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Workout swaps for your travels

We are headed into a full season of traveling to see family and friends. This likely means you won't have access to your go-to gym or regular equipment.

You definitely don't have to workout while you're traveling. I usually leave it up to my clients if they want to train on vacation. Some enjoy it, some don't.

If it's adding stress to your trip, don't train. If you'd like to take a break from workouts for the week, don't train. One week of missed workouts is not going to damage your trajectory.

If working out on vacation makes you feel good, gets you out of the house for a bit, or gives you time away from Aunt Martha (don't worry, I won't tell her), continuing your training program may be for you. With that said, making some workout and equipment swaps may be necessary.

The workout itself:

Let's use the following workout example to translate into simpler gym equipment.


1A. BB Deadlifts

2A. BB Shoulder Press

3A. KB Goblet Squat

3B. SA KB Row

4A. Push Ups

4B. DB Lunges

5A. KB Farmer Carries

5B. TRX Knee Tucks

If you have access to a full gym, this likely wouldn't be a problem to complete. But I do know that many hotel gyms won't have all of this equipment. Let's be honest, how many hotel gyms have you been to with a barbell? Not many. Maybe I'm just going to the wrong hotels... Most often, you will find dumbbells that go up to ~50 lbs.

For our first example, let's assume you only have access to dumbbells. I have identified the changes by bolding the text.


1A. DB Deadlifts

2A. DB Shoulder Press

3A. DB Goblet Squat

3B. SA DB Row

4A. Push Ups

4B. DB Lunges

5A. DB Farmer Carries

5B. Slow Mountain Climbers

It might seem like these are simple changes looking at the workout written out, but it can be overwhelming to go to the gym only to realize dumbbells are all that's available. *Cue anxiety followed by just leaving*. If you're working with a trainer, ask for equipment swaps based on what you have access to.

For our second example, let's assume you don't have access to any equipment.


1A. Glute Bridge

1B. YTIs

2A. Squat

2B. T Superman

3A. Push Ups

3B. Lunges

4A. Hollow Body Hold

4B. Slow Mountain Climbers

You'll notice the workout has almost completely changed, BUT the muscles worked have generally stayed the same. Starting off with glutes and shoulders, followed by quads and back, chest and legs, and finishing out with core. You'll also notice that I changed the first two exercises to be a superset instead of individual sets since it is a body weight workout. This will help increase the intensity and be more efficient time-wise. If you're working with a trainer, ask for exercise swaps to ensure you're working the proper muscles.

These are just two examples of how you can modify your workout to work with what you have. Sometimes all it takes is asking for swaps!


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

IMG_3783 2.HEIC

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