T Nation

Maintaining Muscle While Travelling

My band recently signed a record deal and we have to go on tour for 7 weeks soon. Touring will become a big part of my life from now on and I will likely be on the road for months at a time. I was a competitive powerlifter until several overlapping recent injuries (not lifting related) and now I am focusing on hypertrophy.

How can I maintain my muscle mass while living out of hotels and a van for extended periods of time?

G’day! Congrats. on the deal! I was in the similar position as you 5 years ago, except I wasn’t smart enough to try to maintain muscle. Here are some tips I hope you will find useful:

-not always easy, but sleep as much as you can. Shows run late, always a party somewhere (if you’re into that), etc… . Ignore it (as best you can) and sleep.

-keep food as clean as possible. Never count on the venue to provide your food, otherwise you will be living on pizza and beer. Tons of good quality protein powder, tuna, lots of low to medium glycemic carbs, and have some good fats. Easy? Hell no! You WILL cheat, you WILL eat bad sometimes, so don’t try to be perfect; just try to be good MOST of the time.

-make bodyweight work your best friend. Gyms aren’t always accessible, nor are they very affordable unless you have decent disposable income. Tailor the bodyweight stuff for hypertrophy, play with tut’s, etc… . Push ups may sound easy but when you do 3.5 minutes down and 1.5 up, it gets damn hard, and will definitely help with musculature. One of the best resources you can get for bodyweight work is ‘the comprehensive bodyweight list’ on the Crossfit site. TONS of great workouts for GPP and functional strength (not sure what the majority here think of Crossfit but, oh well, it has good properties also even if they have really stupid shirts).

I hope this helps. There is probably more stuff but as for some reason I can’t think of it right now. If I do I will post. What kind of music do you guys play? Enjoy the tour, definitely have the time of your life, but don’t overindulge. There will be LOTS of temptation, but by practicing some good self control it will only help.

Good luck and have yourself a blast!

[quote]gnesr wrote:
G’day! Congrats. on the deal! I was in the similar position as you 5 years ago, except I wasn’t smart enough to try to maintain muscle. Here are some tips I hope you will find useful:

-not always easy, but sleep as much as you can. Shows run late, always a party somewhere (if you’re into that), etc… . Ignore it (as best you can) and sleep.

-keep food as clean as possible. Never count on the venue to provide your food, otherwise you will be living on pizza and beer. Tons of good quality protein powder, tuna, lots of low to medium glycemic carbs, and have some good fats. Easy? Hell no! You WILL cheat, you WILL eat bad sometimes, so don’t try to be perfect; just try to be good MOST of the time.

-make bodyweight work your best friend. Gyms aren’t always accessible, nor are they very affordable unless you have decent disposable income. Tailor the bodyweight stuff for hypertrophy, play with tut’s, etc… . Push ups may sound easy but when you do 3.5 minutes down and 1.5 up, it gets damn hard, and will definitely help with musculature. One of the best resources you can get for bodyweight work is ‘the comprehensive bodyweight list’ on the Crossfit site. TONS of great workouts for GPP and functional strength (not sure what the majority here think of Crossfit but, oh well, it has good properties also even if they have really stupid shirts).

I hope this helps. There is probably more stuff but as for some reason I can’t think of it right now. If I do I will post. What kind of music do you guys play? Enjoy the tour, definitely have the time of your life, but don’t overindulge. There will be LOTS of temptation, but by practicing some good self control it will only help.

Good luck and have yourself a blast![/quote]

Will you have a tour bus? Do other band members lift?

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]gnesr wrote:
G’day! Congrats. on the deal! I was in the similar position as you 5 years ago, except I wasn’t smart enough to try to maintain muscle. Here are some tips I hope you will find useful:

-not always easy, but sleep as much as you can. Shows run late, always a party somewhere (if you’re into that), etc… . Ignore it (as best you can) and sleep.

-keep food as clean as possible. Never count on the venue to provide your food, otherwise you will be living on pizza and beer. Tons of good quality protein powder, tuna, lots of low to medium glycemic carbs, and have some good fats. Easy? Hell no! You WILL cheat, you WILL eat bad sometimes, so don’t try to be perfect; just try to be good MOST of the time.

-make bodyweight work your best friend. Gyms aren’t always accessible, nor are they very affordable unless you have decent disposable income. Tailor the bodyweight stuff for hypertrophy, play with tut’s, etc… . Push ups may sound easy but when you do 3.5 minutes down and 1.5 up, it gets damn hard, and will definitely help with musculature. One of the best resources you can get for bodyweight work is ‘the comprehensive bodyweight list’ on the Crossfit site. TONS of great workouts for GPP and functional strength (not sure what the majority here think of Crossfit but, oh well, it has good properties also even if they have really stupid shirts).

I hope this helps. There is probably more stuff but as for some reason I can’t think of it right now. If I do I will post. What kind of music do you guys play? Enjoy the tour, definitely have the time of your life, but don’t overindulge. There will be LOTS of temptation, but by practicing some good self control it will only help.

Good luck and have yourself a blast![/quote]

Will you have a tour bus? Do other band members lift?[/quote]

thanks gnesr – it’s gonna be tough with bodyweight exercises but i guess it’s the only option I have! And we play metal btw

  • we don’t have a tour bus, just a van and a trailer for all our gear + none of the other guys lift :\

The lead singer for Danzig managed to stay pretty jacked … Actually saw some of the band in my gym years ago on the day of their show in town …my friends and I went to see them and they we’re pointing to us and flexing their biceps from the stage, lol

After you get a schedule I would sit down each week and decide what towns have a gym you COULD use and develop a routine around that accessibility. I travel a bunch for work now, and as soon as I get word I have to go somewhere I’m googling gyms in town …

It’s a pain in the ass but it can be done. Probably get a deal with gyms explaining who you are, maybe throw some free passes or t shirts out (if you have them) to cut down on the crazy gym non-member rates…also getting a membership with a major gym chain (like Golds) will get you a travel pass, where you can use any of their gyms nationwide

Congrats man - that’s awesome

[quote]nietzsche420 wrote:

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]gnesr wrote:
G’day! Congrats. on the deal! I was in the similar position as you 5 years ago, except I wasn’t smart enough to try to maintain muscle. Here are some tips I hope you will find useful:

-not always easy, but sleep as much as you can. Shows run late, always a party somewhere (if you’re into that), etc… . Ignore it (as best you can) and sleep.

-keep food as clean as possible. Never count on the venue to provide your food, otherwise you will be living on pizza and beer. Tons of good quality protein powder, tuna, lots of low to medium glycemic carbs, and have some good fats. Easy? Hell no! You WILL cheat, you WILL eat bad sometimes, so don’t try to be perfect; just try to be good MOST of the time.

-make bodyweight work your best friend. Gyms aren’t always accessible, nor are they very affordable unless you have decent disposable income. Tailor the bodyweight stuff for hypertrophy, play with tut’s, etc… . Push ups may sound easy but when you do 3.5 minutes down and 1.5 up, it gets damn hard, and will definitely help with musculature. One of the best resources you can get for bodyweight work is ‘the comprehensive bodyweight list’ on the Crossfit site. TONS of great workouts for GPP and functional strength (not sure what the majority here think of Crossfit but, oh well, it has good properties also even if they have really stupid shirts).

I hope this helps. There is probably more stuff but as for some reason I can’t think of it right now. If I do I will post. What kind of music do you guys play? Enjoy the tour, definitely have the time of your life, but don’t overindulge. There will be LOTS of temptation, but by practicing some good self control it will only help.

Good luck and have yourself a blast![/quote]

Will you have a tour bus? Do other band members lift?[/quote]

thanks gnesr – it’s gonna be tough with bodyweight exercises but i guess it’s the only option I have! And we play metal btw

  • we don’t have a tour bus, just a van and a trailer for all our gear + none of the other guys lift :
    [/quote]
    Probably have to get a membership at one of the nationwide chains, 24 hour or planet or something would be my guess.

Avoiding groupies, fast food, cocaine, heroin and alcohol will be the hard part :slight_smile:

I would consider investing in a pair of adjustable dumbbells and/or a sandbag. I would say they’re pretty versatile tools. Throw one of them in with some bodyweight exercises combined as a circuit and you might have yourself a pretty good workout.

Hey guys sorry for such a late reply – been doing so much band stuff I haven’t had time to log in or do a whole lot else. I’m doing what I can on the road, brought a few dumbbells to do extremely slow reps with to get whatever burn/pump I can get. Brought my fat gripz extreme to make it even better. Also staying away from drinking quite a lot. Don’t really have to time to drink on the road to be honest. I was finding it hard to get a decent chest pump until I started doing supinated grip pushups holding onto dumbbells. Great lower chest pump.

Anyways thanks everyone for the advice – It has been a great help. If you guys are interested in what I do (music-wise) here is the link:

From my experience of staying fit while flitting between two jobs:
Deadlifts are going to be difficult for you. Consider suitcase deadlifts for high reps.
While few objects in this world are heavy enough to provide a good deadlifting experience, and those that are are often too heavy, there are many heavy objects in this world and few of them are so heavy that they cannot be cleaned and pressed.

A pair of adjustable dumbells would be awesome. You can pretty much do anything with them that you can with a kettlebell, but don’t tell anybody. It’s supposed to be a secret.
Running like hell is always a good option, and may come in handy during your tour.
I hope your tour rocks harder than a ford fiesta unwisely taken on a honeymoon.

Funny enough, I saw Scale the Summit this summer and in their trailer they packed a whole set of adjustable DBs, an adjustable bench and a couple other things.

How are the groupies nowadays? Back in the day rock stars had some mint groupies, but as you know rock and metal is becoming less and less mainstream. I wonder if the quality of the groupies is diminishing as a result.

My son is the lead guitarist for a metal band , Job for a Cowboy. When they travel the US they have an Olympic set and benches, and a squat rack. Guitar Magazine mentioned them a few years ago in an article about odd things bands do on the road. This summer they were on the Mayhem Fest and he worked out almost every day.

They got a lot of other guy’s from bands that all got together and worked out. When not sure of what’s available in Europe for gyms, he takes the Terrell Owen’s band set, does bodyweight, chins, and odd lifts with guitars, amps, staging, etc.A TRX is also a portable gym that fits in a bag.He usually doesn’t lose much strength on tour. It can be done.

[quote]Josann wrote:
My son is the lead guitarist for a metal band , Job for a Cowboy. When they travel the US they have an Olympic set and benches, and a squat rack. Guitar Magazine mentioned them a few years ago in an article about odd things bands do on the road. This summer they were on the Mayhem Fest and he worked out almost every day.

They got a lot of other guy’s from bands that all got together and worked out. When not sure of what’s available in Europe for gyms, he takes the Terrell Owen’s band set, does bodyweight, chins, and odd lifts with guitars, amps, staging, etc.A TRX is also a portable gym that fits in a bag.He usually doesn’t lose much strength on tour. It can be done.[/quote]

Brilliant! Your son has done quite well for himself, glad to see that! I have a band set from EliteFTS which has served me well. Just got a new trailer so I’ll be able to fit some more dumbells in there, not likely a whole squat rack though. Tell your son I’m a big fan. Cheers

[quote]Der_Steppenwolfe wrote:
From my experience of staying fit while flitting between two jobs:
Deadlifts are going to be difficult for you. Consider suitcase deadlifts for high reps.
While few objects in this world are heavy enough to provide a good deadlifting experience, and those that are are often too heavy, there are many heavy objects in this world and few of them are so heavy that they cannot be cleaned and pressed.

A pair of adjustable dumbells would be awesome. You can pretty much do anything with them that you can with a kettlebell, but don’t tell anybody. It’s supposed to be a secret.
Running like hell is always a good option, and may come in handy during your tour.
I hope your tour rocks harder than a ford fiesta unwisely taken on a honeymoon.[/quote]

Thanks man! I’ve definitely been lacking in my deadlifts. After I broke my foot earlier this year my glute virtually shut off from overactivation. I’m barely deadlifting 405 now compared to my 585 pull when I weighed 10lbs less -_-

Trying to restrengthen everything while touring sucks, and feels damn near impossible.

[quote]Gettnitdone wrote:
How are the groupies nowadays? Back in the day rock stars had some mint groupies, but as you know rock and metal is becoming less and less mainstream. I wonder if the quality of the groupies is diminishing as a result. [/quote]

It really depends what city you’re in. But it’s also not the 80’s anymore… unfortunately