Travel & Train Hard Series 3: Portable Cardio Drills

The world is your playground. Let your adventurous spirit wander as you make the most of your vacation by keeping active in the process. There are so many unique ways to get a little sweat going while exploring a new area. You can see, eat, and do it all while keeping your body healthy.



Exploring a new place by foot is a great way to see it all and really get to know an area. Just put on your running shoes, comfortable gear and create your own self lead adventure! You never know what you will find along your trails.


Exploring by foot is ideal to finding magical discoveries or things you wouldn’t see by car. It’s priceless to get lost in a town and have to navigate your way back to where you started. Just make sure you pay attention to your surroundings and remember landmarks you pass. Here are a few other important tips when traveling by foot:


  • Have a fully charged phone and good reception in case of emergency
  • Be smart about where you explore and the time of day, especially if you are alone
  • Take a small lightweight bag of any essentials you may need if you get carried away for a few hours. Examples: cash/ credit card, sunscreen, extra clothes, bathing suit, etc.  (I fit a lot into a small drawstring bag and run with it as if it’s a football!)



Exploring by foot is one of my favorite things to do in a new city. It allows me to learn the area, feel the local vibe, explore the key landmarks, and take time to see other interesting sites along the way. Before I start my journey, I scope out a map, circle main attractions, and plan out a path.


My rule when winging it by foot: always be prepared! I’ve learned that once I leave on the journey, I usually stay out exploring for the majority of the day, unless I have something special planned. So, I bring a small bag I can run with filled with needed items so I can suit up for whatever moment arises throughout the day.


It’s best to set out to sweat early before crowds of people wake and fill the area. (This is when you can get the best pictures too!) I prefer to run, so I make sure I accomplish a set number of miles while also seeing all the main sites. To stay on track, I take note of special areas I want to revisit for spending more time post-run. I find it fun to explore areas like a scavenger hunt during my run, then later stop to take time for pictures, pop in stores, or even check out a cafe. All this can be done without distracting my goal to stay fit while I’m away!


Here is an overview on how to plan a fit infused journey:

  • Commit to an active day.
  • Prepare a route.
  • Pack a small bag.
  • Let the day unfold!


It’s incredible how much you can accomplish when being your own tour guide.  To me, it really is special to be able to see, do, and go wherever your feet take you to make the most of your time and stay active along the way.



Set out on the right foot with these simple, yet challenging cardio drills that can be done literally, anywhere!


This workout focuses on cardio drills to sweat and keep your body in motion. The drills listed are perfect to include with a run outside, in a park, on a street corner, in the gym, in the hotel room, on a beach, on a trail…. I think you get the picture. They are perfect drills to do anywhere to burn off any extra calories you may have splurged on!



  • Since these exercises are drills, they can be performed several different ways. Here are some options for you to get the most out of your workout:

    1. Perform the drills in circuit style, one exercise after the other with little to no rest in between.
    2. Perform the drills along with a run, power walk, bike, swim, etc.; before, during, after to intensify the cardio session.
    3. Customize your workout by perform these drills along with the other exercises either from this travel series or with other workouts you’re used to doing to intensify the challenge.

  • Always begin your workout with a dynamic warm-up and conclude with stretches.
  • Drills can be performed for reps or timed sets.
  • 1. Aim for 20 reps for one set, or 10 reps for multiple sets.
    2. Perform each drill for a set period of time; 30 sec., 45 sec., 1 min., etc.


Your workout could be as short as 5 minutes by performing one set of each drill or set out for a cardio day by exploring by foot and perform your drills before you set off for your run. The workout options are in your hands. The goal is to learn effective and “portable cardio drills” and to be active each day you’re away.


5 Portable Cardio Drills you can do anywhere:

  1. Jump Squat Jacks
    • Jump out to a wide stance and lower hips into a deep squat, then hop legs back together. Can push hands off of thighs for support during the squat. Repeat for reps.
    • This is a plyometric drill typically done in place but can be done moving in any direction.
  2. Star Jacks
    • Begin with the legs together. Squat down by pressing the hips back, while keeping the chest lifted and spine straight. Jump straight up while simultaneously opening the arms and legs to make a ‘star’. Land in the starting position to repeat for reps or time.
    • This is a plyometric drill typically done in place but can be performed moving in any direction.


  1. High Knees +move laterally
    • Jog in place by lifting the knees as high as they can. Pick up the speed to intensify the cardio burst. Dynamically move this drill from one point to another; forward, backwards, or laterally.


  1. Shuffles & Sprints


  • Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart in a semi squat position. Hands can be on hips, behind head, or in front of chest. Leading with one leg, laterally step out to the side, then quickly bring the other leg to follow. Remain in the semi squat position with feet in line with the knees (parallel) and do equal reps on each leg leading the drill.


  • Run as fast as you can with good form from one point to another or for a set period of time.


  1. Skips
    • Skip forward lifting your lead knee to waist height while keeping the back leg straight as you come off your toe. Continue moving forward in this manor by alternating legs and striking the ground with your mid-foot. Swing your opposite arm in unison with your lead leg. Start slowly to gain coordination. Speed, distance, and height can be increased to intensify the drill.


Check out the video to see how these exercises are performed.


Learn and try these cardio drills while exploring during your next traveling adventure. It’s a sure way to keep fit while enjoying the wonderful world we live in.


The mystique of exploring a new place is never knowing where your feet will take you to ! You will discover hidden gems in places you can only see by foot that inspire your creativity and make you wanting more. So, pack your running shoes and comfortable gear so you can create a magical self-lead journey!


Stay tuned for Travel & Train, Series 4 to learn core exercises that can be done while lounging at the beach, pool, or hotel room!


Happy travels,


Social Media: @groovysweat

Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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