Between holiday parties and work happy hours; family visits and food-oriented gatherings; and colder temperatures with shorter daylight hours — the holiday season has this neat knack of knocking us off the fitness wagon, so much so that marching onward with your nutrition goals and maintaining a consistent workout routine all while simultaneously scrounging up the holiday spirit can be… difficult.
When I travel for the holidays, whether from the living room to the garage or from my house here in Austin to my sister’s house in Georgia, I make it a priority to plan when and how I’ll be able to move my body. Over the years, I’ve found that staying active through the holidays doesn’t have to be a daunting task; all you need are a few travel-friendly pieces of equipment (though you can certainly get creative without any equipment at all), a 30-60 minute window in between family functions and a good playlist to set the mood.
If you’re in the market for some equipment essentials to pack for your travels, here are my top three, favorite pieces of travel-friendly equipment and some suggested workouts you can do anytime, anywhere, with anyone:
Rubber resistance bands are probably my number one option when it comes to working out on-the-go as they’re compact and lightweight. These bands are a breeze to travel with, and they’re an incredibly versatile strength training accessory — affording you the luxury of not being bound to bodyweight-only workouts while you travel.
Grab a medium-to-light resistance band and try this workout before your uncle starts talking to you about politics:
30:00 E3MOM (every 3 minutes, on the minute):
12 Banded Good Mornings
12 Banded Squats
12 Banded Bent-Over Rows
12 Single-Arm Banded Strict Press (6R/6L)
*Perform these movements with some speed but more importantly — integrity. Your goal is at least :30s of rest each round.
Speed ropes are another compact travel companion but do not be misled: small as they may be, they pack a major punch. Single or double-unders are a very effective monostructural movement that’ll get your heart rate up in a hurry.
The Rogue speed rope is my favorite rope to work with as the handles hold a medium weight and the bearing system is smooth. Side note: if you have any desire to be proficient with a speed rope, finding the right rope for you is actually pretty important.
Grab your rope and give this quick and dirty lung burner a go:
*We’re moving as fast as we can here (safely, of course). If you don’t have double unders, go for double the amount of single-unders. If jumping lunges hurt your knees, switch to reverse lunges with a high-knee hop at the top, performing all half of the reps on one leg before switching.
Fabric mini bands are the younger, sturdier sister to the rubber resistance bands. These are — gasp — also extremely lightweight and compact, making them easy to tuck into any pocket of any bag. These bands offer a focused type of resistance to primarily the lower body, totally transforming simple bodyweight movements into strength builders.
Grab a medium-to-heavy band and get your glutes ready for a good time while the turkey roasts:
5 Rounds for Quality:
12 One-and-a-Quarter Banded Squats
12 Banded Hollow Rocks
12 Glute Bridges with a 3s Hold
12 Banded Arch Rocks
12 Bent-Over Banded Kickbacks (12R/12L)
*Rest 1:00 between rounds. This is a slower bodybuilding style workout, perfect for if you’re not feeling up to a high-intensity session.
Happy holidays, Austin!
Sadie Flynn is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and former collegiate athlete with a penchant for power lifts. As a new mom, Sadie is deeply passionate about pregnant and postpartum fitness and wellness, and works hard to help women take care of their bodies before, during, and after birth. When she’s not coaching at CrossFit Renew, or forcing her 90s alternative music beliefs upon you — you can find her somewhere outside with her husband, two dogs, and their chonky new baby.