How to stay fit while traveling
1. Get sweaty with others
Get involved in local fitness classes.
Kim and I love to find local gyms to join, from boot camps in Nairobi to CrossFit clubs in Mexico to jiu-jitsu classes in Panama City. It’s not only a great way to stay fit while on the road but also a fun and exciting way to travel.
We often meet locals, learn new ways to exercise, and visit places tourists do not see.
It’s also free often! Many of these classes or gyms allow you to do your first session for free.
2. Try Unique Terrain-ing
Enjoy Unique Environments
Don’t go to a gym that isn’t as good as your home. Get outside and take advantage of the unique terrain in your area to create an unforgettable workout.
These are some examples from our travels.
- We converted our hammock to a workout tool on the Colombian Pacific Coast.
- We sprinted up and downstream in Lamu and Kenya and joined our new friends Awham & Captain Jawad to swim to Manda Island.
- We ran, threw rocks, and rolled logs on the huge tidal flats at Savary Island in BC.
- We walked in Northern Quebec along the bottom of a lake with stones.
- We created it while staying in a luxury villa in Phuket, Thailand.
3. Both hard and fast rules
Do high-intensity, low-duration workouts
More is not better to stay and get fit. It is easier to work harder and faster than you think.
In a 12-week study by Dr. Martin Gibala, a world-renowned exercise physiologist, Dr. Martin Gibala discovered that subjects who engaged in three 20-second intervals of high-intensity training had the same health benefits as those who exercised continuously for 45 minutes.
Example of a 20-Minute Workout
- Warm up with 3-5 minutes of moderate exercises, such as skipping, bear crawls, or jogging.
- Do high-intensity exercise for 1 minute. Burpees, mountain climbers, stair runners, spinning. Anything. You can do it as hard as possible and as fast as you want.
- For 1 minute, take a break.
- This cycle can be repeated nine times more.
- Do some cool-down stretches.
- Recommendations: Go back to travel.
4. There are no weight restrictions. No worries
Strengthen your body weight, and maybe your buddy’s, by strength training.
You can add strength training to your interval workouts to stay strong and fit while on the road.
Strong, lean muscles not only look great but also help you to burn calories and prevent injury. How do you find enough weight when you are on a remote beach?
I don’t care how strong you might be, and there is a bodyweight exercise that will make you grouchy for days.
Are You Not Too Heavy?
Here are some tips if you don’t believe you’re strong enough to train with body weight.
- One leg at a time. If you don’t think one-arm pull-ups or elevated shrimp squats are too difficult, join the circus.
- You can use momentum to make it harder by performing explosive exercises such as jumping or sprinting.
- Your travel companion can be used as an extra weight. You can make piggyback sprints with your travel companion, have them hold you while you do pushups, or you can try these other partner exercises.
5.No Limits on How Much You Can Eat, Just When You Want
We have all heard it a million times: Diet is more important than exercise.
This is a huge problem for anyone who wants to keep fit while on the road.
The best thing about traveling is eating. We would be remiss if we didn’t indulge in the delicious local cuisines. It is possible to travel in virtual reality without it.
We don’t have to compromise on what we eat to travel safely.
We can keep fit if we limit our consumption to two times daily and eat only once daily.
Why Eating Less Frequently Works
In his book, The Complete Guide To Fasting, Dr. Jason Fung explains how amazing things can happen to your body when you limit your food frequency.
- The metabolism accelerates (i.e., We feel more energetic and can burn more calories.
- Our hunger hormones die down, so our urges to snack dissipate.
- We consume fewer calories overall.
- Our alertness is at its peak.
- Our bodies get used to using fat as fuel.
- We get sexy.
How to Stop Your Addiction to Snacks
I used to believe it was impossible to eat only two meals per day and would die if I didn’t eat for a full day. After learning hard water fasting tips, I can fast for five days without any problems.
It was important to start small and reward myself for eating smaller meals. It was easy in no time. I didn’t feel hungry and saw the results.
6. Lace ‘Them up
Explore More with Running and Hiking
Kim and I don’t often hike at home and avoid running.
We transform on the road.
We are always looking for trails nearby, especially those with waterfalls and views, and we often run aimlessly around cities.
This is often how we find our most memorable discoveries. We stumble upon scenes we would never have found otherwise.
It also makes you hungry and encourages you to eat more.
- As I mentioned in my 55-Item Fine-Tuned Packaging List, you can save money by buying black runners.
- You can bring your runners or a set of sports clothes in your carry-on or take them with you onboard.
- Get Maps. Me for offline trail maps around the globe. It’s free.
- Download Google Maps for offline use.
7. Don’t Break Your Budget if You Break Yourself
Make sure you are insured.
You can reduce your chances of getting injured or sick by staying active. But you are not invincible. Get global medical and travel insurance.
Although it can be boring and seem like a waste, an accident should not cause more damage to your finances than it does to your body.
Your credit card might cover you for as long as a month. Make sure you read the policy. If you are Canadian, we recommend our research on the Best International Credit Cards.
How to find the best plan at the lowest price
You can save hundreds of dollars by not leaving the house. Read our 8 Steps to Find the Best Travel Insurance.
If you have already traveled, see How To Find the Best Travel Insurance While You Are Already Traveling.
8. Keep Fit while Travelling
Incorporate fitness into your planning.
You won’t stay fit if you don’t plan to travel.
Although it may seem obvious, most people don’t do this. While we research restaurants and activities in advance, our future selves will take care of exercise once we arrive.
Then, when it comes time to work out, surprise, our future selves decide that they are too busy or tired.
Do your future self a favor. Include exercise in your travel planning.
You can find outdoor boot camps, workouts, and classes you can join. If none are available, search for parks and soccer fields that offer sprints or intervals and stairwells for jumping up and down.
Look for accommodation close to these areas, and inquire if they have cooking or blender facilities. This will allow you to make delicious local meals.
- Foam Roller. When we travel carry-on, this is not always possible to pack. This is an essential item for anyone who travels for longer than a few weeks. It helps to rest our muscles and allows us to recover quickly.
- Lacrosse ball. It’s great for massaging sore muscles.
- Elastic resistance band. Always keep a few of these. They can be used to make any exercise more difficult or easier. We also use them to keep each other from falling when we sprint.
- Phone Pouch. Keeps my phone close to my stomach or the small of my back while I’m running with it.
- Wireless Headphones. Kim and I have Plantronics backbeat fit wireless headphones. After three years of heavy usage, my pair died. I have already ordered new headphones.
Do not Stress about Staying Fit While Traveling.
Exercise should reduce stress and not increase it.
If you feel stressed or not in the mood to exercise, then relax. You can get a good night’s rest and do some yoga or stretching, but don’t sweat it until the next day.
Traveling can be stressful enough without long-haul flights, endless bus rides, line-ups, and cultural obstacles.
Give yourself credit for all the walking that you do. Although walking on its own won’t get you as fit as Brad Pitt in Fight Club, it is better than sitting for hours at a time back home.
- Avoid long trips that involve changing hotels all day. We have found that it is more enjoyable to explore specific places than to try to see all.
- Do not sacrifice sleep. Although you might be able to sleep longer, your health and fitness will suffer. If you doubt my assertions, I recommend the book Why Do We Sleep. It convinced me that I would never give up on sleep.