Ask Rocco: 01/06

A traveler’s workout

By Rocco Castellano

Photo: Frozen Butt Hang participants set up hammocks and tents above the forest floor

Part of what I do as fitness expert and business coach is travel. That means I have to work out in different gyms, fitness facilities and sometimes in my hotel room. Usually I will book a room at a hotel that has a gym, but many times the gym they show on their webpage looks nothing like what I see when I walk in. When you walk in on 300 square feet of stuff shoved into a room half that size, broken cables, missing dumbbells and every piece of equipment being used, it’s not a great environment to get a good workout in.

Most of us (and it’s crossed my mind many a time) would say, “Screw it, where’s the bar?”

As a matter of fact, screw this column, I’m going to the bar.

OK, I’m just playing with you. Truth be told though, that is what many of us, including me, would say. Then our heads see a fat, sloth-like individual in the mirror, and it doesn’t look pretty.

It’s annoying to have to deal with cramped settings, people sweating on you and the equipment and not having the tools to get the job done. Can you have some cheese with the whine? Well, yes. Yes you can. I know there are some workout Nazis out there saying, “Rocco I worked out in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways…” and to you, I say, “I don’t give a shit.”

There’s a mental state I like to be in when I go work out. Some fat woman breathing hard and sweating next to me doesn’t bring me to workout bliss, even if I have Metallica blasting my eardrums out and I’m wearing a terrycloth sweat suit. So I often opt to pass the bar, note whether they carry Maker’s Mark, and go back up to my room or the pool for a workout.

I know many a workout freak who has brought 45 pound dumbbells in their suitcase. That’s not me, especially with the airlines charging you by the pound these days.

Instead, I use Hefty garbage bags (and no I don’t get a product placement endorsement for saying “Hefty bags.” They just seem to be the only ones that don’t break or get holes in them while traveling).

So, before your next trip go to the grocery store and get yourself some Hefty Bags. I prefer the “Garden and Leaf” bags myself but get anything you like – it’s your grocery trip.

Now, when I get to the hotel and I experience all the stuff I talked about in the beginning of this column, I go up to my room and see how much room I have to work out. Most of the time, 10 square feet is all you’d need. For the not so mathematically inclined, that covers about a 2-foot-by-5-foot space. Thank goodness for my public school education.

Now, there’s a little more math, and don’t blow a gasket, saying, “Rocco I thought we were reading about working out not learning math … I only have so many brain cells left!”

Don’t worry, little grasshopper, I’m doing the math for you so those very limited brain cells don’t get used up. Back to the math. Every gallon of water equals 8 pounds. So 3 gallons, equals … there you go, 24 pounds. Damn, you’re smart. Five gallons is 40 pounds … you see where I’m going with this.

I fill two Hefty bags with about 4-5 gallons of water and have all the weight I need to get in a good workout. Now, half this workout is comprised of bodyweight exercises and the rest are weighted exercises.

Just a note for my idiot travelers, don’t fill the bags and put them in the suitcase, you may have a damp experience at the baggage carousel.

I start off by doing two minutes of jumping jacks (still the best full body exercise) as a warm up to get the juices flowing. I then do two minutes of bodyweight squats, to get more juices flowing. You’re going to hate this part, but remember in second grade, when the gym teacher made you do arm circles? Well, arm circles are the easiest, most basic, most painful exercise. They will make you feel like the biggest pansy this side of the Ohio River. I do two minutes total: 60 seconds (that’s 1 minute… for the slow folks) keeping the arms perfectly straight, circling forward, and then another 60 seconds circling backward.

Next, another set of jumping jacks for 2 minutes.

Now that you’re all warmed up, here’s the actual workout:

1. Legs first. Grab the bags, hold one in each hand and wrap the non-filled tops around your wrists so that you can only see the water-filled part. You will do this for almost every exercise. Hold the bags out to the sides and, you guessed it, squat for two minutes.

2. Now that your lungs have burst through your chest, do a set of lunges, 60 seconds each leg. Do not alternate legs; work the same leg for 60 seconds.

3. Two minutes of mountain climbers

4. Two minutes of jumping jacks

5. As many pushups as you can do

6. Two sets of 20 bent-over rows (using a Hefty bag)

7. Two sets of upright rows (using a Hefty bag)

8. Two sets of tricep presses (using Hefty Bag)

9. Two sets of bicep curls

10. Finish off with two minutes of jumping jacks, two minutes of mountain climbers and a set of criss-cross crunches

There you have it my little Traveling Wilbury.

Until next week, ciao.

The views and opinions expressed in
Ask Rocco are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit


  1. Ask Rocco: 01/06Strength Training Exercises For Women | Strength Training Exercises For Women - January 7, 2015

    […] Ask Rocco: 01/06 Usually I will schedule an area at a hotel that has a fitness center, but sometimes the health club they reveal on their website looks absolutely nothing like what I see when I walk in. When you walk in on 300 square feet of things shoved into a room one-half that dimension, busted cable televisions, missing … Check out a lot more on Dayton City Paper […]

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