Abby working out with resistance bands outside of Revel

Van-Life Approved Minimalist Workout Products 
A professional athlete’s go-to items for working out in and around the van.
By: Abby Holcombe

Abby working out with resistance bands outside of Revel

Over the years, after multiple sports-related injuries, I’ve discovered how helpful strength training can be, especially as a professional athlete. At first, I really struggled with finding a fitness routine that worked for my nomadic lifestyle. But, through trial and error, here are my top three favorite products for working out in and around my Winnebago without over-filling our van.

1. TRX Kit

TRX is a fitness tool that stands for Total Resistance Exercises. The TRX has two straps that you use with either your hands or feet to partially suspend your body. This gives exercises more resistance and allows for a more difficult and rewarding workout. This is the very first piece of exercise equipment I got for the Winnebago. 

Abby working out outside of Revel

There are a million different brands and options, but I use and love the Monkii Bars 2 Adventure Kit. It’s small, easy, and even has its own apps that guide you through workouts. 

I’ve attached this to the ladder of our van, trees, friends’ houses, among countless other configurations. If you are looking to get a good workout, without hauling around weights, I highly recommend trying a TRX configuration!

2. Resistance Bands

My most recent addition to my van gym were resistance bands. I have loop bands and tube resistance bands with handles. There are many different types of resistance bands, but I’ve found these two to work best for me. I love how my bands are a small and easy option to make my workouts a little bit harder than my previous bodyweight workouts. 

Abby working out with resistance bands outside of Revel

I specifically use the tube resistance bands to strengthen my shoulders to reduce the chance of dislocations or tears while kayaking. But there is a wide variation of ways to use these bands to make your workouts more challenging without taking up the entirety of the Winnebago.

I found my bands on Amazon, but there are countless brands and options, so do your research to find what might work best for you.

3. Fitbod App

Fitbod is a subscription-based fitness app that generates workouts for you based on your goals and experience. I’ve tried countless workout apps, but Fitbod has been the most helpful thus far and is the closest app I’ve found to a personal trainer. 

I’ve found it really hard to work with a physical therapist or personal trainer from the road, and I love how Fitbod tells me what to do each time I workout. This has given me a lot more confidence when it comes to my cross training. 

Abby holding phone to show FitBod app on screen

When I first downloaded the app, it asked me a series of questions about my experience level, fitness goals, when I wanted to workout, and for how long. From there, you can enter what gym equipment you have. Fitbod will generate anything from a bodyweight workout or a workout fit for a well-equipped gym - making it the perfect RVer fitness app. 

Once your preferences and gym equipment are set, Fitbod will generate an entire workout perfect for your needs. If you see an exercise you don’t know how to do, you can click on the exercise for both a video and written tutorial. If you see an exercise that you don’t/can't do, you can click on it and swap it out for a similar exercise that still targets the same muscles as the original exercise.

I found creating an exercise routine and learning how to safely perform the exercises quite daunting, so having Fitbod virtually hold my hand has really helped my fitness journey.

Abby kayaking Abby throwing a front flip in her kayak on a wave on the Durance River in France.

My favorite part of traveling in our Winnebago is that I have the luxuries of home everywhere I go, including a home gym, or should I say van gym! I hope these minimalist, simple-to-use products help you just as much as they have me. (I’ve also included a list of my favorite recovery tools here). And as always, make sure to consult with a medical professional before using any of these products.


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