A busy itinerary during your business trip will cut into your potential gym time. Slack off completely and your VO₂ max – a measure of your fitness – declines after three days of inactivity. So how do you maintain your fitness despite a packed schedule? You can always work out in your hotel suite.
“To get a better workout in less time, choose exercises like squats and push-ups that target several muscle groups at once,” says Mitch Chilson, Director of Strength and Conditioning, Evolve Mixed Martial Arts. “You’ll also be training more functionally by mimicking your body’s natural movements.”
Perform the following exercises as a brisk circuit; move from one exercise to another with little or zero rest. At the end of each circuit, rest for 2 minutes and repeat the circuit another two times.
Spice up the standard push-up by adding a pause in between steps. “Pausing brieﬂy at each point increases strength at your joint angle and 10 degrees in either direction,” says Mike Mejia, author of The Men’s Health Gym Bible. Holding each position increases the time your muscles are under tension, stimulating growth. Tip: Lead with your chest, not your hips and keep your neck in line with your spine.
Assume the starting position of a regular pushup (A). Bend your arms to lower yourself halfway, then pause for two seconds (B). Continue until your chest is just off the ﬂoor and hold again for two seconds (C). As you push yourself up, pause again for two seconds at the halfway point. Finally, when you straighten your arms, hold them that way – with your elbows unlocked – for two seconds. That’s one repetition. Target for 12 reps (or as many as you can) during each set.
No dumbbells lying around your hotel room? No problem. You can still use your suitcase to work your biceps and triceps. Might come in handy if you do manage to squeeze a visit to the pool.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, while holding the extendable handle of your luggage in one hand with an underhand grip (A). Position yourself in front of a mirror to help you keep a perfect form, and make sure your shoulders are level throughout the movement. Bend your elbow to curl the luggage up towards your shoulders (B). Make sure you don’t arch your back (C) or swing the luggage (D).
Curl for 40 seconds on one arm, then switch hands and repeat – that’s 1 set. Because your elbow joint is quick to open and close, most sets of biceps curls last only about 20 seconds. Doing these 40-second sets will flood your biceps with blood and make them hold their pump throughout a poolside session.
Burpees (yes, those old NS favourites of ours) are an effective and efficient method to develop endurance, burn fat and condition your body. And for someone who is starved of time, it’s a great exercise you can even perform on its own.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (A). Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body as far as you can, then place your hands on the floor (B) and straighten your legs behind you (C). Perform a push-up (D), then draw your knees back towards your chest until your feet are beneath you and stand up. That’s 1 set.
A solid and stable torso not only helps you maintain good posture, but also help reduce back pain or back discomfort. If you’re going to be stuck in airplane seats and boardroom meetings for a long time, a stronger core will survive all that sitting down.
Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and together. Set your hands beneath your chest, so your body weight rests on your forearms. Keep these parallel to each other. Raise your body onto your elbows and feet, so your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Hold, then lower to the start position. Tense your abs and hold for 30 seconds. To increase the difficulty level, hold for a longer period of time.
A study in the Journal of the Tsuruma Health Science Society analysed the forward lunge and found that it was effective at activating over 60 per cent of the muscle fibres in your quads, making it a fantastic move for overall leg development. If you’re going to be on-the-go most of the time, you’ll appreciate that.
From a standing position (A), take a large step forward with one leg. When your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is off the floor (B), hold for 1 second. Then return to the start and repeat with your other leg. Make it harder by holding the lowered position for 5 seconds. Perform 12 reps per set.