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Travel Workouts by Jason

Travel Workout Guide

by Jason Sani


Something is always better than nothing.

Exercise: who has time while traveling? Surprise, you do! I sometimes talk with clients who are hardcore about their workout routine. They religiously troop to the gym no matter how busy their schedule or how rocky the weather.

But exercise, unfortunately, gets the short shift when they travel. “I just don’t have time” or “The hotel gym sucks” (or is non-existent) are common excuses.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. I’ve stayed at run-down motels in the middle of nowhere with a brutally punishing schedule, and I always make time for exercise. Below, my colleagues have provided their exercise tips. My favorite, is burst training with the stairs. (Move up the stairs at maximum intensity up to 1 minute, walk down at normal pace, and then repeat.)

I also find the hotel gym wherever I go. But if I have back-to-back meetings from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., I’m keener on making the rounds with my friends (and a glass of pinot noir) than a 40-minute circuit. Instead of missing my workout, I’ll do 1 of my 4 x 4 Workouts. You can knock these out in just 15 minutes and then be able to join your friends in the downstairs lounge. You might be thinking, 15 minutes!? Really? Yeah, really. My clients can testify how intense these full-body workouts can be. You can do them in your hotel room with a few pieces of equipment. (See if you can borrow some dumbbells and a fitness ball from the gym.) Fast, convenient, and effective; exactly what I want from travel exercise!

Be creative with exercise. You can do a full body mini-routine right in your hotel room: squats, pushups, jumping jacks, tricep dips, crunches and then run a few flights of the hotel stairs. Less than 15 minutes and you’ll feel fully energized.


The basic principles

  • Just move more
  • Something is better than nothing
  • Find a way to enjoy it
  • Let exercising be your therapy or outlet
  • Get familiar with the benefits (clarity, energy, immune system, mood)
  • Look for opportunity to try a new gym, run, or hike with friend
  • Have a backup plan – Hotel friendly workouts
  • Rev your metabolism before eating out – This can be done with as little as 5 minutes!


Hotel workouts

Metabolism Blaster

  1. Burpee to Dumbbell Deadlifts
  2. 1 minute sprints

20 Burpee deadlifts with DB’s to 1 minute sprint at max speed (5 rounds)

Video Demonstration:


Weightless & Machine-free workouts:

EMOM Burpee Run

Every minute on the minute 5 Burpees (Drop to pushup, sprawl up and reach over head)

Continue running until next minute.

Start with 10 minutes and build up to 20 mins

Find a field, trail, or parking lot (I’ve been the weirdo doing this many times)


Cardio Program

Always keep abs tight and sucked in during cardio. Imagine if someone were going to punch you in the stomach and tighten your abs as a reflex to protect yourself. That’s the feeling you need to have the entire time your doing cardio. If you’re doing it correctly, it won’t be easy.

Types of cardio include:

Sprints on the Treadmill: after a 5 min walk to warm up, sprint as fast as you safely can for 1 min 7.5 MPH -9 MPH, then REST FOR 1 min. Then repeat until the required time is met.

Row Machine: Go as hard and as fast as you can for 1 min, then rest for 1 min. Repeat this for 20 mins

Spin Bike circuit: Warm up for 3-5 mins, after you warm up pedal as fast as you can for 15 sec, then increase the resistance knob to the maximum tension and still try and pedal as fast and as hard as you can for an additional 20 secs. Then return to a moderate pace with minimal resistance for 60 secs, then repeat.

Treadmill sprints – Genetics and metabolism not working in your favor? Lower impact than sprinting with bigger dividends. Go for 4 rounds all out for 20 seconds with 10 push-ups and repeat. Improve your insulin sensitivity and hormonal response.

Video demonstration


Compound body-weight exercises (plus focused breathing)

Body weight exercises are essential, and your body is all the equipment you need. With arm circles, flutter kicks, planks, squats, back bends, etc., you can get a full-body workout in any space at any time. Many of these are compound exercises, which give you more bang for your buck. utilizing multiple groups at once. Also, if I feel overfed, overwhelmed or stressed, I give myself 2-5 minutes of focused breathing in a quiet space. It takes just a few moments to check in with my breath and get back on track.

EMOM high-intensity intervals

I like to mix in some high-intensity intervals before the festivities. Intervals are great because they don’t take much time, can be done anywhere with little to no equipment and have a significant impact metabolism (both during and post-workout) and muscle glycogen stores. EMOM (every minute on the minute) sets are one of my go-to choices because they are incredibly effective and make time keeping easy. You work as long as it takes you to complete the specified number of repetitions and rest for the remainder of that minute. I will generally pick two to three exercises and do each for a set number of reps (depending on the movement) for a total 10 to 15 minutes.

Total-body plyometrics

With the absence of weights and machines, my go-to is plyometrics: squat jumps, jumping split squats. I often use my couch to prop my leg back to do some one-legged squats. Add some upper body by simply doing pushups, planks for core work, and bicycles for abs. Do 5-8 sets of 10 reps for each exercise with 60-second rest between each set and you got yourself a super effective 20-30 minute workout. You’ll be burning; don’t worry.

A four-minute Tabata AMRAP

If there is no equipment available, my favorite is a total-body Tabata circuit of four exercises with 20 seconds AMRAP (as many reps as possible) and 10 seconds off, repeated twice, because it hits everything and you’re done in 4 minutes. Let’s say you decide your 4 total body exercises will be push-ups, speed skaters, plank with alternating limb lifts and broad jump burpees.

The key really is to go HAM (hard as a motherf-cker) for those 20 seconds because the more oxygen you take in during and after exercise, the more calories you burn. The set-up is a great combination of high-intensity cardiovascular training and total-body resistance that’ll help shed fat and build lean muscle or in this case, keep you energized.

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