Being away from home and not having equipment is not a reason – at least not a good one – to skip your workout. An effective training session is always possible. You just need motivation and a strategically packed suitcase.
What to pack
Resistance band ($10)
Bands come in varying tensions and have almost limitless possibilities. Stand on them and do exercises such as bicep curls, squats and lateral raises. Or invest in a doorframe attachment and mimic exercises traditionally done on popular gym machines such as triceps press-downs and standing rows.
Something that slides
If training on carpet, use a Frisbee or a paper plate. On tile or hardwood use a towel. Or invest in gliding discs ($20 to $30), which slide easily and add a fun twist to traditional favourites such as push-ups, lunges and planks. Some sample exercises are described below.
Yourself and a pair of running shoes
Walk or jog outside, go up and down the hotel stairs and/or do body-weight exercises such as high knees, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, lunges and planks.
A jump rope ($15+)
Skipping is an inexpensive and convenient way to burn a relatively large amount of calories in a short time. Skipping – even for only five minutes – can feel like a really intense workout.
Both workouts can be done in the smallest hotel room or relative's basement. Some of the less-common exercises are described after the sample workouts.
Make sure to warm up. Do each of the following exercises for one minute: running on the spot, jumping jacks, high knees, bum kicks and finish with skipping (either with a rope or mime having the rope).
Short (20-25 minutes) workout
After your warm-up, do six exercises back to back, each for one minute. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds. Then repeat the circuit one or two more times.
Minute one: Pick a multijoint lower-body exercise such as lunges, squats, glider lunges or squat jumps.
Minute two: Work the front of your upper body. Try push-ups or up/up/down/downs.
Minute three: Do another lower-body exercise. For example, bridges or hamstring glider curls.
Minute four: Work the back of your upper body with band rows, band rotator-cuff external rotations or plank scapular retractions.
Minute five: Do a minute of cardio. Try skipping rope, jumping jacks, burpees or high knees.
Minute six: Do a minute of core work such as planks, side planks or V hold.
Longer workout (45 minutes)
After the warm-up, do two to three cardio Tabata intervals. One cycle of Tabata takes four minutes. The four minutes is made up of eight sets of 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Sample Tabata options include burpees, mountain climbers, skipping or jumping jacks.
Then repeat the following circuit two to three times: 10 lunges, 10 glider lunges, 15 squats, 15 push-ups, 15 band rows, 15 external rotations, 10 scapular retractions and a V hold or a side plank.
Sit on your bum. Lean back 10 degrees, back straight and core engaged. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. To increase the intensity, raise one or both of your legs.
Start in a plank position on your forearms. Don't let your pelvis move as you place your right hand, then your left hand, on the floor so you end up in a high plank. Then, with control, return to your starting position resting on your forearms.
Plank scapular retractions
In a plank position, balancing on your hands and toes, bring your shoulder blades together and then apart. Keep your arms straight and your lower back neutral. Try to activate the muscles between your shoulder blades. Repeat eight times.
Start in a low lunge with your right leg forward and the glider under your left toes. Slide your left foot forward and back 10 times. Make sure to stay low in the lunge with your right knee bent and torso stable. Switch and repeat with the left leg forward.
Glider hamstring curls
Lie on your back with each of your heels on one glider. Lift your hips into a bridge. Straighten and bend your legs so the gliders move to and from your bum. Repeat 15 times.
Wrap a band around something at chest height. Step backward until the band is taut. Your shoulders should be stacked over your hips. Without letting your lower back arch, use your upper back muscles to draw your elbows backward. Pause, then slowly release and repeat 15 times.
Start standing, holding a resistance band horizontal to the floor with both hands, palms up, elbows held into your sides at a 90-degree angle. Keep the 90-degree angle as you rotate both hands out to the side. Don't break at your wrist. Use the muscles around your shoulder blades to initiate the motion. Perform 15 reps.