Have you walked past a sorry looking hotel gym right after you check in thinking how great it would be to make it in there during your stay?
You get to your room, unload your stuff, turn on the TV, open the HBO guide to see if there's a movie starting in the next 5 minutes… there never is.
You could go workout, but somewhere in the middle of settling in you realize there is no way you’re going to make it back to that hotel gym.
Working out by yourself in an empty gym while you’re in full view behind floor to ceiling windows for everyone who is checking in or walking through the lobby is never appealing. Why do they all have huge windows?
Or what could be keeping you from leaving your room is the thought that even in the nicest hotels the gyms seem …kind of gross.
When I’m on tour for a long time, like I was this summer, I usually pack furniture sliders and workout bands to exercise with - as well as sneakers and lots of hiking clothes so I can hit the trails or the pavement and get some exercise without really trying (that’s my favorite kind!).
But, I often have to pack light and don’t have much time, energy or willpower to commit to a full workout while I’m traveling.
For times like these I have a no-excuses workout.
It takes just 5 minutes and will wake up all your major muscles from your travel slog.
Hold or do each position and exercises for 60 seconds. If that’s too long for you aim for 30 seconds and build from there. I use my phones timer so I can just focus on executing the exercise.
1. Seated Wall Chair Squat
With your back against the wall and feethip distance apart and about two feet in front of the wall lower yourself into a squat. Youwant your knees to be straight over your ankles and form a 90 degree angle to your lower back against the wall. Careful not to arch your back and engage your abs so every inch of your spine is against the wall as well for good form. I like to rest my arms on my legs but you can press them into the wall behind you too.
*Make it more challenging by lowering and raising your ankles every 5 seconds or so.
(Check out Wiki to see how you measure up to most people in #5 http://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Lower-Body-Strength)
2. Chair Dips
You do this exercise with the help of a chair, coffee table, desk or counter top. The angle of the stable surface your using will change the way your muscles are engage and naturally add variety to the exercise.
Start seated or against a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Slide yourself off the chair and support your weight with your hands and straight arms. You may want to inch your feet a bit forward at this point. Bend your elbows back and lower you butt to the floor. Try not to use your feet as you push back up to the starting position.
Engage your abs and keep your back straight to get the most from the exercise and hit more then one muscle group.
3. Forearm Plank
I like to do this on a towel because as gross as hotel gyms are the floors in your hotel room are probably worse.
Lie on your stomach on the towel. Wish feet hip distance apart tuck your toes under your feet and press them into the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands palms down on the floor. (I like to form fists that face each other or a diamond with my fingers on the floor but you can also keep them at your sides - experiment and see what you like better or change things up to keep your workout fresh - little changes can still challenge your body in new ways).
Pull your belly button into your spine as you tighten your abdominals and contract your glutes and legs to lift yourself off the floor into a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from head to feet.
*Without moving your arms or legs imagine your elbows and toes pulling towards each other. This will help keep you in proper form.
4. Standing Side Bend
You can do these without weights but I like to use something to add some more resistance and challenge my abs. Most hotels will have something you can use if you don’t want to use your own laptop like I am in the picture. A bible, filled ice bucket, anything with even a little weight will help maximize the results from the workout. Do 30 seconds each side to reach a minute.
Standing straight up with good posture and a tightened core, bend to one side and return back to the starting position. Make sure to bend from the waist and try not to move your lower body. *This is a great move to improve your posture and combat any hunched over traveling or working at a desk issues.
5. Standing Heel Raise
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your feet pointed straight ahead. If you need to, rest your hand on a wall or counter for balance. With your abdominals pulled in raise your heels off the floor so you’re on your tiptoes. Lower back down to the floor and repeat for one minute.
*You can make this exercise harder by doing it on the edge of a step, adding a little weight with your free hand or by doing one leg at a time and bending the leg your not standing on up to your butt.
That’s it! Takes 5 minutes. If you have extra time try doing it twice. It’s also a smart idea to stretch for a minute or two before and after the workout …really it’s a 7 minute workout!
I like being active and when I’m at home I go to the gym regularly, swim, hike, bike, rollerblade… vacuum. ;) I do a lot and stay pretty fit.
The road is another story all together. Long drives, long hours, little sleep, trying to find the venue, load in and then find a place still serving food and load out at the end of the show. It’s all so much work that working out falls pretty low on my priorities list. But if I don’t stay fairly active I always regret it and it shows up in my not having the stamina to perform at my best when I am on stage.
I hope this inspires you to do some of your own small workout even if your at home and not feeling too motivated. Just committing to do a few things will most likely leave you feeling better once you’ve done them!