Whether for work or leisure, travelling tends to put your fitness in a tizzy. With not enough time or access to gym and exercise gear, any trip practically assures you will return home a couple of kilos heavier.
However, this can be avoided with a little presence of mind. If you find yourself waiting at the airport terminal because of a delayed flight, use the time to stretch and take a brisk walk. When you do reach the accommodation, take an hour out for a workout.
I wrote about zero-equipment workouts in my post on Calisthenics. This post gets more in-depth and includes other variants. Strength and conditioning expert Praveen Tokas, and fitness expert Vinod Channa have put together a travel workout for readers. Instead of cribbing about the dearth of health facilities at your destination, practise these equipment-free exercises in the confines of your hotel room.
Diet and clothing
What to wear: Loose-fitting and comfortable track pants and a T-shirt are most suitable. For a detailed guide, check out my post on how to choose gym wear.
What to eat: Before the workout, eat any seasonal fruits or an apple, sweet lime or papaya. After the workout, vegetarians can munch on milk, yogurt, wheat flakes with milk and flaxseeds. For non-vegetarians, egg is the best source of protein. Have eggs with one fruit or a small portion of oats.
Avoid: Maida, refined flour, white bread, fried, oily and junk foods in your meals while travelling.
Benefits: Strengthen the chest, front shoulders, triceps and core area of the body. Push-ups are essentials in calisthenics. The diamond variation is easier than the clapping push-up and harder than the wide push-up.
Sets: 2. Reps: 12-15
Method: Inhale while going down and exhale while coming up. With hands shoulder-width apart, keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up. While coming up, imagine someone is pushing you up from the navel. Place your palms on the ground in such a way that the thumbs and index fingers touch. This hand readjustment will give those triceps some extra activation.
Trick: If you can’t do push-ups on the ground, try doing push-ups with your hands on a wall or the bed.
Benefits: Targets the shoulders, core, chest and triceps.
Sets: 2 sets. Reps: 12
Method: Sit down in front of a chair with your knees slightly bent. Place your palms on the edge of the bench and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor.
Benefits: They build strength in the quadriceps and glutes.
Sets: 2 Reps: 12 on each side
Method: Inhale while going down and exhale while coming up. Stand with hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step the right leg forward and slowly lower your body until the right knee is touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.
Benefits: Squats strengthen the bones, ligaments, and develop core strength.
Sets: 2. Reps: 12
Method: Stand hip-width apart, hands by the side of your thighs, fingers extended. Inhale, bend your knees, and allow your body to sink towards the ground as if you were sitting in a chair. Try touching your ankles with your fingers. Exhale. Use the muscles of your lower body to push yourself back to the starting position. Maintain the arch of the lower back.
Benefits: Burpees are part of practically every Crossfit WOD I’ve done. Why not incorporate them into a travel workout? They build strength and engage the chest, back, arms, shoulders, thighs, hamstrings, and core muscles
Sets: 2. Reps: 10-15
Method: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squatting position, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back so that you are in a push-up position. Use your hands to support your body, and then kick your feet back into squatting position. Jump and repeat 10-15 times depending on your capacity.
Now that you’ve done 20-30 burpees, how about some more?
Yup, I can’t stand burpees either, but do them you must!
(A version of this post was first published in Times Life, the Sunday glossy by The Times of India)
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