You know that interval workouts rock for boosting your metabolism and saving time but some days you don’t want to see the gym…or a timer.


Whether you are on the road, in a workout rut, accompanied by little workout crashers (code word for your children), these interval workouts are just what you need.  All you have to do is approach the workouts with an open mind and willingness to have fun.


10 Ways to Get in a Conditioning Workout without a Gym or Timer


Solo Workouts

Bleachers or Stadium Stairs Intervals

Stairs are perfect for conditioning workouts. The fact that you have to come back down the stairs after you go up offers a built in recovery time.  No timer needed.  You can do this workout at a local stadium, at home, or in the stairwell of your job or hotel. Run or quickly walk upstairs for the work part. Walk back down for the recovery and voila a perfect conditioning workout in whatever time you have to give.


Running Intervals by the Song

Running intervals are great if you want to get outside for your sweat session.  For this workout, you will use the chorus and verse of the song as your timer.  You go fast on one while going more slowly on the other.  If you are just simply walk or jog on one while running quickly on the other.  If you want to make your intervals super challenging, go fast on the verse.  If you need less of a challenge, go fast on the chorus.


Biking Intervals by the Song

Biking intervals are a more joint friendly version of running intervals.  You will cycle quickly on one part of the song and cycle at a leisurely pace on the other part of the song.  If you are just getting started, you will go fast on the chorus.  Just like in running intervals, you go fast on the chorus for less of a challenge and on the verse for more of a challenge.


Skate by the Song

Skating intervals are another variation in the “By the Song” interval family.  Skating intervals work well if you don’t enjoy sitting during your workout but you don’t want the impact of running.  Just like the running and biking intervals, you go fast on the chorus for less of a challenge and on the verse for more of a challenge.


Deck of Cards Workout

This is the workout for you if you prefer workouts with multiple movements.  You will pick an exercise for each suit and for the jokers.  Determine how many repetitions of the exercise you will do for jokers.  Since there are only two jokers, selecting a challenging exercise and/or a high amount of reps for those cards makes things a little more “fun”.  For all of the other cards, the number on the card represents the number of repetitions you will do. Face cards, including aces, count for ten.

You will warm up (a few squats, lunges, and pushups will do) and then flip through the cards, doing each exercise for the number of reps shown on the card until you don’t have any time left to work out.  The element of surprise and randomness of exercise order is perfect for you if you are easily bored by traditional workouts.


Partner or Group Workouts

Dive Stick Chase

Head to the pool with at least one other person and a dive stick.  Start the workout with one person throwing the stick into the pool.  Next everyone walks, runs, or swims to try to get the stick.  Whoever gets the stick, throws it someplace else and you all chase the stick again.  Keep the game going until you don’t have any time left to work out.  Rest as needed.  This one is surprisingly fun and effective.


Sweaty Simon Says

This workout is perfect to play with younger children.  You may need to write out a list of conditioning moves to help them along or you could let them make up their moves.  I am already warning you that if you let them make up the moves, things are going to get INTERESTING.

The person in charge (Simon) calls out and demonstrates an exercise.  Everyone else does it until Simon tells them to do something else or to stop.  Remember to only follow the command if Simon says, “Simon says do X”.  If Simon tells you to do something without saying, “Simon says”, you should keep following the most recent command.

If you really want to increase the fun factor and workout intensity, add a 10 burpee penalty for anyone who follows a command without the required, “Simon says”.  Keep the game going for as much time as you have to work out.  To make sure everyone is getting a workout, Simon should do the moves as well. Rest as needed.


Rock Paper Scissors with a Twist

This workout is perfect if you only have one other person to work out with you. In this workout, you play rock, paper, scissors and whoever wins each round gets to pick the physical activity that the other person has to do.  When the physical activity is done, you start the next round and repeat.  If the same person wins more than two rounds in a row, they automatically lose round three to ensure that everyone gets a workout.  Keep going until you run out of time.


WARNING: I learned the hard way that the two-win rule needed to exist.  My son literally had me doing burpees and running stairs for more than five rounds while I was pregnant with my daughter.  Learn from my mistake and use the two-win rule!


Crab Soccer

This game is perfect for a family picnic or even corporate team building event.   You will need an open space that is about ten feet long and at least 18 feet wide.  A back yard or open field is perfect.  You will set up cones or draw lines (with chalk on concrete or with a stick in sand) to mark the goal area on each side.  There are two teams and the entire game is played in crab position.

10 Ways to Get in a Conditioning Workout without a Gym or Timer

The game starts with the ball and one person from each team in the center for the kick off.  Count to three and get started.  You will try to score by kicking the ball up the field toward your goal. Passing is allowed.  The only rule is that everyone travels in crab position for the entire time and that the ball goes back to center position after each goal.


Stuck in the Mud

This workout is the most fun with at least six people.  One person is “it”.  The goal is to get everyone else “stuck in the mud”.  Start the game by catching and tagging as many people as possible.  When someone gets tagged they are “stuck in the mud” and cannot move.
Getting stuck doesn’t mean staying stuck.  If someone comes next to someone who is stuck and does five burpees they are free again.  You can tag someone who is doing burpees.  When you do, they are now stuck and the person who they were trying to free remains stuck.
When you have gotten everyone stuck in the mud, another person becomes “it” and the game starts again.  Keep going until you have no more time to work out.

10 Ways to Get in a Conditioning Workout without a Gym or Timer


By now you see that you can get a great conditioning workout anywhere.  Your workout may also be a great source of laughter and family fun.  What did you think of these workouts?  Let me know which ones are going on your “must try” list in the comments below.

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