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Work travel can disrupt our training programs by taking us out of our daily routines and forcing us to adapt to new constraints. Flights and packed on-the-ground schedules can contribute to incremental timing pressures, and the unpredictability of our accommodations can leave us without access to the equipment that we typically enjoy. Absent an action plan, these two factors can conspire against us and undermine our ability to remain consistent over time.

For me, this action plan takes the form of readily-available training options that obviate the need to devote additional time to planning or improvising my workouts. Over the years, I have come to rely on three go-to workouts that I can draw upon no matter what the timing or equipment constraints. This slate enables me to more quickly commit to a workout and empowers me to focus on the real priorities at hand: literally everything other than the gym.

As further detailed below, each workout can be completed within 20-30 minutes and requires little to no equipment, which makes them ideal for almost any accommodation. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation—with booked travel and without a training plan—save these workouts and refer to them the next time that you find yourself at the check-in desk.


Hotel Gym: Strength Circuit

Estimated Time: 20-25 minutes

If the hotel gym is equipped with dumbbells, then I prefer to focus on modified strength training. The below workout is a full-body progression that moves from lower body to upper body. Suggested repetition fall at the upper end of the hypertrophy (ie muscle-building) range and the lower end of the endurance range; this guidance ensures that we have sufficient tension to stimulate muscle growth while we stay in continual motion. 

Of note, the finishing exercise—dumbbell thrusters—is a full-body movement that is meant to support the transition from upper to lower body. And unlike the preceding movements, which have guidance around the number of reputations, the dumbbell thrusters are meant to be completed as many times as possible within the prescribed time period.


Strength Circuit

  1. Split Squats (10-12 reps)

  2. Romanian Deadlift (10-12 reps)

  3. Bentover Rows (10-15 reps)

  4. Seated Curls (10-12 reps)

  5. Chest Press (10-15 reps)

  6. Dumbell Thrusters (30 sec)


Each exercise should immediately follow the preceding movement until the entire circuit is completed. After completing the circuit, take a minute of rest before restarting. Target four circuits for an effective 20-25 minute workout. And for an additional challenge, consider starting with heavier dumbbells and alternating out with each successive circuit. Alternatively, consider increasing the time spent on dumbbell thrusters (e.g., 30s to 60s) or the duration of each repetition itself.


Matt works full-time in the media and technology space in New York City and is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. To learn more about his approach to health and fitness, follow him on Instagram 

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