Your Guide to Staying Fit While Traveling
Traveling for leisure or for business can take a toll on your life rhythms. Unless you are a nomad is travels because it is in your blood, you might find yourself swept up into a whirlwind of travel activities that draw you away from “healthy” or “fit” options.
For many, returning home to only find they have gained a few pounds or loss muscle mass is a harsh reality. As a professional dancer and personal fitness trainer, here are my tips for how to stay fit while traveling.
1. You do not need a gym
Even if a hotel has a gym, you do not need it. Fitness is more than mechanically pumping out some reps on the leg press machine or walking half an hour on the treadmill while watching soap opera. Fitness needs to be mentally stimulating too. Get creative. Use the hotel mattress for deadlifts and decline push-ups. Do wall-sits. The hallway from the entrance to the bed is usually long enough for at least 5 walking lunges.
Better yet, get outside. Do some yoga on the beach or parkour in the park. Go surfing, mountain climbing, kayaking, temple-hopping, or climb the stairs in the department store while shopping. The world is your gym. Here is a quick example of a callisthenic workout that can be adapted to your location:
- 3-4 sets of 12-15 bodyweight squats;
- 3-4 sets of 10-15 bodyweight push-ups (you can use a chair or park bench for an incline, or do them on steps for the uneven variation);
- 3 sets of 12 forward lunges (if you got space, take a walk. If you want to test your balance and get your heart rate up faster, add your arms);
- 3 sets of 12-15 crunches, whichever works best for you (reverse crunches are great for the hotel, and assisted or suspended sit-ups can be done on a jungle gym);
- 3-4 sets of 15 deadlifts using the mattress, your suitcase (with extra stuff crammed inside for weight), or doing the one-legged balance variation.
Another thing you can do is invest in some resistance bands. These stretchable ribbons can be wrapped, knotted, shortened, and pretty much adapted to whatever you need to do without taking up space in your luggage. Plus, they weigh next to nothing, regardless of their resistance level.
2. Pack a water bottle and healthy snacks
When I travel, I make sure to have two things with me – a water bottle and a pre-packed lunchbox. Invest in a foldable lunch bag or stackable bento box. Get an insulated water bottle that you can fill up at the airport prior to boarding the plane.
Depending on the duration of my trip, I might pack enough to hold me over for at least 3 meals or more. Homemade granola bars, nut butters, sprouted grain bread, and fresh fruit are always in my luggage or carry-on.
And do not just forget that you have these things with you upon arrival to your destination. Having a water bottle and healthy snacks with you at all times reduces the temptation to buy overpriced, sugar-laden goods from convenience stores or vending machines.
Read also – 8 Excellent Sources of Protein for Weight Loss
3. Prioritize active excursions
I can’t really use myself as an example here because almost 99% of my travel activities are based on movement workshops, dancing, and martial arts. But here is the advice I give to family, friends, and clients.
As tempting as it is, you can’t loaf around beside the pool all day, sipping margaritas. There is so much to see and do, so get curious. Walk around the shopping centers, along the beach, wander the roads around the hotel – whatever it takes. Just move.
If you have an exercise class that you love and know is global, like Zumba or yoga, then find a class within a reasonable distance from your accommodations. Think of it as cultural immersion in a setting that you are already comfortable with.
4. Plan your meals
Sometimes we are lucky enough to get accommodations with a mini-fridge and kitchenette. Take advantage. Buy some local groceries and cook up some meals to pack for your outdoor excursions. Stuff that refrigerator with fresh veggies and fruit.
While you might be thinking that it is a vacation and you should not have to cook, you will actually save money and time. Wouldn’t you rather have more cash on hand to do enriching things like walking tours, wilderness excursions, and souvenir shopping?
You may also have to do this if you have dietary restrictions. As a vegetarian, a lot of places don’t have specific menu items that I can enjoy. So I often find myself at the grocery store, buying lettuce heads and other produce to whip up gigantic salads that last me for days. But if you must go out to dinner figure out which restaurants and bars offer healthy options beforehand.
5. Party purposefully
Once you have done your homework and planned some of your meals out, remember that everything should be done in moderation. When going to a bar or festival like Oktoberfest, keep in mind that wine and clear alcohols are your safest bet when minding calories.
Drink slowly, savor the flavor and the memories you are making. When I say “purpose,” I mean that you are there for more than the alcohol. Think of it as an accessory, not a necessity. Be mindful of sugary cocktails or energy drink combos, which are high in calories and can cause debilitating hangovers (which might result in more bad food choices).
Read also – 8 Easy Ways to Stay in Shape This Fall Season
In short, staying fit while traveling is much like staying fit for life. Maintain your active lifestyle. Continue making smart decisions. Just because you are on vacation or having the time of your life does not mean that caution should be thrown to the wind. Eat real food with the locals. Party mindfully. And remember, enjoy every facet of your destination, not just the poolside.