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Travel Fitness: Skip the Gym with Hotel Room Workouts

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You don’t need a hotel with a gym to stay in shape. Fit Globetrotter Dena Roché to show how you can get a complete workout in your hotel room.

Travel brings with it lots of fun and lots of perks, but for avid fitness buffs, it can mean a disruption in their normal workout routine. Most of us think working out means you have to have a gym, but nothing could be further from the truth. Armed with little equipment and no gym, all it takes is a little creativity to get in a sweat-producing hotel room workout.

The Hotel is the Gym

Once you think creatively, opportunities for fitness abound all over your hotel. Take the stairs instead of the elevator for a quick workout, and if you’re not the shy type, run the stairs and do push-ups or squats on the landing of each floor, giving the body a top-notch cardio and leg work out. In your hotel room the obligatory chair can be used for squats (get up and get down), One-leg lounges with the back leg propped on the chair, dips, decline push-ups with your feet on the chair, and bridges with feet on the chair. According to road warrior Cameron Conaway of the Good Men Project, beds can also be used for planks, dips, abs work and some yoga poses.

Phylice Kessler, director of fitness at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa says a simple towel can give you a workout. “Grab a hand towel in the bathroom and place one foot on it and extend leg back for reverse lunges, leg to the side for side lunges or across the back for curtsy lunges,” she said. “Next place hands on the floor and feet on two towels to do mountain climbers or pull knees in to work the abs.”

Luggage can step in for hand weights according to Jason Karp, PhD and the 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the year. “For bicep curls a small piece of luggage or suitcase in front of you with palms facing up. Keeping elbows stationary, curl the suitcase up toward chest,” he explained. “To target the front of the shoulders raise a small piece of luggage or suitcase up in front of you, keeping arm as straight as possible until arm is parallel to floor. Lower luggage back to start position. For middle portion of shoulders, raise luggage out to the side until parallel to floor.”

Turn to Tech

Thanks to our mobile lifestyle, travelers have a world of workouts at their fingertips. Mobile apps like Shape Travelista ($2) provide several different hotel shape up workouts, Six Pack App Pro ($1) has core workouts for travelers and Trailhead by North Face (free) provides access to a database of over 300,000 trails for hiking, biking and skiing. Tech savvy athletes can also use a service like itrain to download a variety of fitness routines developed by Hollywood trainers to any MP3 player. There are also a plethora of videos on YouTube that you can follow in your room on your iPad. Simply search for travel fitness and voila! A bevy of workouts waiting for you.

Pack Light

With all of today’s luggage fees, real estate in your suitcase is worth a bundle. But if you’re willing to devote a little space to fitness some simple things to include are a pair of running shoes. A run or walk not only burns off calories and stretches plane cramped legs, but gives you a chance to explore a new area and get the lay of the land.

Resistance bands are easy to stuff into the nooks and crannies of your bag and can give you the benefits of a weight workout without lugging heavy dumbbells around the world. Bands come in different levels of resistance to suit your fitness level. There are many products on the market tailored to fitness on the go, but FitKit is one of the better options because the kit weighs under two pounds and is TSA friendly. The kit includes exercise band, resistance tube, jump rope, a stability attachment and a pedometer with an alarm (safety first!) Along with the equipment is access to an online library of more than 250 exercises.

Fit Travel Tip: As anyone who has ever lost weight knows, it’s the food that makes the difference. Travelers lament that it’s hard to eat well on the road, but by knowing key words like grilled, steamed and poached, asking for dressings and sauces on the side, and keeping portion size in mind, time on the road doesn’t have to translate to bringing additional pounds home as a souvenir. Watch your waistline by avoiding these diet busters and instead choosing these healthy airport options.

By Dena Roché for Dena Braun-Roché, aka, The Fit Globetrotter, covers luxury, wellness and spa travel worldwide. Her work has appeared in Spa Magazine, Robb Report, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and Bridal Guide. Follow her travels and travel tips on Twitter @fitglobetrotter