Do not be tempted by the mini-bar. Or the all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, or the breakfast in bed, or the pay-per-view movies. You have been traveling — yes, it’s exhausting, no one denies that — but that’s no excuse to let your body go soft. That you don’t have a gym is no excuse, either. With a little ingenuity, you can get your sweat on in your own hotel room, using drab old furniture and luggage as makeshift gym equipment.
Ruben Belliard, Certified Personal Trainer and founder of The Training Lab, an intensive, holistic training gym in New York City, knows the perfect workout to get you started. “This total-body workout will help you maintain your fitness while you travel,” Belliard says. “It targets every muscle group and both anaerobic and aerobic systems.” All it takes is 20 minutes.
Warm-Up: 25 jumping jacks, 15 body weight squats, 10 pushups, 10 lunges (each leg), 10 hip raises, and 25 jumping jacks. Do each in succession.
Note: After warming up, set a timer for 20 minutes, and then get into the main set. Do as many full circuits as possible until time runs out.
Cross-Over Mountain Climbers: 15 reps on each side. Start in a push-up position, keeping your body in a perfectly straight plank. While keeping your hands in place, kick one knee up to the opposite elbow, then drive it back. Do the same with the other leg. Kick your knees quickly, so that one knee is always driving forward.
Tricep Dips: 15 reps. Use the edge of a chair, bathtub or bed. Place your hands at the edge of the furniture, palms facing down and fingers toward your glutes. Scoot your glutes off the bed so that your torso is hovering above the floor. Slowly dip down, keeping your glutes and back close to the bed. Then, push the bed away as you raise yourself back up to the starting position. (For an added challenge, and if you have two beds, rest your feet on one with your hands on the other).
One-Legged Prisoner Squats: 10 reps on each side. Use a bed or chair as a plyometric box. Start by sitting on the furniture with your arms behind your head. Raise one leg in front of you, and plant one leg on the ground. Engage your core and strongly stand up on your planted leg. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.
Luggage Rows: 15 reps. For this traveler’s take on the bent-over row, kneel on a chair or bed with one leg on the bed and one leg off. Hold your suitcase in one hand like a weight. With a strong, flat back, pull the luggage up to your chest, and slowly lower it back down.
Lateral Push-Ups 20 reps. This is a standard push-up, but with a small variation: after each push-up, take a small step to the side with your hands and legs, and return back to the starting position.
Stair Runs: Finish the workout by walking or running up a few flights of stairs for 5-8 minutes. Every hotel has them, but few people actually use them.