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My workouts consist of weight-lifting followed by a moderate cardio session. I'm pretty used to it, but I have a growing concern; I'm visiting my folks for the holidays and I plan to stay there for 11 days. And I won't have access to a gym while over there. Is pure cardio enough for these 11 days? Or should I use stuff around the house to have something to lift?

  • Bodyweight exercises are always good as you don't need very much. Just find a tree and you can do pullups/chinups. Pushups don't need anything more than the floor. Squats without weights are still good. Chest dips can be done on an inner corner of a benchtop or between two stools – Aequitas Dec 21 '15 at 21:37
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If your workout session is limited to the gym, you need to be introduced into the world of Calisthenics

Let me whet your appetite with a few links:

Essentially,

  • Any strong, horizontal overhead bar is your equipment for building strong back, lats, arms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders via pull ups, chin ups, and muscle ups.
  • Your staircase hand rails (if it's narrow enough or putting two chairs across each other) is your dip station to build bigger triceps and chest
  • The floor is always available for for various types of push ups.
  • The floor is always available for core exercises.
  • Fill up a 5 gallon bottle with water and you can perform front squats, one-arm bicep curl, and overhead press with it.
  • A lot of neighborhoods (especially in the US) have playgrounds with bars. Go nuts!

My point is simple: there are ample exercise equipment around you outside the gym; recognize them, use them, and you'll never be limited to the gym.

Wait.....there's more!

  • If you have your personal dumbbells (or an EZ curl bar with disc) and you're driving to your folks, you can easily take those with you.
  • While jogging is the de facto running mode, sprinting is a better way for you to keep in shape. Interweave sprinting with knee jumping for maximum cardio.
  • Yoga and pilates are also wonderful alternatives. You can use the time to stretch your body, joints, and muscles.

Where there's a way, there's a kickass way to stay in shape.

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  • without having watched the video, how do you do chest dips on a staircase? – Aequitas Dec 22 '15 at 1:33
  • @Aequitas It depends on how narrow the staircase is; if it's narrow enough for you to lift yourself, you can easily do it. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Dec 22 '15 at 1:38
  • oh right, on the hand rails you mean right? derp I was trying to think of a way to do it on the actual stairs – Aequitas Dec 22 '15 at 1:42
  • @Aequitas I'll update my answer to ensure others know I was referring to hand rails. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Dec 22 '15 at 1:55
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I think best way is to go for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) along with some band exercise. HIIT is all about body weight training with no equipment, however the focus is on short bursts rather than long cardio exercises. Try these:

  1. Burpees
  2. Squats
  3. Pushups
  4. Jumping Lunges
  5. Vertical Jumps

Do every exercise as hard as possible for 45 seconds and take a 15 seconds break and move to the next exercise. Try completing 3-5 sets of these exercise and you will melt away fat.

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Honestly, 11 days isn't going to destroy your gains and you may even benefit from the break.

Consider just going for a run, to keep on schedule and not feel like garbage. You could also drop ~$30 on a knock-off TRX, or run to a playground somewhere and knock out some pullups. Or rig up the suspension trainer on a nearby tree.

If you're doing real strength training in a gym, you're not going to be able to simulate that in any practical sense without a gym.

Another real option, if you have the cash to drop (or have them already) would be a couple of heavy kettlebells. I'll use my 53LB for swings, snatches, and other such lifts. Tossing in some sprints, pushups, and pullups, it's not a bad workout.

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