20 Minute (No Excuses!) Hotel Workout

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Philly right now–and a mighty cozy one, I might add. I mean, a king sized bed just for little ol’ me? Hilariously, I find myself still comfortably sequestered to “my side” of the bed.

Yet as comfy as the bed is, I haven’t been home in 19 days, and Philly is the 4th stop on this trip. This is a typical scene for me over the past year–hotels, airports, train stations…

This year alone I’ve traveled to Thailand, Toronto, Hawaii, San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Diego, Virginia, Minneapolis, and Boston, to name a few. Plus, I’ve spent a significant amount of time traveling between Baltimore and NYC.

Lifting lava rocks in Hilo, Hawaii

What I’ve discovered as I’ve traveled and seen numerous hotel gyms and commercial facilities, is that exercise is adaptable. You can always get in a workout, no matter where you are and what’s available (or unavailable) to you. And although you might not get considerably stronger or leaner (although can still accomplish that), you CAN stay in shape while jet-setting. There’s just no reason to be sedentary, even when most hotels host sorry excuses for gyms.

Sometimes I get lucky and the hotel gym has a pullup bar (yay!). Other times, I’m extremely lucky and have an opportunity to train at an awesome gym in the area or have access to an outdoor playground–such as a few weeks ago when I “trained” at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. You guys. I climbed a muthaeffin rope! I was so shocked that I was able to do it, that I couldn’t figure out how to get down. <<< That part is only funny to me now. At the time I was legitimately scared for my life.

But most of the time, I’m relegated to a hotel gym that is just plain lame. Yet, no matter how lame, there always seems to be a set of dumbbells. Which is why dumbbell complexes have come to be my go-to travel workout. So, while I was in Hawaii I filmed a quick and dirty complex that can be done in 20 minutes with nothing but a pair of dumbbells.

Check out this simple and effective hotel workout:

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I was in and out of the gym in 25 minutes and off to the beach to relax. For this complex, I suggest using relatively light dumbbells, especially if you’re traveling and not getting the quality of sleep and nutrition that your body is accustomed to. To give you an example, at home I would typically use 30-35 pound dumbbells or kettlebells for a complex, and this time I used a pair of 20s.

While traveling might not necessarily help me make progress, doing a workout like this one keeps me from losing the strength and conditioning levels I’ve worked so hard to achieve and maintains a mindset of movement-no matter where I am. It also makes me feel better about all the red wine and chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Now I’m off to film some workouts for Rachel Cosgrove’s new DVD, “Drop 2 Sizes,” before finally traveling home just before Christmas, and blissfully enjoying the comfort of my own bed.

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  • elizabeth_TMFP

    I have done this complex, and I can attest to its awesomeness. And I only did 22# and six reps for eight rounds! DBs are an area I need to work on and this is a great complex to do so.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tamara.pickens.3 Tamara Pickens

    How long should I rest between rounds?

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  • http://twitter.com/JonathanAluzas Jonathan Aluzas

    Amazing how simple it can be to get in a quick, body-crushing training session. Dumbbells, resistance bands, slam ball, plyometrics, bodyweight exercises; so simple but so tough!

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Right? We overcomplicate things so much.

  • http://www.samanthamenzies.com/ Samantha Angela

    Great complex!
    If I’m travelling I do a lot of bodyweight stuff: push-ups, burpees, bench dips, squat jumps, etc. because a lot of the hotels I go to don’t have a gym at all.

    • Neghar Fonooni

      Same here! You have to get creative.

  • Nicole

    Is it easier on your grip to hold the Dbs up by your shoulders for the
    reverse lunges? For any exercise like that, my grip/forearms always get tired
    before my legs (although if I am moving quickly enough, I am using them more as
    a metabolic exercise than strength). But I have always just held the DBs at my

    • Neghar Fonooni

      It’s easier on your grip but harder on your shoulders.