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Staying in Shape on the Road: Hotel Room Workouts for the Business Traveler

October 28th, 2016 /
hotel room workout

Image credit: Flickr user Jen Knoedl (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve made a personal vow to get my workout routine in order, regardless of where my job takes me. Staying in shape physically helps me stay balanced mentally—an investment that pays off during crazy weeks of back-to-back client meetings.

The vast majority of the time, working out on the road is pretty easy to do. But I’ve occasionally found myself staring through the glass at hotel fitness rooms that are inexplicably closed, or else I just wind up with a schedule so packed that a trip to Planet Fitness isn’t going to happen. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to turn your hotel room into a personal gym. With the right resources, no time and no equipment are no problem at all.

Cardio Training

Cardio is the building block of any fitness routine, and luckily it’s easy to do even when you can’t get outside for a run. Try one of these alternatives:

  • A jump rope. It’s easy to pack a jump rope even if you’ve only brought a carry-on, and it provides a quick, effective way to get your heart rate up. I suggest you request a ground floor hotel room if at all possible, to avoid disturbing other guests.
  • Running stairs. One of the most effective forms of cardio training—and every hotel has a staircase, usually a very long one that is used infrequently by other guests.
  • Squat jumps are a combination of cardio and strength training. You perform a regular squat and then, as the name implies, jump upward before landing back in a squat. The trick is to land as lightly as possible, which, again, keeps you from disturbing other guests but also strengthens your calf muscles (and helps you avoid foot injuries). Squat jumps are great for burning a lot of calories very quickly. A 10-1 rep cycle takes me less than 15 minutes, but I always feel the burn afterward.

Strength Training

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build muscle without weights. Try one of these options for equipment-free strength training:

  • Push-ups. Often dismissed as “amateur” but still extremely effective, push-ups target your core, quads, and upper body at the same time. Assuming you’re not a fitness guru, you actually get the most benefit from push-ups if they’re not part of your daily routine. 2-4 times a week seems to be the sweet spot for most people, making this the perfect stop-gap activity for nights when you’re likely to miss the gym.
  • Planks. A good way to strengthen your core, and preferable to sit-ups (which do nothing for many of your core muscles and can be hard on your back). Start on the floor, with your forearms out in front of you and your legs stretched behind you, then raise yourself up so that your weight falls on your forearms. Hold the position for as long as you can.
  • Squat jumps aren’t just good cardio. They also help strengthen your lower body, including glutes, quads, and calves.

Simple Yoga Poses

The beautiful thing about yoga is that it requires no equipment, relieves stress, and provides an effective workout. Basically, it was made for business travelers. If you practice yoga regularly, you’ve probably got a favorite routine already, but for newbies, the below poses are simple to learn:

  • Downward-facing dog. Good for lower back pain. Get on your hands and knees, with your arms spread slightly away from each other and your abdomen relaxed. Lift your hips and arch your back to form a V shape, rolling from your toes onto your heels. Hold the pose for a few deep breaths.
  • Sphinx. Another one that’s great for back pain. Get on all fours, then lower yourself to the ground, resting your forearms in front of you. Press your upper body forward, leaning into your palms and stretching your feet out behind you. Hold the pose for a couple of minutes.
  • Standing forward fold. This feels amazing after you’ve been sitting all day. Stand and spread your feet a little apart, knees slightly bent. Take a breath, then bend forward at the waist, toward the floor. Don’t force yourself to go lower than feels comfortable. Hold or repeat the pose.

Fitness Video Apps and Websites

Workout videos have come a long way from their VHS roots. You can find them everywhere. In fact, the trickiest part is often sorting through all your options. Toward that end, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Blogilates.com includes both full-length and short fitness videos for full-body or target area workouts. The instructor guides you through moves in 5-30 minute videos, and the site provides additional fitness-related material like clean eating recipes and monthly challenges.
  • BeFit is a YouTube channel with free workouts from fitness trainers like Denise Austin, Jane Fonda, Jillian Michaels, and Scott Herman. They’ve got hundreds of videos, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for regardless of your goals or current fitness level.
  • BodyRock.tv is a personal fitness website that provides daily video workouts as well as comprehensive meal plans. You do have to pay for an online membership, but you can get the first 21 days for free.
  • Fitness apps are great for keeping track of progress, mapping and timing, and staying on top of your goals, but you can also use them to find workout routines while on the road. I’d suggest Sworkit or DailyBurn.

Now all you need is a hotel room big enough for a workout. Become a JetLux member today for access to corporate rates at luxury hotels, free suite upgrades, and other business travel perks.

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