How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

By Aussie on the Road on  No Comment
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While most of us aren’t travelling at the moment, a lucky few have been able to jump on a plane and escape the confines of everyday life. 

Or maybe we still have to travel for work, meaning we spend more time in a hotel room than our own home. I’m not jealous, I swear. I hate you for entirely different reasons.

Heck, maybe you’re reading this from your 14-day hotel quarantine, you lucky duck!

If the above sounds like you, then you’ll probably understand how difficult it is to stay fit when you’re on the road. After all, when it comes to fitness the key to success is routine – and that pretty much goes out of the window when you’re travelling! If you want to prevent piling on the pounds for your next trip, here are my top tips for staying healthy on the road.

woman bench pressing with a personal trainer spotting for her
An online PT can’t spot for you, but they can nonetheless be a huge help in staying fit on the road.

Get an online personal trainer

It can be hell trying to maintain a fitness regime when you’re on the road. While it’s easy enough for a runner like me to pop on a pair of joggers and set off into the distance, I know that others can feel a little lost if they’re relying on classes at the gym or a personal trainer for their regular exercise routine.

If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that anything is possible over the internet. Richelle and I have done everything from playing D&D to yoga classes to Latin dance to boardgame nights to wine tastings over Zoom.

Naturally, it’s also possible to have your PT whip you into shape across the world wide web.

The popularity of online personal training has boomed thanks to lockdown, but it’s also a fantastic resource for travelers. It gives you the flexibility of having direct communication with your trainer from wherever you want, whenever you want. Not to mention that you’ve got someone to hold you accountable on the days when you’d rather smash beers rather than smash that morning workout!

Join local fitness classes

From boot camps in Bali to Pilates classes in Panama, local fitness classes are available pretty much anywhere in the world!

When we were living in Hoi An, Richelle regularly availed herself of the many yoga classes in the sleepy little town, while my time living in Nanjing introduced me to the world of hash runs.

Taking a local class can also be a great way to engage with the culture. Why not trade the spin class for muay thai lessons in Thailand or a cheeky spot of tai chi in China?

The best thing is it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the language – all you have to do is follow peoples’ body movements and you’re good to go!

a woman in a bikini does yoga on the beach
I mean, I don’t think I’d look quite as good doing this pose, but I’ve done my share of yoga on the road.

Stick to high-intensity, low duration workouts

One of the biggest hurdles to staying fit while travelling is finding the time to do it! The best way to do that is high-intensity, low duration workouts. They take half the time and burn double the amount of calories – what’s not to love?!

I’ve taken to doing a lot of these during lockdown, as I really struggle to carve out the time in my busy sleeping/binging Netflix/working schedule. By doing a brutal 15-30 minute workout, I’m able to get back to the important business of scrolling through TikTok while waiting for lockdown to end.

closeup of two men running on a rocky trail, the forest ahead of them
Jogging is a great way to stay in shape on the road.

Fast intermittently

We’ve all been told at some point or another that diet is more important than exercise, but when you’re on the road, with so many delicious local delicacies to choose from, it’s easy for your carefully curated diet plan to be forgotten.

Food is such a huge part of the travelling experience for so many people, and you shouldn’t sacrifice enjoying everything that a new country has to offer.

One way of being able to eat whatever you want and stay healthy is through intermittent fasting. If you stick to eating three times a day and spend some days fasting, then you can eat whatever you like and feel completely guilt free! If you’re a serial snacker, then try switching out snacks for bigger meals and plenty of water!

Richelle did a good bit of intermittent fasting ahead of our wedding last year, and I know my brother and his partner do it whenever they’re on a fitness kick.

Walk… everywhere!

If you do nothing else to keep fit while you’re traveling, simply trading the Uber for your own two feet can be a game-changer.

Not only are you constantly burning calories, you’re also seeing the world at a less rushed pace. While the convenience of public transport or a taxi can allow you to pack more into your day, you’re missing out on so much by seeing the world at high speed from behind a layer of glass.

Richelle and I have found so many fantastic places on our walks between the cool stuff, and some of my best memories are of walking all over San Francisco, London, Beijing, or walking through an entire province in Japan.

And there we have it, five tried and tested tips proven to help you feel your best while travelling. While your travels may be a welcome break from a routine, don’t let that be an excuse to fall off the fitness wagon. Use it as an opportunity to try something new, whether it’s a local gym class, a new diet or an online personal trainer. You never know what the outcome will be!

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