In a past life, I was a musical theater person and toured this great land in three different productions. Although I’ve spent time in every major city in the continental United States, I have also performed for the citizens of such major metropolises as Orange, Texas, Thomasville, Georgia and Ogdensburg, NY. Suffice to say, I have spent my fair share of time in hotels (and even the occasional motel) where the “fitness center” was a room in the basement with a Soloflex machine next to a broken treadmill. As a result of this experience, I became an expert at improvising workouts on the road. I am happy to share the tips that helped me stay in shape while living out of a suitcase.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Here’s something I learned on the road: when we got to a new city if I didn’t workout within the first 30-45 minutes of arrival, I often didn’t work out. You are going to feel fatigued from travelling but it’s essential that you fight through that feeling and get exercising sooner rather than later. If you are staying in a particular place for a number of days, getting right to work will help establish a routine in your temporary home. If it’s a shorter stay and you are there on business and the next few days are likely to be filled with meetings and lunches and lunch meetings, you will have at least gotten one solid workout in.
OVERCOMING LIMITED TIME AND ENERGY
Travelling is exhausting and if you are travelling for business your days (and nights) are likely to be filled with meetings and lunches and lunch meetings. In exercise, consistency trumps intensity, so something is better than nothing. Every workout doesn’t need to be the greatest, longest workout of your life.
YOUR HOTEL ROOM IS A GYM IN DISGUISE
If you have no better option, give yourself a twenty-minute hotel room workout. Warm up your body for five minutes, do some pushups, some squat thrusts, some planking, use the chair from the desk that’s in the same spot in every hotel room in the country for dips. Basically keep moving for 10-15 minutes taking 15-20 second rest periods in between sets of the same exercise and resting no more than one minute before moving on to your next exercise. After you’ve finished, take a solid 5 minutes to cool down and stretch. If you’ve been flying, stretching after your workout becomes especially important.
GET YOURSELF SOME RESISTANCE BANDS
Resistance bands are inexpensive, easy to pack and come in a variety of resistance levels. You can mimic nearly any exercise you would do with free weights with the bands. I actually incorporate the bands into my regular non-travelling training programs as they have benefits that working with weights alone do not provide. Because, unlike with free weights, the resistance level of the band increases as you move through a range of motion, you work the muscle fibers in a different way.
So there you have my two cents on the subject. Let me know how it goes the next time you are on the road and stay off that broken treadmill.