Don't have a gym close by while you're living abroad for the semester? That doesn't mean you can't workout!
Some ILP locations actually do have gyms close by where you can get a membership for the few months that you're living there, but if not, there are tons of other ways to stay active.
You'll just naturally be pretty active during your ILP semester as you're walking just about everywhere, taking surfing lessons, hiking to waterfalls or lookout points, etc, but there are even more ways to get moving, thanks to Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, and more.
Need more advice on a few things?
All The Things To Do In Your Twenties is crammed full of it.
Just like at home, finding what you like is going to be key to working out on your semester abroad. We've talked to our team at ILP and got ideas from actual volunteers abroad on how they are staying fit, so you can get some ideas for setting up your own routine.
Fitness Apps + Plans
Apps are great while you're traveling, especially when you find some that are geared toward at-home workouts with minimal equipment. There's so many out there, but here are a few we're loving. Some are free, while others require a subscription.
There's quite a variety on this app — meditations, yoga workouts, self love guides, and more, all focused on connecting your mind and body for a happier and more empowered you. There's a 7 day free trial if you want to try it out, then $14.99/month after that.
Learn more about the app and download here.
Kayla Itsines's fitness app, Sweat is a popular one, for a lot of reasons.
There are zero/minimal equipment high intensity workouts (+many more options) that work great for working out at home.
The app comes with a free week-long trial, then it's a $19.99 monthly payment (or if you sign up for a year just $119.24).
Get it here on iOS and here on Android.
These guys have some workout plans that involve heavy weights, but they do also have a bodyweight only plan, meant specifically to be easy to use while you're traveling and don't have equipment. Perfect! Check out their plan here for $12.99/month, or their Instagram @opengym has some free workouts too.
The barre3 account (and subscription) has so many equipment-free barre workouts — perfect if you're looking to keep up your barre classes on your semester abroad or want to try out barre while you're traveling. Typically it costs around $30/month (which is less than what I was paying for my barre classes at my gym at home!), but they often have even better deals going on too.
Get more info and download their app here.
Couch To 5K
New to running but want to start? Grab one of your ILP buddies and start a morning running routine. This app prompts you on a walk + run + walk + run schedule, starting off easy and slowly increasing your run times. It's a great way for anyone to get started running. There's a few similar apps out there now, but this one was the original and has an 8 week plan, perfect for accomplishing a goal during your semester abroad. $5/month.
Get it on Google Play and on the App Store.
ILP volunteers love pulling up a YouTube workout as a way to exercise with their group — here are a few recommendations.
Yoga With Adriene
Some 10 million people subscribe to this YouTube channel, where Adriene walks you through 10 to 30+ minute-long yoga sessions, all targeted for a specific purpose. Work on increasing your flexibility, improving your core strength, or sessions that help you wake up in the morning.
Her videos are calming, easy to follow along, and you don't need any special equipment (especially since a towel can work as a yoga mat).
This series has an option for a free 30-day subscription (with daily videos) to help you get into a routine, or you can just pick videos that appeal to you when you want to fit a little yoga into your life.
Subscribe here: Yoga With Adriene.
Blogilates is the perfect channel to follow if you want to add some variety to your workouts. This channel has instructions on how to work out very specific parts of your body, as well as full body workouts, cardio dance videos, healthy recipes, and fitness tips.
Blogilates has 7-day, 21-day, or 100-day challenges, video series for beginners, plus detailed videos on areas of your body like your abs, improving flexibility to do the splits, toning thighs, and more.
FitnessBlender is a husband and wife team with awesome workouts (there are tons of them!). They have a huge variety of videos which means you are sure to find what you're looking for — find workouts that are just a few minutes long or full-length videos that cover a full workout.
We love all the videos on their YouTube Channel, but you can also check out their website where you can search their workouts by length, intensity, or targeted areas of your body.
You can find countless free workouts on this YouTuber's account. She focuses heavily on weight training so many are geared towards those that have access to a gym, but scroll through and find her at home workouts and videos that are just bodyweight focused (and don't require equipment). Many workouts are dumbbell only/no machines and many you can also modify. Traveling with just a lightweight band and access to her videos can get you by in a pinch.
If you do have access to weights and a gym, you might like her Alive app too ($15/month).
This is another account we've used and love. There are tons of video options on YouTube, including some for beginners, and workouts that range from about 3-30+ minutes. She also has lots of super fun dance party workout cardio routines!
She also have an Instagram account if you'd like to access some workouts that way.
+ Dance Accounts
Other ILP groups have loved looking up JustDance routines or tuned into a few songs to dance to with the Fitness Marshall just in their apartment. You can get quite a workout if you really get into these videos (bonus points if you workout enough to memorize the routines).
@katiecrewe posts free workouts on her Instagram so you can pick what looks good to you just by scrolling on her feed. She does a lot of body weight and core workouts at home where you don't need any equipment or you can get creative with what you have — heavy books, a packed backpack, water jugs, a couple of pineapples, etc can all be used to help you out.
Diana Mirgon posts workouts right on her Instagram feed so you can follow along and have new workouts all the time (they're totally free which is another huge perk).
We all have a Fitness Board on Pinterest, right? Well, now is the time to use it! If you don't have one going get one started and look up things like "workouts from home", "workouts with no gym equipment", "ab workouts", or whatever else you might be looking for. You will have tons of ideas pop up with different workouts and circuits you can try.
Create a schedule for a week (or for a month) so that you know ahead of time which workout you're doing — you want to avoid spending your workout time scrolling Pinterest. Grab people in your ILP group for some added motivation and get going on your new found workouts.
Here are few suggested boards:
- Fitness Fitness Fitness by Alex Blocher
- Health and Fitness by Lindsey Bray
- Get Moving Get Buff by Hannah Chapman
- Fit Bottomed Girls
A Few Things To Pack
Most of these accounts and workouts are do-able without any equipment, but you can get a deeper stretch (or just a more comfortable yoga sesh) if you have some minimal gear.
Luckily, each of these pack up easily. Oh, and just so you know, this section of the post has affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we earn a small commission). Just know that we only share products that we ourselves have used and loved, that other volunteers have recommended, or that we think just look like they'd be pretty useful!
- A yoga mat
Yoga paws (when you don't want to use your mat, or get sweaty palms)
TRX body resistance bands
Now you can exercise wherever you are
Including anywhere you could go abroad, right? Yoga on the beaches of Costa Rica or runs down the charming streets of Europe sound pretty great. Come get your questions answered about volunteering and traveling with ILP: