Tosca Reno at the gym showing how you can take your workout on the road

How Can You Take Your Workout on the Road?

Welcome to Part II of sticking to your Eat Clean Lifestyle while on the road!

In my previous article, How to Eat Clean When Traveling, I shared how to manage accessing clean food on the road. It’s easy to do with the right information.

Naturally what follows is the question of how to train while traveling, especially when there is no guarantee of a gym at your destination. Often it’s hard to know what kind of equipment is available even if there is a gym.

It’s wise to have your own Plan B when it comes to taking your workout on the road.

Missing a workout, no matter where I am, is not an option for me, no matter where in the world I am. I feel better when I incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise at a MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) of 65% or greater, five to six times a week.

[Calculate MHR = 220 – your age]

Plan B to Workout on the Road

My backup plan is highly portable and easy to follow.

Fortunately there are a number of ingenious, ultralight pieces of fitness equipment that can easily be packed into your suitcase. While small, they help you produce a surprisingly challenging workout on the road–or at home when you can’t go to a gym.

I discovered this when I hosted a wellness retreat in Costa Rica. While the villa was gorgeous there was no gym in which to train my clients. This was an essential part of the retreat experience I was offering. That also meant there was no gym equipment. How would I deliver five days worth of challenging workouts for my clients?

Tosca Reno wearing yoga clothes and tying her shoes in the gym

Necessity being the mother of invention, this is where my Suitcase Workout was born.

The Equipment for the Suitcase Workout

Taking your workout on the road is as easy as packing the simplest exercise tools in your suitcase. While seemingly insignificant, these light weight bands and balls deliver a serious workout.

Suitcase Workout Equipment:

  1. Bender ball
  2. Mini Bands
  3. Resistance loop
  4. Weighted skipping rope

The Bender Ball

The Bender ball, also known as a Pilates ball, increases your workout options and increases the intensity of an exercise.

Smaller than a stability ball, about 7-9 inches in diameter when inflated, it is used in different ways, particularly as a kinesthetic cue. You can hold it between your thighs, knees or ankles, place it behind your knees or at the base of your spine, as a few examples.

The Bender ball is most useful for training abs. A short 10 minute ab workout, quickly leaves you shaking like few other ab workouts can. This tiny squishy ball forces you to recruit little used muscles, particularly the lower abs and stabilizer muscles, to engage as you work.

At an average cost of USD $10, it’s a small investment in your fitness.

Mini Bands

Mini Bands are always in my suitcase, as the preferred way of providing resistance training while on the road. I particularly like fabric mini bands with an anti-slip barrier because these don’t ride up or tear and are more comfortable against the skin.

Mini bands are small resistance loops that go around hips, ankles or arms and come in varying strengths from light (14-15 pounds), to Medium (25-35 pounds) to Heavy (35-50 pounds).

These mini bands can integrate easily into any resistance training program, including kettlebell and weight training, yoga, Pilates and other fitness practices. Fabulous for developing strength, stability, flexibility, range of motion and balance, mini bands are perfect for all skill levels and fit nicely in your suitcase taking up little space and weight.

A set of 3 bands can cost as little as USD $24.

Resistance Loops

Resistance Loops are basically the same as mini bands but are full size loops. These longer loops allow for greater range of motion exercises like standing cable kickbacks, assisted pull-ups, bicycle crunches, and much more.

Like mini bands, full resistance loops come in varying levels of resistance from 15 pounds up to 175 pounds. You can get your beast mode on with that last heaviest resistance!

Pack a few resistance loops of varying resistance strengths into your suitcase when you’re on the go and you’ll be able to work out anywhere, giving your body a solid weight lifting experience.

Weighted Skip Ropes

Weighted Skip Ropes are the king of cardio equipment, giving you the kind of exercise intensity you’re looking for, and then some!! Skipping is among the most aerobically challenging exercises, but doing it with a weighted rope intensifies it even more.

However challenging it may be, skipping is for all levels of fitness enthusiasts. Skipping, like swimming, is a whole body exercise challenging multiple muscle groups, brain coordination as well as your heart/lung engine. Exercise testing shows that just 10 minutes of jumping with a weighted skip rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of running.

Tuck one of these into your bag and you’ll be able to get your cardio fix no matter where you are.

Tosca Reno doing an arm stretch for a workout on the road

Putting it all Together

Moving your body is medicine, and with more and more science supporting the need for exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s necessary to find ways to include it in your calendar, whether in your own hometown or on the road.

Here is a workout for you to try in whatever corner of the world you’re in. Do it all the way through for a thorough full body challenge. Or break it up to suit your time frame.

The Workout on the Road


  • Bender ball
  • Mini band
  • Full loop resistance band
  • Skip rope

Warm up

Skip for 5 minutes

The Moves

Skaters with Bender ball
10 left, 10 right x 2

Travelling Skaters with Bender ball
10 left, 10 right x 2

Triceps overhead with full resistance band
Elbows tight to side of the head
10-12 reps x 3 sets

Biceps 21’s with full resistance loop
7 curls from hanging down to waist
7 curls from waist to chest
7 full range curls
3 sets all the way through

Reverse lunges with mini band around thighs, with 4 little pulses in lunge position
10 left, 10 right x 2 sets

V-sit Russian twist, feet off the ground, 1 Bender ball behind back, 1 Bender ball in your hands
10 left, 10 right touching Bender ball to the ground as you twist x 2

Catapult situp to press, with Bender ball
12 situps
12 situps
12 situps

V-sit Hold with Bender ball in small of back
Feet off the ground
Hold for a count of 12
Hold for a count of 12
Hold for a count of 12

Supine Bridges with band on thighs, feet wide
15 full range pulses
15 little pulses at the top
15 fast paced pulses
15 single leg L, cross left leg over right
15 single leg L, little pulses for 15
15 single leg R, cross right over left
15 single leg R, little pulses for 15
Supine Bridges with feet on Bender ball
Ankles squeezed together, knees and thighs too
15 full range pulses
15 little pulses
15 fast full range pulses

Reverse Crunch
Hands under butt
Lift butt off the ground
15 crunches

Bicycles with band on feet
15 L and R

Physio ball windshield wipers with Bender ball between ankles
15 reps L and R

Physio ball pass
On back, pass ball between feet and hands, extending body long and lean
12 reps

Physio ball hamstring curl
Place feet on physio ball
Draw the ball towards the butt, then straighten
10 reps

Supine adductors with physio ball
Little pulses for 20 reps
Then hold for a count of 5
Little pulses for 12

Yoga Rows holding Bender ball straight out in front of you
Hold the ball out in front of you
Dig heels into the ground and keep your feet on the ground all the time
Very slow lower down, extend the ball all the way over your head.
Then come back up.
8 reps

Deadbugs, passing Bender ball from left to right
10 per side

Plank with Bender ball between thighs
2 X hold as long as you can

Plank jax with band around ankles
20 resp

Cobra curls
Draw bender ball to you and arch upwards, on tummy
5 reps

8 reps per side


Stay Informed & Inspired

Stay informed and inspired with the best of the week in Los Angeles, etc. and more ...

Stay informed & Inspired


Stay Informed & Inspired

Stay informed and inspired with the best of the week in Los Angeles, etc. and more ...

Stay informed & Inspired