Are you feeling overwhelmed on how to maintain fitness on the road? I’ve been travelling for nearly 8 years now. Travel is unpredictable and that’s why I absolutely love it. One day I’m hiking through the jungle. The next, I’m revving my moped along the coast! And then…I could be lying on a beach soaking up the sun and doing umm…nothing. But while all this variation is great for broadening the mind, unfortunately travel can often have the same effect on your waistline. Eek!
My weight has gone up and down throughout my years of travelling and it’s been hard to stay in shape. I try to be fit for travel. My skin is sometimes glowing, yet at others time I feel like my hormones are out of control and my face is pepperoni pizza. Serious ladies…late nights, early mornings, irresistible local delicacies and too many G&Ts (to keep malaria away, of course) take their toll. It can be hard for me to keep fit.
I’ve been focusing more and more lately on how I can care for myself physically and mentally on the road (check out my self-esteem booster tips to stay fit mentally). Travel burnout is real – and I’d hate for you to get to this point.
So without further ago, here are three ways to keep fit while traveling, whilst still having the best fun ever woohoo.
And I want to reassure you right now; I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking beer!
One of the big downsides with travel, essentially if you stay on the road for long periods of time like me, is that your regular routine is transferred to living out of a backpack..and can sometimes be left behind at the departure lounge. Yikes.
With my day changing dramatically almost everyday whilst I’m on the road, you need to keep some routine to keep yourself sane.
When I wake up, I’m determined to stay fit and healthy mentally. I drink water, meditate, recite positive affirmations, do some travel exercise, read and keep an inspirational journal. Repeating this morning routine every day keeps me centred and essentially gives me some feeling of familiarity in a very fast-paced travel world.
This routine takes care of my mind, but what about how to keep fit physically? If I’m not hiking a mountain, I’m staying in on my laptop typing…and I’ve been discovering that sitting is the new smoking as I work while travelling. I was getting aches in my hips for example, and I was like ‘Whaaaat is going on here eh?’. And you may be sitting on that sun lounger for too long if you’re not a constant travel blogger like me.
At home, you might keep in shape with a jog around the block, a swim in the local pool or by hitting the gym. Depending on your destination, some or all of these amenities might not be as readily available. I was on a massive jogging kick when I travelled to India, but I wasn’t exactly going to run around the block in Delhi for my travel workout. Yet, this does not mean that you should give up on vacation workouts completely!
Instead, you just need to get a little proactive and find some local replacements to create your own travel gym.
Then why not simply turn your hotel room into makeshift workout space. The idea that you need fancy equipment to stay in shape is a fallacy. All you need is your own body weight and a little imagination. If you can find enough room to do a plank then you can do a holiday workout! Hop on YouTube and you’ll easily be able to find an around the world workout for every day of your trip!
Well then make like a fish and don’t stay a while on your sun lounger! Go swim in the sea and don’t forget to pack your water shoes if you’re scared of crabs like me (true fact) or find yourself a nice lake or river and go for a dip. I did this all the time on the Mongol Rally and these were the best free showers I’ve ever had. Mother nature rocks.
Well then why not burn off those calories by attending a class or signing up for an activity that requires you to get a little bit sweaty. If you’re in Thailand, then why not take yourself off to a muay thai class and learn self defense? You can get started with my free self defense course.
I have also joined forces with another traveller trying to lose weight right now and it’s working relatively well. It’s hard for me to control what I’m eating when I’m on press trips and I’m literally eating the food that is being given to me, but I am grateful for having a friend who keeps me in line. Accountability for the win!
Wherever you are on the planet, there will be some form of exercise you can get involved in. All you need to do is get a little bit creative and ensure to keep fitness on your to-do list!
Whilst a healthy diet and regular exercise might be well-known as the two pillars of good health, it’s often overlooked that quality sleep is the foundation on which they sit on. Without a good night’s rest, no amount of lettuce munching and star jumping are going to keep you in shape.
Simply knowing that you should get more sleep and actually achieving that are two very different kettles of fish. Bumpy overcrowded night buses and dorm rooms with all that snoring, grunting and body odour, are frankly not designed to lull us to sleep.
The onus is on you however to take measures to ensure you are getting sufficient sleep. Think like a boy scout and be prepared for all eventualities.
I never leave home without two humble accessories worth their weight in gold – an eye-mask and a pair of decent earplugs. Both are super light to pack and very budget friendly to buy. With these two little gizmos, I can retreat into my own private sensory deprivation chamber anytime I need, and catch some much-needed shuteye.
For my full backpacking packing list, click here.
Even if your new sleeping arrangements are nothing compared to your personalised sleep set up at home, you can still take proactive steps to prevent yourself from falling too far into sleep debt.
Now, I said at the start I wasn’t about to tell you to stop drinking beer…and because I stick to what I promise, I’m not.
That said, the amount of alcohol we all imbibe while out and about travelling definitely plays a huge role in our loss of fitness. Those sundown drinks overlooking the bay are just too damn irresistible. Right?!
What I’m going to suggest instead of abstinence though, is that you adopt a fitness system known as temptation bundling, which basically means you only allow yourself a reward (like that beer at sunset) if you’ve earned it through you actions during the day.
Say you completed your 30 minute workout in your makeshift hotel room gym or you went on a crazy kayak adventure, these activities earn you beer credits. If all you did today was lie on a sun lounger, then no beer for you. Simple!
Think of beer as the icing on the cake of an otherwise healthy and active day. OK?
I cannot stress how important it is to get travel insurance whilst travelling. If you get in trouble, you need to be assured that you’re covered.
There you have it travel fitness fans – three fit travel hacks right there for you on how to stay in shape, to keep your health in check when on the road. Nothing I’ve covered above should be too new to you but sometimes the things that are the simplest are the most effective at travelling fit as a fiddle!
Sleep more, make sure you’re working out while traveling, imbibe in correlation to your day’s activities and you should be able to maintain your fitness no matter your destination.
Have fun trying out your exercises to stay fit!