Words by Ben Stower
Nothing breaks our training routine better than a business trip. Those days or weeks away from home can often leave you dreading your next session in the gym.
All those bottles of wine and prawn canapes are part of networking right? So it's not like you can cut those down.
Instead, work out your body harder and more efficiently while travelling with these five simple exercises that you can do without leaving your hotel room.
There's a reason the drill sergeant has no qualms shouting, "Drop and give me twenty," whenever he or she pleases. Push-ups are a fantastic go-to whenever there's not much else around, because all you need is ground.
If you've mastered the basic push-up, switch things up by varying the space between your hands – you'll notice different muscles working harder.
You can also try spider push-ups (where you raise one leg each time), use your bed frame or a chair for incline press, or combine push-ups with burpees for a real sweat down.
Throw one of the hotel towels down on the carpet and you've got yourself a pretty decent yoga mat. If, like most of us, you can't remember your routine, you'll also need to save some videos on your smartphone or tablet.
There are numerous apps, such as Yoga Studio, Perfect Pilates Body and FitStar Yoga, that provide ready-to-go lessons ranging from 10 to 60 minutes long. You can also track your progress and some even offer a virtual trainer.
Another simple, yet effective exercise, sit-ups are fantastic for targeting your core muscles. Start off with three sets of 15 reps and finish with 40 crunches, or as many as it takes to exhaust your abdominals.
Crunches compared to sit-ups work in a much smaller range of motion, but also contract your muscles from start to finish. Remember, you'll see the biggest gains by performing an exercise to failure (i.e. when you can't do another single rep).
Alternative abdominal exercises include front bridges (holding your body straight while on your elbows and toes) and straight-leg raises while on your back with your shoulders raised.
More help with staying fit on the road
4. Squat Jumps & Jump Lunges
Don't let your legs become fattier than a McDonald's burger. You don't need much space for these exercises, but if the roof is too low for jumping, you can switch to normal squats and lunges.
Otherwise, try to hit three sets of 20 squat jumps and three sets of 40 jump lunges. These will target your glutes, calves and quads – all the aesthetic areas – as well as soaking your clothes in hard-earned sweat.
In the essence of working until failure, once you've completed your sets, rest your back up against the wall and get into the squat position. Hold this for as long as possible.
5. Bear Walks
Finish with a whole-body workout that will leave your muscles burning. Bear walks are a preferred exercise for wrestlers and are achievable in even the smallest hotel rooms.
You need to get on your hands and feet, then straighten out all four limbs. Start by walking forward with one hand, followed by the opposite leg. The next hand follows, then the last leg. Keep going until you reach the end of the room.
You can either turn around or do it backwards, but so long as you have a little space, you can essentially follow your tracks until you can't stand it anymore.
It's important to warm up and warm down with a thorough stretching regime. Warming up helps prevent injury, while stretching after exercise will lengthen your muscles and reduce the often painful DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) a day or two later.
Make sure you stretch any muscles you intend on working out for at least thirty seconds. If you're following this program (excluding yoga and Pilates), you should be stretching your: chest; triceps; quads; glutes; calves and back.