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Great Workouts for the Business Traveler and some advice for making it work on the Road

Like so many of our clients, I’m on an airplane at least once per week. Completing quality workouts while on the road can be a challenge. I encourage you to adopt the following mindset and to try the following workouts during your next extended travel.

From a strength training standpoint, we need not worry if we miss a workout as rest and recovery between strength training workouts is vitally important. If I’m out of town for 2-4 days, I won’t strength train at all while on the road, I’ll simply wait until I’m back in the Twin Cities and can train at Discover Strength. The reason is simple, I value direct supervision in my strength training workouts, and I know my workout produces better results if I’m trained by someone. I attempt to schedule a strength workout right before I leave for my trip and then as soon as I return from the trip (nothing novel or groundbreaking here). The only exception to this is if I’m visiting a city that has a strength training studio or colleague who I can perform a workout with (if you are traveling, never hesitate to email me directly for a recommendation of where to do a workout throughout the US).

If I’m traveling for over a week, here are my “go to” workouts (both cardio and strength):

Hotel Fitness Center Strength Workout
Perform 1 set of 8-12 reps with the real goal of getting to momentary muscle failure. The workout is short but very effective if your effort is HIGH. Virtually every hotel fitness center will have these options.

  • Walking lunge (with dumbbells). You might not get to true muscle failure, but immediately follow this with exercise 2, a wall-sit.
  • Wall-sit – For time (to failure).
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press. Seated on a bench, preferably leaning back at a slight angle pushing directly above your head. 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down.
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 1 Arm at a time. With one hand on bench and one knee on bench, drive the elbow up to the ceiling and come down for 4 seconds. This may require a YouTube video if you are unsure – just try to ignore the horrible form!
  • Dumbbell Chest Press. Lying flat on your back. 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down.
  • Dumbbell Biceps Curl. Stand, with your feet, staggered slightly. 2 seconds curling, 4 seconds lowering.
  • Push-ups – Eccentric only (lower yourself for 10 seconds and then climb back up to the starting position); this will be particularly tough because you are fatigued from chest press.

Health Club Gym Strength Workout
Candidly, I really despise visiting health clubs and strength training on my own; I attempt to train in studios with great trainers while traveling. However, when I’ve been in Australia, China, Taiwan and don’t have options, this is the approach I’ll take at a standard health club. On each of these, I’ll aim for 8-12 reps and as soon as I get to muscle failure, I will always perform a “breakdown set” – I’ll reduce the weight by about 30% and try to perform 3, 4, or 5 additional reps. I would look for Nautilus or Hammer Strength machines if they are available.

  1. Leg Press
  2. Leg Curl
  3. Leg Extension
  4. Calf
  5. Shoulder Press
  6. Seated Row
  7. Chest Press
  8. Shoulder Shrug
  9. Biceps Curl
  10. Abdominal

Hotel Fitness Center Cardio
The workout can be performed on a treadmill, stationary bike, on an elliptical machine, or any other stationary cardio machine.

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes
  • Perform 6, 30-second intervals. Rest for 60 seconds between each. These should be performed at a very high level of intensity; you should feel like 35 seconds would be virtually impossible.
  • Perform 3, 1-minute intervals. Rest for 2 minutes between each. These should still be performed at a high level of intensity, but not the speed or pace of the 30-second intervals.
  • Perform 1, 3-minute interval. This should be slower yet due to the length of the interval and the accumulated fatigue from previous intervals.
  • Cool-down for 3-5 minutes.

Hope these help the next time you find yourself on the road and need to get in a workout or two.

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