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Tools for Travel ; Your Personal 'Gym in a bag'

By Sean Escaravage

The worst scenario, like ever...

You are on the road for work, leisure, sporting events, or kidnapped. But when you check in at the hotel, you come to find out they don't have a gym! Worse yet, you start to get aches, pains, and feel under the weather just within a day. Now your trip is nearly ruined, with the energy thief lurking around the corner waiting to snatch anything you have left to give.

Well not anymore! Here are your 6 Tools for Travel

Mini-Resistance Bands

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These guys have had a poor reputation in the past, usually because they got paired with beach body, at home booty blast, tan and toned DVD. Thankfully, they have now become a bit more of a staple in training routines for their versatility and super mobility. If you want to develop stable and healthy hips, strong glutes, and be super time efficient, this is a must use. By putting this bad boy around your feet, ankles, wrists, or above the knees, you've just unlocked a plethora of new exercises to curb your needs. This is an essential for any backpack when I am crunched on time,go on a road trip, vacation, sporting event/race, or if I know where I will be staying won't have equipment to utilize...so nearly everywhere I go (Damn, I need to find some more hobbies...)

Mobility WOD Voodoo Floss

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To most, it just looks like a resistance band, but it has much more use than that. By wrapping this around a joint or muscle that hasn't been feeling its best, it can help speed up recovery time, improve range of motion, reduce swelling, and decrease muscle/joint pain (just a few of the benefits). After sitting for a while in a plane, car, work meeting, or at a weekend sports tournament, the body responds with a, "I feel like a 90 year old rickety gate", it needs to be fixed! I started religiously using this everyday after my 45 minute ride to work, and within just a few days my knees and ankles began to be much less stiff. Plus, since adding it into my private students warm ups on problem areas they had, their ability to perform and live much more comfortably has skyrocketed!

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Hydro Flask

This vacuum insulated, stainless steel water bottle has been my best friend since I got it. Aside from its intended use; like keeping hot really hot, and cold things really cold, it has a secret biohacking use that I learned from Tim Ferriss' Evening Routine;

Evening Routine with Tim Ferriss | Tim Ferriss

Oh whaaaaaat!? If it is good enough for Tim, then it is certainly good enough to give a try. Without disappointment, it was a special something to add into my travel bag versus a plastic reusable bottle. Keeping our soft tissues (muscles, tendons, fascia, connective tissue) healthy and happy outside of our typical exercise regime can be tough. But even on the road, there is always a way to not lose what you have been working so hard to achieve and maintain, sometimes it just takes some creativity.

Acupressure Mat

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Back and neck pain, trouble sleeping, and over-stress. Some typical symptoms we can experience weekly, but fall short of discoveringa sustainable way to kick 'em to the curb. Unlike accupuncture, accupressure is non-invasive, but satiates nearly all of the same benefits since it relies on the same points of contact. Rather than needles, this mat provides point specific pressure to;

  • Improve circulation

  • Increase energy levels

  • Relieve pain

  • Activate the parasympathetic nervous system for deep relaxation

  • Improve heart rate variability

  • Reduce cortisol levels for weight loss

  • Revitalize and rejuvenate

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"A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, tested heart rate, body
temperature and other physical reactions to the “nail” mat compared with a soft bed in 32 healthy volunteers during three 20-minute sessions. Findings showed that back temperature was higher on the nail mat than on the soft bed—indicating increased circulation, says study co-author Erik Olsson, who worked on the study at a Swedish rehabilitation clinic and is now a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden. Heart rate slowed and was more variable on the mat—signs the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation, was activated, he adds." (Olsson & Schéele, 2011)
This easily folds down into a carry on bag, and is the staple in my pre-bed routine to promote relaxation, and before any daily tasks to promote circulation (wake up more easily & function better, less groggy). Or, as you can see above, the perfect mat for my 'travel standing desk setup' + Kona Coffee. I share this gift with my private clients in the morning or after a day of work, and their ability to perform, relax, and destress has improved so dramatically! Who would have thought a mat of golf cleats could be so therapeutic?

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Collagen Peptides

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This as an extreme replacement upgrade for your post workout protein shake. This is much more bang for your buck compared to the questionable powders currently on the market. Collagen is the main structural protein found in our connective tissue and skin, which means including it in your nutritional regime can have an impact on improving skin health, hormone balance, thyroid function, digestion, bone and joint health; especially post-exercise when your body is like a sponge to replenish itself. I recommend and have been exclusively taking Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for months (I have no financial affiliation with the company, it is the one I prefer based on quality). When on the road, ideal food choices are not always available, so its's important to be prepared with some back up supplementation. I'm a fan of real foods first, but since this is easily digestible and already a part of our body, it breaks the barrier of a "food replacement". With 18g of protein per serving, adding it to your version of milk with some cinnamon is a great alternative to an 'on-the-go' shake leaving you satiated, restored, and one step closer towards ideal health.


Echinacea

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This fits the list as an essential traveling tool, but more importantly should be an essential everyday tool. It is derived from a group of flowering plants, praised for their medicinal and healthy attributes. Most popular, it is one of the best ways to prevent a cold. I normally take one serving each morning and night, but if I feel any potential sickness coming on, I'll 2-3x the dosage to build up a huge defense wall against the enemy, and so far I have a 100% success rate. Teachers know that schools are essentially a petri-dish of germs, and get knocked around my sickness more often than they would like. Traveling businesswomen and men spending time in airports, crossing paths of thousands of people each month catch whatever is floating through the air. On a daily basis, lack of sleep, poor food choices, extra-stress, and exposure to germs are a constant threat to our well-being. Because if you are sick, you can't properly exercise or move, which then snowballs into other bad decisions, a poor mental state, and we can fall into a hole quickly. So do yourself a favor and pick up this inexpensive hack to better health.

There you have it, the perfect travel kit to add to your bag of underwear, mini hotel soaps and carry on earplugs. Take these along on your next trip to not only make your body happy, but keep your health moving in the right direction amidst the change in routine, thanks!

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Wishing you Great Health and Strength,

Coach Sean