For those going away over the Christmas period and activity seems a low priority due to lack of equipment a gym routine can be hard to maintain.

Many holiday areas don’t have gyms, or if they don’t have casual access so finding and alternative option is a must.

HIIT is still my favourite way to work out while I am away.  A 20-40 minutes routine is all I need depending on what I do and how I feel.

Why HIIT is such a hit

HIIT is all the rage in the fitness world, but in case you’ve ducked the trend, “HIIT is great as it can work both aerobic and anaerobic systems, doesn’t require a gym or gym equipment, has a low risk of injury, can be done in under 10 minutes and is a sure-fire way to burn a lot of energy.”     Perfect for when you are away.

It involves short bursts of intense activity followed by a longer period of rest, repeated until exhaustion; it’s believed that this ‘interval’ style training aids weight loss because the heart is shocked into 80% of its maximum capacity, in between those mini breaks to bring it back down again.

Stephen Boutcher, associate professor of medical sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia, discusses why HIIT may outperform traditional cardio when it comes to fat loss: A HIIT-induced surge “can increase fat burning and energy expenditure for hours after exercise.”

HIIT your hotel room up

If you’re stuck with no gym or you only have half an hour in your lounge without enough time to get down to the gym here are some ideas that might work.

Design 1

Work big muscle groups: bigger muscles require more energy to operate. So movements like push ups/ burpees/ long jumps – will burn more energy than doing bench dips.”

The success of HIIT lies in its ability to be performed anywhere at any time. (I prefer the morning)

My favourite exercise (yep hate it but love it) is the dreaded burpee There’s no better way to getting results than an exercise like a burpee. A burpee is an example of a whole-body compound movement, activating multiple muscle groups at once to achieve best results. Jump squats work well too – they require little space and no equipment.  You can do extra work with burpees also like adding a push up in the middle for extra muscle activation and much larger sweat fest.

Design 2

Keep stable and the core engaged to avoid momentum and injury (dynamic movements have a mind of their own sometimes) The more controlled the movements, the more we’re able to concentrate on the muscles being worked and more we able to stimulate these and burn energy.”

Design 3

“Get creative – If you’re relatively fit, make simple movements more complex using balance and speed etc.  Make your push-up more difficult by raising your feet or hold at the bottow for 2 seconds.

Getting your timings right

If you’re new to HIIT, there’s still no excuse not to squeeze in half an hour before your conference from your hotel room. You don’t even need gym kit, just do it in your pants; burpees and sprinting on the spot are excellent places to start.

Neil Peters recommends sprinting for 15 seconds then recovering for 45 seconds, and repeating this six times: “True HIIT is working till exhaustion, then allowing the body as much time needed to recover to be able to work at the same intensity/work-rate to exhaustion again.” Clint Hill adds: “On average the body requires 3 times the amount of time spent working to recover.

Another option Peters suggests is three rounds of one minute on, one minute off – for a more circuit-training style approach.

The apps to help you

In reality, you need little more than a stop-watch, but there are, of course, some handy apps around to help you. A straight-forward one I use is called HIIT Interval training timer. This great when you are getting exhausted, (no thinking required) I use 15 second rest with a 45 second active sessions when doing my training but you can alter the rest for fitness levels etc 20/40 etc.

So when you are away and need a work out after that big festive lunch and extra glass of alcohol, here is a short plan that can get you started.


Novice Advanced
Lunge Power lunge
Plank Plank Knee to elbow
Knee push up Full push up
Burpee Burpee with knee tuck
Body weight row Body weight row
Skater Skater jump
Crunch Sit up