On the Road: Staying Fit with Circuit Workouts

Man lifting weights

Most of us are creatures of habit.

We tend to wake up at the same time every morning. We commute to work at the same time we did yesterday. We eat our meals at the same time each day. The day ends when we go to bed at our usual time.

And yes, we work out at the same time each day.

Maybe you love yoga, or you do a daily 5-mile run. Conversely, perhaps both of these traditional styles bore you, and you prefer a 20-meter sprint up the stairs to the office each day.

Whether you’re traveling for business, leisure, or both, your daily routine is thrown off when on the road. You may stay in a hotel that has a gym, but perhaps the hours are not convenient for your schedule.

An 800-meter run up and down flights of hotel stairs? Who has time for that?

And that gym membership you have? Well, the location nearest your hotel is miles and miles away.

Sounds like you need a new plan. And with a little dedication, staying fit while traveling is entirely possible.

Traveler, say hello to the WODs — workouts of the day — that travel well.

And no, we don’t just mean that final 100-meter dash from airport security to your gate. We’re talking about heart-pumping, calorie-burning, sweat-dripping exercises you can do in your hotel room.

Get ready for a personal challenge because the first step to staying in shape is commitment.

Table of Contents

1. Where Do I Exercise When Traveling?
2. How Should I Exercise When Traveling?
3. Suggested Travel WODs to Try
4.Travel WOD Equipment


Where Do I Exercise When Traveling?

If you generally work out in a gym, you may not have access to equipment on the road. And if

And depending on the location where you’re staying, you may not have access to paths or parks.

If you can, book a hotel with a fitness center and/or passes to a nearby gym. Depending on how well-equipped the hotel gym is, you may be able to feel the burn by engaging in deadlifts, hauling kettlebells, and running a few miles on a treadmill.

No hotel gym, or just not feeling its vibe?

Have no fear; it’s entirely possible to stay in shape without setting foot in a gym.

There are plenty of workout routines that require nothing more than your natural surroundings. We’ll get into them below.


How Should I Exercise When Traveling?

Woman stretching on soccer field

There are so many simple yet effective workouts you can do while traveling.

In fact, we’re going to recommend some killer CrossFit exercises.

CrossFit is perfect for travel since it comprises circuit workouts that you perform at a high-intensity rate.

That way, you get the best workout in the quickest time that you can do anywhere.

Ahead, we’ll walk you through some of the best body-conditioning exercises you can do in your hotel room. After that, we’ll share a couple of simple (yet crucial) WOD drills that involve these exercises.

Squats

Squats are perfect WOD exercises since they require zero equipment and help you break a sweat.

There are also several types of squats that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Choose your favorites and go full-blown AMRAP with it (as many reps/rounds as possible).

These are some of the best travel WOD squats:

Basic Squats

Here’s how to do the simplest version of a squat:

  1. Stand up straight, keeping your feet shoulder-length apart.
  2. With your arms at your side, bend your nears and sit back as though you’re about to sit down in a chair.
  3. Lift your arms in front of you as you sit, keeping your back straight.
  4. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, rise back, pushing off your heels and lowering your arms until you’re back at the starting position.

Mix it up by doing air squats (aka “bodyweight squats”), which means you simply dip lower instead of keeping your thighs parallel to the ground.

If you need more support, try a wall squat by keeping your back angled against a wall as you squat up and down.

Jumping Squats

This version of the squat adds a jump in the middle, helping you to burn a few more calories with each rep.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start in the basic squat position and dip down.
  2. Instead of slowly rising back to start, do squat jumps by using all your energy to leap upwards.
  3. Fall back lightly into the starting position.

Tabata Squats

Tabata is a popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that involves eight-rep rounds of 20 seconds of strenuous activity and 10 seconds of rest.

Tabata squats maintain this 2:1 work-to-rest ratio in squat form.

Therefore, you are doing a basic squat, but you do eight reps for a total of 20 seconds before resting for 10.

Overall, Tabata squats will take four minutes to complete, but you should be feeling its effects all day!

Enjoy Tabata-style HIIT exercises? You can also follow this 2:1 ratio and do four minutes of Tabata push-ups.

Burpees

Fun to say and even more fun to do, burpees are basically a squat thrust with a jump thrown in for good calorie-burning measure.

Here’s how to do them:

  1. Stand in your basic squat starting position.
  2. Bend your knees and squat down until your hands touch the ground.
  3. With your hands firm on the ground in front of you, quickly kick your legs back like you’re doing squat thrusters.
  4. Your body should be parallel to the floor at this point.
  5. Do a push-up to return your body to a squat position.
  6. Jump up with your hands above your head.
  7. Repeat.

If you’re new to this exercise, start with a few burpees and try to build up to 50 burpees over time.

Lunges

Similar to squats, lunges are popular with traveling fitness lovers, as you can burn serious calories without the bulky equipment:

Try Walking Lunges

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and put your hands on your hips.
  2. Take a broad step forward with your right foot, and plant it about two steps before you.
  3. At the same time, allow your left foot to rise and follow naturally.
  4. Allow your left knee to bend until it almost touches the ground.
  5. Bring your left foot forward until it’s next to your right, and bring your body back to the starting position.

And Jumping Lunges

  1. Start as you would a walking lounge.
  2. But as you step forward and lower into the squatting position, jump upwards.
  3. As you’re airborne, switch your legs positions so that you can immediately spring into a new lounge and jump as you land.

Sit-ups

A classic for a reason, sit-ups are another picture-perfect travel WOD since you can do them in your hotel room without equipment.

And since they’re great for the abdominals, it can help you feel like you’re working off that mid-flight Biscoff cookie binge.

Here’s a video on how to do the perfect sit-up, because trust us, it’s never as easy as you think!

Chair Dips

Chair dips are a standard for hotel room exercise!

After all, every hotel room has at least one chair, and they can help you tone your arms and shoulders.

Here’s how to do chair dips:

  1. ​Sit on the edge of the chair seat and place your feet a few inches in front of you.
  2. Keep your hands on the side of the chair, about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend your knees, lower your bottom as your hands support your weight.
  4. Your elbows should bend to about 90 degrees, but no lower.
  5. Slowly rise up to the starting position and repeat.

Jumps

While you do not want to jump around in your hotel room at night, you should have no problem engaging in jumps throughout the day.

Most hotel rooms damper sounds between rooms and floors. Plus, there are so many types of travel WOD jumps to keep you feeling great when away from home.

Here are a few to try:

Tuck Jumps

Get in the basic squat position, but only dip about a quarter of the way down before jumping back up. You need to keep your back straight and tuck your knees up towards your chest before you land.

Broad Jumps and Vertical Jumps

Both vertical and broad jumps propel your body with extreme force.

Broad jumps, also known as standing long jumps, is a jump for distance, whereas the vertical jump is a jump for height.

Though these are exercises typically associated with high school sports, the sheer velocity your body can achieve makes them a sensational, equipment-free way to workout.

Box Jumps

You can also do box jumps in your hotel room. However, this should really depend on the ruggedness of your luggage or the sturdiness of your room’s benches or other wheel-free furniture.

Side note: Sturdy hotel room furniture also makes it possible to do handstand push-ups (HSPU). The bed, or even the wall, may suffice perfectly!


Suggested Travel WODs to Try

Two women jogging in park

Now that we’ve broken down some of our favorite travel WODs, it’s time for you to put a few of them into practice!

Here are a few CrossFit-like WODs that you can do in a local park at your destination, your hotel room, or heck, even in the office when you’re back at work.

The suggested time frame for each is about 20 minutes of AMRAP.

To Warm Up

10 rounds of:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 air squats
  • 10 jumping jacks

Hotel Room Heart Racer

5 rounds of:

  • 30-second mountain climbers
  • 30 tuck jumps
  • Tabata (squat hold for 2:1 ratio)
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 10 burpees

(with 60 seconds of rest between rounds)

Boardroom Blubber Burner

5 rounds of:

  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 15 handstand holds (against wall)
  • 25 seconds mountain climbers
  • 20 wall squats (hold bottom for a few seconds each time)
  • 15 burpees

(with 60 seconds of rest between rounds)

Go Loco at a Local Park

  • 400-meter run
  • 30-second handstand
  • 250 jumping jacks
  • 400-meter sprints
  • 10 tuck jumps
  • 200-meter run

As fitness enthusiasts know, you don’t build muscle when you’re exercising; you build muscle when you’re resting.

This specific circuit workout should be done 2-3 times a week. Any more than that can actually be detrimental to your health and fitness goals.

After all, you have to give those muscles time to recover!

And on that end, ensure you warm up and stretch before you work out, and allocate some time to cool down after.


Travel WOD Equipment

You can maximize your travel workout by picking up some portable equipment to enhance your on-the-road routine.

For instance, resistance bands can help you do squats, hollow rocks, and other resistance training maneuvers.

Travel workout bars help with pull-ups, chin-ups, and more.

Stability balls and ab rollers can maximize your ab exercises.

And lest we forget the jump rope, an exercise standard that is lightweight yet ever-effective at getting that heart rate up. With it, you can do single unders, double unders, scissors, crisscrosses, and more.

Check out some more ideas of the best travel equipment you should never leave home without.

Related: 15 Travel Gifts for Frequent Business Travelers (From Business Suitcases to Foot Hammocks)


Travel WODS Are Easier With Hotel Engine

Traveling for business allows you to experience new things while existing outside of your comfort zone.

It’s both exhilarating and, at times, uncomfortable.

However, if you follow these essential travel WODs, you’ll never have to worry about locating a gym while jet-setting again.

You should never have an excuse not to travel and explore the world. And if you’re a business traveler, Hotel Engine is your premier destination for securing the best hotel deals.

Visit our website to learn how you can save up to 60% on the best hotels across the globe with Hotel Engine.