It wouldn’t be so bad that the hotel gym is smaller than your closet, but your conference schedule is packed all week. This Tiny Gym is all you’ve got.
No sad face. You can use just about any gym to get a more intense workout than anyone else using the same equipment by controlling a few simple variables. Just don’t anticipate packing on the lean mass this week.
Personal trainers use something called the FITT principle to adjust workouts, even if they don’t know it. FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Moving the needle on any one of these can push your workouts in ways you hadn’t imagined.
Time to see your week in Tiny Gym as a week where you get in some crazy workouts.
In general, the frequency variable in FITT is carried by increasing or decreasing the rate at which one works out. In general, frequency is turned up.
For your Tiny Gym scenario, you might consider two-a-days, just for the week. Even if it means you bang out an early workout before your lectures, then hit twenty minutes of cardio before bed, you will see some interesting results.
Worst case scenario, you will work off that plate of conference doughnuts you shoved in your pockets to eat later. Best case scenario, you’re gonna get shredded this week.
This is just what it sounds like, but intensity can be the hardest variable to control when the weights only go up to 25 pounds. One really easy way to increase intensity in these cases is to slow way down.
Instead of your standard 1-1-1 tempo, where you complete a rep in three seconds, slow it down to 23 seconds in 10-3-10 tempos. In case you’re lost, this means you take ten seconds in the eccentric and concentric phases, lowering and lifting, then three seconds in the resting phase.
What will surprise you the most is how heavy super light weights feel when slowed way down.
Time generally refers to duration, so in the case you are training for a marathon, if you were previously running for twenty minutes, you may be increasing to thirty.
For the Tiny Gym, you may decide this is a time where you spend that extra ten minutes in the gym since you’re not exhausted yet. Another way you can control time is via the time of day.
If you typically workout in the AM, an evening workout is going to throw your internal mechanism enough that you may see some accelerated results.
You may burn more calories than you normally would, or not eat at a time you normally would.
This is likely going to be changed no matter what if your environment is different. If you are accustomed to Olympic lifts but are relegated to dumbbells and cables, then you are definitely training a different type this week.
To that point, you should take it to the full extend if possible. Embrace your foreign environment. Rather than try to simulate the equipment you are familiar with, use nothing you recognize.
Again, these small changes will push your body to adapt to new stimulus. This will cost you calories, in a good way.
Here’s the kicker to the whole scenario. When you go back to your home gym, presumably your familiar routine, you will find your body working to catch up to what is perceivably a new workout again.
If it’s only been a week, it won’t take long, but don’t assume you can lift the same heavy weights you were lifting when you left.
If you can lift past your ego, consider these challenges are only helping you grow in all the right ways again.