Staying fit on the road
Staying fit while travelling can seem like a daunting task, particularly so when you consider all the temptations and distractions that await you. Delicious cuisines, cheap drinks (if that's your thing), plenty of socialising with new friends, a busy schedule jam packed with adventures.... It almost sounds like it will be impossible to get anything fitness related done, especially without being Sgt Killjoy.. Right? May as well just forget about staying fit while travelling and deal with it when you get home...Right? Wrong!
Whether you are somebody who takes a more relaxed approach to fitness, or you are a meticulous gym-bro who is used to counting every calorie and moving heavy weight, there is something for you here, be it an exercise plan, diet advice or just some general on the road fitness tips.
Related article: The advanced travel work-out for full time gym-bros
Ask yourself what your goals are for the period you're going to be away, and how much effort you're willing to put in. This is important, as the best routine (and diet) is after all, the one that you're going to stick with. Are you just looking to implement some damage control on a boozy backpacker blowout? Are you looking to to maintain your current condition? Lose weight? Gain muscle? What is it you want to get done? Staying fit while travelling is easy, as long as you set yourself achievable goals.
During the last four-month trip, I was intent on finishing up in a similar or better condition than when I'd first started. Over the course of the trip I gained five lbs, mostly muscle, and I looked better than when I'd began. Mission accomplished! What's more I had plenty of gut-busting meals and lots of fun along the way.
Be inventive. Seriously, you've got to work with what you've got, and you've probably got a lot more to work with than you realise. Even if you haven't got any additional equipment with you (more on that later), the truth is that most people can get a pretty effective workout in with nothing but some ingenuity, your body, your hotel/ dorm room and that big heavy backpack you're lugging around.
Your environment dictates what exercises you can do to a certain extent, so when you walk into a new hotel/dorm room, take stock. If you're in a dorm with bunk-beds then sneaking in some pull-ups shouldn't be a problem. If you're in a private room with a non-bolted down bed, you can do "bed-lifts." Decent wall-space in your room? Get doing those handstand push-ups. More on specific exercises shortly but you get the idea.
Related article: Travel Diet and Nutrition
Be an opportunist. Chances are you're not always going to have a nice chunk of time to get a solid workout in. Especially if you're travelling with other people. That ten minutes you spent getting annoyed at how long your friends took to get ready would have been better spent smashing out a few proper sets of push-ups or squats.
Having said the above, try and make time. I often got up earlier, got ready quicker, spent a little less time lounging by pools or in cafes, and had no issue getting my workouts done.
Be intense when you workout. All I mean by this is if you want to make your travelling fitness goal happen, you need to workout properly. It's easy to let the (normally healthy) carefree, "it's all good bro" vibe of your trip spoil your workouts. Don't let that happen. Push yourself, bask in the the satisfaction that comes with doing something properly, and then get on with enjoying your trip.
Have fun. You can get your heart rate going in so many enjoyable ways when you're on the road. Chances are you're going to be visiting cool temples or famous buildings and you're going to be exploring some fantastic countryside. You will no doubt spend some time in pools or the ocean. Maybe you will be taking part in physical activities like climbing, scuba diving, hiking, bike riding etc. The point is general exercise is unquestionably more fun when travelling than being at home.
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