How To Do a Full-Body Workout on the Road

A man handing woman two yoga mats he retrieved from an RV's exterior storage cubby.

As fitness trainers, we’re going to let you in on a “secret.” You can travel as much as you want, never stepping foot in a gym, and stay in amazing shape year-round. This flies in the face of everything people want to sell you on––specialty programs, expensive equipment, the idea that fitness should be difficult. But in reality, you can get a good workout wherever you go, and we’re here to show you how.

It’s easy to overlook everyday items that make it possible to train within our existing environment. There are three strategies for home workouts we’ll cover:

  • Body weight workouts with no equipment
  • Resistance training using tension bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, sandbags, etc.
  • Resistance training using your environment, like logs, heavy stones, 5-gallon water jugs, bags of cat litter, suitcases, etc. 

The equipment you choose to pack will depend on a few things, like the size and storage space in your RV, your current level of fitness and your goals, the location of your campsite and how much time you can set aside to workout. For instance, a bodybuilder training for a competition may decide to pack different equipment than someone who’s just looking to get in better shape for long hikes. 

The reality is that if you train hard enough, even using just the resistance of your own body weight will give you amazing progress. Tension bands and an adjustable kettlebell can be relatively inexpensive tools you can add that don’t take up much space. And if you want extra resistance but don’t have any equipment, just look around your environment for something of the same approximate weight you can use as a dumbbell. (Water jugs come in handy for more reasons than one.)  

We’ve put together a few workouts you can do pretty much anywhere, with options for bodyweight exercises or using added weights. They can be done inside your RV, outside on the grass, or in some secluded spot you find on a hike or in a park.

A woman doing lunges on a yoga mat in the grass outside an RV.

Whole Body Circuit 

Set your phone timer for 10 minutes and try to complete the full circuit. Rest when you need to, but the goal is to move from one exercise to the next without stopping.

A - Bodyweight Prisoner Squat x 20 reps
B - Full or Knee Push Up x 10 reps
C - Prone Cobras x 10 reps
D - Walking Lunges x 20 total paces
E - Lying Leg Lifts or Flutter Kicks x 20 reps
F - Lying Glute Bridge x 20 reps
G - High Knees x 40 total reps

Start with one run through if you’re a beginner, or add more circuits with a short rest between each one if you’re looking for a bigger challenge. 

A muscled man doing one-armed rows with a kettlebell outside an RV.

Kettlebell Circuit 

If you have a kettlebell on hand, give this circuit a try. Feel free to use a dumbbell or a household object as a kettlebell––whatever you have around. Same as the workout above, set your timer for 10 minutes and try to get through the full circuit with as little rest between exercises as possible.

A - Kettlebell Goblet Squat x 20 reps
B - Full or Knee Push Up x 10 reps
C - Bent Over Single Arm Rows x 10 reps per arm
D - Kettlebell Goblet Walking Lunges x 20 total paces
E - Lying Leg Lifts or Flutter Kicks x 20 reps
F - Kettlebell Weighted Lying Glute Bridges x 20 reps
G - High Knees x 40 total reps

Start with one run through if you’re a beginner, or add more circuits with a short rest between each one if you’re looking for a bigger challenge. 

Remember that a workout doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to be an hour long. If you combine these short resistance workouts with your typical daily RV activities like hiking, your fitness will improve quickly.

Here are some final tips I want to leave you with to really make your on-the-road, RV-style workouts fun and successful.

Synergize your workouts with your environment.
For example, if you are boondocking in a beautiful spot, or your campground has lots of room, add 50 yard sprints between exercises to shake things up, make things more challenging or increase the duration of your workout.

Warm up with a beautiful, scenic walk.

Before starting your workout circuit, take time to warm up and get your muscles moving. An easy and enjoyable way to warm up is to take a walk through nature. It’s also perfect for getting in the mood to move and helping avoid injury when you start more strenuous movements. 

Strive for improvement, not perfection.
We recommend doing the suggested circuits three times a week, but if you’re a total beginner, strive for twice a week and add on from there. It doesn’t matter where you start: maybe you take longer than 10 minutes to complete a circuit; maybe you find you need extra rest between exercises; maybe you’re so sore the first week that you want to give up forever. The important thing is just to chase improvement. Focus on getting faster, resting less, feeling more solid and confident in your form. All improvement counts. Compete with yourself to get better instead of comparing yourself to others, and you’ll set yourself up for continued success.

No matter where you land or where you’re headed, there’s always a way to work on your health and fitness. Improved endurance and wellness will enable you to go on beautiful hikes with friends and family, to create more memories, and even to surprise yourself with all the new things you suddenly have the courage to try. Working out doesn’t have to be a vanity thing. It opens the door to have even more amazing outdoor experiences!

The Bayley Family RVs in a 2018 Heartland Road Warrior Toy Hauler.