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Travel WOD – Workout on the Road or on Vacation

You’ve taken the first step to fitness freedom by ending your membership to your local globo-gym. You’ve read our post on how to start your own gym at home or in your garage. Just when you think everything is going smooth, life throws a wrench into the works. This wrench can come in a lot of different forms, from family emergencies, to vacations, to business trips. The one consistency is that it removes you from your home gym and forces you to find a way to get an effective workout on the road. This is where the travel WOD (workout of the day) comes in. Read on for tips and pointers on how to get the most bang for your buck while on the road.

A travel WOD can range anywhere from simple to complex. As we’ve shown in some of our posts on programming, there is a lot you can do with zero equipment. From high intensity interval training using bodyweight exercises, to pull-up ladders using a decent mounted pull-up bar.

How to keep your workouts effective when on the road

When you’re forced to leave most of your equipment behind, it can become easy to fall into complacency. Often times in the absence of our barbell and bumper plates we can find ourselves leaning on what we’re most comfortable with. Many an athlete have gotten caught in this trap. They end up defaulting to long, boring runs on treadmills in the rec-centers of hotels. This is a fitness death trap!

If you end up on the road, there are a few basic tools you can fall back on to keep your travel WOD workouts as effective as they were at home.

Build a Travel WOD Go-Bag

A Go-Bag is a simple, portable collection of tools you can use on the road when you need to fit in a travel WOD. Think of it as your emergency gym kit. We recommend filling a small sport or duffel bag with some combination of the following items:

  • Gymnastic Rings

    A good set of gymnastic rings are a life saver. Find any surface that you can toss the straps over and you’ve got a whole body workout at your fingertips. If you can’t find the height to do pull-ups, you can always drop the rings lower and throw in some inverted rows or push-ups for a smokin’ whole body workout.
    Rings will allow you to do a ton of different pulling exercises on surfaces that would otherwise be unusable. Think tree branches, girders, rafters, or other structural members.

  • TRX Suspension Trainer

    We love the versatility and simplicity of gymnastic rings. They’re perfect for a home gym. But sometimes you need to accessorize, and this is where the TRX Suspension Trainer system comes in handy. It has a couple perks that you won’t get with rings. The TRX system makes mounting to a wider variety of objects a little bit easier.
    Want to mount to a door? No problem with the TRX. With rings? Not so simple. The TRX system caters to a wider variety of exercises. Although it comes with a more hefty price tag, we feel it reflects the versatility well and is worth every penny. The TRX is a great, compact addition to your Go-Bag.

  • Push-Up Bars

    These are a cheap, easy to transport way of getting more from a common bodyweight exercise. We would normally recommend full-sized parallettes for your home gym, like these on Amazon. But since portability is important here, the smaller push-up bars offer similar (but not exact) function.

  • Speed Rope Jump Rope

    This is a no-brainer. A high quality speed rope will keep you off the treadmills and ellipticals, and will get you way more out of your workout. A speed rope can be used on its own or as a part of a circuit during your travel WOD. They are perfect for warmups, cool downs and everything in between. Want to get smoked? Use your speed rope for HIIT or Tabatas.

  • Cross Training Shoes and Lifting Shoes

    It’s not necessary that you have both pairs of shoes. Most cross training shoes designed for functional fitness training will be ok for lifting. If your’e on the road, you’re not quite as likely to find decent lifting equipment anyway, such as a barbell and bumper plates. For this reason lifting shoes are a nice thing to have, but probably not critical gear for your Go-Bag. A good pair of cross training shoes should go with you if possible, though.

  • Wrist Wraps or Hand Protectors

    Not essential, but nice to have. If you’re on the road, you don’t want to worry about hand injuries, especially if one of your go-to exercises is going to be pull-ups. We really like WODies.

  • Recovery and Foam Rolling

    We have a short guide on this subject and believe in it strongly. If you do nothing else while on the road, use it as a time when you can take recovery seriously. Spend some time rolling and caring for your body. When you get back home your body will thank you for it. TriggerPoint makes our preferred foam rolling and recovery gear.

  • Protein and Shaker Bottle

    A lot of this topic comes down to personal preference. Every person’s nutritional needs may be different but it’s safe to say that when you’re on the road, getting proper nutrition may be difficult. Keep your protein requirements in mind as you build your Go-Bag, and pick up a cheap, economical shaker bottle to go with it.

  • The actual Go-Bag itself

    We really like the Everest gym bag with wet pocket. It has room for everything we’ve mentioned in this list, and a few special features that make it very convenient. The wet pocket makes it so you can store dirty/sweaty clothes separate from the rest of your gear. There is also a separate compartment that you can put your shoes in. The bag is going to come down to your personal preference, really. We suggest not spending more than you need to on features that you don’t necessarily need; a lot of the high speed “tactical” bags have bells and whistles that may sound great on paper but don’t add a lot of functionality.

Workouts you can do using your Go-Bag

Your Go-Bag will probably evolve over time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You may not want to include everything from our list. If you have a TRX system, for example, you can probably skip out on the rings and push-up bars, since the TRX can be an effective substitute for both in a pinch.

The aim should be to find the most effective use of your bodyweight, because on the road that is likely all you will have to work with.

Here is a great video, featuring Rich Froning on some crossfit travel WODs you can do on the road with no gear other than your Go-Bag. Feel free to substitute and mix and match as you see fit. Just remember that complacency is the enemy of progress. Get out of your comfort zone!

Are bodyweight workouts effective?

Worried that bodyweight workouts aren’t effective enough? Tell that to the Bar Brothers, who have perfected the art of the pull-up. For a great fitness program featuring just a stationary pull-up bar, we recommend you check out our post on the Bar Brothers program. You might not be able to utilize it in a hotel room, but you can effectively turn any place with a pull-up bar into your travel gym.

The key is variation and intensity. Varying things up and keeping things interesting will keep you f rom getting bored and complacent. You’ll be more likely to stay on track with your fitness goals.

Use these workouts as a base of ideas for creating and implementing your own travel WOD plan for when you’re on the road.  The list is by no means meant to be comprehensive.

Running WODs

  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 400m
    • 50 Air Squats (or 20 double-unders)
  • 4 Rounds For Time:
    • Sprint 200m
    • 15 Air Squats
    • 10 Push Ups
    • 5 Walking Lunges (each leg)
  • 4 Rounds For Time:
    • Sprint 200m
    • 20 Burpees
  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 800m
    • Rest the amount of time it took you to run
  • 10 Rounds:
    • Sprint 100m
    • Rest 1:00
  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • Sprint 100m
    • Walk 100m
  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 200m
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 5 Walking Lunges each leg
  • Run 1 Mile for Time:
    • Every 1:00 stop the timer and do 5 burpees

Bodyweight WODs

  • 20 Rounds for Time:
    • 5 Push-Ups
    • 5 Air Squats
    • 5 Sit-Ups
  • Every Minute Until Failure:
    • 1:00 – Do 1 Push-Up
    • 2:00 – Do 2 Push-ups
    • 3:00 – Do 3 Push-ups
    • 10:00 – Do 10 Push-ups
    • Keep going until you can’t do as many push-ups in that minute (i.e. at 20:00 you are only able to do 19 push-ups in that minute)
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 21-15-9:
      • Air Squats
      • Push-Ups
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 5 Hand Stand Push-Ups
    • 20 Sit-Ups
    • 20 Air Squats
  • Hold a Handstand against a wall for a total of 5:00. Rest as needed.
  • For Time:
    • 100 Burpees
  • Tabata Air Squats:
    • 8 Rounds:
      • Squat for 20 seconds
      • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Tabata Push-Ups:
    • 8 Rounds:
      • Push-Ups for 20 seconds
      • Rest for 10 seconds
  • 10 Rounds:
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 10 Burpees

Rings, TRX and Pull-Up Bar WODs

  • Hold an L-sit on the Rings, TRX, or Parallettes for a total of 5:00.  Rest as needed.
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 5 Muscle-Ups (Rings)
    • 10 Push-ups
    • 15 Squats
  • As Many Rounds in 20 Minutes:
    • 5 Pull-Ups
    • 1o Push-Ups
    • 15 Squats
  • Lower the Rings or TRX to a few inches above the ground:
    • 50 full range of motion push-ups, resting only at the top
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Pull-Ups
    • 20 Push-Ups
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 2 Bar Muscle-Ups
    • 4 Pull-Ups
    • 10 Second Hold Chin over Bar
    • 20 Squats

Jump Rope WODs

  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Double-Unders
    • 20 Squats
    • 20 Broad Jumps
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 25 Double-Unders
    • 15 Burpees
  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • 10 Push-Ups
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 10 Double Unders
  • 50-40-30-20-10:
    • Double-Unders
    • Push-Ups
    • Squats
  • 100 Double Unders for Time
  • 10 Rounds:
    • 20 Double-Unders
    • 10 Squats
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Push-Ups
    • 30 Sit-Ups
    • 40 Squats
    • 50 Double-Unders


The combinations and variations of the above workouts are limitless. We recommend you go into each road trip with a plan, or at least a vague list of what workouts you’ll be equipped for. Trying to come up with things on a whim will probably land you in the trap we mentioned above: doing something you’re comfortable with.

Building a decent travel WOD Go-Bag will be a great investment in yourself and in your own personal fitness. Using our tips of what to pack, and suggestions on possible workouts is a great place to start.


Have recommendations for an addition to the Go-Bag? Have a favorite road warrior or travel WOD workout? Let us know in the comments!



Bar Brothers Workout – Workout From Anywhere and Get Strong

Bar Brothers Workout

The Bar Brothers workout system is one of the most effective home calisthenic workouts available anywhere.

Bar Brothers Workout (Lazar)

Bar Brothers (Lazar)

Bar Brothers Workout (Dusan)

Bar Brothers (Dusan)

Home fitness is catching on so quickly that even some of the heavy hitters, like Reebok and Nike, are noticing.  Products are dropping out of the sky, claiming to do what none other can, by getting you fit from home.  But maybe you don’t need to buy any physical product at all?  Wouldn’t that be something?  You may have heard of the Bar Brothers (Lazar and Dusan) from their web site or from their YouTube channel.  They are rising stars in the home fitness world, and while they do have a nice store of gear, their philosophy doesn’t revolve around selling physical products.  They’ve developed a world class 12 week calisthenic program for anyone to use which has become one of the premier at home fitness and strength program in the world.

Don’t believe us?  11 million viewers can’t be wrong.  Watch for yourself!

The Pull-Up Bar: Mission Critical

While nothing in life is guaranteed, we have seen first hand the results of this program.  The Bar Brothers workout program consists of a 12 week program that you can do anywhere you can find a pull-up bar.  In our post about outfitting your home RefuGym with a few essential equipment items, we recommended a solid pull-up bar as the foundation.  The efficacy of the Bar Brothers workout program proves why the pull-up bar really is such a critical tool.

But you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a pull-up bar.  You can go to the park (a little sunlight and Vitamin D might not hurt after all) and use publicly available equipment.  You can even suck it up and go to the gym.  We don’t like globo-gyms, but hey, we won’t judge you if you’re doing solid workouts like the Bar Brothers workout.  There are many places where you can find bars to pull yourself up and over on.  For safety’s sake, make sure it’s solid before trying anything on it, obviously.

The Bar Brothers Workout Program

Once you’ve found a good bar to use, the sky truly is the limit.  The Bar Brothers workout program will guide you through an intense 12 week calisthenic course.  It will show you the ropes and teach you some basic pull-up bar moves and techniques so you can keep up.  This program will help you along the way, above all else, regardless of your experience.  Can’t do a pull-up?  That’s ok!  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Train hard.  You will see the results!

If you’re a refugee, just now escaping the globo-gym, or if you’re a couch potato who is tired of not seeing their toes, you can take advantage of this awesome program!

The philosophy that the Bar Brothers embody is everything we here at RefuGym stand for.  Their fitness is not just for looks.  It is functional by its very definition.  And you can see that their form truly does follow their function, as each of the Bar Brothers appears to be chiseled from granite.

Why Not Just Use My Own Programming?

We’re not saying you can’t but do you really want to reinvent the wheel?  There are many ways to achieve peak physical fitness.  Home programming is one of them.  If you’re interested in following along without doing a ton of mental work to figure out what you need to do next, then this program is for you.  They’ve done the programming and they’ve done the research.  All you need to do is the work!  Do the work and you’ll see the results.

If you have questions about programming, or your progression through the system, the Bar Brothers have a great online presence and a growing community of participants eager to share knowledge.  Once you find a system that works for you, you’ll want to share it with others, which is exactly what the Bar Brothers have done.

Why Bar Brothers?

Bar Brothers WorkoutThe rapid growth of their philosophy and program outpaced their ability to keep up.  Understandably, they grouped their programming into an impressive, affordable online package, which can be accessed on-demand and 24/7.  This benefits you as much as them by allowing you easy access to world class training.

Why should you invest in this program in particular?  We believe the Bar Brothers workout truly is reflective of our core values here at the RefuGym.  World class fitness shouldn’t be something you pay for; it should be something you work for.  It’s something you don’t get by buying a gym membership that you don’t use, or a personal trainer whose job is to take your money.  You may have to spend some money here and there but it should be spent on something that is effective.

We can hands down say that this program works and the results speak for themselves.  The community behind the Bar Brothers workout system is strong and aggressively advocates its effectiveness.

No one will get you fit, functional and strong except you.  There is no hidden agenda.

Drop the words “can’t,” “quit,” and “stop” from your vocabulary and you will never know failure.

Bar Brothers Workout

Click here to sign up for the program and hear their story.

Need special guidance on nutrition?  Click here to take advantage of the Bar Brothers step-by-step guide to eating healthy, burning fat, and building muscle.  Use it in conjunction with their 12 week program and watch the transformation occur.


Tried it out?  Saw results?  Let us know in the comments!

Concept2 Rower Workouts for Your Home Gym

You can’t beat the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine for a home fitness cardio workout like no other.  Concept2 rower workouts simulate open water rowing in a professional row boat.  It features what we call “bomb-proof” construction, an adjustable damper (what many call a difficulty setting), a sophisticated electronic performance monitor, and above all else:  a low impact, dynamic, whole body cardiovascular/metabolic workout you can do from home.

Concept2 rower workouts provide the athlete with a variety of options, from long-slow-distance to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  You can get a high intensity workout from running, but it won’t tax your entire body the way a Concept2 Rower workout will.  You can get a high intensity, whole body workout from swimming, but it won’t provide the resistance and explosive power that a Concept2 Rower workout will.

For all intents and purposes, the Concept2 Rower can’t be beat for a home cardiovascular routine.

The Concept2 is one of our Home Gym Essentials.  It is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you will buy for your RefuGym, but it is worth every penny.  Combined with a StudBar Pull-Up Bar, a good economical Wright Barbell and Wright Bumper Plates, you will have an incredibly dynamic home gym or garage gym, ready to provide a ton of workouts.

There are two main models of the Concept2 Rower, the Model D and the Model E.  We recommend the Model D for your Concept2 rower workouts from home because the Model E tends to be catered to a higher end clientele, interested in more advanced performance monitoring.  Other differences between the E and D are mostly cosmetic and non-essential, and do not specifically improve the function or efficacy of the rower appreciably.  Get the Model D if you’re working out from home or from your garage.

Finally you can cancel your gym membership, workout from home, and be able to say you’ve got your own garage gym!

The below list is a running log of some of our favorite Concept2 Rower Workouts that you can do from home.  If you have a Performance Monitor hooked up to your rower, you can gauge how well you did, and how you’re improving over time.

Concept2 Rower Workouts

Long Slow Distance

  • Row 5K for Time
    • Aim for a 2:00/500m pace
    • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 25 and 30
    • Damper Setting: 5
  • Row 10K for Time
    • Aim for a 2:10/500m pace
    • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 28
    • Damper Setting: 5

Medium Intensity

  • 1K Intervals:
    • Row 1K
      • Aim for a 1:55/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24-28
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • REST for the amount of time it took you to row your first 1K
    • Row 1K
    • Repeat for a total of 5K
  • 500m Intervals:
    • Row 500m
      • Aim for a 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 27
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 3 minutes
    • Repeat for a total of 2.5K

High Intensity

  • 500m Sprints:
    • Row 500m
      • Aim for less than 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 27
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 1:00
    • Repeat 4 times
  • 250m Sprints:
    • Row 250m
      • Aim for less than 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 26
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 20 seconds
    • Repeat 6 times

Keep Things Interesting

The variations on distance:rest are infinite.  We have found that sticking to 5K, 1K, 500m and 250m offers the best results; from there it is all about adjusting the speed at which you row, the stroke pace and the rest time.  Keeping the stroke rate lower than 30 is beneficial because it forces you to use more explosive strength from your legs, rather than just increasing the number of strokes to travel the same distance.  Your goal is to travel as much distance as possible using as few strokes as possible.

If you’re not interested in intervals (but why wouldn’t you be?!), you can always just sit down and start rowing.  The Performance Monitor on the rower will automatically start up and begin tracking your distance.  There’s nothing wrong with the occasional longer distance row at a slower pace; in fact it can be somewhat meditative in its own right.

If you really want a twist, there is a game built into the performance monitor as well, called the Fish Game.  You are a fish, and your goal is to eat smaller fish, while avoiding bigger fish.  Rowing faster causes your fish to swim higher, while resting or rowing slower causes your fish to sink.  You will have to speed up and slow down rapidly in order to dodge various fish, and catch others.  It’s a fun game and it is a good way to vary things up, but it is not the best for structured programming where you’re looking to improve in very specific areas.

Got a Concept2 rower workout you like?  Want to brag about your time?  Let us know in the comments below!