On Deck Workout

Business travel can push a person out of his or…

Business travel can push a person out of his or her “comfort zone” and temporarily trash a carefully established, healthy routine—which, for many of us, includes exercise workouts. Hitting the road for a paycheck, however, does not mean your painstakingly achieved fitness has to decline significantly—and, maybe not at all. I speak from experience.

In November 2012 I returned home from what would be my ultimate business trip: a two-month, maritime-security job on the Indian Ocean. I came back in perhaps slightly better shape than when I left, too. I had swapped my normal, twice- or thrice-weekly workout routine—kettle bells, calisthenics, and Nordic Track at home; dumbbells and weight machines at a local gym—for an improvised, shipboard routine. I used minimal personal gear and a variety of metal fixtures on the lifeboat deck and navigation deck of the Asian-flagged cargo ship I helped guard against Somali pirates.

Those heavily armed thugs never threatened our vessel, by the way; they were somewhere else in the “High Risk Area.” (The only shooting on our ship was the test-fire and sighting of our contracted security team’s battle rifles.)

My workouts occurred while our client’s ship was at anchor in a secure harbor. I had to improvise; the only exercise gear I had had room for in my duffel bag were two exercise bands, the rubber-tube variety—one light-to-medium and one medium-heavy—plus a 3-foot loop of tubular-nylon webbing and a carabiner. A pair of half-finger workout gloves—which doubled as shooter’s gloves while I was on guard duty on the ocean—protected my hands when I did knuckle pushups on the sun-heated deck.

So you think your road-warrior motel’s musty “exercise room” is a challenge? Try pumping out inclined pushups above the poop deck. With some reality-based planning, you can stay fit even during extended business travel. I used different exercises on different days to make life aboard an ocean-going cargo ship a memorable experience.

Here were my “Dirty Dozen” exercises and my no-frills gear…

Load Comments
  • AbnRanger’84

    This old dude’s too ugly to appear in “Men’s Health” or any of those other pretty-boy fitness magazines. (Just teasing.)

  • Matt in Oklahoma

    OUTSTANDING! from a man creeping in on the 50. Many times in remote sights we adapted and maintained and this is an awesome program with no excuses, no roar of the crowds, just you doing what you do for you.