixed together), dill pickles, and because we were visiting our kids in Milwaukee, I always have a spare bag of TEAM SKIP protein to use while I'm there. That's it--nice and simple and that keeps me on my diet for the week. Of course, I will always Skipload on Sundays, too.

About 10 years ago I was training at 100% for legs and tweaked my back on a leg press at a Power House in Canton, Ohio (great gym, by the way). It was hell for the next 5 days while I was there. This is when I learned my lesson because the leg press was one I was not familiar with and I remember how it pretty much ruined the week for me (and the ensuing 3 weeks when I got back home while I recovered fully).

My best advice is to be smart with your training while you are on the road. If you feel comfortable training all-out, go for it. If you are not familiar with the equipment, it's going to be a gamble. Use your head and do what's best for your forward progress--not just that one day.

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