How to Work Out in a Hotel

You arrive at a hotel and find a dingy gym with minimal equipment…or worse, no gym at all! How do you stay fit in this situation? Get-Fit Guy to the rescue!

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #095

How to Work Out in a Hotel

If you travel frequently and you try to stay fit while on the road, you’ve probably experienced this scenario: You arrive at your hotel, go to check out the gym, and are greeted with a less-than-posh, bare-bones collection of dusty dumbbells and a squeaky treadmill.

In such a situation, going outside for a run may be one option, but sometimes it can be tough to find a safe running route. Or perhaps you may not be able to run due to a knee injury or foot pain. Or maybe you’re not a runner. So what do you do?

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In this episode, you’ll learn how to work out in a hotel and get an exercise routine for staying fit while traveling.

How to Work Out in a Hotel Gym

If your hotel has a well-equipped gym that looks like a miniature health club, you can simply use a fast and highly effective workout, such as the routine I teach you in the episode What Workout Burns the Most Fat?

But if the gym is old, dingy, and worn-down, you may need some other options. Here are two of my top tips, which you can use in addition to the cardio workout I describe in How to Get Great Hotel Gym Workouts:

Tip #1: Mix It Up

Typically, even the most bare-bones hotel gym has at least one type of free weight (like a set of dumbbells), one machine (like a cable resistance machine or incline bench), and one piece of cardio equipment (like a treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer). When I’m faced with such a scenario, I simply choose a body weight exercise, a free weight or machine exercise, and a cardio exercise, then put all three together into a circuit that I do 5 times.

For example, I might do 15 push-ups, then 15 dumbbell curls or cable pulldowns, then 2 minutes of running on the treadmill, and simply repeat that same pattern 4 more times, with minimal rest. Time goes by fast when you mix it up, and especially if the cardio equipment is old, it makes it much easier when you’re just doing a quick 2 minute burst on it rather than fighting a squeaky treadmill belt for a 30-minute steady run.

Tip #2: Use One Set

Rather than trying to find multiple exercises for each body part, which can be frustrating when your workout equipment choices are limited, simply identify at least one exercise you can do for each body part, and do as many repetitions as you possibly can before moving on to the next body part. This also works well when you don’t have any heavy weights and need to do more reps with a lighter weight or body weight. Some of my favorite body part exercises are:

The way it would work is you would arrive at the gym, warm-up, do push-ups until you can’t do anymore, then repeat for dumbbell rows, overhead presses, lunges, and riding a bicycle. Since everyone’s fitness levels are different, the number of reps for each exercise would be different. To give you an idea of volume, I’m personally in pretty good shape and might do 100 push-ups, 50 dumbbell rows for each side, 75 overhead presses, 50 lunges per leg, and 4 minutes of cycling as hard as possible.

How to Work Out When There’s No Hotel Gym

When you don’t have access to a hotel gym, but still want to do a workout (and running outside isn’t an option), you can do my standby hotel room workout, which requires no fancy equipment, elastic bands, Made-For-TV home workout contraptions, or anything else that you can’t find in most hotel rooms:

  1. If the hotel has stairs, go up and down the stairs for 5 minutes for your warm-up. Otherwise, do 100 jumping jacks.

  2. 10-20 push-ups

  3. 10-20 body weight squats

  4. 10-20 dips (using a coffee table, chair, edge of bed, etc.)

  5. 10-20 lunge jumps

  6. 10-20 corkscrew rotations per side

Rest minimally between exercises, and do 4-6 rounds of this routine. For added difficulty, add 25-50 jumping jacks between each set.

While there are a variety of body weight workouts you can do, I find that the routine described above works extremely well, and gives you a great cardiovascular and muscular workout in a pretty short time frame.

Of course, you can always use Google to do a quick search for gyms nearby where you are staying. You may get lucky and find out there’s a great health club just around the corner from your hotel.

Related Content: How To Stay Fit While Traveling

If you have more questions about how to workout in a hotel, just visit Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and ask your questions there!

Dumbbells image from Shutterstock

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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