Fitness Program Reviews: Best Work Out Videos for Travel - Intentional Travelers

24 Jun Fitness Program Reviews: Best Work Out Videos for Travel

Update: this post originally published in December 2014 but it has since been updated and expanded with even more fitness program options.

How to Stay Active Despite the “Restrictions” of Travel

Staying fit and healthy is a high priority for us, but with the amount of travel we do, we really have to be intentional to keep up the habit of daily work outs. We love running as a way to explore new places, but sometimes weather conditions or safety concerns have required us to find indoor alternatives.

Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to try a number of different work out video programs. Some are better than others when it comes to having limited space and equipment during travel.

If you’re considering starting one of these work out programs, this post will help you make an informed decision as to which one might be right for you – especially if you’re going to have the restrictions of being on the road. We’re reviewing many of the top work out programs on the market with special attention to how easy they are to do regardless of your location.

Fitness Program Reviews: Best Work Outs For Travel | Exercise video programs for limited space and equipment, including P90X, Insanity, T25, Jillian Michaels, etc. | Intentional Travelers


First, a few notes about these work outs…

  • Get creative
    When you’re traveling, you may have to make do with limited resources. When the work out calls for light hand weights, find alternatives like cans of food or water bottles. If possible, travel with a yoga mat or find a carpet square so you have a relatively clean, cushioned surface to do seated exercises, planks, etc. (A special note if you’re in a hotel or apartment building: ask for a ground floor room or find another space to work out where you won’t be disturbing guests underneath you when you’re jumping around.)
  • Assess personality preferences for yourself
    Work-out programs need big personalities in order to sell their videos. Different people will be drawn to different personalities; and because the programs require you to repeat videos every week, you will get to know the host’s quirks and sayings very well. P90X was smart and made a DVD option to cut out all of Tony’s extra remarks and hear only the basic instructions. I can’t predict who it will be that you can’t stand, so personality is not really factored into these reviews.
  • Just do it
    To be honest, any of these programs will deliver results if you stick with them consistently. There is some variation in the type of results- each falls slightly differently on the scale of “looking like a body builder” to “becoming a cardio master.” For those who just want to be fit and healthy and notice a difference by the end of the program, it’s really more about your own follow-through and the effort you put into each work-out. Personally, I tend to conserve my energy when I know a work-out is going to be more than 40 minutes long. So I actually work harder in the 25-30 minute per day programs, and consequently, I saw more results. I’m also aiming for general fitness that I can sustain in the long-term, which means there has to be variety to my work-outs to keep me interested.
    For those two reasons, if I had to choose just one work out program, it would probably be Focus T25.

Work Out Program Reviews

Focus T25 (Our Top Choice)Focus-T25-Banner

    • Good for: basic fitness in a short amount of time, including cardio and strength
    • Equipment: yoga mat, hand weights or bands (starting in the second month)
    • Host: Shaun-T
    • Types of work-outs:First 5 weeks (Alpha)- Cardio, Ab Intervals, Lower Focus, Speed 1.0, Total Body Circuit, Stretch; Next 5 weeks (Beta)- Core Cardio, Core Speed, Dynamic Core, Rip’t Circuit, Speed 2.0, Upper Focus; Last 4 weeks (Gamma)- Extreme Circuit, Rip’t Up, Speed 3.0, The Pyramid
    • No weights needed episodes: all Alpha level and some Beta work-outs
    • Time: 25 minutes + 3 minutes stretch. 14 weeks.
    • Pros: short and sweet, good amount of variety, optional exercise modifications for beginners in Alpha and Beta
    • Cons: stretching at the end of each work out is not adequate

 In our opinion, T25 is the best fit for most travelers who want to stay in shape because it’s short and sweet, provides a good all-around work out, requires minimal equipment, and there are enough different videos so it doesn’t get old.

Check out Focus T25 here

Insanity Max 30


  • Good for: Cardio, sports fitness, weight loss, accomplishing something difficult (not for beginners)
  • Equipment: None (but a yoga mat is occasionally helpful)
  • Host: Shaun-T
  • Types of work-outs: Cardio-heavy with the goal to “max out.” Many include interval training with longer intervals and the same amount of rest in the second month’s work outs.
  • Time: 30 minutes. 2 months.
  • Pros: No equipment required, really tough work-outs. Takes less time than the original Insanity (see review below). Best way to get fast results
  • Cons: Hard on the joints (lots of jumping), some of the interval circuits get old with three repetitions of the exercises

Check out Insanity Max 30 here

P90X 3p90x3-banner

See review for the original P90X series below

    • Good for: basic fitness in a short amount of time,  strength
    • Equipment: weights or bands, yoga mat, pull up bar or bands
    • Host: Tony Horton
    • Types of work-outs: muscle building, cross-training, core and flexibility training, cardio training
    • No weights needed episodes: Agility X, Triometrics, Yoga, MMX, Accelerator, Pilates X, Isometrix, Dynamix
    • Time: 30 minutes, 90 days
    • Pros: shorter videos, same intensity of the original P90x. Good mix of exercises with less need for equipment, optional exercise modifications for beginners as well as advanced
    • Cons: Still requires equipment for muscle building that travelers may not have access too

Check out P90X 3 here



    • Good for: Cardio, sports fitness, weight loss, accomplishing something difficult (not for beginners)
    • Equipment: yoga mat (occasionally)
    • Host: Shaun-T
    • Types of work-outs: First 5 weeks- Plyo Cardio Circuit, Cardio Power & Resistance, Cardio Recovery (strength training), Pure Cardio, Cardio Abs, Core Cardio & Balance; Next 4 weeks- Max Interval Circuit, Max Interval Plyo, Max Cardio Conditioning, Max Recovery, Insane Abs, Max Interval Sports Training, Upper Body Weight Training
    • Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour. 9 weeks.
    • Pros: no equipment required, really tough work-outs, will definitely get you in shape
    • Cons: time-consuming, hard on the joints (lots of jumping), some of the circuits get old with three repetitions of the exercises

Check out Insanity here

Ripped in 30jillian-michaels-ripped-in-30

    • Good for: basic fitness
    • Equipment: yoga mat, one or two light hand weights (can be replaced with other heavy objects)
    • Host: Jillian Michaels
    • Types of work-outs: 4 work-outs, one new video per week, each is formatted in three sets of: 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs
    • Time: 30 minutes. 4 weeks.
    • Pros: short and sweet, increases in difficulty each week, works multiple muscle groups at a time, optional exercise modifications for beginners
    • Cons: only 4 different work-outs,


    • Good for: getting ripped, strength training
    • Equipment: variety of weights (or bands), yoga mat, pull up bar (or bands)
    • Host: Tony Horton
    • Types of work-outs: Chest & Back, Plyometrics, Shoulders & Arms, Yoga, Legs & Back, Kenpo, Stretch, Chest-Shoulders-Biceps, Core Synergistics, Cardio, Ab Ripper
    • No weights needed episodes: Yoga, Core, Cardio, Plyometrics, Stretch, Ab Ripper
    • Time: 45 minutes average, up to 1:30 for Yoga. 90 days.
    • Pros: can mute out extra speaking parts, different tracks for different results (focus on getting lean or getting bulky)
    • Cons: time-consuming, exercise instructions take up unnecessary time once you’re familiar with the work out, need equipment to do full program and get the best results

Check out P90X here

Rush FitGSPRushfit8Weekprogram

    • Good for: functional fitness
    • Equipment: yoga mat, weights (can be done with just one or two sets)
    • Host: George St. Pierre and his trainer, Eric Owen
    • Types of work-outs: 5 “rounds” of 5 minutes each with 1 minute rest in-between. Strength & Endurance, Ab & Core, Explosive Power Training, Fight Conditioning (mixed martial arts), Full Body Strength & Conditioning, Bonus Workouts
    • No weights needed episodes: Fight Conditioning
    • Time: 50 minutes. 8 Weeks.
    • Pros: full-body strengthening and conditioning, lower impact work-outs
    • Cons: same warm up and cool down for every work-out, seems that videos could be better rehearsed, cardio training is lacking, best results require weights

Zumba FitnessZumba Banner

    • Good for: fun work-outs, beginner fitness
    • Equipment: light hand weights (or substitutes) for Sculpt
    • Host: Alberto Perez and co.
    • Types of work-outs: All dance-based. Basics (learning the moves), Abs, Cardio, Sculpt, Live
    • Time: 45+ minutes average
    • Pros: fun
    • Cons: not as challenging of a work-out, must have rhythm and be able to follow dance moves quickly

Completing an entire one of these programs from start to finish, as it was intended, is a worthwhile goal. However, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to continue doing the same work out program indefinitely. The nice thing is, once you’ve completed a program, you can still pick and choose your favorite work-outs and incorporate them into your routine sporadically.

Ideally, you would be able to combine work-outs like these with outdoor activities and sports. However, sometimes- like in the Peace Corps– you’re in a situation where your ability to exercise outside is limited, due to extreme temperatures or safety reasons. In those cases, the ideal indoor-only work out plan would be a combination of all of the above so you would never get bored.

NEW: Beach Body On Demand

Fitness Program Reviews: Best Work Outs For Travel (including Beach Body On Demand)| Exercise video programs for limited space and equipment, including P90X, Insanity, T25, Jillian Michaels, etc. | Intentional Travelers

Fortunately, there is now a way to combine the best of these different work out programs without having to purchase them all individually. Beach Body, the makers of many of the programs we’ve used and reviewed above, have created an online membership program so you can stream work outs. As long as you have internet, you can access videos from multiple programs like Insanity and P90X.

While there are 25 different fitness programs available to members, our favorite (T25) is only included as a “sneak peek” (in other words, you can only access one of the T25 cardio videos to see if you like it). So it doesn’t give you absolutely everything, but it’s enough to keep you busy (and not bored) for years.

Fitness Program Reviews: Best Work Outs For Travel (including Beach Body On Demand)| Exercise video programs for limited space and equipment, including P90X, Insanity, T25, Jillian Michaels, etc. | Intentional Travelers

Right now, you can get a free trial (which is what we did) and then the membership is $2.99 per week.

Hopefully this review of work out programs was helpful. If you know of others, we’d love to hear about them. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Erin Davolt
    Posted at 21:05h, 13 April

    I would like to make a recommendation for a different sort of work out to try while traveling: Pimp Your Mat. I subscribe to which is Pilates based workouts in 30 minutes. The instructor loads new work outs every 3 days which means there is plenty of variety. As long as I have a device and wifi, I can work out anywhere.

    • Jedd
      Posted at 04:26h, 14 April

      Thanks Erin! We’ll look into that. We are always down for a challenge and though I’m not a huge fan of Pilates, I know it kick my ass, which is a good thing.

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