Ask The Personal Trainer: Hotel Room Workout

So in this next installment of "Ask the Personal Trainer," we take on the following question:

Do you have any recommendations for a portable 10-30 minute workout that could be done in a hotel room or other not-well-equipped space? Something that either just uses body weight or something that might be handy or wouldn't be too difficult or expensive to bring along?

So let's see what we got!

Dave Smith!

[Dave Smith is a personal trainer who specializes in quick and effective body weight exercise routines that can be done anywhere, anytime - Check him out at]

Great question! (one that I know a lot of people are asking)

A few years ago I noticed a trend with a number of my clients. Throughout the year they would establish a great routine of regular exercise and this would translate into awesome results on the scale and around the waistline. Then summer would roll around and inconsistent schedules combined with lots of traveling would undo much of their progress. It was pretty disheartening for them (and me) to start from scratch in September.

Seeing this pattern prompted me to change my personal training practice. I basically gave up using exercise equipment in favour of teaching my clients how to get effective workouts done with just their bodyweight. No more excuses!

Eventually my exercise programs turned into an online system called Make Your Body Work that allows anyone to join in with my workouts wherever they are. Here are the principles I follow to ensure a bodyweight workout is an effective one:

1. Balanced Workouts - Doing a bunch of push-ups and crunches is not a workout. Our bodies are meant to do all kinds of movements - push, pull, squat, bend, lunge, twist - So a good bodyweight workout should incorporate as many of those movements as possible.

2. Keep It Short - Often the hardest part of exercising at home or on the road is simply getting started. When a workout is intended to take an hour or more it becomes quite a mental hurdle to jump. Planning a quick workout (maybe just 20 minutes) is much less daunting and therefore much more likely to happen.

3. Pump Up The Intensity - Quick workouts are very effective...when they are intense! That's the great thing about bodyweight workouts - There are no weights to change or equipment to rotate through so it becomes easy to move directly from one exercise right into the next. Fewer breaks equals greater intensity and better results.

Here's a sample workout that captures these 3 principles very well. These are the types of bodyweight exercises we use in the Make Your Body Work program - I hope you enjoy it!

Next up, we have

Adria Ali

[Adria is a personal trainer with 3 certifications and a Bachelors of Science in Kinesology. She's been training full time for over 12 years and running Fit Tip for the last 5 years. She is also creator and owner of and Body Burn Boot Camp Arcadia, CA].

If you are looking for a fun and awesome workout while traveling then the TRX is it!!

This body weight suspension training device allows you to get a killer workout in half the time with very little equipment.

For my clients and my personal workout routines I use the TRX Suspension training system and the door mount. I also use this apparatus while training clients in the park.

No matter what your goal, size, or level, this piece of equipment suits everyone. I've had 200 lb men sweating in less them 10 minutes and I've had sweet little grandma doing stability and strength exercises.

You can use it in your hotel or venture outside and loop it around a sturdy tree. It weighs less then 10 lbs and can roll up into a small bag. They are somewhat spendy but they are worth every penny because they are SO FUN and ADDICTIVE.

This is one of my favorite exercises. I call it the hanging row

The best part about the TRX is that you can adjust the strap to reflect the intensity of your workout. They easily slide up and down. The lower the straps are to the ground the harder the exercise (for upper body exercises). You can also move from one exercise to the next with ease so you save time. What would normally be an hour and a half workout at the gym turn into 30-40 mins on the TRX.

Traveling or not the TRX is a great addition to any workout routine.....

Keep Burning!

And finally, advice from a total non-expert who has also been known to employ suspension devices:

Crabby McSlacker

[Crabby has no official training or credentials for offering training advice. (At least not yet--more on that later). So you should probably ignore whatever she says.]

Exercise options while staying in a hotel:

1. Double check that they don't have a cramped dingy workout room somewhere that's so hideous they don't even advertise it. If so, proceed to use it and complain bitterly about the shitty broken-down equipment, the temperature, and all the stuff they should have but don't.

2. If not, see if there are nearby gyms with day passes, trails to run on, playgrounds or fields nearby, stairs to run up and down, or any conceivable option at all besides having to work out in a hotel room.

3. Consider the possibility that you may have already worked out! Did you nearly miss an airport connection and have to sprint a mile and a half through the airport with two heavy carry-ons? Have you had to visit the front desk at the hotel 7 times because your card key keeps demagnetizing? Have you been wrestling with heavy pieces of furniture in order to find a goddamned outlet or two to recharge your electronics?

4. See if the TV carries one of those exercise channels, or better yet, find some hilariously cheesy 80's music channels and see if you could possibly make more of an ass of yourself dancing along to them than the singers are making of themselves.

5. If you must fashion some sort of "real" workout, use gravity as much as possible: pushups, dips, squats, lunges, supermans, planks, bridges etc (and burpees if you don't mind annoying the crap out of the people below you).

Alas, this still leaves the "lifty" type moves, and if you haven't thought to bring a couple of stretchy bands or a suspension trainer, consider seeing if there's a nearby store that has gallon water jugs. Or try using heavy luggage, ottomons, couch ends, or anything else you can grab.

And do remember to hang out the "Do not disturb" sign so as not to unduly freak out the hotel staff!

Anyone else struggle to keep fit while traveling?  What do you do for exercise?

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