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How To Workout When You Don't Have A Gym

Posted by Auvi Evans on 4/15/19 4:31 PM

ILP Uganda

Just because you don't have a gym close by doesn't mean you can't workout during your semester abroad.

Not sure how to workout without a gym?  Don't let that stop you! Some ILP locations actually do have gyms close by you can get a membership for, but if not there are tons of other ways to workout and it doesn't all have to be just "taking a run" — although, we love that our ILP Africa volunteers found a 5K mud run where they live in Uganda!

No matter where you are in the world, you just need to be a little creative to workout without a gym. 

Need more advice? 
 All The Things To Do In Your Twenties is crammed full of some advice you might be looking for. 

Here are some tools and ideas to help you out when you feel a little lost with what you should be doing for your workouts.

  • Fitness Apps
  • Youtube Videos
  • Instagram Accounts
  • Pinterest Workouts 

Fitness Apps

Zombies, Run!

Alright, this app is pretty cool and adds some serious motivation. 

Basically, you are one of the last survivors of the zombie apocalypse and your help is needed to collect supplies for your base camp. There are several different missions you can complete which involve different lengths and different paces for your run. Fun music comes on when you need to walk, run, or jog a little faster because the zombies are coming and as you run you collect different items for your base camp. It's pretty fun and will log all of your runs so you can see your progress.

Get it here for iOS and here for Android

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Kayla Itsines: Sweat

Kayla Itsines's fitness app Sweat is a popular one and chances are you probably have friends who've used it.  

This app's goal is to help you "get your fitness back on track in just 28 days!" The app is full of 28 minute workouts that you don't need a gym for, food prep recipes and ideas, yoga videos, and more. It also has cool little features that help you do things like keep track of your water intake or workout schedule.  

The app does cost a little bit, but you can get a week trial for free to test it out. After that it is $19.99 a month (or if you sign up for a year just $119.24). It's a great go to if you are volunteering abroad with ILP and don't have a regular gym you go to. 

Get it here on iOS and here on Android

Couch To 5K

If you want to get into running this app is for you.  Couch to 5k just takes 30 minutes a day, three times a week for eight weeks to get you trained and ready to run a 5K!

You get to choose a coach for motivation and it has a schedule for you to follow which includes distance, and helps you cut back your time. There are graphs to keep track of your distance and pace so you can see your progress.

After you train for your 5K it also has training for a 10K so you can keep going with your newfound love for running — all for free!

Here on iOS and although this particular version doesn't have an Android adaptation, there is another app that's very similar with great ratings. Get it here on Android. 

ILP Adventure

Youtube Videos

We love Youtube videos because you can watch others and get recommendations for specific workouts. Here are some of the best Youtube Channels with easy to follow instructors who will get you pumped: 

Yoga With Adriene 

Some 4 million people subscribe to this Youtube Channel where Adriene walks you though yoga sessions that are 10-30 minutes long and are targeting for a specific purpose. Follow along for sessions that increase your flexibility, ones that work your whole core, and sessions that help you wake up in the morning.

She even has a free 30-day subscription with daily sessions to help you get into a routine. 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).  Come subscribe: Yoga With Adriene. 


Blogilates is the perfect channel to follow if you want to add good variety to your workouts. You can find great instructions on how to work very specific parts of your body, as well as full body workouts, cardio dance videos, healthy recipes, and fitness tips. This is one of the best channels out there if you ask me. 


HASfit has over 1,000 workouts for you to choose from. Some do include weights and other gym equipment, but you can easily modify the workout to fit your needs. Because there are so many videos you can choose exactly what you are looking for and choose the length of workout that is best for you.


FitnessBlender is a husband and wife team with awesome workouts and tons of them (enough to last you for a few months, depending on your routine). They have a huge variety of videos which means you are sure to find what you're looking for.

To make things even easier check out their website where you can search their workouts by length, intensity, or targeted areas of your body.

Whitney Simmons

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 work outs and videos that are just body weight focused. You'll find it's still worth checking out even if you're traveling, aka spending time abroad or vacationing somewhere like Ireland. 

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.


This is another account we've used and love. There's tons of video options, including some for beginners, and times from about 10-30 minutes. Just pick what looks best to you and get to work!

ILP Adventure

Instagram Accounts


One of the best accounts out there for those who are traveling and don't have access to a gym, weights, etc. is @opengym.

For about $10/month you get a different plan every day that includes body weight only exercises, which is exactly what you are looking for if you have zero equipment but want a good workout. 

Open gym also has an app you can download, or you can check out the feed for some workout ideas without paying per month. 


Don't worry, you don't have to be a mom to use this account. @momstrongmove offers a $10 a month subscription for at-home workouts and the workouts are new every week so you never have to do the same workout more than once.

Meg Miles (the creator of this account + your new personal trainer) includes a video of her doing the workout with your in real time so you can watch while you participate instead of doing it on your own (it really pushes you to keep up with her!). If you can get your hands on a pair of weights or a resistance band it would be helpful, but not necessary. 


Another $10 subscription to try out and also ones that change every single week so you're not stuck doing the same workout. Quincy @iheartmacros also provides some recipes and eating strategies to help go along with your work out. You might need to save those recipes for when you get home from a semester abroad or vacation, but her workouts are great for someone looking to exercise but doesn't have access to a gym.  


An Instagram workout account that will cost you zero dollars? @katiecrewe posts workouts on her Instagram so you can pick some for free to do 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

Another account that costs nada! I love that she posts workouts right on her Instagram feed so you can follow along and have new workouts all the time.

ILP Adventure, Costa Rica

Pinterest Workouts

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 (don't spend your workout time browsing Pinterest!). Grab people in your ILP group for some added motivation and get going on your new found workouts. 

Here are few suggested boards: 

ilp china

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: 

 Text Me! I've Got Questions

Topics: All The Travel Tips, Saving Money + Fundraising, Tips For Your Twenties


We are ILP, a Utah based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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