Travel, odd hours, long commutes, family time, and rough weather often makes heading to the gym or outside for a walk the last priority on your ever-growing to-do list. Plus, when you don't have enough room to store gym equipment, let alone roll out a yoga mat, achieving your exercise goals can feel next to impossible.
If you're short on time and space, Mitzi Gaskins, the Global Brand Leader for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, is here to help. Because this jetsetter spends much of her time in meetings, planes, and hotel rooms, she's learned a thing or two about exercising in tight quarters and working up a sweat in less than 10 minutes. "I love exercising in small places because it can be done virtually anywhere and is just as effective as stepping out for a long run or hitting the gym," says Mitzi.
Mitzi is proof that with a little creativity, even a studio apartment can be transformed into an exercise playground complete with everything you need to stay fit—from chairs to canned veggies. Here are her top three tips for moving your body in small spaces.
Grab your phone and take seven
"When I'm on the road or staying in a smaller space, I take advantage of the 7 Minute Workout Challenge," says Mitzi. "All you need is your body weight. You can repeat the exercises as many times as you want."
The 7 Minute Workout Challenge is an award-winning, research-backed fitness app that's specifically designed for busy individuals. The various exercise routines, which include simple yet effective movements like lunges and planks, can be done anytime, anywhere with zero gym equipment. Plus, they've been shown to transform bodies in—you guessed it—just seven minutes per day.
Sound too good to be true? Mitzi explains that it's a common misconception that you need dumbbells to have a beneficial workout. Utilizing your body weight and a chair for something simple, like a set of triceps dips, is just as effective. "I remember traveling to Berlin and my luggage with all of my workout clothes and sneakers had been lost," she recalls. "With no proper workout attire, I tried the 7 Minute Workout Challenge. I was able to get a great workout inside my tiny hotel room in my pajamas!"
Guided videos are a game changer
When you don't have a gym buddy, finding the self-motivation to move can be more difficult. Ever tried to work out at home but had no clue where to even begin? Like the 7 Minute Workout Challenge, this is why guided videos with experts are useful. Though the instructor is not with you in-person, their direction and demonstration will keep you encouraged, confident, and safe.
Mitzi suggests checking out Behind the Barre, Marriott's collaboration with the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet. This video series helps viewers achieve balance and reinvigorate their bodies and mind using ballet-inspired movements. In this video, for example, members of the Joffrey Ballet demonstrate how to perform neck, back, and hamstring stretches that will improve your stability. Another video offers strengthening exercises like relevés and leg raises. In other words, you can sweat alongside real-life ballerinas in your living room, making all of your childhood Center Stage dreams come true.
Rely on the furniture (and food) you've already got
No weights or benches? No problem. The items you already have in your home will work just as well. "Chairs and couches serve multiple purposes when working out at home," says Mitzi. "They are useful if you are looking to do HIIT exercises like step-ups, or if you want to do more toning and use them as support for incline push ups."
Mitzi adds that cans—yep, the ones in your cabinet filled with beans and vegetables—are a perfect substitute for light weights. Use them for curls, front arm raises, or tricep kickbacks. Holding them in your hand while performing step-ups, squats, or lunges is a fantastic way to make the exercises more challenging, too.
The next time you contemplate skipping your workout due to a lack of time or space, keep Mitzi's tips in mind. There are plenty of opportunities to get your heart and muscles pumping, even when you're defrosting leftovers, waiting for your Uber, or enjoying some peace and quiet during nap time. "It's wonderful that so many exercises can be done in smaller spaces, especially because this can make you try something you have never tried before," adds Mitzi.
We're all about getting outside of our comfort zone within the comfort of our own home. Now, whether you choose to plank or pirouette in your PJs or workout clothes is totally up to you.