What do you do when you’re staying in a hotel that has an embarrassingly bad gym?  As long as the gym has dumbbells and there is enough space to do a push up – and you are creative – you can get a great workout.

Recently I stayed in a hotel where the workout room was under construction, and the makeshift gym was flat out putrid.  The hotel gym was just three hotel rooms; each room contained a different type of equipment.  The person who is used to working out on equipment is out of luck. Actually, if I weren’t so lazy I would have ventured outside the comfy confines offered by the hotel and found a local gym.  But thanks to my overall laziness I stuck it out and did the best to use the substandard facility that was at my disposal.

Being that I use dumbbells and ground-based movements exclusively in my workouts, coming up with an effective workout plan in this kind of gym isn’t too hard.  Even without barbells, this kind of bare-bones facility shouldn’t keep anyone from getting a worthwhile workout, and if you employ this mode of thinking when designing your own workouts you’ll have no problem overcoming this kind of environment.

Using a circuit-training program in this setting is usually the best way to get the most effective workout.  When designing a circuit-training program alternate upper and lower body exercises and/or pushing and pulling upper body exercises.

So in the case of the lack luster hotel gym my circuit was dumbbell front squat, dumbbell curl and military press, body weight lunge, bent over one-arm dumbbell row and push-ups.  The repetition scheme can vary depending on the emphasis of the circuit, but keep the reps between 10-15 per set and try to get through the circuit 4 or 5 times.  The best approach is to use the first circuit as part of the warm up and to get a feel for what kind of weights you’ll use in the meat of the workout.  During the workout limit the time between exercises to 30 seconds and give yourself a 3-minute rest after each time through the circuit.

Completing five trips through this circuit should take around 35 minutes and this workout is challenging enough to serve as beneficial for everyone, regardless of fitness level.  Keep in mind that every workout shouldn’t be an epic, body-crushing experience, and that grabbing a quick and effective circuit-training workout while you’re on the road can do every bit as much for you as a 90-minute session can. Remember, when the facility is lacking, circuit training can save the day.


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