Maintaining Fitness When Away from the Gym

These aren't limited to hotels. If you find yourself out of town during holidays, traveling for work, or snowed in, here are two options you can do from just about anywhere.

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If there's one thing that sums up my approach to training, it's that I'm always trying to get as much benefit out of as little time as possible. 

That is especially true during the holidays, vacationing, traveling, or anytime I'm out of the normal routine.

So when asked about what to do while traveling, my advice is always to keep it short and simple.

....that means short, high-intensity exercises you can do with no equipment, in very little time.

The benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) are well-documented. For all of my clients who aren't bodybuilders, HIIT maintains that ideal ratio of strength and muscle mass. Plus, it's quick! In the examples below, we're talking just 4-8 minutes. 

So before stepping out to that holiday cocktail party, put some headphones on bust out one of these workouts. You'll maintain that fitness you've been working so hard for. 

8-minute Circuit

This is a high-intensity circuit program lifted from the May 2013 issue of the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, in which a pair of researchers designed, tested, and refined a seven-minute workout to maintain strength and muscle in as little time as possible. 

Do each exercise with your bodyweight for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds rest in between:

  • jumping jacks

  • wall sit

  • push-ups

  • crunches

  • step-ups

  • squats

  • dips

  • planks

  • running in place with high knees

  • reverse lunges

  • T-pushups

  • tabletop

4-minute Tabata

This one comes courtesy of Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. It's another form of HIIT, designed to improve muscle endurance while simultaneously increasing aerobic capacity. 

Your exercise choices include any one or combination of:

  • burpees

  • mountain climbers

  • jumping jacks

  • kettle bell swings

  • body squats

  • running

  • indoor cycling

  • rowing

Pick four of the above exercises, whatever is convenient and available. Go for 20 seconds HARD, followed by 10 seconds of full rest. Repeat for a total of 4 minutes. That means you'll have time for eight intervals. Open a window or turn on a fan. You will be sweating.