Typically, apartment or hotel fitness centers have limited space to work with therefore, they may contain lighter weights and less equipment compared to your local gym. Some people see this as a challenge to get a good workout in. We have the solution. The truth is that a hotel gym does not have to kill your workout vibe.

We took today’s workout to one of our favorite local hotels, The Embassy Suites in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey to show you some great options for your next travel workout. Hopefully, these tips will prevent you from skipping a beat with your progress when you don’t have access to a full gym. While our exercise library might be larger than yours, we found that we had so many options it was almost hard narrowing it down. Granted this hotel gym was a step above most, we tried to stick with mostly dumbbell and body weight exercises.

Here are some basic principles to consider when designing your hotel workout:

Problem: “They have lighter weight than I normally usually use.”

Solution: True, if you’re used to heavy barbell work and dumbbells over 60 lbs, you’re likely to feel this way, however, you can find ways to make lighter weight really hard.

  1. Train Unilaterally: This applies to both lower body and upper body movements. A good example of training your legs unilaterally would be a rear foot elevated split squat or a lunge. For many people a set of dumbells up to 50lbs is more than enough.

  2. Change Up Your Tempo: Tempo refers to the amount of time each portion of a rep should take--basically the speed of your exercise. It is usually written as 3x1x2x1 which reads 3 seconds eccentric movement (lowering of weight), 1 second pause at bottom of movement, 2 seconds concentric (lifting of weight), and 1 second pause at the top. Most people neglect/rush through the eccentric movement. However, a slow and deliberate eccentric really increases the difficult of the exercise.

Problem: “They have such few equipment and no machines!”


  1. Do More Dumbbell Variations: The great thing about dumbbells is the countless number of exercises you can do with them. You don’t need a barbell and a rack to get results.

  2. Embrace Body Weight Exercises: There’s a lot of exercises that can be done with no weight and some of these are the most important ones to master. Think push-up, pull-up, dips and most core exercises. Often when we are given a full gym of shinny equipment we may feel tempted to abandon these exercises. Use this as an opportunity to really focus in on the basics and to make sure your movements are done correctly.

Sample Strength Workout:

  • Goblet Squats (slow eccentric)

  • Stationary Lunge

  • Chest Fly

  • Bent Over Row

  • Pull-up

  • Push-Up

  • Alternating Over Head Press