Working Out on the Road: Exercises for the Hotel

I travel a lot for work and when I’m away I have a hard time sleeping and eating properly, but most of all I really miss workouts (I mostly do classes) at my gym. Most of the hotels I stay in have a gym space, but very little equipment: usually some kind of cardio machine (treadmill or bicycle…often they are broken) and some dumbbells. What should I do for a quick workout to keep in shape while on the road?

I have a simple, easy and effective work out for you. This workout hits the main three components of fitness: cardio, strength and flexibility (note that this workout emphases the first two) and you can do it in 30 minutes!

How it works:

The cardio aspect of this routine starts from the second you strap on your sneakers for a short warm-up to get the blood flowing. Then, by moving from exercise to exercise with little or no rest in between, you keep your heart rate at an elevated rate, which helps you burn more calories (it take more fuel to keep the heart pumping).

The exercises of this routine shift between upper and lower body, which has two main effects:

1. It allows the upper body to experience active recovery (rest without stopping), while working the lower body (and vice versa).

2. By shifting between upper and lower body exercises you force your heart to pump harder to shunt fresh, oxygenated blood to power your muscles from one extremity to the next ( i.e. from your legs when doing squats to your chest and shoulders for push-ups).

The exercises I want you to do act as the resistance (strength training ) aspect of your workout. Multi-joint exercises allow you to target many muscles, for example squats hit the quads, glutes and hams; push-ups hit the chest, back and shoulder, and the plank is one of the world’s greatest core strengtheners. Resistance training will help you to build lean muscle mass, which in turn helps to increase your metabolism (rate at which you burn calories).

Warm-up: Grab whatever cardio machine you can find for five minutes. If you can’t get access to a machine (because it’s busted or busy) go for a power walk around the hotel or find the staircase and run up and down it a few times.

Gym mat, two sets of dumbbells – one heavy, one light.

Here’s the sequence of exercises I want you to do:
1. Squats – 25 reps
2. Push-ups – 25 reps
3. Squats – 25 reps
4. Bicep curls to shoulder press – 25 reps
5. Lunges – 25 right leg reps
6. Two arm dumbbell row (use heavy weights) – 25 reps
7. Lunges – 25 left leg reps
8. Planks – forward 30 seconds, right side 30 seconds, forward 30 seconds, left side 30 seconds
For detailed info on each of these exercises see below.

After, stay and stretch your major muscle groups (hams, quads, chest, and shoulders) to complete your workout. It’s been just 30 minutes and you are done!

Take a sauna or a long hot shower and relax. Keeping up your exercise routine on the road will not only help you to feel better, it will help you to sleep better and inspire you to make better food choices. (which is sometimes tricky when away from home).


  • Stand hip width apart, toes pointed to 11 and 1.
  • Chest lifted, brace abdominals, and lower back for support.
  • Initiate movement from the hips with simultaneous movement through the knees and ankles. (Imagine that you are sitting back into a chair).
  • Squat position is knees in line with toes with knees directed out over 2nd and 3rd toes.
  • Press into your heels and shins and come back up.


  • Face down from your knees or your toes, hands are placed just outside the shoulders
  • Feet are hip width apart for greater stability as it forces your abs to tighten and prevents you from arching your back. .
  • To do the push up, lower your body down to just above the floor by bending your elbows and then push the floor away.


  • Lie face down flat on a mat, place your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Forward plank lift your body off the ground with your knees or toes on the ground and hold for 30-60 seconds to work deep into the core muscles.
  • Side plank, from your forward plank shift your weight into your right hand and rotate your entire body so that the left side is facing the ceiling. (and then do the other side)


  • Stand in a split stance, with feet approximately three feet apart. You’ll want both knees to be at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement.
  • Brace your abs.
  • Bending your knees, lower the back knee toward the floor, keeping the front heel down and the front knee directly over the center of the foot.
  • Push through the front heel and back to starting position.

Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press

  • Start with one dumbbell in each hand
  • Bring your hands up by your shoulders
  • Perform a military press (straight up)
  • Bring your arms all the way back down by your sides

Dumbbell Row

  • Using your heavy weights, stand with feet hip width apart, bend over at the waist until the torso is parallel to floor or at 45 degree angle, abs in and knees slightly bent.
  • Bend the elbows and pull the weights up until the elbows are level with the torso in a rowing motion. Try to keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.
  • Return to starting position

Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.