You may have a good fitness regimen at home, but if you have to travel for business or pleasure, it's easy to blow it off and take a vacation from fitness.
But it's surprisingly simple and easy to stay in shape while traveling, says John Hacker, director of the fitness center at Ashland's Hidden Springs Wellness. You may think you need all those weights, balls and machines, but, well, they're expensive, heavy and impossible to schlepp around. Forget them.
All you need is a motel room, carpeted floor and a chair — plus some willpower — for a workout that will burn the quadriceps, triceps and deltoids, making them sing for protein and veggies, which, by the way, you easily can carry on a trip.
"Most people, if they go on a trip, don't do anything for their fitness," says Hacker, "but consistency is the key. It's more important than the intensity of your workout. We have to follow the law of progression, which is that we improve in small increments, and if we interrupt that, we lose stamina and get weaker."
These simple sets for the traveler cover the whole body and require no equipment:
- Static leg lift: Sit in a chair, lift a leg out in front, horizontally, then lift and lower it slightly, up and down, in a small range of motion.
- Chair crunch: Sit in a chair and lift your bent legs enough to work the abdominals.
- Glute blaster: Get on your hands and knees, and raise one leg behind you so the thigh is about parallel to the ground, and do small lifts.
- Single leg lift: Lie on your back, lift one leg off the floor and, at the same time, lift your head and shoulders. Alternate legs.
- V-Up, side to side: Lying on your back, raise your torso and legs, then clasp your hands in front and move them from side to side.
- Helicopter: Lying on your back, raise and rotate your hips.
- One-leg hip lift: Lie on your back and lift a leg high enough to get your hip off the floor, then alternate.
- Lunge: Standing, lunge forward (without bending the leg beyond 90 degrees), hold, then alternate legs.
- Triceps dip: Support your torso on a chair or bench with your arms behind you, then dip down and press up. Do as many as you can.
- Partial squat on toes: Just like it sounds.
- Pushups. This old-fashioned basic can be altered to do it on an incline, with either the hands or feet on a chair. Raise one leg in the air to alter the "fatigue pattern."
The trick, both at home and on the road, is not becoming bored with the same drill every day. It's not good psychologically, and you need to change the fatigue pattern, that is, muscles worked, each time, or you'll drop out, says Hacker.
This workout is a great program for times on the road, but it's also good at home. In fact, notes Hacker, you really don't need a gym or loads of equipment to get a great workout.