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…