Whenever people leave on holidays or for work trips, I always hear the same questions "What should I do for my workouts?". This post is going to show you a few fun ways to create workouts you can do anywhere, either in a hotel room, in a gym or on a beach.
First of all, working out during your holidays is optional. When you travel for leisure, you should focus on enjoying the trip as much as you can. If working out helps this, then yes, keep on reading. If you are traveling for work and want to get a good sweat on, keep reading as well. If working out while away doesn't spark joy however, stop reading and go enjoy your trip!
First of all, let's go over a few basic pointers.
What's your goal?
What is the goal of your fitness routine while away on vacation?
Are you trying to keep up with your fitness routine at home? Are you trying to increase your fitness? Are you trying to burn off all those extra calories you eat? Are you trying to put on muscle?
For me personally, my travel workouts are always geared towards movement. I need to move around, stretch my body out and get a LIGHT sweat going. I do not workout to get stronger or bigger while I travel. This would take too much time away from my trip.
I never worry about burning extra calories because my nutrition style while away is the same than at home: flexible enough to enjoy "cheat" foods and filled with veggies and protein to make my body feel good.
Second of all, what equipment do you have access to?
If you are away on a business trip, you most likely will have access to a hotel gym and your workouts will be pretty similar to regular gym workouts.
If you are exploring a new place for leisure, you may just have your body weight to exercise and that's perfectly ok.
The trick with travel workouts is to keep them short and full body. Get all your muscles moving, use lighter weights and short rest periods.
Hotel gym workout
Hotel gyms are usually smaller than regular gyms and offer less choice of equipment.
The easiest workout to do in that case is a full body dumbbell workout which could look like this:
A1: Chest press 3 x 12
A2: Renegade row 3 x 12
A3: Bicycle crunches 3 x 20
After A3 rest for 30 seconds before starting again
B1: Stiff leg dumbbell deadlift 3 x 8
B2: Alternating dumbbell lunges 3 x 10 per leg
B3: Mountain climber 3 x 20 per leg
After B3 rest for 30 seconds before starting again
C1: Dumbbell shoulder press 3 x 15
C2: Dumbbell curls 3 x 12
C3: Close grip push ups 3 x 8
After C3 rest for 30 seconds before starting again
*Exercises with the same letter before them are to be grouped in a super set. So do the A1 exercise then immediately do A2 and then A3. Take a break after A3 and repeat that 3 times in total.
This workout should take you around 20-25 minutes to do and will hit all your main muscles.
I encourage you to vary the exercises, but make sure to get at least one push movement, one pull movement, one hinge movement and one squat movement.
Body weight workouts
Having a gym isn't always an option while traveling. You may end up in a small room, with no equipment whatsoever and worst, crappy lighting for instagram pictures.
In these situations, I like to do two things:
1. Focus on movement
2. Song challenges
Focusing on movement
When I travel, I don't really move around too much. I'll walk a lot, lie on a beach a lot, and sit at coffees/restaurant quite a bit. When I workout, I like to remind my body that it has to move in all kinds of forms.
Movements like lunges, side lunges, split squats, scapula push ups, wall walk ups, burpees, and lots of yoga inspired movements are some of my favourite moves for this.
A song challenge is very simple: put on a song that has a repetitive word in it. Do one move for the whole song, and when the repetitive word gets sung, do another move.
Here is my usual song challenge playlist in order:
When you hear "Green Sally down" go down in a squat position. When you her "Green Sally up" go back up. Make sure you don't go up before you hear that phrase.
Can also be done with push ups instead of squat.
Do squats or mountain climbers continuously. When you hear the word "Roxanne" do a burpee.
Do bicycle crunches continuously. When you hear "I can make your hand clap" do 2 V sit like demonstrated below.
Do mountain climbers or a plank continuously. When you hear "jump" or "jump around" do a jump squat.
Do squats or mountain climbers continuously. When you hear "thunder" or "thunderstruck" do a burpee.
Making your own travel workout
When I create my travel workouts I break them down into two parts:
- 15 minutes of movement focused exercises
- 2-3 song challenges
Here is a sample workout you can do anywhere.
Hand walk out to hip stretch 3 x 10 reps
Split squat 3 x 10 reps per leg
Wall walk ups 3 x 5
Side lunges 3 x 8 per leg
Grasshopper 4 x 20
Lying leg raises 4 x 10
This workout should take you between 20 and 30 minutes.
Here's a quick demo of the exercises:
Again, you can vary the exercises, this is just a template. Just make sure you are ok with the duration of the workout. I keep all my travel workouts under 30 minutes.
Other forms of body weight workouts are also available:
- Skip rope. Easy to cary, a skip rope can be your go to workout if you enjoy it. Five rounds of 3 minutes on 1 minute off should be enough.
- Walking. If you are traveling for leisure, walk as much as possible! Only resort to vehicle transportation if it would take you more than 30 minutes to walk.
- Hiking. Always try to get some sort of hike in your trip if you are in the right setting.
- Get creative. Every location we go to offers new and unique ways of working out. You'll see that with practice, you'll be able to come up with fun workout ideas everywhere you go.
Working while travelling is possible. The most important thing is that you must actually WANT to workout. The number one advice I give to people who ask me about travel workout is to not do it...unless it really sparks joy in your trip. If you are like me and enjoy working out while traveling, then I hope this post helps you create some workouts.
The focus of travel workouts should mainly be about movement and movement quality, really feeling your muscles work without necessarily exhausting them.
Have fun with this, and most importantly, enjoy your trips!