Foolproof Tips for Working Out Literally Anywhere

Auriane Alix
Like in a 10m2 hotel room on the other side of the world.
Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash
“It’s not that I don’t want to work out, it’s just that I can’t! I don’t have the right equipment, all my outfits are in the dirty, I never know what moves to do, I’m on a trip…”

Sound familiar? For me too.

Deep down inside, you know it as well as I do. These are all EXCUSES. Nothing more. The truth is, you can train anywhere, anytime. Without any gym equipment.

I just finished a quick 25-minute session in my Airbnb studio in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, lying on my beach towel in my underwear. If I can do it, so can you!

I started training in my small 18 m2 apartment in Paris more than one year ago. And last month I was training in my tiny hotel room in Lisbon. I had no equipment. No sports clothes. No mats. No dumbbell. And no space.

But I found a way. Always. Because in the end, it’s all about motivation. Everything else is just excuses. If you want to work out, you can. Here are my personal tips for making it easier.

I have a free, on-demand personal trainer

Well, okay, he’s not as present as a real personal trainer. But that’s all I need. I used to not be able to get into sports by myself, for the simple reason that I never knew what moves to do, for how long, and I stopped when it hurt. Needless to say, it was anything but motivating and it didn’t provide any results.

Since it was too expensive for me to go to the gym in Paris, or to hire someone, I had to find a way. And that way came in the form of apps.

I started with the Nike Fitness app. It’s free, and you can choose different thematic series, with different durations and levels of difficulty. Then I switched to Fitify, and that’s the one I use now. I prefer it to Nike Fitness because all you have to do is choose a body part, set the duration, and start moving. Less choice, less mental clutter.

The basic version is free, and in more than a year of training daily, I have never felt the need to upgrade. A timer tells you when to start, stop and take a break. The illustrations are well done: it’s easy to understand how to reproduce the moves. Little extra: you can create a personal workout, which I did to train my lateral abs.

Advantages: it’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s on your phone — so you always have it on hand. You don’t need any knowledge: just follow the movements, start when you’re told to, and stop when you’re told to.

I live surrounded by (free) gym equipment

What’s a gym mat? A rectangle of fine foam that you unroll so that you can lie on it and make movements without being on the hard floor. Now, what happens if you take a bath towel, or as I did, a beach towel, and fold it in half or more? It becomes a rectangle of fabric that you unroll so that you can lie on it and make movements without being on the hard floor.

Same thing with weights. What is it? Heavy objects that you can move and that don’t break. Do you know what I use? Simple, basic water bottles. You can find them at any weight! 1 liter of water = 1 kilogram. I’ll let you do the math. I mainly use 1.5-liter bottles for my arms, and sometimes I go as far as 5-liter jars for specific movements.

Wherever you are, and whatever your financial means, you can find these two things. These are the basics. Everything else is practical and fancy, but superfluous.

I guess you don’t need much more... Oh yes, sportswear!

My carry-on suitcase for several months is not big enough for sportswear

I travel full time. I roam the world while working remotely. But that doesn’t mean it’s beach and cocktails every day. I want to stay in shape. In fact, I even need it. If I don’t exercise, I feel it mentally: my mood drops, I feel bad in my body and my mind becomes a mess.

The only thing I’m missing here is my running shoes. But it’s so hot in Mexico that I’m not even sure I would have used them. I travel with one piece of hand luggage and a small backpack that should hold everything I need for several months. This excludes sportswear.

But that’s not a problem. I just train in my underwear. A pair of boxers + a sports bra, basic socks and my pair of sneakers, that’s all. Why would I need more? I don’t have anyone to impress. It’s just me and me in my Airbnb. Wearing fancy clothes will not get me stronger muscles.

I even train to music with my $20 wireless headphones. I don’t need a loudspeaker. Anyway, I don’t know where I would have put it!

Final thoughts

That’s what’s cool about working out. It doesn’t require anything other than your body. Good thing is that it travels with you, accompanies you to any country and any situation.

You can train anywhere, anytime. Whatever argument you make against this, it will probably just be an excuse. It’s easy to find one, we all do it from time to time. But let’s be honest with ourselves: if I could practice between my bed and the wall in a tiny hotel room, then you probably can. All you need is enough space to lie on the floor.

Sessions don’t have to last two hours — although there’s nothing to stop you from doing that. Personally, I like my 25 to 40-minute sessions. And I walk a lot on top of that, to explore my ever-changing surroundings. I love it, and it counts as a workout too.

So download the app, put on your headphones, launch your favorite playlist, take off everything but your underwear, and get moving!

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