I love to work out, but I’m not a gym guy. I’ve been known to travel with a 44-pound kettlebell, and I always try to take the stairs no matter how tall the building. And, as pretty much everyone knows by now, I believe in burpees. I do them throughout the day.
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But there are times when I travel—and I travel a lot—where I only have time for a quick workout between meetings. Instead of hitting the hotel gym, I turn to my go-to bodyweight circuit. Give it a try. It’ll only take you about 20 minutes, but I promise you’ll feel the results for the rest of the day—or week, if you do it right! After your warmup, do the exercises in order as a circuit. Do three circuits total. As you get better, add five to 10 burpees in between each exercise.
Warm Up. I like to start with a slow jog outside or a few hundred jumping jacks if I’m in a hotel room.
Plank. This exercise is great for your core, which in turn protects your back. Lie face down with your forearms on the floor of your hotel room and lift onto your toes and tighten your core. Hold the position for as long as you can. If you can’t hold for at least a minute, lower yourself, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat until you reach a minute total.
Wall sit. This one is great for your legs and backside. Stand against a wall then slowly slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground—as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Hold it for 60 seconds, stopping to rest if necessary. Don’t move on until you reach a minute total.
Single leg deadlift. These are great for your legs and core and build balance. Stand with feet together, then slowly reach for the floor with both hands while you lift your right leg behind you, keeping your knee bent. Get as close to the floor as you can, then slowly straighten up and switch legs. Do 15 reps with each leg.
Contralateral limb raise. Lie on your stomach on the floor of your hotel room with your arms stretched out in front of you. Slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg off the floor while keeping the rest of your body still. Hold for 5 seconds, lower, and switch limbs. Do 10 reps on each side.
Superman. Start in the same position as the limb raise, but this time lift all your limbs at the same time and hold for 5 seconds. Do 15 reps.
Chair dip. This one is great for the triceps. Sit on the edge of a chair, with your arms straight at your sides and legs straight out in front of you (you’ll be on your heels). Now lift yourself off the chair dip down the front of it by bending your elbows and straightening them again. Advanced exercisers can make it harder by lifting one leg while you dip. Do 15 reps.
Flutter kicks. This one sounds easy, but flutter kicks are a beast. Lie on your back with arms at your sides. Extend your legs and lift them only a few inches. Now while engaging your core, see if you can do an entire minute while making little flutter kicks with your feet. If you have to rest, do so, but repeat until you reach 1 minute total.
Now, make sure you take the stairs to the lobby and walk to your appointment. Or have the Uber guy drop you off 10 blocks away. Traveling doesn’t have to interfere with your workout routine, and with this hotel room workout, it never has to again.
Think about it this way: Even if we exercise for an hour every day—which most of us don’t—we’re idle for 23 hours a day. As a result, our bodies get really proficient at doing nothing. It’s important to incorporate exercise throughout your entire day.