Travel Fitness & The Devolution of Man

Travel Fitness
The Vitruvian Man.. In a Fatsuit..

If Leonardo Da Vinci could see what the average person looks like today he may have revised his famous Vitruvian Man sketch to depict a guy fresh from the set of the biggest loser with moobs so large they’d make Pamela Anderson’s plastic surgeon weep. The Ascent of modern man seems to now be more of a bell curve. We’ve moved from four legs to two legs and now it looks like we’re devolving back down to four legs again, only this time we have a technicolor screen to keep us entertained instead of a fire. As a by-product, in many places around the world our species is getting fat.

Travel Fitness
The Decent of Man

Due to the obvious lack of Woolly Mammoths to chase these days I spend a bit of time at the gym working off the safety net a millennia of evolution so dutifully tried to give me. The main problem I have with working out is generally this will involve a gym. These meathead and muscle meccas are an interesting place to spend your time, if exercise didn’t make me feel so damn good I’d probably go out of my way to avoid gyms like gremlins should avoid water. More grunts than a Serena Williams tennis match, a Genghis Khan look alike personal trainer who takes his job far too seriously and that group of meatheads who always seem to be pretending to not look at themselves in the mirror. These guys are the worst, and some gyms do have a worse meathead factor than others but I actually think there might be a market for a gym that doesn’t have any equipment at all, just wall to wall mirrors…

Travel Fitness
Chin-up bars can be found almost anywhere..

Anyway the point is, that like many other people I like to try and stay in shape which can be a hard thing to keep up while we travel since routines and regular gym access generally disappear while on the road. So last year I put together a pretty well rounded full body workout that I now use to keep me going while i’m away, I created this workout based on the advice of several personal trainers back home and also through borrowing some exercises from various ‘Body Weight’ experts online. My routine requires no heavy weights and hardly any equipment since access to any heavy equipment would be questionable while I traveled  If you do it right and with proper form, you’ll get ripped like [Guys: insert male superhero name] or toned like [Girls: insert female superhero name] just make sure you eat right and you’ll soon be fighting off marriage proposals with a stick.

This is my routine – Adapt the reps/sets to your own level of fitness just keep up the intensity. If I go straight from one exercise to the next I can get each of these done in less than 30 mins, it’s brutal but really effective so you can get the workout done fast. I will alternate workouts every second day (depending on soreness and time available) and if I have not exhausted a particular body part after the 3 sets I will do a single last set on that area until I fail. The best part about these workouts is that you literally need almost no equipment with the exception of resistance elastic, which can be bought for about $10 on Ebay, weighs less than your shirt and takes up literally no space at all (the perfect travel fitness tool).

Workout 1 – Do each exercise 30 seconds after the other, slow and controlled.
25 Push-ups
20 Decline push-ups
15 Hindu push-ups
15 Tricep extensions (use resistance elastic)
30 Second Bridges (front and both sides)
20 Leg raises
x 3

Workout 2 – Do each exercise 30 seconds after the other, slow and controlled.
15 Shoulder press (use resistance elastic)
15 Lat raises (use resistance elastic)
75 Hindu squats
15 Wide grip chin-ups (if you can find a suitable bar or if you’re slow travelling maybe look at buying one for a doorway)
15 Bent over rows (use resistance elastic)
15 Bicep curls (use resistance elastic)
30 Second bridges (front and both sides)
20 Leg raises

I mix the above workout with some cardio and i’m sorted. Cardio fitness for travel can take many forms, I usually just run or sprint, since all I need are a pair of joggers and because for the time spent, running is probably the single best way to burn calories. As an experiment I recently  thought I would try something a little different and opted to swim laps at a local pool instead. After nearly drowning several times and being overtaken by a 90 year old German in speedos so small that he may as well have been naked, I concluded that our species evolved out of the water for a reason and decided never to swim laps again. I now just stick with running but do whatever works for you!

Travel Fitness
Motivation, Family Guy Style.

There are some great resources out there for staying fit on the road, Steve Kamb runs a whole site dedicated to fitness for travel called Nerd Fitness which I have found to be really useful in the past. Global Body Weight Training is dedicated to training without any equipment which can be a great alternative to going to a gym even if you have access to one, you can save some money by boycotting the place!  Bodylastics has a comprehensive range of resistance elastic exercises (but i’d buy the elastics on Ebay instead since they’re cheaper). Like anything in life, if you work hard at it you will get good results, I have found this workout to be great at keeping me in shape when I have no gym access and no equipment, take it for a spin and let me know how you go.

About Author


Hi, I'm Pete, an ex-cubical slave and corporate love monkey currently writing my way around the world. My background is in branding, digital marketing, media and I'm probably about a level 10 at moustaches.


  1. Haha great pics. I like the workout, but I’d throw in a bit more legs. Your legs are where the majority of your muscle massis so I’d do some jump squats or lunge intervals, it will help burn a lot more kcal too. Great post though!

    1. Yep great feedback Jeremy, maybe some lunges or calf raises. With body weight exercises though, it pretty much comes down to pain tolerance 🙂

  2. Neal

    Hey dude,

    I’m also quit my relatively high paying job in Perth to travel long term except I’m taking it slow and only doing Central/South America at the moment(4 months in). For exercise on the road my routine is to do 100 burpees for time and if I’m feeling lazy doing 50 pullups instead (Bought cheap gymnastic rings off eBay before I left), generally, if I can find big ones, I chuck rocks into my little backpack that I bought at an op shop in Guatemala for the pullups. Sometimes if I’m feeling adventurous I do both. More important is what you eat, Breakfast generally I have oats and milk, lunch ideally is 2 tins of tuna with 4-6 eggs scrambled with vegetables and ideally dinner is chicken and broccoli. Seems unnecessary but with all the free time I find you end up drinking a fair bit.



    1. Sounds like a fantastic trip, one of my best mates just got back from 9 months in Central and South America, had an amazing time. Great routine! Yeh I’ve been experimenting with pure body weight exercises of late and they seem to be quite good. It does get pretty hard though when you’re constantly meeting new people/doing new things and spending so much time out of a day to day routine. Very impressed you can stick to that diet while away, I guess protein in Central America is not too hard to come by 🙂 Would hate to be a vegetarian there!

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