The 20-Minute Hotel Workout

This past week during my road trip, I spent a night at a hotel in Richmond, VA.

I hadn’t exercised out in a few days, and had no desire to go find out if they had a gym on site…so I made up my own workout while IN the hotel room, using nothing but myself and the room’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 doesn’t mean it won’t work in lots of other places, like your own bedroom for example – I just know it works in a hotel because I did it a few days ago.

So there.

Whenever I create a workout, I always aim for a complete full body routine that will build muscle, burn fat, and also exercise your heart.  These types of workouts burn more calories than simple cardio too (booooo to boring cardio!).

I hit four types of exercises:

  • Legs – working both the front and back of your legs
  • Push - chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Pull – back, biceps, forearms
  • Core – abs and lower back

That 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 wasn’t going to ask the maid “hey can you come videotape me in my hotel room?” so I wasn’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 (to get 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 – this should take you probably 3-4 minutes.

After that, move into your workout - 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.  I’ve split the workout into three levels – 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 you’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 it’s too many reps, adjust them to fit your experience level – 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 ups…aim for six when do the workout next time.  So, here it is!

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2

LEVEL 3

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 “stretching” in the how-to videos section for a good full body stretch.

T-Rex Arms and The Fitness Buster

I’m currently typing this article with T-Rex arms.

“WTF are T-Rex arms” 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 can’t even straighten out your arms for a few days.  So you have to walk around like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

That’s me right now.  It’s painful as hell, and I look ridiculous.  But I’m still glad it happened.

Here’s why.

This past Friday, on my drive from New York City to Boston, MA, I swung through Norwich, CT to connect with Shawn Guiney, a gym owner who happened to read Nerd Fitness 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 Shawn’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 – this gym had some SERIOUS old-school character.  Shawn asked how hard I wanted to push myself, and I said “give me everything you got.”  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 haven’t been taking care of myself lately (too busy planning crazy adventures, I guess) and my last crossfit experience almost made me puke my brains out, so I don’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 “Angie” 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 did probably 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 wouldn’t have been an issue, except they came after 100 pull ups), then sit ups 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 wasn’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:

  • He’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 getting 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, I’m so incredibly glad I got a chance to stop and work out with Shawn.  He’s a guy who is doing what he loves, and is doing a really good job at it.  He launched his own blog over at TheFitnessBuster.com, and I’d really appreciate it if you swung by the site and left a comment.  He’s new to the blogging thing, so go easy on the guy – I told him to just start publishing content and figure the rest out as he goes.

Oh, and if you happen to live anywhere near Norwich, CT and you’re looking for a place to exercise, Shawn’s gym is the place to go.

Do it.

Keep Pushing

Just because it’s cold and snowy doesn’t mean you can slack off – hard work in the winter will pay tremendous dividends come summer.  Get stronger, get faster, do one more rep, finish one second sooner…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!

-Steve

###

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  • http://twitter.com/AlanPerlman Alan Perlman

    Printing this post out and taking it on my next trip! Very helpful for the gym-less hotel. And the T-REX workout? Good lord. That’d be a fun one to try.

  • http://joelrunyon.com/two3 Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    Do you have other cross fit stuff here Steve? I’ve been reading forever but I can’t remember any posts on them…any chance you’ll pull together some piece on it soon? The T Rex arms are making me intrigued :).

  • http://twitter.com/MotherFitness Kellie Davis

    Wonderful! I will pass this onto my husband who travels all the time for work.

  • Anonymous

    Typically there are other 20 minute workouts I do in hotel rooms….

    but this one is awesome as well! Hahah, cool article Steve :D

  • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

    Great recommendations for those of us who travel (or like to) and do not want to search out a local club or a hotel gym, 20 minutes is quick and easy and gets the job done. Looking forward to giving this a shot at home too!

  • http://leanmeanvirilemachine.com Darrin

    I’ll be out of town for a week this month, but instead of staying at a hotel room, I’ll be in my old room at my parents’.

    Since that’s in Minnesota (aka “Might As Well Be Antarctica,”) I’ll need to make do in tight quarters as well.

    I’ve found the “Big 3″ bodyweight exercises to be air squats, push ups, and pull ups (I’ll use the rafters in the basement.) Hits all your muscles in true minimalist style! Since push ups work your core, I usually nix additional abdominal work.

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  • Cai

    This post has been linked by Quake Fitness!

    A link to this post has been published on http://www.quakefitness.com – Connecting Fitness Blogs

  • Cai

    This post has been linked by Quake Fitness!

    A link to this post has been published on http://www.quakefitness.com – Connecting Fitness Blogs

  • gf

    Judging from your responses, you should create a sister blog ‘travel fitness’ or some such. lots of folks have to travel for biz, usually filled with calorie laden working lunches.

  • Hans

    Good workout. The discipline of getting it done at all might be more important than the specific exercises. I find that it’s easy to lose the mental discipline when you have the excuse of travel. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan436 Bryan Nikla

    i want to start doing crossfit. a brother in my fraternity just got certified to train for it

  • http://www.adjustedreality.com/blog Quix

    Love the hotel workout, I’ve found that if I have to, I can work my whole body in about 45 mins with no equipment. If I can have a set of handweights it helps but it’s not necessary… It’s a good reminder that equipment is nice but not having equipment is no excuse!

  • http://www.adjustedreality.com/blog Quix

    Love the hotel workout, I’ve found that if I have to, I can work my whole body in about 45 mins with no equipment. If I can have a set of handweights it helps but it’s not necessary… It’s a good reminder that equipment is nice but not having equipment is no excuse!

  • http://www.adjustedreality.com/blog Quix

    Love the hotel workout, I’ve found that if I have to, I can work my whole body in about 45 mins with no equipment. If I can have a set of handweights it helps but it’s not necessary… It’s a good reminder that equipment is nice but not having equipment is no excuse!

  • http://thetitanproject.wordpress.com/ Jonathan Manor

    That’s quite creative!

  • http://www.sc2review.com Eric | Starcraft 2 Strategies

    Good advice on the hotel workout – I’m a big pushup fan but always have a hard time finding a pull exercise…I’ll try the ‘desk rows’ next time :)

    Your other workout sounds crazy/awesome. There have been many days I’ve completed 1000 pushups, but I’ve never thought about 100 pullups in a row…can’t wait to try it!

  • http://www.marblecleaningmiami.com Marble Clean West Palm Beach

    The 20-Minute Hotel Workout!

  • http://twitter.com/justop26 Justo Pinzón

    Beware of the T-Rex arms, they may kill you… Excessive training puts you in risk of rhabdomyolysis (among other things), which screws up your kidneys and may cause death.

    Better not get to that point of inability to fully move your upper limbs, you know :)

  • http://twitter.com/justop26 Justo Pinzón

    Beware of the T-Rex arms, they may kill you… Excessive training puts you in risk of rhabdomyolysis (among other things), which screws up your kidneys and may cause death.

    Better not get to that point of inability to fully move your upper limbs, you know :)

  • http://twitter.com/justop26 Justo Pinzón

    Beware of the T-Rex arms, they may kill you… Excessive training puts you in risk of rhabdomyolysis (among other things), which screws up your kidneys and may cause death.

    Better not get to that point of inability to fully move your upper limbs, you know :)

  • http://twitter.com/justop26 Justo Pinzón

    Beware of the T-Rex arms, they may kill you… Excessive training puts you in risk of rhabdomyolysis (among other things), which screws up your kidneys and may cause death.

    Better not get to that point of inability to fully move your upper limbs, you know :)

  • http://twitter.com/justop26 Justo Pinzón

    Beware of the T-Rex arms, they may kill you… Excessive training puts you in risk of rhabdomyolysis (among other things), which screws up your kidneys and may cause death.

    Better not get to that point of inability to fully move your upper limbs, you know :)

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  • kickabout

    Just found myself in a hotel and was trying to figure out how to keep up the fairly new workout habit. Thanks very much!

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  • Bryan Hugill

    Found this article a couple of days ago and decided it was high time started to I get myself into shape again. Thought I was going to vomit all over the hotel room floor by the end of it…how did I ever manage to get this unfit!?!? All the more reason to keep training harder :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Bryan Hugill

    Found this article a couple of days ago and decided it was high time started to I get myself into shape again. Thought I was going to vomit all over the hotel room floor by the end of it…how did I ever manage to get this unfit!?!? All the more reason to keep training harder :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Bryan Hugill

    Found this article a couple of days ago and decided it was high time started to I get myself into shape again. Thought I was going to vomit all over the hotel room floor by the end of it…how did I ever manage to get this unfit!?!? All the more reason to keep training harder :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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  • Joy

    Great stuff here man. decieded to save $ and not pay for a gym. Love your pullups. Going to try them today. Also love how you talk about doing something now and to stop putting it off. Keep up the great work. Will keep reading. :) 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/aisforaaron Aaron Latchaw

    On the road for work and just rocked the Level II hotel room workout, whoa! Thanks for putting this together, I could feel some restless sleep coming if I didn’t get a workout in. This definitely put the right amount of tired on me!

    Your Rock Steve!!

    Aaron

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