When you are traveling for work or fun and don't have access to a gym, putting off a workout may feel like an easier option than putting on your sweatpants and exercising. However, with such tools as YouTube, Instagram, some household or hotel furniture, and a little bit of your own imagination, you can access a personal-trainer experience without even leaving your room. Say goodbye to excuses and hello to exercising in your underwear! (Oh, yeah, it must be mentioned that if you want some extra motivation, try a workout routine in front of a mirror wearing just your undergarments so you can really check out that bod while workin' it!)
While there are many fitness gurus and experts you can turn to for an instructional play-by-play along with some motivational coaching, you may be in the mood for a solo routine in which you can just put in those earbuds and rock out to your own tunes while sweating it up. It may sound really simple, but if that's the route you prefer, then make sure to put together a list of songs that really fire you up. Working out by yourself requires extra bits of self-discipline, and music can be the make-or-break inspirational push to keep you fighting for those few extra squats. Spotify has some rocking playlists that are curated specifically to boost that exercise drive of yours, or you can build your own list before you begin.
Once you've got your soundtrack ready to go, it's time to focus on the workout itself. Without utilizing any items or furniture -- in case you don't feel comfortable doing so -- here are five basic moves that you can turn to for quick toning and getting your heart rate up.
1) Pushups. If you're doing pushups from your knees or in a full plank position, keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, pointing forward. When in a plank position, imagine that your entire body is a wooden board that cannot bend. As you lower your upper body, keep your abs tight and buttocks clenched, but remember to breathe. (When you stop your breath, your body will tire out at a much quicker rate.) Go as low as you possibly can, but if you feel any strain or stress on any parts of your body, immediately stop or modify the exercise. This, as well as the breathing reminder, applies for all exercise. It is always better to limit your range of motion instead of compromising your form or causing your body any pain. Try doing several sets of at least 10 reps or one set of 30 to 50 reps.
2) Squats. Keeping your knees behind your ankles, lower your body with a straight back, putting most of your weight on your heels and the ball of each foot. If you can't wiggle your toes, then you need to sit back more and avoid leaning forward.
3) Jumping jacks. Tap back into your kindergarten self and get your heart pumping. You can insert improvised dance moves in there, because why not?
4) Crunches. Lying on your back, use your core to lower and lift your upper body. Do not pull on your neck or use your neck and shoulders to lift yourself. You can modify by doing quicker pulses and engaging your lower abdominal muscles, or alternate turning your knees to each side to work those obliques.
5) Planks. Similar to the way you do pushups, keep your body as straight as possible, holding for at least 30 seconds. You can do so either on your forearms or using your full arms (on your wrists), and you can alternate sides by turning and holding yourself up with one arm at a time.
Now that you have some go-to moves in your regimen, let's get creative! If you are staying somewhere with a wooden or uncarpeted floor, grab some dishcloths, washcloths or small towels and get back into that solid plank position. To work your arms, start with a cloth under one or both hands. Holding your plank, slide one arm straight out several inches in front of you on the floor and pull it back, keeping your core engaged. You can lift the opposite leg in unison if you'd like to challenge yourself more and add pushups in between, as well.
Once you've tired out your arms, continue to hold the plank and move the cloths underneath your feet. Pull your foot up, bending your knee, as far as you can. Hold it at the top and push back out to the plank position again.
Moving on to the next exercise, find a sturdy chair and sit on the edge. Place your hands to your sides, at the edge of the chair, and walk your feet out in front of you so that your hands and wrists are the only body parts still in contact with the chair. You can either bend your knees or keep them straight for higher difficulty while you lower yourself down into a triceps dip. Repeat the set as many times as you can.
Then find an object that is too heavy for you to lift on your own, such as a coffee table or part of a bed frame. For a one-legged squat, you will place one foot on the furniture behind you, keeping that back foot pointed. Your front leg should copy true squat form, with your knee staying behind your ankle when you lower yourself down. If you need some help maintaining balance -- as this can be a very tricky exercise to master at first -- use another solid furniture piece that will not move if you put weight on it but that you can pull toward you for support.
Check out some of the following fitness experts on social media for suggestions about how you can stay fit while traveling:
--MankoFit (@massy.arias) on Instagram.
--Blogilates on YouTube.
--Home Workouts for You (@home.exercises) on Instagram.
Go get 'em!