How I Stay Fit On Vacation Without A Gym

How do I stay fit while on vacation without a gym?

I turn my parent’s basement into my own personal gym, clearly.


Normally, I would go for a long walk around our hilly neighborhood with my mom in the mornings, or go for a run, but since it’s sub zero outside right now… an indoor workout made more sense :)


I brought supplies home with me from North Carolina for situations just like this:

  • Two jump ropes (one for my brother once he’s home — workouts are more fun with someone else!)
  • A set of 5 lb. weights
  • Stretchy resistance cord thingy (that’s the technical term) for arm workouts 

I plan on using these to do a bunch of the moves on my strength & ab exercises page!


I also brought a bunch of workout DVD’s home with me — yoga, pilates, and boot camp related workouts.

Yesterday I did a P90X yoga DVD, and this morning I decided to hit up a little more P90X. I started with their “Plyometrics X” which is apparently the mother of all their intense workouts.


LOTS of jumping and super high intensity cardio! 


My legs will feel this later.




After 30 sweaty minutes of plyometrics, I stopped the DVD and finished my workout with a 15 minute P90X “Ab Ripper X” DVD.


Followed by some stretching and cooling down.

What a great workout! It’s a good thing I worked up a serious appetite, too, because today is my office’s annual holiday lunch at an Italian restaurant near our office! Everyone was joking how convenient it was that I came back to work this week, the week of the holiday lunch, heh. But I figure it’s only fair, because I missed last year’s due to a final exam! ;)

Off to work I go — have a wonderful Tuesday, friends!

How do you stay fit on vacation without a gym?


  1. 1

    Those resistance bands are fantastic- they don’t take up much room in your luggage but can provide a fantastic workout. They’re also fantastic when you will be staying in hotel or a similar environment where space will be limited.

  2. 2

    Woooo, you make me tired. It was 12 degrees when I got up this morning at 5:30 am and I am off to my zumba class and then to my k-bell class. Have a wonderful Christmas lunch today at work. Take pictures of the food.

  3. 3

    I’m going to count this as my workout for the day. Also, I love your parents’ basement. It’s so sunny and un-basement-like.

  4. 5

    I use ExerciseTv videos or workout dvds, usually…you look like you got an awesome workout!!!!

  5. 6

    That looks like a great workout! I borrowed the DVDs from someone a while ago, but I still haven’t tried them. The plyo is the one I am most interested in as well. I have also heard great things about the Synergistics one, so I’d love to hear your thoughts if you end up doing it :)

  6. 7

    I generally like to go for a nice long run but since there are 8+ inches of snow on the ground and it’s about 10 degrees outside with a negative windchill, I’m stuck inside. :/ So, I do what you do. I pop in a workout DVD or two and go to work. :)

  7. 8

    Yoga podcasts from itunes and hand weights. I’m pretty lucky that my parents have a treadmill for when I go home though!

  8. 9

    I love this! Over Thanksgiving I brought my Jillian Michaels 30-day shred plus weights and did an indoor workout in my hotel room!

  9. 10

    Whew! I’m going to have to suck it up and run outside in the cold. I’m heading up to DC as I type this and usually I would just stay inside and do DVDs but I have a half marathon in less than a month and a 10k on Saturday. Eek!

  10. 11

    I love the exposed brick in that basement. How pretty. When I go to my parents’ house I’m lucky in that they are very into fitness so a good workout is never far away. They love to invite me out for long walks and their basement is also loaded with just about every fitness toy one could imagine – beautiful treadmill, ellyptical, weights, weighted bars, mats, etc. You name it they have it.

    Hotels are a bit more of a challenge because when I am traveling for business generally I am going, going, going and the hotel gym is often closed by the time I make it back so honestly it is so easy to talk myself out of a workout.

  11. 12

    After reading the title of this post I had to click read it. I love that you brought your weights and rope with you on vacation. I have done this and received tons of ridicule from family members.

  12. 13

    Hey Anne! Thanks for this post. I’m heading far north for about two weeks over the holidays, where there will be no gym and certainly no outdoor exercise. I am flying, so I don’t think taking 5 lb. weights is practical, but I will definitely be packing some DVDs and my resistance band! The jump rope is a good idea too, I might have to go get one! Hopefully I can get in at least some small amount of exercise every day so that indulging in delicious holiday treats won’t catch up with me :-)

  13. 14

    As long as I have my yoga mat Im good to go. I like to throw in the occasional dvd, too!

  14. 15

    I like running but if it’s subzero like it is where you are, I’m more likely to grab some wine and curl up by the fire! haha

  15. 16

    Hahaha – loved the idea, Anne!
    Thanks for sharing this :)

  16. 17

    Alternative? Walk 8 hrs per day while on vacation in Italy! Obviously this workout plan requires extra energy from daily gelato stops ;)

  17. 19

    My Dad and I like to run together. We usually do about 3 miles and then afterward we will do pushups, crunches, and I’ve been teaching him some yoga lately. It’s a great time to catch up with him since I’m usually busy running around with my Mom on vacation. Have a great holiday break (mine starts Saturday and runs till Jan 4th-I can’t wait!)

  18. 21

    Well done! I guess sleeping through meals is not a reasonable alternative to fitness in the cold? :-)

  19. 23

    I don’t have a gym, so I rely on DVD’s to get a workout in :)


  20. 24

    You can definitely get in good workouts without the gym that’s for sure. I do a mix of gym and at home all the time.

  21. 25

    I love that you used the P90X dvds! I’m planning on doing the same thing next week when I go up north for the holidays. Plyo is amazing, but the yoga is my favorite.

  22. 26

    I have some workout DVDs too! Did you buy P90X? I’ve been looking into it but they are expensive. Worth it?

    • 27

      No, I have it on loan from a friend – just a few of the workouts (yoga X, plyometrics X, ab X). I’m a HUGE fan though. Definitely worth the money, I’d say!

  23. 28

    I do Insanity… man, it’s killer!!! I’m still trying to get used to the warm up :)

  24. 29

    That’s really inspiring, I like how easy to pack and carry the workout tools are (yoga mat, arm stretcher band, weights). How long do you recommend working out? 30-60 min?

    • 30

      I usually aim for around 60 minutes total, including warm up and cool down and stretching. So yesterday I did 35 minutes of the hardcore plyometrics thing, 15 minutes ab DVD, and then about 10 minutes of stretching. It’s up to you thought – if you’re short on time, 30 minutes is better than nothing! :)

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