No gym? No excuse! These home workouts will improve your strength, cardio and flexibility.

5-fitness-rules

Muscular Fitness

* Your body is your gym
The fact that the camp ground doesn’t have a gym is no excuse for sitting 24/7. Your body IS your gym; you just don’t know how to use the equipment yet!

TRY: Combine a series of push-ups, dips, lunges, squats, abdominal crunches, step-ups, jogging, swimming, etc., to create a simple yet highly effective fitness maintaining workout. You can even narrow the focus of your training to specific body parts by alternating between bodyweight exercises that isolate target muscles (the ones you don’t want to melt).

* You say baked beans, I say dumbbell
Bored with only using your own bodyweight as resistance? Think outside the box and raid your cupboards or hotel for something that takes a bit of work to lift repetitively, in place of dumbbells.

TRY: A couple of large tins of baked beans or vegies make great surrogate weights.

* I’m working out (my garlic breath)
If the thought of setting aside 20 minutes makes you want to superglue your heels to the coffee table, try this to get around your inner rebel (you can do the first bit on the couch): Make a list of the different things you do consistently every day – make bed, clean teeth, fetch mail – and match each activity with an exercise. How’s that for time management?

TRY: Combine brushing your teeth with performing some bodyweight squats. Brush one side of your teeth for every 10 squats, then switch sides. Don’t fuss about reps – do whatever works for you.

Cardio Fitness

* Make it a quickie
If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, burn more fat and increase caloric expenditure – while spending less time working out – high intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal. On paper. What these workouts lack in time they make up for in hard graft – you’ll need to be prepared to go like a greyhound with a rabbit addiction. HIIT incorporates short intervals of maximum (it does mean maximum) intensity exercise, with longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise. The reward? Metabolic changes that allow you to utilise more fat as fuel when exercising, and can limit muscle loss (i.e. keep calorie burning high). For a bonus, the energy demands for recovery keep your calorie burn up after you’ve forgotten you thought your legs were going to fall off.

TRY: Unless you fancy a new set of crutches, don’t start with maximum effort. Instead, try two minutes walking (50 per cent effort), two minutes jogging (70 per cent), then one minute sprinting at maximum effort, and repeat the cycle several times. To prevent injury, make sure you warm up and cool down properly.

Flexibility

* Standing still (nope, not a practical joke)
Steel your flexibility by standing still. Sounds impossible, right? Don’t be fooled by the fact that grandma could do it – static stretching works wonders. This effective, safe and popular method of stretching involves passively stretching a muscle to the point of mild discomfort (not pain) by holding the stretch with correct technique for an extended period. The key with stretching is to focus on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, upper back, chest, shoulders and neck. (Resist the temptation to bounce.)

TRY: Select your most beloved body part for each stretch session. For instance, steel hamstrings with static side lunges, leaning into the stretch until it feels like it’s pulling slightly. To make it work, ensure you hold each stretch for a good 20 to 30 seconds and work both sides, repeating multiple times on each side. And yes, you can break your stretching workout into small groups of stretches throughout the day without incurring penalty points.

Next: Set up a home gym or browse our workout videos