Keep fit around the world!
Leaving home to explore exciting new countries in parts of the world you’ve never been to before?
Fantastic! Wondering how you’ll maintain your fitness in unfamiliar surroundings, on a budget, with little time on your hands and more exciting things to do? Here are my top tips for staying focused so you can keep fit around the world.
1. Commit to it from day one
The first few days of your globetrotting adventure will set the tone for the rest of it. Get into the habit of making your training a priority from day one. Trying to do this later after you’ve got out of the habit, piled on the kilos and have lost fitness is going to be a whole lot harder. Not to mention losing that beach body you’d been working so hard on prior to leaving. Keep fit around the world from the outset.
By day one, I mean arrive at your destination, relax and explore until it’s time to sleep that night, paying particular attention to any nearby gyms, parks or other exercise venues as you do so. When you wake up the next day, that’s your first workout day. Make sure you know exactly what exercise you’re going to do and when and where you’re going to do it. Commitment from the beginning is singularly THE most important factor.
2. Timing is everything
If you’ve come from a cold climate and are lucky enough to be travelling around hot and sunny places, don’t plan an outdoor workout for late afternoon, when outdoor temperatures are still likely to be scorching.
Even if you’re planning to hit the gym at this time, bear in mind that many gyms around the world do not have aircon. Or if they do, it may not be as effective as you’re used to. Also, you might be used to going straight from the office to doing a late afternoon workout after sitting at a desk all day, but chances are if you’re travelling you probably won’t have been sitting around by the pool all day (at least not every day!). And if you’re tired from sightseeing and hot and bothered, the chances of you feeling like a workout at 5pm could be slim to none. Especially if you’re in the middle of activities with others who aren’t planning to work out themselves.
Waking up early and getting straight up and at it not only means the temperature is cooler, it also means that once you’ve finished, you’ll have your whole day free to do as you please, without having to worry about when you might feel like fitting that workout in. I’m a firm believer that spontaneity and going with the flow is key to enjoying your global adventure; get the workout worked out early and the day is yours!
3. Be adaptable
Realistically, your lifestyle is going to be changing unrecognisably from what you’re used to.
The hours you keep, the food (and times) you eat and what you’re doing will be changing radically from day to day. Routine probably (and hopefully!) won’t feature at all, and on the days you are lucky enough to find a gym, it may not match up to your one back home. Expect this and be prepared to change your workout accordingly and make the best of whatever facilities each gym has. If this means doing different exercises, then all the better. The challenge of the varying availability of gyms and equipment is actually helping you to venture out of your fitness comfort zone – keep fit around the world and possibly return fitter than when you left!
Variety not only keeps things interesting, but will also enable you to challenge your muscles with different exercises and in different ways – embrace it. And unless you’re only planning to travel around towns and cities, accept there’ll be times you won’t have access to gym equipment and weights. Brainstorm other forms of exercise you can do on these days in advance. Running? Bodyweight workouts? Hiking? Swimming?
Also consider travelling with lightweight gym toy or two so that you have plenty of options to help motivate you. Resistance bands are super lightweight, don’t take up much space in your suitcase and can be used anywhere for a great all over body workout. For even more versatility, consider investing in a TRX. Weighing in at a surprisingly light 449g, this could well be a suitcase essential if you’re off to the outback.
4. You are what you eat (and drink)
You’ve just landed in a new country and suddenly you’re faced with an overwhelming range of delicious dishes and you can’t wait to try the local cuisine. Well, go for it! That’s a huge part of what travelling is all about, right? Yes it totally is and I’m a huge foodie myself. Eating tasty local food can be a highlight of travelling and is usually cheaper than alternatives too. Even if you’ve tried touristy versions of the dish elsewhere, you can’t beat a good authentic dish made by the locals themselves.
What don’t you need? An ice-cream a day and the (probably expensive anyway) chocolate imports from home that are double the price of what you paid at home.
Try to eat a balanced diet and keep up your protein levels to complement your training and keep hunger pangs at bay, thus reducing the temptation to snack on junk food. Remember long-term travel is not so much a holiday, but a lifestyle change and choice. If you wouldn’t binge on junk food every day at home, there’s no reason to start now. Ditto for alcohol consumption.
Did you know you can easily cook eggs in the microwave? Healthy, inexpensive, quick to make and minimal washing up. See my feature Perfect Eggs in the Microwave! for more info.
Everything in Moderation…
As always, life comes down to priorities – what do you want more, your health and fitness and the related benefits of looking and feeling fit or an easy lifestyle? Remember all the things that the drove you to get fit and stay fit in the first place, have these reasons changed? No? Then being in another country doesn’t mean making your health any less of a priority either.
Even if you have limited cooking facilities, you don’t need to eat out all the time. Buying fresh groceries from supermarkets gives you control over what you’re eating and knowing what’s in it, as well as being cheaper (in some countries at least) than eating out. With most hostels and hotels offering fridge access, there are plenty of options for buying and storing cheap and healthy food.
5. Enjoy yourself!
You’ve given up life as you know it to travel and have a new adventure every day – and keep fit around the world!
Take the same approach to your workouts. Without the structure of a regular gym, job or class timetable and the day to day routine of being back home, your time is yours!
You can be as creative with your workouts as you like, be it in the gym, outside in the park, in your room or in the sea. The key to maintaining fitness and a healthy lifestyle is enjoying it. Try out new sports and activities, if something doesn’t work for you, change it. The world is your oyster…
Check out my features on Perfect Eggs in the Microwave! and
How to Look Ripped on Your Travel Adventure – For Free!
Need Travel Insurance?
Check out my feature on Travel Insurance for Adventurers!