Many of us are on the go, whether on vacation or traveling for business or for whatever reason that makes it hard to exercise properly.
One way that I keep an intense workout going even while I am traveling is to use a tabata protocol. Most hotels only have cardio equipment in their exercise facility. So, when I’m in these types of situations, your own bodyweight can become the resistance and a stopwatch can become your personal trainer.
Tabata, which was invented in Japan by Izumi Tabata, is an exercise protocol where you work as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. After that, simply repeat seven more times for a total of eight sets. Those eight sets should be all-out intensity and it will equal 4 minutes of work for one exercise. That’s it.
I like to even put exercises together like bodyweight squats, any variation of a lunge, push-ups and planks to create an intense 16 minute workout that will be a very good anaerobic challenge and yet leave you dripping in sweat in just 16 minutes.
How I like to challenge myself is to do as many reps as I can on the first set over the course of the 20 seconds and then try to match that number every subsequent set. This makes for quite an imposing challenge. One way to make it a little easier is rather than doing eight straight sets of squats and then eight straight sets of push-ups etc. is to alternate the exercises. So do your set of squats, move on topush-ups then lunges and finally plank. After that it will start back over at squats and continue. After 16 minutes you will have done eight sets of each exercise.
So make sure you properly warm up the muscles before you attempt your first tabata. Start with bodyweight squats – full range of motion! Work hard – all-out intensity. It’s going to be great.
People don't realize what a great anaerobic workout sprints are. I refer to it as cardio because I don't encourage long, slow distance exercise. But when you don't have any weights, doing short interval sprint work is a phenomenal tool to have in your fat loss toolbox.
Simply pick a short duration such as eight seconds or a short distance such as sprinting to the next telephone or light pole and then rest. These workouts can be very challenging but very rewarding. Sprints are superior to traditional cardio in the battle with fat, and anytime you can’t lift a weight they can be a terrific substitute for weight training. Did I mention sprints are amazing for core strength and toning, too?
So what are you waiting for? You are your own gym, whenever and wherever you feel the motivation to improve your overall health!
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About Phil Gephart:
Phil Gephart is a certified personal trainer with a Master's Degree (MS) in Exercise Science with a focus in Coaching & Athletic Administration, received in 2009 from Concordia University in beautiful Irvine, California. Phil’s passion for fitness is reflected in his involvement in sports throughout his life—in high school, he played basketball, baseball and soccer, in college he continued playing basketball and soccer. Phil also played basketball professionally for five years.
Phil Gephart is currently a professor in the exercise science department at Concordia University, where he teaches an Advanced Personal Training course to undergraduate students.