During a road trip last year, I spent a night at a hotel in Richmond, Virginia. I hadnâ€™t exercised in a few days, and had no desire to go find out if they had a gym on siteâ€¦so I made up my own workout while IN the hotel room, using nothing but myself and the roomâ€™s furniture.
In just 20 minutes I had warmed up, exercised my entire body, and stretched out afterward. Now, although I did this in a hotel room, it doesnâ€™t mean it wonâ€™t work in other places, like your own bedroom for example. I just know it works in a hotel because I did it. So there.
Whenever I create a workout, I always aim for a complete full body routine that will build muscle, burn fat, and exercise the heart.Â These types of workouts burn more calories than simple cardio too (booooo to boring cardio!).
I focus on 4 types of exercises:
- Legs: working both the front and back of your legs
- Push: chest, shoulders, triceps
- Pull:Â back, biceps, forearms
- Core: abs and lower back
This means that you can work out almost every muscle in your body with just four exercises - simplicity for the win!
Unfortunately, I was the only person on my trip, and I wasnâ€™t going to ask the maid: â€śHey, can you come and videotape me in my hotel room?â€ť. So, I wasnâ€™t able to put together a video IN the hotel room of me doing these exercises (the videos are of me doing them in a park, but you get the point).
Always start with a warm-up, as this gets your core temperature up and muscles loose:
25 jumping jacks, 15 body weight squats, 10 push-ups, 10 lunges (each leg), 10 hip raises, 25 jumping jacks.
Do one exercise right after another â€“ this should take you probably 3-4 minutes.
After that, move into your workout â€“ set your watch/laptop for 15 minutes and then do as many full circuits as possible in that time frame, using PERFECT FORM for each repetition. Iâ€™ve split the workout into three levels â€“ beginners should start at level 1 until they feel comfortable enough to advance to levels 2 and 3.
Do each exercise, one after another, without stopping if possible. If you need to stop between exercises or even in the middle of the set, go for it. Just remember youâ€™re trying to complete as many circuits as possible within the 15 minutes without compromising your form.
Advance to the more challenging exercises at your own pace, and if some exercises are too difficult, or itâ€™s too many reps, adjust them to fit your experience level â€“ just make sure you are getting stronger and challenging yourself with each additional hotel stay. For example, if you can only do 5 incline push upsâ€¦aim for six when do the workout next time. So, here it is!
20Â Body Weight Squats: You donâ€™t need a chair like in video, thatâ€™s just if you need help
15Â Incline Push Ups: Feet on floor, hands on edge of bed or desk
10Â One-Arm Luggage Rows: Each arm, use your suit case as your weight
10Â Reverse Crunches
25Â Overhead Squats
20Â Push Ups
10Â Inverted Rows: Using the desk in your hotel roomâ€¦just donâ€™t break it!
15Â Reverse Crunches
25Â Jumping Squats
20Â Decline Push ups: Feet up on bed or desk chair
10Â Inverted Rows (with feet elevated onto desk chair)
15Â Reverse Crunches
After your workout (you should be sweating like crazy if you did it right), ALWAYS remember to stretch. Pick four or five of the exercises listed under â€śstretchingâ€ť in my how-to videos section over on my Nerd Fitness website for a good full body stretch.
T-Rex Arms and The Fitness Buster
Iâ€™m currently typing this article with T-Rex arms. â€śWTF are T-Rex armsâ€ť, you ask?
T-Rex arms show up after you manage to push yourself a little bit too hard with certain exercises in a workout, and in return your biceps and forearms are so tight that you canâ€™t even straighten out your arms for a few days. So you have to walk around like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Thatâ€™s me right now.Â Itâ€™s painful as hell, and I look ridiculous.Â But Iâ€™m still glad it happened.
One day last year, on a drive from New York City to Boston, MA, I swung through Norwich, Connecticut, to meet up with Shawn Guiney, a gym owner who happened to read my Nerd Fitness blog and wanted to know if I was interested in coming in for a workout.
Considering I had had a little bit too much fun in NYC, and planned on going out with friends in Boston the following two days, I figured I might as well kick my ass in the gym to help balance things out.
I arrived at Shawnâ€™s gym in Norwich and immediately felt like I had stepped onto the set of a Rocky movie shoot: old wooden floors, brick walls, high vaulted ceilings â€“ this gym had some SERIOUS old-school character. Shawn asked how hard I wanted to push myself, and I said â€śgive me everything you got.â€ť He told me that he had a crossfit-style workout set up for his advanced members that day, if I felt up to the challenge. I hadnâ€™t been taking care of myself lately a recent crossfit experience had almost made me puke my brains out, so I donâ€™t really remember why I thought this was a good idea.
Oh well, screw it.
After a warm-up (3 minutes of jumping rope, 100 jumping jacks, mountain climbers and a lot of hip mobility work), this is the workout (called â€śAngieâ€ť in Crossfit land) I went through:
- 100 pull ups
- 100 push ups
- 100 sit ups
- 100 squats
Yikes. I had to complete each exercise before moving onto the next one. I probably did 30 dead-hang pull ups (split across a few sets) before my arms refused to work anymore, so then I moved onto band-assisted pull ups, and then chair-assisted pull ups. Needless to say, by rep #100 my arms were COOKED. After that, I moved onto push ups (which normally wouldnâ€™t have been an issue, except they came after 100 pull ups), then situps and squats.
Overall, I think it took me around 30 minutes or so, not a great time, but we did quite a bit of talking in between sets and I wasnâ€™t too concerned with setting a new course record. After working out, I sat down with Shawn and talked about his training philosophy, experience in training, passions, etc.
I could tell these things within 10 minutes of talking with Shawn:
- Heâ€™s exactly like me and has a very similar training style and philosophy.
- He has years and years of experience and an incredible passion for helping people get in shape.
- He knows his stuff.
- His clients are all over the board in terms of age/experience, but he treats each of them with personalized attention.
So, although I definitely bit off more than I could chew and pushed myself too hard, Iâ€™m so incredibly glad I got a chance to stop and work out with Shawn.
Heâ€™s a guy who is doing what he loves, and is doing a really good job at it.
Just because itâ€™s cold and snowy doesnâ€™t mean you can slack off â€“ hard work in the winter will pay tremendous dividends come next summer. Get stronger, get faster, do one more rep, finish one second soonerâ€¦always be improving.
What kind of workouts are you doing these days? Did the workout above make sense? Do you have any questions?
Let me know in the comments below.