Even the most ardent fitness enthusiast has to take a break sometimes and head off to a favorite or exotic location to get some respite from the daily grind. Even if you are on vacation, it is important to keep exercising to ensure that you don’t lose the gains you have made from exercising. Keeping up your fitness will ensure you can fit into that tiny swimsuit and have enough energy to visit and see all the sights on your itinerary.
While keeping fit can be challenging while you travel , there are a few strategies you can use to ensure stay healthy during your trip. These strategies will work regardless of whether you are staying in a top 5-star hotel or an eco-hut in the middle of nowhere. If you are one of the 1.4 billion tourists who will travel to a popular destinations this year, below are a few tried and tested tips you can use to exercise and stay fit during your trip, no matter the location.
Leverage body-weight workouts
Elite CrossFit athlete Rich Froning recommends using body-weight workouts on those days when you are traveling and have no access to a gym or are simply stuck indoors during bad weather. Froning, who is a four-time holder of ‘The Fittest Man on Earth’ – CrossFit Games title, has several body-weight exercises that he falls back on whenever he has to travel for his career or recreational purposes.
Body-weight exercises are simply those that employ a variety of moves that use your own body as resistance. There are hundreds of body-weight exercises each designed to help you build muscle and keep your body toned without the use of any equipment.
Body-weight exercises allow you to work out anywhere and do not require any equipment so you can exercise anywhere.
Some of the best body-weight exercises you can use to help you keep fit when you travel include:
- jumping jacks
- pushups, squats
- mountain climbers
- hip raises.
Focus on short workouts
Short workouts that range from ten to twenty minutes when traveling as they allow you to get much-needed exercise without wasting time. You can get your workouts done at the start of the day, or once you have finished sight-seeing, and will fit into your day easily.
Short workouts allow you to use the most effective exercises as well as those that will give you a total body workout. They are easily customizable and can be performed from the comfort of your hotel room. They are not just short, but also have to use either active rest, where you perform another exercise to recover from the first, or very short recoveries as part of interval training.
To make the exercises shorter you will typically do them faster, and with more intensity. This intensity will work your lungs harder, and your muscles do not get the opportunity to fully recover.
The next set of the exercise works starting with tired muscle and lung, and so work towards failure much quicker. Because your heart rate will not having not fully recovered, this pushes your cardiovascular workout hard as well. In this manner, you will also burn through more calories than you would with a standard workout, where you rest for a few minutes between repetitions.
Make YouTube Your Friend
YouTube has thousands of workouts that you can use to stay fit on the go and ensure you keep your weight down even as you enjoy the local cuisine. YouTube is a fantastic resource for workouts that you can follow, and can download before you travel to ensure that they are available if the internet is unavailable or poor in your travel location.
This article is intended to highlight to you what options are available when you travel. This article will not describe workouts in details and this is where YouTube is helpful. This is what I do, when I am not able to train at a gym – I take a look around the internet for some workouts.
YouTube workouts have many advantages to offer including the fact that there is something for everyone including beginners, intermediate and advanced exercisers. Also, they offer great variety which means that you can choose a simple ten-minute workout, find an intermediate program or download hour-plus workouts that incorporate advanced moves.
Download a travel fitness app
Fitness apps are great tools for tracking your workout, helping you set and achieve goals, providing coaching and motivation and generally helping you keep fit wherever you are.
Fitness apps can assist you during your travels, and come with a variety of great features. These include:
- calorie tracking
- sample meal plans
- exercise routines
- personalized programs based on your goals
- comparisons to previous workouts
- personal records
These are very effective – I use these personally in my day to day workouts, so it makes absolute sense to adapt their use when away from home. It’s also nice to look back at some of the tracked activities and where they take place, to remind you of where you have traveled.
Some travel fitness apps also show you gyms, running and cycling trails, parks and other safe exercising areas in your travel destination. You can download musically charged workouts and receive voice guidance from personal trainers if you use certain apps. An application will allow you to follow coaching plans, track your progress, and receive motivation no matter where in the world you are.
Some of the most popular travel fitness apps on the market include; Strava, Freeletics, Pacer, MyFitnessPal, Endomundo and RunKeeper. Many of the tracking devices such as fitness watches automatically work with their own software and some can upload to these fitness applications.
I use a Garmin watch, and that automatically uploads to Strava for me.
I’m not suggesting you go and do parkour in the hotel or motel where you are staying, well not unless that’s something you already do. There are often parks in surrounding areas that maybe has exercise equipment, like pull up bars, dips bars and the like.
If there is no equipment available, take advantage of walls, fences or other equipment that you can safely use as part of your exercises.
There are often things like parkrun in various cities in many countries, which join in with. You would need to ensure that you are already registered and have a barcode. With your barcode, just turn up and run. You also get to meet a whole lot of locals, which would probably be a great experience. And you get a workout for free. How about that?!
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can join an event. There are many obstacle course races, and running events. It’s really great fun if you can work it in to your schedule.
Consider intermittent fasting
Traveling is a great way to enjoy some exotic cuisine as you take in the sights. However, overindulging eating, is one of the best ways to pile on hard-to-shift pounds.
While indulging in local delicacies is one of the joys of traveling, you should try to avoid overdoing it.
To prevent the effects of overeating while traveling, consider practicing intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting involves fasting for the greater part of your day and eating within a limited time window. You consume fewer calories, speed up your metabolism and enjoy numerous other health benefits.
I find intermittent fasting very easy to do. I do it all the time, not just when I’m away from home. It is good not to be very strict with fasting, particularly if you are on vacation. If there’s something that you want to eat – have it, otherwise fast instead. If there’s somewhere I want to eat, and the meal that looks nice is breakfast, then I will eat it.
Types of Fasting
I often fast from 8pm to 1pm the following day – this is normal intermittent fasting for me. I can get a lot done when I don’t have to find somewhere to:
- eat breakfast
- wait for the order
- ask for the check
- wait for the check
- pay the check
- then go sight-seeing
At first it is hard to ignore feeling hungry, but once you occupy your mind, you forget about eating.
Another way, which isn’t really intermittent fasting is, if the hotel or motel has an included breakfast. You can eat the breakfast, fill up early, get going, then skip lunch, and not eat again until dinner. You get the best of the facilities without needing to look around. If it is a serve yourself buffet, it’s relatively quick, and included in the cost. The only downside here is many of these buffers have unhealthy options, which you need to be aware of. I do this when the stay has an included breakfast, and usually take a black coffee to go.
With any intermittent fasting is it a good idea to make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s good to find a supermarket and buy a pack of bottled water. Then you can just take a few bottles and be on your way. I tend do leave a 24 pack of water in the back seat, particularly on a road trip. Dehydration is common after working out, especially if you’re pushing yourself really hard. Dehydration can also occur if you’re doing a lot of walking as part of your sight seeing.
Keeping fit while you travel can be challenging. With so many delicious foods to try and sights to see on your trip. By following a few simple tips you make make healthy choices, and keep yourself fit, and feeling great. On your return from your trip you will feel refreshed, and back on track.