10 Reasons to be in Good Shape before Traveling
Fresh on the heels of Tuesday’s post about my ongoing battle with body image, Pete from Fisique has reached out with a guest post about the benefits of getting fit before you travel.
While his suggestions were great, I’ve made some edits to better suit the kind of travelers I know, but the heart of his post is still very much in here.
#10 – Stairs
Pete: As if the bike riding and the walking weren’t enough, you have the stairs! Stairs in just about every major tourist attraction! The stairs pictured were nothing compared to the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe but my point is be ready for the stairs.
If you’re not, they might just bite you in the ass.
Chris: I hear that! I climbed St. Paul’s Cathedral last May and was totally unprepared for just how grueling a climb it can be if you’re out of shape. As if the ascent wasn’t tough enough, my legs barely functioned the next day – which made wandering the halls of the British Museum an exercise in self abuse.
#9 – Biking
Pete: Escaping the confines of a bus or a car is essential to really experience the culture of a destination. The quickest, cheapest and most gratifying way to see a city in my experience is the bike.
- Go at your own pace
- Stop where you like
- And, get to places the roads don’t take you.
Riding a bike might sound like a piece of cake however riding a bike for 8-10 hours and expecting to be ready to go again the next day might be a challenge if you’re not in shape.
Chris: I’ve made use of bikes as a way to get around while traveling a bunch of times: the Everglades, the Route of the Hiawatha, and Hangzhou were all made possible by getting on a bike.
Riding around Hangzhou’s stunning West lake in 40C summer heat was a great workout, but I was so glad I was fit enough to do it. It allowed us to see a large area in a much smaller chunk of our day, which meant we had time to shower before hitting the bars and jazz clubs.
#8 – Party Tricks!
I don’t know about you, but learning to do a standing flip or a kip-up is on my bucket list for exactly this reason.
I need a party trick that doesn’t involve me shotgunning beers at a rate of knots.
#7 – Confidence
Chris: One of the biggest casualties when you aren’t in your best shape is that your confidence inevitably takes a bit of a dip.
Conversely, when you’re looking and feeling good, your confidence responds accordingly.
Looking and feeling confident on the road not only means you’ll feel more up for unusual experiences, but should also mean you’re more outgoing and social. Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends. you can never have too many friends.
#6 – Traveling can be hard
Chris: When I asked my readers why they liked to be fit before they hit the road, one of them had this to say:
She’s damn right! Lugging a huge pack around can be tiring, and that’s without factoring in all of the stairs you’ll climb, jungle trails you’ll hike, streets you’ll explore, and beaches you’ll swim at!
Being in better shape means you’ll be less of a sweaty, exhausted mess when you collapse into your bed at night’s end, but it also means you’ll have the energy needed to handle the rigours of being on the road.
#5 – “Score some ass”
Chris: Another reader suggestion, but one that’s very near and dear to my heart.
Like it or not, we live in a society where looks matter. Couple this with the confidence issue I mentioned in point #7, and you can see how looking and feeling your best could be of great help for those looking to make use of the top sheet in their hostel or check of one of their raunchier bucket list items.
I mean, honestly, do you think I’m going to be able to land twins for bucket list item ##181 with witty anecdotes alone?
#4 – Look better on the beach
Chris: It’s another shallow one, but I know for a fact I’m not alone in this being a major motivator when it comes to pre-trip exercising and dieting.
Nobody wants to feel like a beached manatee when they’re catching some rays on the beach, and shedding a couple of extra kilograms or toning what you’ve already got is a great way to feel a little bit better about going shirtless or rocking a bikini.
It’s either that, or drinking enough cocktails that it doesn’t feel so important anymore. We’re all sexy with a few mojitos under the belt.
#3 – The easiest way to get around and see everything too
Pete: I’ve done Paris twice now, once on Contiki in two days and the second time self-guided over five days.
You don’t have to be a genius to know which trip was more enjoyable, however on the self-guided trip there was a tonne more walking. We walked everywhere, and when we weren’t walking around sight-seeing we were walking around shopping. (heads up guys)
There are just some places you go and have to slow things right down, for me I couldn’t imagine doing Paris on a bike.
Just as I mentioned above with the bike, walking around day after day tends to catch up with you if you aren’t prepared.
Chris: I’ve actually written about why walking is both a brilliant budgetary measure and a perfect way to see a place in the past in Save Money, Walk! While I’m guilty of occasionally catching a sightseeing bus or flagging a cab, some of my favourite travel detours have been found while ambling about on foot.
#2 – Have your cake (or beer) and eat (or drink) it
Pete: As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. I say when in Paris do as the Parisians do!
It’s not all walking, riding and climbing.
There are the endless delightful culinary advantages that come with traveling, for Aussies and I would imagine many other people across the world travelling is about having a good time and what comes with good time is loads of eating and drinking.
Gaining 5 or 10+ kilos (10-20 pounds) is a generally accepted side effect of any trip longer than a month, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way.
The better shape you are in before you leave, the better your body will be able to handle the traveling lifestyle – food and all.
Chris: And he’s not even mentioning the all-important beer! You’d best believe I’ll be consuming plenty of that while in China. I’ve got to make up for a largely sober August through May!
#1 – Do More. See More.
Chris: This one seems particularly relevant to me as I spend my days editing and rewriting Shadows of Africa’s Kilimanjaro pages. In the process of researching and ‘selling’ the climbing experience, it’s risen greatly on my bucket list.
I’d love to be fit enough to someday tackle Mount Kilimanjaro.
Pete: Getting into shape doesn’t necessarily mean rocking out a bikini body or a set of abs, getting in shape is relative to you.
No matter your body shape right now or the amount of time you have before you leave making a couple of small changes can be hugely rewarding.
In my next article I will talk more about “How to Get into Shape before Traveling” without sacrificing and restricting your life.
Before then why not sign up to my Free Fat Loss eCourse, full of realistic and practical tips to start improving your energy, health and body shape now. To learn more about this eCourse click here.
About the Guest Poster
Peter loves to travel, loves to eat and just like most people leads a busy life running his own business and taking care of his young family. Using his knowledge he keeps himself in shape using a small handful of hours a week for exercise whilst eating loads of healthy delicious food. He also teaches his clients the knowledge and strategies he uses so they can achieve their results. He is passionate about teaching people there is a middle ground where you can enjoy the pleasures of life and still keep in shape
You can like his Facebook Page for updates and tips here.
Why do you think it’s important to get into shape before hitting the road?