Staying fit and healthy whilst travelling is really difficult. It’s the only thing about backpacking that I get stressed about; I get really tense if I don’t workout every day and I’m practically inconsolable if I can’t find healthy food to eat (not being dramatic this time). I may go slightly overboard sometimes, but it helps my stomach condition- working out and eating healthy isn’t so much a choice but a compulsory lifestyle for me (however much I wish this wasn’t the case).
It can be hard to stay in your home routine whilst moving about every few days and after staying in a backpackers hostel with little space, living on a tight budget, drinking too often and not finding the time, you soon realise all of the hard work you put in before your trip has unravelled. Here are some of my top tips to keep in shape whilst travelling;
Make it a priority
If you want to stay fit on the road, you’re going to have to work at it. Working out simply isn’t second nature whilst backpacking and you have to consciously think about your choices. If you don’t really want to maintain your fitness levels then you won’t, simple as that. Make exercising and eating healthy a priority, make sure you find the time to fit them into your day; once you’re back into a routine it will be a lot easier.
I do; 4 resistance workouts, 1 yoga workout, 4 LISS cardio and 2 cardio workouts a week. I’ve backpacked around SE Asia for 4 months and have lived in Thailand for 4 months too; the only time I missed a single workout was when I had food poisoning. The key is to stay organised, I know the days when I’ll be travelling or having a late night so will fit my workouts around what I’m doing. Early mornings or late nights are the best times to workout, nobody is around to distract you and the temperature is cool compared to midday. Wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later to ensure you fit it in.
Pack snacks or get a takeaway lunch if you know you’re going to be somewhere with limited options. Airports, bus or train rides especially can be tough places to get healthy food-especially if you’re a vegan. Come prepared so you don’t have to stuff your face with Oreo’s and crisps.
Don’t give yourself an option
As soon as you stop seeing being healthy as an option you will find it 10 times easier. Think of working out as something you have to do and don’t give yourself the choice, don’t think ‘Should I work out today?’, think ‘I have to workout today’. After a while it will become automatic and you won’t even need to think about it anymore.
Utilise what you have
Use whatever space you have, if your hostel has any sort of outside space- great make it your gym. Use local parks, some of which have equipment you can use, floor space in your dorm room when everyone has gone out for the day. You can quite easily do an ab workout whilst lying on your bed. If you don’t have any equipment, research into resistance exercises that use your own body weight; things like push ups, crunches, mountain climbers, jumps, lunges and squats are a great place to start.
Bring equipment with you
Joe and I packed resistance bands into our packs and they have been an absolute lifesaver whilst travelling. Resistance bands can be used in any workout and can replace the use of dumbbells, barbells or TRX. They’re light and easy to carry around, I would definitely recommend you look into bringing something similar on your trip. Alternatively packing something like a football, yoga mat or skipping rope can do the trick.
Use the 2 rule
It’s very easy to get carried away whilst backpacking and have a day off. You want to try the fried local delicacy or sometimes you really don’t have time to workout. Remember to use the 2 rule- don’t have 2 days off working out in a row, if you eat an unhealthy meal then make sure the next one is a healthy choice. Life is all about balance, just make sure you don’t go overboard.
Go easy on yourself
Staying fit whilst travelling is hard, you need to realise that you’re doing the best you can. We all slip up occasionally and that’s okay, sometime we don’t feel like working out and that’s okay too. You didn’t come travelling to work out, you came to sightsee, soak up local culture, experience things you’d never dream of and make amazing memories. Staying fit isn’t the be all and end all, so don’t feel guilty for eating pizza, drinking lots of beer or skipping a few workouts-you’re doing the best you can.
Do you have any tips on working out and staying fit and healthy? Let me know in the comments.
Much love from wherever I am,