The Hotel Workout…..Maximizing the Minimus by Dave Kuhlman


We’ve all been there. You’re traveling either for work or on a family vacation. You’ve hit stride on your workout routine recently and have actually decided to quickly hit the hotel ‘fitness center’ to give your muscles and heart some conditioning. You don your workout gear excitedly and bound eagerly down the hotel stairs with a full head of steam. You reach the aforementioned ‘center’ key card the door open where a palpable wave of disappointment slaps you cold across the face. Where your eyes normally drink in your home club’s glistening 1500 square feet of every fitness apparatus, bosu ball and versa bar known to mankind, you sadly realize there are only a couple machines, a lonely treadmill, and a pathetic attempt at a barbell set, the heaviest of which is 25lbs, all packed into 225 square feet of ‘gym space!’ You’ve seen bigger mop closets! Your first inclination is to throw in the towel turn around and head back to your room to hit the mini bar wallowing in defeat and Garditos.
But wait, there are a world of exercises you can do in that ‘cozy’ little space! Utilizing the ‘make lemonade out of lemons’ philosophy, you simply need to change your mindset and take advantage of what the gym ‘has’ and turn it into a heart pounding, muscle building, sweat inducing workout that would make your trainer proud!
I’ve been able to get just as good a workout on the road as I have at my gym at home many many times. I will detail an example below to help you get a few ideas to apply the next time you find yourself in this situation.

Starting with your own body weight, do a quick warmup; 10 push-ups/ 20 jumping jacks/ and 10 deep squats….then jump on the treadmill and run for just 5 minutes…..concluding your warmup. After this work your core; finding an ample space you can use the lip of the bottom of the weight machine as an anchor. Using one of the two yoga mats there, you can execute an 8 minute ab session on your back including 90 degree leg levers, kick outs and kick ups as well as windshield wipers and full circles. Next grab the 3 or 5 lb Dumbbells and jump on that treadmill. It’s been waiting for some proper attention all day. Run at a moderate pace for 10-12 mins alternating holding the weights and placing them in the water bottle holders at 1 min intervals. This technique maximizes your cardio output more efficiently than running on the treadmill with no weights. Carrying the weights also challenges your brain and your muscles and the time goes much more quickly! I recommend the 10-12 minute interval on the treadmill to ward off tedium during your workout. Conversely, trying to grind out 30-40 minutes on the treadmill not only gives your body time to adapt, minimising the overall impact it also lends to a deep sense of boredom.
Having hopped off the treadmill, without taking a break, grab some dumb bells and do a shoulder fly, curl, tricep complex… Start with standing flys, do 10-12 reps extending your arms into a fullwing span spread, then immediately drop into bicep curls, followed by tricep overhead extensions, and shoulder presses… Take the time to perform a static hold with the dumb bells in the up position and resume shoulder presses after a 20 second hold. You can repeat this cycle 2-3 times with little rest. This paired with the cardio from the treadmill will elevate your heart rate into the Orange zone and get you sweating nicely. Take a quick break to catch your breath and hydrate. Next, drop down and do 4 sets of mountain/spider climbers for 30 seconds each. This will elevate your heart rate again and work your core complex one more time. Upon recovery, repeat the 10-12 minute run on the treadmill with the 3 lb dumb bells….. There you have it… Inside of a 45 minute window you have gotten an intense full body/cardio workout in a limited space! You can insert or substitute different exercises to change up this plan or make it more challenging. For example, sometimes the hotel gyms will have a jump rope or a couple kettle bells… Overall, you get the idea…. Now you have the mindset tools to apply in any ‘on the road’ workout situation!

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