A short-on-time hotel-gym dumbbell workout

Hotel-gym dumbbell workout!

Hello, my friends! I hope this blog post finds you well. After having a wonderful weekend exploring San Diego and hanging out with Dave’s family on Coronado (an island off of San Diego, where they live), Dave, Rudy and I are flying back to San Francisco this morning. Tomorrow, I’ll be giving you a full run-down of our adventures, as well as how Rudy did with all the travel, but here’s just a taste …

Scenes from Coronado visit via A Lady Goes WestA little snapshot of what the weekend looked like enjoying the sunny weather of Southern California.

Now, let’s get to business and talk about recent workouts and fitness …

A 25-minute short-on-time hotel-gym dumbbell workout 

On Saturday morning, I didn’t really have any intentions of going to the gym and was fine taking the weekend off, but Dave’s little sister, Gwena, (who is going to be a senior in college this year) mentioned she wanted to work out. Well, of course, I said yes. The two of us hit up the little gym at the Loews Hotel, just a short bike-ride away from home. We knew we wanted to do something targeting the full-body, and we knew we didn’t want to spend too much time doing it. Once we got to the gym, I did a quick glance around the selection of equipment and decided to stick to moves not requiring a machine, which is why this workout is called a “hotel-gym” one. You don’t need much to get it done.

What you need …

  • 1 set of medium dumbbells (10-15 lbs.)
  • 1 set of heavy dumbbells (20-30 lbs.)
  • 1 stability ball

After a couple minutes of incline walking on the treadmill and some dynamic warm-up moves, the two of us completed this workout and were surprisingly sweaty and fulfilled by the end, in less than 30 minutes. Because it was just what we needed, I thought I’d share it with you in case you’re ever in need of inspiration.

**Disclaimer: Even though I’m a certified personal trainer, I’m not your personal trainer and these moves may not be right for you. Always consult with your doctor or trainer before beginning a new routine. Be careful!

Hotel-gym workout via A Lady Goes West blog

Here’s a look at some of the exercises with links to demonstrations and notes …

  • Squat to shoulder press – Keep your core braced the entire move. Drop your hips back and down, and as you stand up, dig your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes.
  • Reverse lunge – Keep your chest up, hips square to front and as you step back and bend your back knee toward the floor. Return your foot to hip-width distance.
  • Arnold press – Stand up tall, shoulders back, core braced. Start with the dumbbells in front of your shoulders, palms facing your body. During the move, maintain great posture as you rotate your arms out and then press up.
  • Single-arm chest press – Keep your body super still and anchored to the bench, as you bring your elbow down to bench height and back up to the set.
  • Stir-the-pot – Make sure you keep your body in a long, strong plank the whole time, bringing your bodyweight forward up and over your arms. Squeeze your thighs and butt and push your forearms into the ball.

For more short and efficient workouts, head on over to my Fitness + Workouts page.

My weekly fitness and workouts recap

Now, as we do on Mondays, let’s take look at how I did with my recent workouts, in addition to this one ...

Weekly workouts via A Lady Goes West(Photo credit to Leah Bentley Photography, 2015.)

Weekly Workouts

  • Monday – Taught a one-hour BODYATTACK class, foam rolling
  • Tuesday – Taught a one-hour BODYPUMP class, foam rolling
  • Wednesday – Taught a one-hour BODYATTACK class
  • Thursday – Taught a 45-minute BODYPUMP class and a 30-minute freestyle core class, foam rolling
  • Friday – Taught a one-hour BODYATTACK class 
  • Saturday – Did a 25-minute dumbbell workout and went on a leisure bike ride
  • Sunday – Rest day

What was good about my week of workouts?

Balance? Yes. I did three sessions of cardio (BODYATTACK) and three sessions of weights (BODYPUMP and the hotel-gym workout), which means my week was finally even and balanced, after many weeks of being cardio-heavy. It was really nice to have time to work on a few moves in the mirror doing the dumbbell circuit that I made up on the fly, because it gave me a chance to do moves I haven’t done in a while.

What could have been better about my week of workouts?

I think this is the first week since March when I didn’t fit in at least one short yoga session. However, I did have a full rest day, so there was plenty of recovery. I don’t want yoga to start slipping from my routine, so I’ll be back on it this week. 

That’s it for today! Dave, Rudy and I should be back in the Bay Area in the early afternoon, so I’ll be teaching BODYATTACK tonight and continuing business as usual. Here’s to a great start to the week for us all!

Questions of the day

How was your weekend? What was the highlight of it?

What’s your favorite dumbbell exercise?


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  1. Love this workout, Ashley! Just took a screenshot of it to remember to try later on this week- I’m all about the quick workouts lately given how fab the weather has been (rather be outdoors)! Looking forward to reading about your weekend in San Diego. Mine was really relaxed with plenty of girl time, good food and walking–> definitely recharged me for the week ahead!

  2. Great workout! It’s all about the compound moves when you want to rock it out. My favorite dumbbell move is goblet squat. I have no clue why, but it is my fave. I can’t wait to see even more of your trip! Safe travels!

  3. Love that graphic! Pinned and saved for later! What did you use to create it? Our weekend was good, just getting settled after a big vacation! Right now I am loving reverse flys with my dumbbells!

    Happy Monday 🙂

  4. Love this workout!! I always struggle with hotel gyms and what to do because I’m so used to classes ! Can’t wait to try it! Weekend was jammed with family time and naps!! It’s a long weekend here for us so happy to have my husband home for extra support and company!!! Looks like a great weekend!!

    1. Hi Fiona! I know, it’s always easier to have someone else make up the workout for you! 🙂 Yay for your husband being home! Enjoy it!

  5. Thanks for sharing these moves, I can’t wait to try “stir the pot”! I’ve been focusing on resistance training again after some much needed time off and designing my weekly workouts every Sunday. I try to make sure at least 50% are new moves! I love the arnold press, that always stays in there 😛

    Glad you had an amazing weekend!!

  6. So glad to see and hear you guys are having a great time in San Diego! I sure do love SD … it’s easily one of my favorite spots in California. Loving your cute dress in that family photo shot of you guys. Looks like a short and effective full body workout you created – awesome!

  7. Looks like a lovely weekend! I really like the pink print dress in your pic with Dave and Rudy! Too cute 🙂 It’s been way too humid (triple digit heat index) to do much outside here, boo, but we have gotten out early or late for some fun. We grilled, got in a good workout, and relaxed a lot this weekend. My go-to move is a side-lunge and bring the lunging leg up to my chest while doing a bicep curl; balance, strength, too fun.

    1. Hi Heather! I wish it had been longer! We’re back in real life now, but it was a wonderful trip and we were so glad to have Rudy with us! Hope your weekend was great too!

  8. I also love shoulder presses with dumbbells! This looks like an awesome workout- circuit styles are my favorite.
    I think dumbbells are awesome for both strength and more cardio focused movements, as you can adjust the difficulty/reps with varying weights.
    Do you prefer full body workouts or having ‘splits’?

  9. I really like doing lateral raises with free weights… I feel like it not only works my shoulders but my core too. Or another favorite is doing seated twists to work my obliques : ) Have a fabulous week!

    1. Hi Jamie! Yes! You do get a core benefit from stabilizing your body during lateral raises. Great move! Hope you had a nice weekend! 🙂

  10. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip! I don’t think I’ve ever seen the stir-the-pot move before and I’m definitely going to need to give it a go. 🙂

    1. Hi Breanne! Stir-the-pot is one of my all-time favorite core moves! TRY IT! In fact, over the weekend, someone saw us doing that move in the gym and asked what it was hehhe.

  11. I love Coronado. My friend lives there right across the street from the NAVAL air station. I was there just a couple years ago. When we lived in San Diego, we always went to the Coronado beach. I love it there! I had a wonderful weekend with my family in Salt Lake City. I haven’t seen my sisters in 2 years! It was so good to be with them. I do like dumbbell workouts, but it seems I rarely get to do a dumbbell workout because after teaching all the time, I’m too tired to do another workout! I am sure you know what I mean. 😉

    1. Hi Melissa! YES, I know what you mean about that. My workouts are totally slacking because of all the classes I have to teach, but I hope to get a better handle on that soon. And YAY for your family time in SLC this weekend. Coronado had the perfect weather for our visit! I want to go back!

  12. This looks like a great travel workout! I do love circuits with compound movements.
    I think my favorite compound exercise is the tip and row; core work + arm work= win win!
    I am glad you guys had a good trip! I can’t wait to hear more about it!

    1. Hi Heather! Well yes, that’s a good move — and you get a lot of rowing in BODYPUMP you know:) hehehe. Hope you had a nice weekend, lady!

  13. Aw, I love seeing Rudy’s little fluffy face in all of your pictures! I hope he adjusted well to traveling. It’s definitely better to get them used to it as puppies.

    This workout sounds like a winner too! Great job keeping up with it on vacation!

    1. Hi Sarah! Rudy did great during our trip! He is a little trooper. 🙂 We’re bringing him with us this upcoming weekend too, but that’s only a car trip.

    1. Hi Cassie! Well you did two things that I’ve never done, so I want to hear more about them. Glad you like the workout inspiration! Happy Tuesday, lady! 🙂

    1. Hi Sue! You got engaged on Coronado? Awesome — I can totally see why you’d have a special place for it in your heart!! I love it! Yes, we had so much fun there and can’t wait to go back. 🙂

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