It was a dark and stormy Sunday night.
Seven hours later I awoke it was still a dark and stormy night. What a storm!
It was an ominous sign as I began my 3-day journey from the Farm to Tokyo. First, I had to drive to a hotel in Toronto on Monday night.
Then began an 18.5 hour trip through airports. I booked my flight for free with miles (yay!) but it required a connection in Chicago (boo!).
And then the kicker…even when you get to Tokyo, it still takes 90 minutes to get from the airport to your hotel, using a combination of train and taxis.
By the time I arrive at my hotel in Tokyo on Wednesday evening, I’ll have spent more than 20 hours in planes, trains, and automobiles.
Somewhere, John Candy will be smiling.
But we’re not here today to talk about the modern miracle of time travel, but instead to give you new short, effective workout options and exercises.
I’ve been doing a lot of garage workouts recently to both save myself time and to get stronger, leaner, and fitter without the need for barbells or even a hotel gym set-up (which I’ll surely deal with in Tokyo).
Before I get to new exercises I’ve been loving, here are five workout tips that I’ll be using to maximize my travel workouts.
5 Awesome Hotel Gym Workout Tips
1. Use high reps to failure (in safe exercises)
If you’re a guy looking to build muscle, you’ll be disappointed by 95% of hotel gyms with their weights that only go up to 50 pounds. The solution coincidentally comes from Japanese exercise science researchers.
They compared lifting to failure, with both heavy (6 reps) and light (30 reps) weight, allows beginners to build the same amount of muscle.
So don’t be afraid of using high reps to failure in exercises that are safe for this purpose (such as lying triceps extensions and biceps curls).
Don’t do this with barbell squats or bench presses. Train hard but safe!
2. Superset bodyweight exercises with dumbbell exercises
You won’t see this in a lot of TT workouts because it isn’t the best way to get results, but you can do high rep pushups and follow that with dumbbell presses. This helps deplete the muscles of energy stores and increases “turbulence” during your training so you get greater post-workout afterburn.
3. Switch Your Tempos
That means slowing the time it takes for you to lower the weight in every exercise. Bring the dumbbells down to your chest in five seconds, rather than two seconds. This will mean you can use less weight and still get a training stimulus to put ‘turbulence’ on the muscles to create afterburn.
4. Experiment with Unilateral Exercises
Again, this will require you to drop the weight (start with half of what you usually use).
For example, do dumbbell chest presses with one arm. Keep the other hand resting on your abs to remind you to keep your core tight.
Slowly the lower the weight and press it back up like normal. You can do this for incline presses and overhead presses too, plus leg exercises, rows, rear-delt raises, and so much more.
Slow it down, go single limb, and you’ll get a great hotel gym workout.
5. If all else fails…
…just use my no-equipment Home Workout Revolution programs in the gym or even in your room. I know I’ll be doing this at least once on this trip.
Now let’s move on to my favorite new exercises.
These all involve the kettlebell. Now, YES, you can do most of these with a dumbbell, but the move will seem awkward. If you don’t have a kettlebell, I recommend getting one. For fit women, start with an 18 pound KB, and for fit men, get a 35 pound KB.
1) KB Front Squat <= Requires 2 kettlebells
2) KB Goblet Squat done right <= Chris Lopez, Master CTT, recently helped me improve my form on this to get maximum ab work…this really works!
3) KB Rack Walk <= Another great “odd” ab exercise
4) KB Loaded Carry <= Will be a big fitness trend in 2014
5) KB Reverse Lunge or Split Squat <= KB handles are easier to hold, in my opinion, and these will “hammer” your glutes
6) KB Swings <= As taught to perfection by Chris Lopez
7) KB Strict Overhead Press <= Again, my form was improved and the results made better by Chris’ teaching at our recent Master CTT event.
I know I promised 5 new moves, but what the heck, there’s 7. Chris Lopez, Master CTT, will give you more info on these exercises tomorrow.
The big lesson here is to keep improving your form and finding new ways to get maximum results from less training time. One of the biggest fitness trends in 2014 will be “Really-Really-Really Short Workouts”. More details on this trend soon…
So keep on pushing on.
And remember, these axioms go for your workouts and for life:
- Adventure > Comfort
- Discomfort > Ease
- Sacrifice > Sitting Back
- Challenge > Routine
- Action > Re-action
- Giving It Your All > Holding Back
- Mixing It Up > Letting Life Pass You By
By the way…here’s a surprising little secret about me.
None of this comes naturally.
I’d rather be sitting at home, doing the same workout routines as I did back in high school, watching television, and generally avoiding new experiences.
I have a dangerous addiction to my comfort zone. It takes great energy for me to overcome the inertia and to get out and do new things, whether it’s traveling to Japan or taking up Kettlebell workouts. I like routine!
But it’s ALWAYS worth getting out of my comfort zone, and it will be for you, too. After all…
In twenty, thirty, or even fifty years from now, what will you say when you look back on the life you have lived?I know you will have lived a good life, an honorable life, one where you loved and took care of your family…
…but will it be a life also lived to the fullest?
I’m not saying you have to go on crazy travel adventures, but you do need to challenge yourself, because within all of us, there is someone better. Let that someone out!
Take charge. Take control. Live life as your BIG SELF, not holding back, and of course, never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you.
Make this an incredible rest of the week…and rest of your life.
Craig “I’m in a plane, train, or automobile right now” Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS – Once I get to Tokyo, the schedule continues to be “odd”…
…I’ll get to my hotel at 7pm local time on Wednesday evening.
My first activity is planned for 4am on Thursday morning. I’ve long wanted to visit the famous Tokyo fish market, and so, in order to
properly experience this epic world of sea monsters, I need to be their as early as possible.
After this adventure, I have a few hours of recovery before heading to a traditional countryside ryokan (Japanese Inn) for the evening. On
Friday we return to Tokyo for meetings for my EarlyToRise.com business. On Sunday night, I return home on another 20+ hour time traveling journey that gets me into Toronto just before midnight local time on Sunday night.
Whew. (Then I get 24 hours off before my Florida-Mexico-Denver journey for Thanksgiving, a wedding, and our EarlyToRise.com Christmas party).
Again, somewhere John Candy is smiling, and wishing me “Good luck” with that one…