Travel is one of the single biggest killers of workout consistency known to man. Whether it’s a last-minute business trip or a surprise getaway courtesy of your spouse, being away from the comfort of your own gym can seriously upset your training mojo. But the key to keeping fit on the road is the same as it is at home: preparation. With a little bit of research or some strategic packing, there’s no reason you can’t keep up your progress while you travel. Use these simple but effective tactics, ripped straight from the training journals of well-traveled hardbodies everywhere.
1 BOOK FOR YOUR WORKOUTS
Instead of booking your hotel stay around what’s included in the mini-bar, why not check in somewhere that keeps your workouts on track? Fit for Business (fitforbusiness.com) gives you the equipment landscape of gyms of hotels in more than 280 cities worldwide, and it provides you with the names and locations of hotels that have sweetheart deals with nearby health clubs. You’ll never be able to use an ill-equipped hotel gym as an excuse again.
2 NO WEIGHTS? NO PROBLEM
OK, you may not be able to take your 100-pound dumbbells with you in your checked luggage, but there are some more versatile pieces of equipment that you can pack in your suitcase. A set of bands by Bodylastics (bodylastics.com) or suspension straps by TRX (fitnessanywhere.com) offer challenging workouts with different types of resistance. Both allow for full-body training anywhere and have tons of online resources to help you create the perfect road workout to suit your needs. But what about cardio? See No. 3.
3 CARDIO CARRY-ON
Your hotel has no treadmills and there’s no way you’re going out for a run in the frigid, wintery streets of Columbus, Ohio. How are you supposed to get in your cardio? One of the most effective and easily stowable pieces of cardio equipment will always be the jump-rope. Regardless of your style — two-feet, alternating feet, run in place, double jumps, etc. — you can get in a challenging, space-minimal workout. A 180-pound man skipping rope at a brisk pace can burn 550 calories in a 30-minute session.
4 CARDIO CREATIVE
If you continue to be mystified by the jump-rope, there are some alternatives on the road that still pack a conditioning punch — literally. By shadowboxing an imaginary opponent — throwing fast, furious three to five punch combinations of jabs, straight punches and hooks — you can work up an extraordinary sweat in very little time. Move around in whatever space you have, never throwing a combo from the same spot twice in a row, and cap it off with a bottom-to-top run of the hotel stairs, Rocky style, for a hardcore conditioning bonus.
5 BODYWEIGHT BOOT CAMP
No matter what, your best workout tool will always be your own body. But rather than the tired, perfunctory act of hitting the deck for a few push-ups before the company mixer, try a descending push-ladder, a favorite method of John Spezzano, author of The Martial Arts/Kettlebell Connection (http://www.blackbeltmag.com/shop/the-martial-arts-kettlebell-connection-book). Start with 10 push-ups and “rest” for 10 seconds in the plank position. Then do nine push-ups and plank for nine seconds, repeating the countdown to a single push-up and second-long plank. Use the same method with squats for a painful but unquestionably effective total-body, in-room workout.