No Time to Workout? Here’s How to Keep Fit and Exercise When You’re Traveling (Or Don’t Have Access to a Gym)

By David

September 11, 2013   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

If you’re like most people, you don’t have a problem fitting exercise into your normal day-to-day routine.

Maybe you go to the nearby gym a few times a week, do a bodyweight workout or two at home before work, and head to your local park on the weekends to crank out some pull ups and get some fresh air without any problem at all.

But more likely than not, as soon as you switch into travel mode and away from your normal routine, your exercise habits go out the door. 

You eat more and exercise less. You refuse (on principle) to pay the extra $25 for the hotel gym, and aren’t quite sure how to get a similar workout in your hotel room. The result is that you just stop working out altogether—telling yourself you’ll pick up the habit when you get back.

But it doesn’t always work that way.

Because while you may not see a barbell or a treadmill for the entire duration of your trip, the truth is that you don’t even need equipment to stay in shape while you’re on the road. In fact, you can get in an incredible workout anywhere, anytime—even if all you have is a hotel room or a nearby park.

Here are four ways to keep fit when you’re traveling (or just don’t have access to a gym):

Embrace bodyweight training.

If you think you need fancy equipment to get in shape, it’s time to think again. Because all you really need is your own body to get fitter and stronger than ever before.

Bodyweight training has a ton of awesome benefits, including (but not limited to):

A. It’s totally portable. You can literally do it anywhere (including your tiny hotel room).
B. It uses your entire body. Forget lower body days and shoulder days. Train your body the way it was meant to be used: as a whole.
C. It builds core strength, without crunches. Full body exercises mean your core has to work harder, even if you’re not doing core-specific exercises.
D. You’ll get injured less. There’s no question about it, heavy weights lead to more injuries. Train without them, and you’ll stay healthier, longer.

So next time you’re traveling, think burpees, air squats, push ups, walking lunges and even handstand push ups—and be amazed at the workout you can get using zero equipment.

Shorten your workouts.

Let’s face it: if you think you have to spend 45 minutes to an hour working out every day on your vacation or work trip, you’re probably going to skip it every single time.

That’s why the best style of workout to do while traveling is high intensity interval training (HIIT)—a workout style that requires you to work really hard for a really short amount of time.

With HIIT, you can get your workout done in just 10 or 15 minutes—so all your excuses to not work out go out the window.

Stop thinking you need a lot of space.

Sure, it’s nice to have a big, wide open space to work out in, and if there’s a park nearby where you’re staying, by all means go do your workout there (and be prepared for a lot of curious looks).

But even if all you have is a tiny hotel room, you can still get in a sweat pouring, heart pounding workout.

Want to work up your heart rate? Do some high knees. Work hard, and you’ll be doing the equivalent to sprinting in place.

Hoping to build arm strength? The classic push up will never fail you. And you can mix it up with variations like triceps push ups, elevated push ups and reptile push ups if you get bored.

Need some leg work? Air squats are a fantastic lower body exercise. Just do more reps of them than you would if you were using weights. Pistols, lunges, squat jumps and Bulgarian split squats are a good bet too.

The small space possibilities are endless.

Be creative.

If you’re sick of working out in your hotel room or just want to challenge yourself a little more with equipment, try thinking outside of the box for inspiration.

Are you near a construction site? Go do some pull ups on the scaffolding. Staying by a children’s playground? Monkey bars are great for hanging knee raises, and there are plenty of other creative things you can do—reverse push ups, pull ups, dips, and more.

Is there a bench or a picnic table nearby? Use it to do some box jumps, step ups or elevated push ups.

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Get rid of the excuses

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any equipment, any time or any space—you can keep fit while you’re traveling. You just have to put your mind to it.

So next time you travel, make sure to pack your gym shoes, and get ready for an awesome workout.

If you are currently doing a workout routine or considering getting back into exercising make sure that you read this article on 5 Supplements For Getting Ripped Fast That Just Aren’t Worth It And Can Be Harmful To Your Health.

Written on 9/11/2013 by Krista Stryker. Krista Stryker is the founder of 12 Minute Athlete, a website providing free, incredibly effective high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and awesome fitness motivation for athletes of all levels. Check out the new 12 Minute HIIT Workouts iPhone app or follow her on Twitter for more workout and fitness inspiration.

Photo Credit: James Lord


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