When it comes to exercising whilst travelling, most people fall into one of three camps.
Camp Number 1:
I never did any exercise anyway, so why bother starting now? Leaving behind the constraints of a 9-5 and setting off to travel around the world is the best opportunity to start exercising that you will ever have. Sure, there’s loads you want to see and do, but you have the huge advantage of a flexible schedule. All it takes is three quick sessions a week to build a great physique and maintain/improve your health. Who doesn’t have time for that?
Camp Number 2:
Screw it! I’m on holiday! This usually involves eating lots of fast food, drinking lots of alcohol, and beating the thought of exercising to death with an imaginary stick. On a short trip, this attitude isn’t the worst thing in the world, but taking this attitude towards prolonged travel can be disastrous. This philosophy often leads to weight gain, reduced energy, and generally leaves you feeling pretty unhappy with yourself.
Camp Number 3:
It’s no big deal. I’ll just follow my usual routine and diet. Many people, myself included, have set off and tried to follow the exact same exercise routine and diet that they have at home. Often, this means skipping great culinary experiences, spending too much time looking for a gym, and generally driving everyone around them up the wall. Don’t ruin your trip with the stress of trying to stick to a routine.
It Does Not Need To Be That Difficult
At some point or another, I’ve fallen into all three of those camps. However, I can tell you from experience that there’s a better way to travel, get a great physique, and avoid feeling guilty about the occasional indulgences. When you’re moving around you probably won’t be able to find a gym with specific pieces of equipment that you read about in some magazine, you won’t be able to have a protein shake after your workout, and you’ll almost definitely be getting less than an ideal amount of rest. But that’s all OK. All you need is a plan with some flexible guidelines that you can use to fit in with your schedule.
Before You Leave
It all starts with having the right gear, but your space is limited. Here’s all you really need:
- A couple of pairs of shorts
- Some moisture wicking t-shirts
- A pair of running shoes
Walking alone can go a long way to getting you in good shape. It’s easy, anybody can do it, and you’ll be burning calories without even thinking about it. When people come back from a trip in good shape it can often be put down to doing a lot of walking. To take things up a notch, go running. Running is something anyone can do, and it can be done almost anywhere (as long as you know where you are going). Start out slow, and gradually increase the distance as you get fitter and get to know the area a bit better. You don’t want to get lost, after all.
Drink Lots of Water
Dehydration is a major cause of what most people assume is jet lag. This horrible feeling can easily be avoided by aiming to drink half your bodyweight (in lbs) in fluid ounces of water each day.
Time It Right
The best time to exercise is whenever you can fit it in. That said, I’ve always found the best time to exercise is in the morning. Wake up early if you have to, and you’ll be getting your day off to a great start. Exercising on an empty stomach is an awesome way to burn fat, but make sure you have a good breakfast afterwards containing a balance of protein, healthy fats (eggs, avocados, nuts) and carbs. Tip: If you’re going out for dinner and know you’ll be eating/drinking a lot, exercise just before you head out. Doing this puts your body in a much better position to deal with the excess calories you might be throwing at it.
Have A Go-To Workout Routine
There’s plenty of exercise routines out there, and a quick search on Google will give you tonnes of results, but this is my favourite. It should take around 20 minutes. Perform the following exercises one after another with no rest in between. Air Squat – 10 reps Push-Up – 10 reps Reverse Lunge – 10 reps each side Bench Dip – 10 reps Single Legged-Deadlift – 10 reps each side Plank – Hold for 30 Seconds After the last exercise, rest for 1 minute and then repeat the entire circuit 3 more times. If this is too difficult, don’t force yourself to complete the entire workout. Just do what you can manage and work your way up to it.
Look and Feel Amazing Whilst Enjoying Your Trip
Deciding to exercise whilst travelling is the biggest step you can take towards improving your health and fitness, but it’s important to accept that you won’t be able to follow the same routine you would at home. Travelling is about having incredible experiences, learning about local cultures, tasting amazing food, and meeting new people. Exercise should be used as a tool to allow you to keep having these amazing experiences in good health, but by no means should it take over your trip. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got something interesting, unusual or just plain clever that you do to stay in shape whilst travelling, so let me know in the comments.
About the author: After receiving his Law degree and becoming a box shuffler for a local legal practice, Will came to realise that other than writing about himself in third person, his true passions were travel, fitness, and nutrition. Combining these passions led to the creation of Travel Strong. Travel Strong is about travelling like a boss, eating like a king and training like a warrior wherever you are in the world.