If you travel a lot, you may feel like it is impossible to get a good workout. Between the airport, tiny hotel rooms, and limited free time, it can feel like staying in shape is impossible. The good news is that you can get a great workout anywhere and at any time, no matter how much space you have. By just using your body weight, you can strengthen and tone your whole body, as well as get cardio in. Here are some body weight exercises you can do anywhere to get a full body workout.
Burpees are the ultimate exercise. This multi-part move can be tailored to your physical abilities. Begin in a standing position and then drop down into a squat where your hands are touching the ground. Jump your feet back into a plank position. Do a push up. Jump your feet back towards your hands. Explode up into a jump with your hands above your head. That is one rep. If you have injuries or are just not ready for such an intense exercise, you can modify the burpee and still get all of the benefits. You can take out the push up, take out the jump, or simply step your feet in and out of plank position instead of jumping. This is a great cardio move that also strengthens your whole body.
Start in a plank position. Begin by bending one knee and bringing it towards your stomach. Step back and do the same with the left knee. You are basically running but in a horizontal position. You can modify this by slowing down or take it up a notch by pumping your legs as quickly as possible.
Begin in a standing position with feet about hip width apart. Lean back a little so that your pelvis is tilted slightly upward. Hold your arms at your hips with your elbows bent. Your goal is to kick your legs high enough that your knees hit your hands. You can do this as slowly or as quickly as you like to get your heart pumping.
This old school classic will get your heart rate up in no time. Make sure you land lightly on your feet and get your arms moving. Try double jacks for a variation. Jump twice with your hands away from your body and then jump twice when you bring your feet and hands in.
You do not need a jump rope to do this exercise. Just hop lightly on your feet while holding your arms like you would when jumping rope. You can mix it up by hopping side to side, front to back, and even kicking your feet forward and backwards.
You do not need weights to get a good squat workout. Always keep your chest up and your butt back when squatting. Your weight should be in your heels. You should even be able to lift your toes when you are down in a squat position. There are a lot of variations you can play with too. Try holding the squat for a few seconds to turn up the intensity or only go halfway up before coming back down to keep your glutes burning.
There are a wide variety of lunges to try. You can step forwards, backwards, and sideways. All of them will work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Make sure your front knee does not extend past your big toe. Try to bend your back knee as much as possible. You can also get your heart rate up by doing reps on the same leg as quickly as possible.
Push ups can be intimidating, so start at your fitness level. Do them on your knees or use a bed or table for an incline push up. Get your chest as close to the ground as possible. Make sure you are keeping your body in a straight line, from your head to your toes. You can do many variations of push ups to work other body parts, like your triceps and shoulders. Just make sure you have the basic form down before switching it up.
Planks work your entire body, making it one of the best exercises to practice. You can hold a plank with your arms straight or on your forearms with your elbows bent. Make sure your body is in a straight line, keeping your butt down but not sinking so low that your stomach touches the ground. Keep your abs tight and do not forget to breathe! Try to hold a plank for at least 30 seconds, but you can always go for longer. If you practice everyday, you can build your strength up to holding a plank position for several minutes.
High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, combines many of the above exercises for a 15-20 minute workout. You work hard for short intervals (about 30 seconds to 1 minute) and then rest for a short interval (anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds) and then work again. You will cycle through a set of exercises designed to get your heart pumping and your muscles fired up. The goal of HIIT is to boost your metabolism so that you will burn even more fat than normal after you have finished your workout. You can make up your own using the above exercises or check out a search engine for HIIT plans. Choose one that is at your fitness level and make modifications as necessary. The most important thing is to give it your all!
Traveling can be frustrating and full of unknowns but you can almost always get a good workout in. You can work your entire body, doing both strength and cardio, without any equipment or a large area. All you need is 20 minutes and a desire to work hard. Combine the above exercises, and their many different variations, to create a killer workout and never get bored. If they seem too difficult, modify the exercises as needed. With consistent work, you will soon find that you are stronger and do not need any modifications. So next time you travel, bring your workout clothes, turn on some music, and get to sweating.