How to Stay Fit While Travelling
Planning a trip? Great. Travel is healthy for the mind and the soul.
And it can also be healthy for the body. Taking a break from work does not mean that you have to take a break from your fitness. You can still be healthy, make good choices, and come back to “real life” after your trip just as fit as when you left.
This article will dispel the myth that travelling is an excuse to let it all hang out and forget your fitness. You don’t have to resign yourself to gaining a few extra kilos that you’ll have to work off when you return. You can stay fit while travelling and still have a great time away.
Eliminate the Excuses
For the most part, when people travel, they lose their minds. They take a break from everything and throw away all the common sense they use at home.
If you’re constantly in the gym, blending up smoothies at home, and meticulously planning your meals to match your fitness goals, all that goes out the window on a trip. Studies show that people tend to gain weight over holidays and continue to gain weight up to 6 weeks afterwards.
Plan to Be Good
As you’ll soon see, there’s no real excuse that you can hold up. Instead, you should make every excuse to be fit-conscious. When you start out with the mindset that you will be smart about your fitness, that makes all the difference.
Start off with a budget. Eating well requires money. You might have all the equipment at home to whip up a protein-rich, healthy meal. But doing so while overseas will require you to plan for it. If you’ve budgeted the money to eat right, you’ll be more likely to actually make good choices while on your journey.
Make the time
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Whoever said that must know all about staying fit while travelling. It must be a part of your plan to workout and eat well. You spend all your time planning excursions, seeing sights, and doing adventurous things. Why not also include some workout times in your holiday planning? Make it a constant of everyday. Even on travel days. Take laps around the airport if you must, but plan active moments throughout your day.
Also, it’s tempting to just make last-minute plans to hit up some fast-food places. They’re cheap and easy to find. But plan to make the time to eat well. If you’re staying in a hotel, you can put pre-purchased snacks and breakfast in the mini-fridge. Staying in an Airbnb gives you very own kitchen for simple meals. You have to allow for the time to prepare good food choices along the way.
Staying healthy and fit while travelling doesn’t mean that you have to give up on fun. You can still go out partying, have a great time at night, have a few drinks by the pool, but in moderation. You don’t have to be 100% committed to fitness on your holiday, but you can certainly enjoy your trip with some moderation.
Eating Smarter While You Travel
Your diet is going to be about 85% of the battle to helping you stay fit while travelling. It’s going to help you look good and feel good.
Yes, feeling good is important too. When you eat well, you’ll feel better about yourself, happier about your decision to make healthy choices, and be prompted to make another healthy choice at the next meal.
Eating well while away can be easy. You just to prepare for it. Start by looking for natural, fresh foods. If you’re travelling through western countries, you’ll find this actually pretty easy. You can get great selections at the local markets and supermarkets. It’s often cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods or meals.
Eat plenty of protein like nuts and seeds, fish, chicken and lean red meats. If you’re trying to travel cheaply, you can still enjoy rice, beans and cheap pastas. Just plan to have meals like that around your workouts to maximise your carb consumption.
The best preparation you can make is to always have your water bottle. Staying hydrated goes a long way to keeping your body healthy, especially during those hot days at the beach.
Let’s talk eating out. Eating at restaurants, especially while on holiday, can be daunting. You don’t have the familiar choices you know, and everything is new, foreign, and possibly in a different language.
Start by looking for restaurants that use words like gluten-free, farm fresh, and farm-to-table for healthy options on the menu. You can use a site like Yelp to help refine your search.
Make practical choices like asking for your burger in a “lettuce bun”, getting dressings on the side, and asking to double the veggies of a normal entree plate.
Try eating healthy cuisines like Indian, which cater to a vegetarian and fresh food diet. Chinese food should be avoided as it’s often fried food, loaded with simple carbs that weigh you down.
The biggest tip of this article coming up:
Bring your own snacks. The next time you walk through an airport and are confronted by all the convenient, unhealthy choices, you can choose a bag of almonds, some fresh fruit, or some healthy Paleo bars that provide excellent nutrition while on the go.
Snacking on your travel days is much easier when you’ve brought foods along for the journey, making the decision easier for yourself when that snack cart comes down the aisle. It’s all about making smarter decisions earlier rather than get tempted while your stomach is rumbling.
Training while Travelling
The big question is always, “How will I train while I travel?”
If you’ve always worked out in gyms and fitness centres, this might be a little different. You can certainly maintain your fitness levels so that by the time you get back, you haven’t lost any ground at all in your training regime.
Pack your gear. If you have to make room in your suitcase for your workout clothes, you’ll be more incentivised to use them while you’re away.
Making Active Choices
Make choices throughout your holiday that keep you active and moving. They don’t have to be hard, but they do have to constant throughout your trip.
Choose to take walking tours rather than pay for trips around the city. You’ll actually see so much more than you could from a car or bus while putting in 10-20,000 steps just seeing the sights. Better yet, do a morning run through the neighbourhood. It’s like a walking tour and an exercise session packaged into one. Win-win.
Pick activities that don’t feel like fitness training. Go dancing, take boxing lessons, run along the beach, do more hikes, try climbing or swimming in the ocean. They feel like fun holiday activities while still giving your body that workout it needs.
Finding a Gym
If you’re staying at a hotel, you’ll usually have a good fitness centre or gym that you can sue. You might not have the same equipment at home, but you can still get a full body workout that involves some form of pushing (push-ups, bench presses), pulling (deadlifts, pull-ups), legs (squats, lunges), abs (crunches, planks), and cardio.
But if you aren’t staying a hotel or have access to a fitness centre, look for a local gym. Most gyms offer day sessions for a reduced price. Some even have a 3-day pass that you can use as if you’re willing to sit through their sales pitch for joining their gym. This could be worthwhile if you’re staying in a location more than a week.
Gyms are not the be-all and end-all. You can get great results from wherever you are with simple, bodyweight movements and exercises. Do it in your room or at the local park. It’s simple enough that you can get a good full-body workout 3 times a week, maintaining your fitness levels until you get home.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
Teddy Roosevelt said this, and it applies perfectly to home workouts while travelling. He must have been pretty buff.
Training while away means modifying your original routine. You don’t have access to the same rigid schedule you do at home, so try to get every body part covered in your workout. You can still miss a day if you’re on the plane or a train without missing out on the results. A full body workout should look like this:
Pushing movements - Do push-ups, or triceps dips. You just need a park bench to do these just about anywhere
Pulling movements - If you can find a sturdy bar at a playground or even a tree branch, do some pull-ups. Do some one-armed dumbbell rows using your carry-on luggage. Do some bodyweight rows using a table or a desk in your room.
Leg Exercises - Do a set of lunges for each leg. Do full squats, pistol squats, wall sits, and calf raises using whatever you can find around you.
Core Exercises - Work your core with planks, crunches, and hanging leg raises.
- Cardio - Get in a quick workout using High Intensity Interval Training. Do 7 x 30 seconds of maximum intensity sprints, hill sprints, or jump rope, followed by a minute of rest. You can even set a challenge that you have to do a set for every drink you had the night before. Your friends will certainly help you keep track for this one.
Travel Fitness Takeaways
As long as you’ve you got your mind ready for the trip, you’ll be fine. It takes a little bit of planning, and the willpower to get moving every day and eat well.
Even with simple rules like “No bad meals twice in a row” and “Do 10 active minutes every day”, you can maintain a healthy balance to keep you on par with your goals while you’re away.
Bring back memories, photographs, and plenty of souvenirs from your travels. Just don’t bring back a few extra kilos.