The Secret Weapon for Training When You’re Busy or Traveling
Written by Mikaela Lake
Staying on track with your fitness is one thing when you are able to make it to a training session or the gym, but another thing entirely when you might be away from home, or maybe just don’t have the time to leave your house or office. Having a plan when it comes to these situations is key to not falling off the wagon!
Say you are away on a business trip. You might be staying in a hotel, without access to the proper exercise equipment that you are used to using. What can you do to maintain your fitness level from the comfort of your hotel room? In this case, bodyweight training is your best friend. The same goes for being stuck at home with limited time, or even the office. With the proper moves, bodyweight training can be a very effective and safe tool to keep you on track so that you don’t lose any of your progress. To complete an effective full body workout, choose a few exercises that incorporate upper, lower, and core training. Make sure to pick at least one for each of these body areas. Perform each of these exercises for 3-4 sets. Be sure to get your body warm before beginning any of these exercises. You may choose to jog in place, do jumping jacks, or any other similar gentle cardio exercises to get your heart pumping, and get your body warmed up.
There are many bodyweight exercises to choose from, but which ones work best? One of the best full body bodyweight exercises that you can do is the burpee. To do this move, begin in a squat position with your hands on the floor. From here, jump your feet back into a pushup position, and complete a pushup. Next, jump your feet back in to return to your low squat position. From there, leap up into the air as high as you can, returning to the squat position when you land. Then repeat! You can do this move for a designated number of reps, but I recommend simply throwing on a timer for 30-60 seconds and doing as many as you can! Another fantastic full body exercise you can do is the classic plank. Simply get into a push up position, and drop down onto your forearms. Hold this position for a designated period of time, suggested between 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, you may do a high plank, holding in a traditional pushup position. Be sure to brace your core, activate your glutes, and
keep your back aligned! One lower body move that’s easy to do almost anywhere is the wall sit. This move is great for your quadriceps and hamstrings. Make sure to lower your body down so that you create a 90 degree angle with your knees! To incorporate another muscle group, the adductors, simply add an object between your legs that you can squeeze while you sit. Do this move for between 30-60 seconds per set, for 3-4 sets!
Lower Body Exercise
Another fantastic lower body exercise is lunges. Lunges can be performed either stepping forward, or stepping back, or you may choose to do a combination of both. For people with knee issues, reverse lunges (stepping backwards) may be a more comfortable option. Both types of lunges work your quadriceps, glutes, and calves. To achieve this move, begin with feet close together. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your body. Take one of your feet and take a large step forward and using your knees, slowly lower your body until you form a 90 degree angle with the stepping leg. Make sure your knee is in line with your ankle. Then, slowly raise your body back up and press off of the front leg to step your feet back together. Repeat on the other leg! Conversely, if you decide to do reverse lunges, you step backwards instead of forwards. As with the forward lunge, take a large step and slowly lower your body down using your knees to achieve a 90 degree angle. For this exercise, perform 20-30 total (10-15 on each leg) per set. Repeat for 3-4 sets!
One easy upper body move that you can do almost anywhere is the standard pushup. This move is not only great for your shoulders, chest, and triceps; it is also fantastic for your core! To set this move up, begin with hands directly under your shoulders, and feet hip width apart, in a high plank position. Make sure your core is braced! Slowly lower your chest near the ground by bending your elbows, aiming to get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Next, push back up, and repeat! Try to aim for 10-15 per set! Repeat for 3-4 sets. This move can be modified by putting your knees on the floor.
Another upper body move that works no matter where you are is simple arm circles! Just stand with your arms extended out by your sides, perpendicular to the ground. Slowly make clockwise movements with your arms, making a movement of about one foot. Continue circling for 20-30 seconds, then reverse to counterclockwise! Repeat for 3-4 sets.
Next up, let’s talk about core! One wonderful core exercise is the side plank. This move is done by lying on one side, then coming up to rest on your forearm. Next, stack your feet, and using your core, raise your body up so that your back is in alignment. Make sure your hip is lifted and your core is engaged! You can simply hold this move for 20-30 seconds per set, or you may elect to do hip raises from the floor up to the raised position. If you choose to do hip raises, shoot for 15-20 per set! Repeat for 3-4 sets.
Another great core move is the Russian twist! This move can be achieved by first sitting on the floor with your knees bent, and feet together. Lift your feet a few inches off of the floor, and lean back so that your back is at about a 45 degree angle with the floor behind you. Using your core, twist from side to side, bringing both of your arms towards the ground on one side, and then the next. You can do this move for a designated amount of reps, or simply throw on a timer and go! I recommend a timer of 30-60 seconds, or 20-40 reps total per set. Repeat for 3-4 sets! If this move is easy for you, feel free to add a makeshift weight to hold in your hands! This will increase the difficulty of the move.
These are just a few options for easy and effective bodyweight exercises that can help you stay on track with your fitness. It is so easy to make excuses and let time slip away when we are busy, but we need to remember that keeping up with our fitness to achieve our goals can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes to do a handful of exercises! Don’t be afraid to be your own coach when you need to be! Make sure to cool down and stretch after you finish your workout! This will help to prevent soreness and tightness post workout!