ATLANTA, Georgia-- Early morning meetings and late-night business dinners make it almost impossible for Trisha Curtin to fit in a workout on the road. "It's been a huge challenge to do any type of exercising other than walking from building to building," says Curtin, who works in planning and distribution for a department store.
She's not alone. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates Americans take more than 400 million long-distance business trips each year. Many of the travelers skip their workouts. Curtin acknowledges: "It's going to be me taking the initiative to get motivated."
Personal trainer Brent Brinkmeier of Atlanta, Georgia, says there's no excuse for not exercising, even when you're traveling. He has some basic advice for people like Curtin who are looking to stay in shape.
Before leaving town, he recommends checking with your local gym to see whether they have an affiliated facility in your travel destination. Call your hotel ahead of time or go on line to see whether it has a fitness center or offers equipment that can be brought to your room. Be aware that many hotels charge extra for this.
If you're staying in a larger hotel, Brinkmeier suggests taking the stairs to get some cardio exercise. Walking or running outside may be an alternative, but check with the concierge first about safety concerns before going off the property. Swimming laps in the hotel pool is another option.
Brinkmeier has developed a short routine that will allow travelers to work out in the room. It's centered on interval training and involves little or no equipment. "This is enough that it will help you maintain what you've done in your normal workout routine so when you get home you don't feel like you've lost an entire week," he says.
Brinkmeier begins with lunges. The deep knee bends are repeated 15 times for each leg. He moves on to 15 to 30 seconds of jumping jacks. He says these should be interspersed throughout the workout. Upper body work is next. He likes to build strength with modified push-ups, knees resting on a towel or mat.
Resistance bands are the only equipment he recommends. "If you fold them up, they fit right in your tennis shoes," he says. Use the bands for bicep curls, tricep exercises and shoulder work.
He finishes up with abdominal strengthening. While lying on your back, he says, lift a light weight toward the ceiling and lie back down until your shoulders touch the floor. He prefers using a three-pound exercise ball, but if you don't have room in your luggage, a large water bottle, phone book or stack of magazines will do the trick.
Brinkmeier says the routine should take less than half an hour. He urges his clients to get creative with their exercises and says it's a good idea to do them first thing in the morning. "It gives you energy for the day," he says. "You're going to feel better that you've gotten your workout in and be able to work through the rest of the day."