Travel Exercise: 3 Fat-Burning Workouts (Minimal Equipment)

Do you ever wonder if those diet gurus and late-night infomercial hucksters actually follow their own workout recommendations?

I mean, can you really, honestly see Suzanne Somers pumping away on her Thighmaster, or Tony Little on a Gazelle, furiously sweating away in his basement?

How about so-called “diet gurus” like Dr. Phil who haven’t seen their own feet since they were in grade school?

But I digress. I guess I’m testy since I’ll be getting a taste of my own medicine this week.

How To Stay Fit While Traveling

Woman travelling with suitcase
Not only is it tough to stay in shape, but it’s also easy to put on weight when you’re traveling for work. All of those airport snacks and restaurant meals can quickly add up.

Currently, I’m sitting in a Hyatt in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a fully-functioning gym/fitness room. Of course, one man’s “fully-functioning” is another man’s “barely functional.”

And, as I survey the hotel’s weight selection (with nothing heavier than a 35 lb dumbbell in sight), I think to myself, “This is going to be an interesting challenge.”

What’s a fellow addicted to lifting heavy things to do for fitness?

The answer: Use leverage to get around the lack of heavy things, or work on different aspects of the game.

Since the dry desert air has been keeping me up at night, I decided to craft three no-equipment, fat-burning workouts for you, the busy MCNewsletters reader.

I had a lot of fun test-driving them and hope you enjoy every excruciating minute as much as I did.

While all of these workouts are based on the development of separate, specific attributes, they all have three things in common:

  1. They can all be done in your typical hotel fitness center or your own hotel room.
  2. They all dramatically increase your metabolic output, causing you to burn fat faster.
  3. They are all short (time-wise) workouts. In fact, workout three is only 7.5 minutes long!

Note: All these workouts work better if you DO have access to some weights (even limited weights), but all is not lost if you don’t. I’ve written in “weights-less” alternatives where applicable.

Ready to go? Let’s proceed:

No-Equipment Workout

(Minimal equipment is even better, if you have it!)

Workout One: Strength-Based

This workout is designed to increase your lean body mass (muscle). As we’ve written about previously, increasing muscle mass is the best way to increase your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

Increasing muscle mass is a combination of two factors: intramuscular tension and accumulated by-products of fatigue.

In other words, you have to create high levels of tension in the muscle by making it work hard, and you’ve gotta feel a burn. This workout calls for concentration and effort – so be sure to use resistances that feel “tough.”

Pistols (One-legged Squats) x 10 reps each side.
One-armed Pushups x 5 reps each side.
Dumbbell Deadlift x 15 reps.
One-armed dumbbell row x 10 reps each side.
Trunk rotations x 10 reps.

Using weights that feel like a challenge to you, perform the above as listed, in that order.

Repeat the series three times or until muscular exhaustion occurs. If muscular exhaustion occurs on any given exercise, you’re done on that one. Move on to the next.

Use the resistance (i.e. weights) used to track your progression.

As always, if you’re confused as to how to perform a given exercise, check the links above for how to videos for clarification.

Workout Two: Metabolic Conditioning

This workout is designed to maximize EPOC.

Mike’s already written a fairly extensive article on the fat-burning benefits of EPOC, but let me summarize – maximizing the overall work effort maximizes calorie burn, both during AND after the workout.

You should move quickly during this workout; don’t dilly-dally! Take as little rest as possible. It’s only 15 minutes long, so you can rest afterwards.

Set your timer to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a timer, use the wall clock or clock radio in your room.

Perform the maximum number of circuits (without resting) of the following:

Chinups x 5 reps
Pushups x 10 reps
Bodyweight Squats x 15 reps

Use total number of circuits completed to track your progression.

Yes, you must complete all reps of one exercise before going to the next one.

Yes, if you can’t do a full pushup or a chinup, you can substitute modified pushups or Smith bar chinups.

And no, 10 rounds is NOT impossible. Enjoy!

Workout Three: Interval-Based Exercise

Workout numero tres delivers the strength and muscle-building benefits of workout one and combines it with the conditioning effects of workout two.

Needless to say, it delivers quite the punch! It’s based off of the Tabata Push-Pull workout and is better left to readers who are already “fighting fit.” But hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Romanian Deadlift/Overhead Dumbbell Press
Jump Squat/Jump Lunge Variation
Bench Dips/Smith Bar Pullups

Choose one of the listed pairs and perform them in a Tabata interval, i.e.,

Perform a 30 second warmup – bodyweight squats or pushups work well – then,

  • Do the first exercise for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds (and pick up the weight for the second exercise).
  • Perform the second exercise for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds (and pick up the weight for the first exercise). Repeat for 7 minutes total.

Use the Total Tonnage method described in the Tabata Push-Pull article (linked to above) to track progression.

Remember to choose a weight that feels “moderate” for this one – it gets tough!

So there you go! Three workouts, three different ways to keep your fat-burning efforts alight while you’re on the road.

Choose your medicine wisely and take your iron pill. No excuses now. Now if you all will excuse me, there’s a post-workout recovery shake on the counter that requires my urgent attention…

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