Being on the road and going to the gym is not a great match. We all know that traveling is not easy and can be pretty exhausting. Even when you are at home there are many excuses to not go to the gym, so while traveling it can feel like an even bigger obstacle. I have been traveling the world for more than 4 years now, though I still try to stay in shape. There are many options on how to stay fit while traveling, but a huge part of it is your mindset!
How to stay fit while traveling
Responding to many questions regarding this topic made me realize I should reveal my secret on how to stay fit while traveling the world full time.
Exploring new places sucks the energy out of your body. Hundreds of new impressions make you feel like plunging on your hotel bed at the end of the day and think about all these cool things you have experienced. We all know this feeling and there is no motivation at all to do some workout. Turning on the AC in your room and do a little nap feels amazing after a day sightseeing. But to stay fit you will need the right travel fitness balance.
So my first tip on how to stay fit while traveling is to plan your workout in the morning instead of after a whole day wandering around. Just like at home it all starts with discipline. Do you really want to stay in shape? If the answer is yes there are plenty of opportunities to workout while traveling.
Excercise while traveling
For a lot of travelers a decent pair of running shoes is part of their luggage anyway. If not, consider adding this to your packing list, cause you will end up walking a lot on your way exploring new cities anyway! Throw away those hiking boots or take them off your what to bring list. Hardly any traveller uses hiking boots. Most of us are not the ones that are going to walk 30km per day through the Himalayas anyway! A good pair of running shoes is way more convenient plus they can be used to exercise while traveling. They are easier to carry around, they are more convenient and you can use them as runners as well! So why not wear them at sunset and run along that bustling boulevard or join the locals in the park? There are so many opportunities to workout while traveling. At the same time its a great way to interact with locals and get in touch with expats. Look around and ask if you can join a group. Runners love travelers!
Staying fit while traveling is something I really value, but it is scientifically proven that traveling itself is healthy, read all about it.
There is for example a great running track in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Towers are looming large over the lush green park below where people gather to sweat on the 1.3km long running track. It will get busy late at night due to the heat in combination with the humidity, but I met a couple friendly expats who invited me to come over to their place and drink a beer afterwards. Just like this there are a couple running tracks in Dubai. Or in Rio along Ipanema Beach or the Lumprini Park in Bangkok. While living in Sydney I also used to run on the boulevard of Bondi Beach. In this place you don't need extra motivation, there is enough to see! LOL ;)
Travel exercise equipment
I used to travel with one of those pairs you could use for push ups, but I never used them. Push up can be done without these things and for incline push ups you will always find something else, so I would not recommend you to bring those things. What I love having with me is a skipping rope! To me skipping rope is the perfect exercise while traveling and the best travel exercise equipment: it is small and does not weigh anything!
To keep you motivated download apps like RunKeeper, Strava, Map My Run or Runtastic for running or FitStar and Jefit Workout for gym inspiration. It’s cool to show off that you have been running in Shanghai, Dublin or San Francisco. These apps also show people running in the same area. Use it to find buddies or make running friends. I’m using Strava where I keep track of all my runs and my bike rides. Statistics keep me motivated and determined, so these things are a great travel exercise equipment to me!
Free gym workout while traveling
Hardly anyone wants to think about making time for the gym when you are travelling the world. But in fact it is the easiest way how to stay fit while traveling. I know when you travel fitness can be your worst enemy and you dont have any energy on top of that it is mostly an extra expense to visit the gym and it is not cheap to go just one time. However there is a solution to this problem! I still try to go to get a gym workout while traveling about 3 times a week, although I might always be in a different city. So how do I find a gym for just one day? Locating a gym is the first thing you should do: try Google Maps and search for gym or fitness in your neighborhood. Once you found a gym nearby look it up on the internet. Lots of gyms have free trails and you only have to register to receive a free day pass. Isnt that one of the best healthy travel tips?
The fancier the gym, the more chance you make of getting free access. All of these gyms work with contracts, so they are all willing to sell you something. Be smart! Don’t tell them you are a world traveller! The best thing to do is to let them believe you are new to the city, you will stay for the next 6 months, that your company sent you over AND is going to pay for the expenses of a fitness contract! Out of 100 times I told gyms around the world this story I have been invited 99 times to have a free gym workout while traveling! This is just one of the many tips I have on traveling solo on a budget, checke out a my advice for the cheapest countries to backpack. More tips for long term traveling in How I Afford To Travel. With this in mind, there are no excuses anymore to not go to a gym. All you have to do is sit down and talk to the sales guy for a couple minutes! Easy as hell, I should come up with more of these healthy travel tips! LOL
How to stay fit while traveling abroad
While traveling in Asia there is no need to go through all this hassle if you just want to train with weights. Local gyms never ask more than $1 in this part of the world. Working out in these places is completely different than what we are used to in the West. First of all there is no air-conditioning and you will start sweating just by walking in. A gym somehow reflects the country’s lifestyle: chaotic! But its fun and inspiring to train along tiny Asians who will watch you lift weights like you are the Hulk!
But lets be honest it is pretty easy to keep in shape, all you need is a little determination! You can listen to all those healthy travel tips, but most of all you just gotta stay active. Hike to viewpoints, swim in the ocean, climb mountains, go surfing, walk stairs, explore islands on foot, etc. All these activities combined will definitely help on how to stay fit while traveling the world. Oh yeah and don't forget to eat healthy, that is just as important! Of course I also try to take protein powder with me whenever I have the possibility.
Funny gym stories
In my 4 years of traveling the world I collected loads of cool experiences from gyms all over. From making pictures with locals in South Korea, to rats running around in Borneo, Malaysia.
The most funny is probably from the gym in Chengdu, China where I was training for 5 consecutive days just by friendly greeting the receptionist. On my first arrival they clearly did not speak any English and just pointed to the fitness. For me that was a sign to just start my workout. The second day I tried the same and I just smiled again. After 5 days they found a costumer who was speaking some kind of English and who was acting like a translator. About 20 Chinese eyes were staring at me when they asked if I was a member. Of course I had a story ready to talk me out of this awkward situation and some smiles later I could finish my workout and leave to never come back! For more funny travel stories sign up for my newsletter as I write a weekly adventure blog.
As I love to do sports I did a lot of crazy adventures read them all in one of my favorite articles about the most amazing things to do around the world.
What is your secret on how to stay fit while traveling? Do you have any favorite travel exercise equipement that I should know of? Or your favorite workout while traveling? I would love to learn from you...