June 12, 2013

Ask The Personal Trainer: Hotel Room Workout


So in this next installment of "Ask the Personal Trainer," we take on the following question:

Do you have any recommendations for a portable 10-30 minute workout that could be done in a hotel room or other not-well-equipped space? Something that either just uses body weight or something that might be handy or wouldn't be too difficult or expensive to bring along?

So let's see what we got!



Dave Smith!

[Dave Smith is a personal trainer who specializes in quick and effective body weight exercise routines that can be done anywhere, anytime - Check him out at MakeYourBodyWork.com]


Great question! (one that I know a lot of people are asking)

A few years ago I noticed a trend with a number of my clients. Throughout the year they would establish a great routine of regular exercise and this would translate into awesome results on the scale and around the waistline. Then summer would roll around and inconsistent schedules combined with lots of traveling would undo much of their progress. It was pretty disheartening for them (and me) to start from scratch in September.

Seeing this pattern prompted me to change my personal training practice. I basically gave up using exercise equipment in favour of teaching my clients how to get effective workouts done with just their bodyweight. No more excuses!

Eventually my exercise programs turned into an online system called Make Your Body Work that allows anyone to join in with my workouts wherever they are. Here are the principles I follow to ensure a bodyweight workout is an effective one:

1. Balanced Workouts - Doing a bunch of push-ups and crunches is not a workout. Our bodies are meant to do all kinds of movements - push, pull, squat, bend, lunge, twist - So a good bodyweight workout should incorporate as many of those movements as possible.

2. Keep It Short - Often the hardest part of exercising at home or on the road is simply getting started. When a workout is intended to take an hour or more it becomes quite a mental hurdle to jump. Planning a quick workout (maybe just 20 minutes) is much less daunting and therefore much more likely to happen.

3. Pump Up The Intensity - Quick workouts are very effective...when they are intense! That's the great thing about bodyweight workouts - There are no weights to change or equipment to rotate through so it becomes easy to move directly from one exercise right into the next. Fewer breaks equals greater intensity and better results.

Here's a sample workout that captures these 3 principles very well. These are the types of bodyweight exercises we use in the Make Your Body Work program - I hope you enjoy it!



Next up, we have

Adria Ali



[Adria is a personal trainer with 3 certifications and a Bachelors of Science in Kinesology. She's been training full time for over 12 years and running Fit Tip Daily.com for the last 5 years. She is also creator and owner of LAFitnessStore.com and Body Burn Boot Camp Arcadia, CA].



If you are looking for a fun and awesome workout while traveling then the TRX is it!!

This body weight suspension training device allows you to get a killer workout in half the time with very little equipment.

For my clients and my personal workout routines I use the TRX Suspension training system and the door mount. I also use this apparatus while training clients in the park.

No matter what your goal, size, or level, this piece of equipment suits everyone. I've had 200 lb men sweating in less them 10 minutes and I've had sweet little grandma doing stability and strength exercises.

You can use it in your hotel or venture outside and loop it around a sturdy tree. It weighs less then 10 lbs and can roll up into a small bag. They are somewhat spendy but they are worth every penny because they are SO FUN and ADDICTIVE.

This is one of my favorite exercises. I call it the hanging row





The best part about the TRX is that you can adjust the strap to reflect the intensity of your workout. They easily slide up and down. The lower the straps are to the ground the harder the exercise (for upper body exercises). You can also move from one exercise to the next with ease so you save time. What would normally be an hour and a half workout at the gym turn into 30-40 mins on the TRX.

Traveling or not the TRX is a great addition to any workout routine.....

Keep Burning!

And finally, advice from a total non-expert who has also been known to employ suspension devices:

Crabby McSlacker


[Crabby has no official training or credentials for offering training advice. (At least not yet--more on that later). So you should probably ignore whatever she says.]


Exercise options while staying in a hotel:

1. Double check that they don't have a cramped dingy workout room somewhere that's so hideous they don't even advertise it. If so, proceed to use it and complain bitterly about the shitty broken-down equipment, the temperature, and all the stuff they should have but don't.

2. If not, see if there are nearby gyms with day passes, trails to run on, playgrounds or fields nearby, stairs to run up and down, or any conceivable option at all besides having to work out in a hotel room.

3. Consider the possibility that you may have already worked out! Did you nearly miss an airport connection and have to sprint a mile and a half through the airport with two heavy carry-ons? Have you had to visit the front desk at the hotel 7 times because your card key keeps demagnetizing? Have you been wrestling with heavy pieces of furniture in order to find a goddamned outlet or two to recharge your electronics?

4. See if the TV carries one of those exercise channels, or better yet, find some hilariously cheesy 80's music channels and see if you could possibly make more of an ass of yourself dancing along to them than the singers are making of themselves.



5. If you must fashion some sort of "real" workout, use gravity as much as possible: pushups, dips, squats, lunges, supermans, planks, bridges etc (and burpees if you don't mind annoying the crap out of the people below you).

Alas, this still leaves the "lifty" type moves, and if you haven't thought to bring a couple of stretchy bands or a suspension trainer, consider seeing if there's a nearby store that has gallon water jugs. Or try using heavy luggage, ottomons, couch ends, or anything else you can grab.

And do remember to hang out the "Do not disturb" sign so as not to unduly freak out the hotel staff!

Anyone else struggle to keep fit while traveling?  What do you do for exercise?






37 comments:

  1. when I travel is when I MOST APPRECIATE THE FACT I RARELY WORKOUT IN A GYM (she shouts :-))
    my exercise routine (stairs, bands, hula hops, body weight stuffs) changes not much at all.

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  2. For all these years, with all the traveling I have done all around the world, a pair of running shoes + putting them on + going out the front door of the hotel + running has worked really well for me. Got to see a lot of interesting scenery that way too.

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    1. Running rocks, Dr. J, at least for those with the joints for it!

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  3. Excellent! I travel a lot and have used it as an excuse in the past to not exercise. Not anymore. My personal trainer gave me a few body weight/simple cardio workouts that I can take everywhere.

    I have run up flights of stairs repeatedly when the environment was not the best for a long run.

    Airports (and airplanes when not too packed) are one of my favorite place to do yoga poses! :-)

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    1. We'll have to travel together sometime HSH, because I've been known to do push ups and squats and lunges at airports, and I'd look less conspicuous if you were posing right along side me!

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  4. Yeah!! I have so been looking for an excuse to buy a TRX! Love it but the doors in my house are almost cardboard and my tree is only three so too young yet. Well it's not like I don't already need a handy man to come and fix stuff. He can put up an anchor or maybe two so I can hang a hammock as well!

    Exercising on a hotel floor anywhere even with a mat...No! I would rather find a park. Also, why do some smokers insist on throwing their cigarettes in the pool at hotels. Some people are just rotten!

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    1. TRX's are a bit price, but I think there are some DIY options too. And as to cigarette butts in the pool? ACCCCK!! What is WRONG with people?

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  5. I have gone into many a hotel dingy workout room and endured their beat up treadmill and mismatched weight sets until I realized my favourite thing is just to go our for a run. See where I am and be outside :)

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    1. So much nicer to get outdoors geosomin, I'm with ya! Alas, I can not run on hard surfaces, so unless there is a nearby trail, not usually an option which sucks. :(

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  6. I've done my Tibetan Rites in hotel rooms, but for the most part I consider travel an exercise freebie. That said, stay in a hotel a mile plus from where you eat and walk the whole way. That was my last travel "workout."

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    1. That actually sounds like a sensible lifestyle plan, Leah, to walk at least a mile to get to each meal!

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  7. I usually do check out the hotel gym and try to catch it when it's fairly empty. Otherwise if it's just one or two days -- I'll just take them as rest days. If it's somewhere with water and surf it's all water sports for me. I would love to have a TRX though!

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    1. Rest days are indeed a sensible plan if it's a short trip Joyce, especially for folks like you who work out like demons most of the time.

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  8. I always take Turbo Fire or Combat with me because I can get a great workout in a hotel room. When I Jordan was a baby, we spent 6 weeks in a hotel so we could hang with Chris - I used to carry Jordan up & down the hotel stairs for 30-45 minutes. Good times!!! I'm pretty sure that I annoyed a lot of people based on the stares I got - oh, well!!!

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    1. Using an infant as an exercise prop, outstanding Kim! Though the dvd plan also sounds quite sensible. :)

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  9. The good thing about this is that i can do it in the room even when i'm sharing the room!

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    Replies
    1. True, messymimi, and maybe you can even coax others into it as well!

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  10. You are a hoot! I rarely travel so this is not much of an issue for me. But I do like Dave Smith's ideas and could use them at home.

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    1. Dave has some great ideas and videos mk! "Travel" workouts come in handy just to mix things up sometimes.

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    2. Glad you like them mk! There's so much we can do without any equipment...just need a little creativity!

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  11. When I travel it usually involves walking a lot. Even when I used to go to conferences and sit in meetings most of the day I would still wind up walking for miles. I remember going to one conference and not packing a bathing suit because the schedule looked like there wouldn't be time to use the hotel pool, and then going out and buying one when I found out the pool was open until midnight. I do tend to skimp on yoga in hotels, because it's hard to think up a balanced routine that keeps my face away from the dust-filled carpet.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Ah, never thought about the condition of hotel room carpets, Mary Anne, especially for those with allergies! And walking is great exercise as well as a nice way to take advantage of being somewhere different.

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  12. Death Ride GrandmaJune 13, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Thanks - I love my TRX, but somehow it never occurred to me to bring it along on a trip. I do bring my bike, which is too expensive and painfully slow to take apart and reassemble. I'll still do that most of the time, but TRX will now keep it company. It actually makes a pretty good playground - my granddaughter loves to twist it up and hang from it as it twirls her around. Which makes me think back to that playground-confessions blog post: perhaps the local swings & monkey bars would offer pretty decent opportunities, too.

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    1. Wait, DRG, you take your bike along? I'm impressed!!

      And yeah, the TRX in the doorway thing is really helpful on the road. Not quite as much freedom of movement as when it's hanging vertically off a ceiling fixture, but still handy.

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  13. HA! Learn something new everyday..Nice work. I do own a TRX but never use it much because I go to the gym. But travel use makes perfect sense.

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  14. I do cardio and balance strengthening exercises in the room or the weight room if it's decent. Also enjoy a run around the Hotel, check out the scenery. I often use my travel luggage bag as a weight and jump over and around exercise :). It the Hotel offers a swimming pool, I often do multiple exercises in the water.

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  15. I don't travel. How sad is that!? When I used to travel a lot, it was for performances and that meant being outdoors for two days in a row, from around nine in the morning till five at night...walking around in Elizabethan peasant costumes, playing at least three stage performances. I got plenty of exercise. Hotels were for sleeping! lol Oh, and showers. :D

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  16. these are great, but I must admit I like the third expert best. Especially the reminder to see if maybe you already worked out! I think the first bit of advice that our bodies need lots of different kinds of movements combined with the 80's dance music is the golden ticket. That's what I'll be doing next we travel.

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  17. Well, I don't travel much.. :) On vacation, it is usually a time for me to do less than my crazy workouts so I bring exercise bands & check for a gym with weights. I try to do outside activity for the cardio & work in the weights early morn or later - but I plan for only 3-4 days of exercise & the rest play.. hopefully! :)

    I guess I would always check for a gym & take bands just in case. :)

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  19. Wow, you say that I can work out in hotel room??? Thats cool!!!

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  20. TRX is an awesome invention. With two bands it is possible to shape the body easily and in a natural way. It's fun and gives me a special motivation. But I also like the conventional bodyweight exercises. You don't have to bring much or anything with you. If you know the right exercises...

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  21. This is an excellent one to have for random exercises. I do exercise while on the go even for just a couple of minutes.

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  22. TRX is great but it might not be safe and appropriate to use it in hotel rooms or unfamiliar locations while travelling. I would stick to mini 20 minute circuits incorporating lunges, squats, push ups, tricep dips, burpees, ab crunches and running up and down stairs. I would also recommend taking a jump/skipping rope for cardio as it is easy to pack and you can almost always find a bit of outdoor space in which to use it.

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  23. Workout can assist keep excess fat obtain or perhaps assist keep fat reduction. Once you do physical activity, you burn off calorie consumption. The greater powerful the game, the greater calorie consumption you burn off.

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  24. I'm taking a lot of business trips lately, so I'm away from my gym a lot, and this is a lot of great advice to keep myself active out-of-state. I also like how there are two trainer opinions! I now have a lot of new things to try and I can see what works for me!

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