Take Me to Your Hotel Room: Workouts without a Gym

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Sometimes you are just stuck in a bad hotel with a packed schedule and a few winks to exercise. Nomad Rx provides sample routines and lists of bodyweight movements that you can perform in the comfort of your hotel room. Whether you have 5 minutes or 60 minutes and no gym, there’s no longer an excuse for keeping up your fitness on the road. Nomad Rx provides several workouts for you to try with your limited time in the comfort of your hotel room. 

While Hotel California may come with mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice, the team at Nomad Rx prays for a hotel with a decent gym. We remain strong advocates of getting out of trying the local fitness scene, but sometimes the hotel gym is the only option (if there even is one). In Asia, this often means you have a few dumbells, cardiovascular machines and maybe a barbell (count your blessings) at your disposal. In the middle of the United States (think Dorthy), you will be lucky to have a fitness room. More often than not, the gym is usually stocked with one recumbent bike and dumbells up to five lbs (pounds, not kilograms). The recumbent bike and finger weights provides a great workout for your 90-year grandfather, but what about you? You who spends a lot of time on the road will see this recumbent bike and experience the feeling of your shirt getting bigger. This is not because you lost weight. Your muscles are shrinking due to what tools are available in the closet. 

Travel reeks all kind of havoc on the training schedule. To coin a term from the Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could [all train 2 hours a day].” You should not lose and edge on your fitness while on the road, but what to do? What could really give you the edge in the meeting and keep, if not improve, your gains? As banded brothers with similar issues, Nomad Rx attempted to tackle this problem below. We will provide sample workouts and bodyweight movements for you to do in any hotel room and provided some suggestions for workouts based on time constraints. Of course, Nomad Rx advocates dropping into a local box for a good sweat session, but sometimes it is not possible. In those (hopefully) rare occasions, you may need assistance to keep ‘dem gains. Below is your guide. 

Basic Assumptions
All workouts assume you only have a hotel room, some workout clothes (unless you like working out in the nude—we won’t judge), and nothing else. The other assumption we made is that you do not just want to go outside and run. We all know how boring that can get. 

Since none of us like routine and the permutations of bodyweight exercises can be endless, we created both some sample workouts and a list of bodyweight exercises. If you found yourself praying for activity on the road and no place to do it, the exercise gods have answered. 

Let’s give you an opportunity to keep your gains and improve your bodyweight exercise skills. 

Bodyweight WODs
We applied some variations on time constraints and used the above bodyweight exercises to create some pretty beastly WODs. While recognising that bodyweight is not the only component of CrossFit or fitness, one can create a pretty decent workout that you can do while on the road with nothing but your own body. 

For a given time, we provided 2 different workouts. To give you examples of how to do this, we included a variety of workout styles. Where couplets and triplets were considered, the time assumed to complete the workout is for an average athlete with one to two-years experience. If you are finishing this much quicker than prescribed, feel free to incorporate additional movement or rounds to fill the time. You can also stretch more. Stretching is always beneficial. 

The below assumes you warmed up already, or are skipping a warm-up (which we do not advocate). A cool down should be included after, if time allows. 

5 minutes: 
1:  AMRAP - As Many Reps as Possible - Burpees

2: 100 pushups for time

15 minutes: 
1: Modified Cindy
  - AMRAP- As Many Rounds as Possible - ( - 5 burpees, 10 pushups, 15 air squats

  A) 8 Strict Handstand Pushups
  B) 30 air squats
  C) 25 situps

20 minutes:
1: Modified Mary - AMRAP - 5 handstand pushups, 10 pistols and 15 tuck jumps

2: Death by Burpees: With a continuously running clock do one burpee the first minute, two burpees the second minute, three burpees the third minute… continuing as long as you are able. 

30 minutes: 
1: "Pain Cave" 20 minute AMRAP, Rest Two Minutes, 1 Alternating Tabata a) Hollow Rocks b) Arch Rocks
2: Three rounds for time of: 50 pushups, 50 sit-ups, 50 air squats. In between each round, 1 minute 30 second plank hold.

> 45 minutes: 
Here you have time to work in some skill practice and a workout. 45 minutes is long for any WOD, so we suggest working in a Warmup and perhaps a ROM WOD session. Maybe you need to perfect those pistols, or perhaps your hollow position looks more like a fish out of water after a 15 second hold. The good news about a hotel room is that no one is judging. Just do the work and get better. 

If you have more than an hour, check out the local box. If you are in a hurry, just ask Nomad Rx to find you one with a shower. 


No Equipment Bodyweight Movements
We know these 24 movements do not make up a comprehensive list. For instance, we left out the dozens of pushup variations and simplified it as “pushup”. Mix and max with timing restrictions or create sprint-type workouts a la 100 pushups for time to maximize your enjoyment. These movements are selected because you can do them in a hotel room, with no equipment and without fear of having security called on you. Be light on your feet when you land. 

Get Your Body Movin' 
24 Bodyweight Exercises to Make Your Stay Healthy
Plyometric Upper Body Lower Body Core
Burpees Push-up Air Squats Plank
Jumping Jacks Handstand Push-up Lunges Hollow
Mountain Climber Dip Pistols Arch
Tuck Jump Inch Worm Wall Sit Sit-up
Lateral Jump Wall Walks Bridges Single Leg Deadlift
Bear Crawl Handstand Hold Hamstring Curls V-Up

Final Words on the Hotel Room WOD
Among other reasons, CrossFit and other class-based fitness systems are successful because incorporate the elements of peer pressure and coaching. This could come in the form of friends motivating you to go to the gym, a coach motivating you not to put down the kettle bell when you are tired or a shared article motivating you to eat and look better. When you are a Nomad without the time to drop-in to another box, there are occasions when you do not get to enjoy the benefits of class fitness. Sometimes, the hotel room may be the only option. 

In the hotel room, it is you versus you. There’s no one to push you faster, correct your form, or motivate you to keep moving instead of sitting down and taking a breather. To progress in the right direction of the illness-wellness continuum, you need to keep moving and not continually skip workouts. Some helpful tips to keep you cranking in the hotel room include: 

  1. Video tape yourself - You are your own judge. Did you workout hard or not? Video is like nutrition. What you actually do, does not lie. Our preference for filming is in the WeTime app. The app has free features, but you can purchase the advanced features in the app. As an alternative, you can use the video feature that comes with your smart phone. Still have a pager? Why? 
  2. Share your workout on social media - Though some of the Nomad Rx team disagrees with this, sharing workouts on social media is a great thing if it keeps you working out. Anything that keeps you exercising and nutrition on point is a great thing. 
  3. Listen to High Tempo Music - The music we listen to while working out often can help us push through the workout. While listening to AC/DC during Yoga may be the wrong idea, incorporating music that is 120 to 140 beats per minute during a fast-paced exercise program will help. In 2009, a group of physicians noticed an increase in athletic performance among cyclists the more the beats per minute increased in the music to which they were listening. Need help on the music front? Look no further than Nomad Rx’s playlist. We update it weekly and its full of tunes with over 120 beats per minute. 

Working out in a hotel room without any equipment is never ideal, but sometimes life throws you a lemon or two. If you are Chelsea Handler, that means you find vodka. You want to live slightly healthier. We want you to be prepared for anything. Improving fitness is a long road full of many bumps and turns. Missing a workout happens, but if you have five minutes to spare, one can do a lot in the comfort of their own hotel room to keep up the momentum in an exercise program. 

Notice something that needs an update or change? We want to provide the traveler with the best information, which requires consistent updates. Sometimes we miss something. E-mail info@nomad-rx.com with any suggestions. 

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Waterhouse J1, Hudson P, Edwards B., "Effects of Music Tempo Upon Submaximal Cycling Performance." September 2009.
Kuslikis, Thomas. "A Complete List of Body Weight Exercises." October 2016.
Jules' Fuel. "101 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere (With Demonstrations)." November 2013.

Boomer Anderson

Nomad Rx, 99 Bloemstraat, Amsterdam, NH, 1016 KZ