Jen Kates by Jen Kates

If you travel for work, you know that endless meetings or all-day conferences can leave you feeling drained, with little motivation to squeeze physical activity into your day. To help combat the drain on your energy, the following workouts, which can be done in even the sparsest hotel gym or outside, can add some invigorating movement to your day while traveling, whether for work or for play. All you need is a bench, a set of dumbbells and your own body weight.

NOTE: Before performing each workout outlined here, spend three to five minutes warming up on your favorite cardio machine. If you don’t have access to any machines, then perform two to three sets of 25 jumping jacks, 20 mountain climbers, 10 squats or lunges and 10 arm circles in each direction.

Day 1: Full-body Flow

This workout consists of 3-5 rounds of each group of exercises (A, B, and C) Each group of exercises is performed with no rest between exercises. When you finish group A, rest for at least 60 seconds before continuing on to groups B and C. Rest for 30-60 seconds between each round.

Exercise Repetitions (Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced)
A1) Elevated push-ups 3-5 | 5-10 | 10-15
A2) Hammer curls 3-5/arm | 5-10/arm | 10-15/arm
A3) Bench dips 3-5 | 5-10 | 10-15
A4) Reverse Lunge with Rotation 5-10/leg | 10-15/leg | 15+/leg
B1) Dumbbell bench press, alternating 5-8/arm | 8-10/arm | 10-15/arm
B2) Dumbbell single-arm rows 5-8/arm | 8-10/arm | 10-15/arm
B3) Body-weight or dumbbell split squats  5-8/leg | 8-10/leg | 10-15/leg
C1) Side plank Hold for 10-15 sec | 15-30 sec | 30-60 sec
C2) Superman 5-10 | 10-15 | 15-20
C3) Sit-up 5-10 | 10-15 | 15-20

Day 2: Full-body Boot Camp

Complete as many repetitions as possible for each movement in 60 seconds before moving onto the next movement in the set. If it takes fewer than 60 seconds to max out your repetitions for a movement, rest for the remainder of the minute before going to the next movement.

Complete set A two to three times, resting 60 seconds between each set; then move on to set B. Again, complete set B two three times, resting 60 seconds between each set. Choose a weight that allows you to perform the minimum number in the indicated repetition range outlined below without resting much during each exercise.

Exercise Repetitions (Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced)
A1) Dumbbell goblet squat (to bench, if needed) 3-5 | 5-10 | 10-15
A2) Dumbbell single-leg deadlifts     3-5/arm | 5-10/arm | 10-15/arm
A3) Dumbbell Arnold presses, alternating 3-5 | 5-10 | 10-15
A4) Dumbbell reverse flys 5-10/leg | 10-15/leg | 15+/leg
B1) Jumping lunges    5-8/arm | 8-10/arm | 10-15/arm
B2) Dumbbell Russian twists 5-8/arm | 8-10/arm | 10-15/arm
B3) Wall squat hold (with or without dumbbell) 5-8/leg | 8-10/leg | 10-15/leg
B4) Low plank (on elbows)    Hold for 10-15 sec | 15-30 sec | 30-60 sec

Day 3: Choose Your Own Adventure

You don’t have to be tied to your hotel room or gym to create a workout that suits your needs. Instead, head to the stairs in your hotel or get outside and enjoy some fresh air while you get your blood pumping.

Try any of the following:

  • Head out for a walk, run or hike.
  • Go dancing (take a dance lesson if you are visiting a location with a local dance scene).
  • Play in a local park (some even have fitness stations).
  • Swim at a local pool (or maybe your hotel has a pool). Try doing 4-6 laps of freestyle stroke, alternating with your favorite stroke such as side stroke or backstroke to recover.
  • Walk up (or run) 2-5 flights of stairs and walk back down to start; repeat at least 2-3 times.

If you head to a park, perform 3-5 minutes of cardio, such as faster walking or a light jog, plus three sets of body-weight movements such as 20 forward walking lunges (10 each leg), 20 side shuffles in each direction, 10 squats and 10 elevated push-ups off of a park bench.

The key to staying active while traveling is to keep it simple and enjoyable. Whatever you decide to do, it is still a form of movement that will increase your energy and leave you feeling refreshed (and more awake if you are stuck in meetings) the rest of the day.