You’ve finalised your flights, booked your hotel and ready to go on your well-deserved holiday. While researching the location for places to see and things to eat, it dawns on you that you’ll be missing training sessions. You’ve been making good progress in the gym and dread the thought of not making progress or even worse, regressing. Now, this thought process may or may not be true for you but since you’re still reading this, I assume that training is important enough to you that missing sessions bother you.

We inevitably have clients that have to miss training due to business trips, holidays, reservist training or *insert reason for missing training*.  Taking into account various factors we advise them on how to plan for the missed sessions. Here are a few recommendations that you can try the next time you have to take a “forced break” from training.


For the more advanced lifter (intermediate and beyond)

we usually program to have the lifter try to hit some PRs before leaving for their break from training. This is especially so if the lifter will be taking a long break and can’t train properly due to lack of equipment or time. However, this requires us to know well in advance so that their training can be programmed for the lifter to peak at the appropriate time.

For less advanced lifters that are taking a long break and can’t train properly due to lack of equipment or time, we’ll program a session with higher volume on their last training session. An example of that can look like this:

4-5 sets of 5

4 sets of 5

2 sets of 5

Bench Press
3-4 sets of 5

Chin up
3-4 sets of AMRAP


Team no days off

If you’re on #teamnodaysoff and pride yourself on never missing a training session, ever, you might still be able to train properly while on a “forced break”. Your best bet is to train at a facility appropriate for your barbell strength training needs that provides high-quality equipment and a great environment would be at a Starting Strength Gym or Affiliate Gym. Should you find yourself in a location that doesn’t have a Starting Strength Gym or Affiliate Gym, here’s your next option.

Thanks to the massive popularity of a fitness regime that promotes constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains™, finding a gym to train in that is conducive for barbell strength training is now easier than ever.

Do a quick Google search for the fitness regime brand that promotes constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains™ and add in the location you’ll be in. In a big enough city, there will invariably be a few gyms that come up on your search. Contact the gym to ask them if they offer drop ins for open gym (not all of them offer open gyms). If they do, awesome. Show up, pay your dues and get back on the gains train.

Your next option would be to do a Google search for barbell/strength gyms and the location you’ll be in. While the chance of finding one is less, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Yes, I know that you can also train at a “Globo Gym” or “Fitness Center” and these places are much more accessible than the facilities mentioned earlier. However, these gyms are not conducive for training. I would highly advise against training at such a location unless that’s your ONLY choice.


Tight schedule or can’t train at a proper gym?

What if you’re on a business trip with a tight schedule and have no time to travel to a proper facility to train? At most hotels, there’ll usually be a gym of some form. If they have dumbbells, great. While this is not optimal for training as we know it, it certainly beats not training, especially if you have frequent business trips.

Should the hotel gym have dumbbells, you can perform dumbbell goblet squats, dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, dumbbell presses and dumbbell bench presses. Throw in some chin-ups or lat pulldowns and you’ll be good to go.

If the hotel gym doesn’t provide dumbbells, your only choice would be bodyweight exercises. This can also apply if you’re in an exotic location in the middle of nowhere. Bulgarian split squats, push-ups and chin-ups will be your best friends till you’re able to access a proper training facility.

With the dumbbell and bodyweight exercises, we prefer them to be performed for 3-4 sets per exercise and unlike our usual recommendation of “Fahve” reps per set, done for higher reps of somewhere in the vicinity of 8-15 reps. Depending on the lifter, bodyweight exercises can be done for more than 8-15 reps – going to failure is an option, if needed.

An example of training with dumbbells can look something like this:

Dumbbell Goblet Squat
3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Dumbbell Press
3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Dumbbell Bench Press
3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Lat Pulldown
3-4 sets of 8-15 reps


While an example of training with bodyweight exercises can look something like this:

Bulgarian Split Squat
3-4 sets of As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)

Push Ups
3-4 sets of AMRAP

Chin Ups
3-4 sets of AMRAP


With all that being said, if you need a break to recuperate mentally and physically, go ahead and take that break. If you’re going on a 10-day hike, don’t worry about training. Enjoy your break, enjoy your hike, enjoy yourself.

Don’t worry about losing all your gains – you won’t “start from scratch” or “forget how to squat” when you get back from your holiday. The gym will be there when you return to welcome you, refreshed and ready to go, back onto the gains train.


My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.