How to keep fit travelling
Tips on how to stay in shape, when there's so much free bread!
How to keep fit travelling
One of the biggest issues for a lot of people when they go travelling is staying in shape. You might not even think about it until you go but if you’ve been hitting the gym and sticking to a healthy diet on a strict pre-travel regime this all goes straight out of the window. For starters we all know time has no meaning in airports! Then you’re sat on the plane at what would be 5am in the UK eating pasta and bread with a glass of wine. It’s never a good start!
Those of you that have already travelled will know there’s an abundance of free pan in the hostels (btw pan is Spanish for bread, you'll hear it an awful lot in South America). When it comes to the battle of waistline over wallet I’m afraid for myself and most travellers, wallet wins every time.
When you’re on the road you tend to clock up the miles whether that’s doing treks, bike rides or just wandering around a new city. It’s also hard work lugging around up to 20kg on your back, and front! (You’ll begin to understand how Donkeys feel). My advice is do as many walking tours as you can and try to fit in hikes to explore the amazing landscapes, this won’t even feel like you’re exercising half of the time. Often cities will have viewpoints over-looking the city which will be a good walk up to the top so keep an eye out for these. However, for those of you that need to balance out the beer and trying all the amazing foods a country has to offer, it can be difficult to stay in shape.
Me and my friend Charlotte had the best intentions of squatting with our rucksacks.... I think we did it once in the whole 5 months in South America. We did do a hell of a lot of walking with them though so don't beat yourself up if you're not doing the workouts you intended to, find other fun ways.
These are my top tips for staying in shape whilst travelling ...
1. Joe Wicks' You Tube workouts
I only started doing these workouts this year but I think they're awesome. The videos are really short HIIT sessions that can be done anywhere and don’t require any equipment. There’s different levels and he targets different body areas. Find a patch of grass, a free room in the hostel or even better do it on the beach, it’s almost painless and being only 15 or 20 minutes long leaves you free to do whatever you want with the rest of your day. He's recently teamed up with Hostel world to show that you can workout anywhere. I think it's great for people that don't like the idea of a lengthy workout in the gym. This one is a killer but definitely my favourite so far:
2. Home based or basically anywhere workout
Try this quick 21 day work out which a friend sent me when I went travelling. No equipment required.
• 5 half press ups
• 5 full press ups
• 1 minute plank (2 30 second intervals)• 5 mountain climbers
• 10 sit ups
• 10 leg raises
• 5 minute jogging on spot
• 10 half press ups
• 10 full press ups
• 90 second plank (3 30 second intervals)• 10 mountain climbers
• 15 sit ups
• 15 leg raises
• 5 minute jog on spot with a minute sprint
• 15 half press ups
• 15 full press ups
• 2 minute plank 4 30 second intervals
• 15 mountain climbers
• 20 sit ups
• 20 leg raises
• 5 minute jog on spot with two one minute sprint
3. Kayla Itsines
I think this woman is super motivational and I've followed her workouts for a few years now. Her workout plans are great but do require equipment or for you to be creative and find suitable similar objects!
4. White carbs
Limit yourself to only having bread once a day, don’t be tempted to have bread with every meal, even if it's free. I know carbs are the staple food in a lot of places so it can be difficult but just be conscious about the amount you are eating. Try to have one meal a day that isn’t carbs, veggies, stir fries, salads and soups are a good shout. Also, switch it up occasionally with eggs and fruit for breakfast instead of just cereal and bread. ***Warning- some places think ice berg lettuce and a couple of tomatoes suffice as a salad for your main meal. So think about the venue before you opt for just a salad.
5. Cook in the hostel
Most hostels have a kitchenette so you can save some money and cook a healthy meal once in a while. You’ll find a lot of the time people in hostels chip in for the food and cook together. It’s a great way to meet people too and get chatting in the kitchen. You take it for granted at home but you might also find that if you let someone use your salt and pepper you’re friends for life!
Eat fruit when you can, it’s cheap enough to buy from the local market and you know fruit you can peel is safe like bananas and oranges, if you’re in a hostel you can wash before you eat anyway (if the waters not safe to drink wash with bottled water).
6. Travel snacks
Top tip- you aren’t going to die on the long bus journey if you don’t have chocolate bars, packs of crisps, jellies, Pringles, biscuits, some weird local thing you want to try but don’t know what it is yet, cans of coke and a carton of chocolate milk. I’m all for being prepared because you don’t want to be left hungry especially on a long night bus! Be sensible though and see if there’s alternative snacks like nuts and fruit. Make sure you have a meal before you travel too if it’s a long way, there will be stop offs but you don’t know when the next one could be.
My friend was once what she called ‘starving to death’ on a mega long bus journey and a woman very kindly took pity on her and bought her something from the shop…. She came back with a pack of spearmint polos. Need I say anymore? Be prepared.
7. Drink water… and alcohol
I party just as much as the next person so I would never say cut out alcohol! It’s the best way to meet new people when travelling and it’s unrealistic to say I’m not going to drink. Definitely have days off, especially if you’re doing treks, use it as an excuse to have a few days off before and during. Try to stick to drinking wine, beer and spirits with tonic or soda. Cocktails, fizzy drinks and fruit juices are really high in sugar and such a waste of calories, so try to stay away or just have them as a treat. Plus, they’re usually more expensive, I found a pint of beer for 10p in Vietnam, winning!
Counteract the alcohol with drinking as much water as you can in the day. Realistically a sensible person would say alternate an alcoholic drink with a drink of water but we all know that’s not usually going to happen! If you do want some time off look for a quieter hostel instead of a party one. I found the Hostel world reviews are usually a good way to gauge what the vibe will be like.
8. Work out with the locals
This is a great way to appreciate and immurse yourself in local culture so whether it's a salsa class, muy thai boxing or if it's safe enough just go for a run around the local park and explore the area. A lot of parks have work out stations, we found one in Cuenca, Ecuador that had allsorts of interesting equipment. Needless to say we had great fun trying it all out with the locals, they had a good laugh with us too!
9. Cut out sugar
I put this one at the bottom because most people will think it’s blasphemy! I understand it’s difficult at the best of times so especially when travelling but once you’re in the swing of it you become a lot more conscious of what you eat. I have been sugar free or as close as I can get for the whole of 2018 (I haven’t got it tattooed just yet) this means no chocolate, sweets, minimal fruit, no sugary drinks or fruit juice, no honey unless it’s 100% natural and pretty much straight from the bee! No cereals, minimal white carbs, and anything that has over 5g of sugar per 100g I try to stay away from. I eat a lot of fresh food, veggies, fish, sweet potato, salads, dust… jokes! I still drink a lot of wine, beer and spirits with soda water so I'll never be totally sugar free… I’m not completely mental!
So that’s my advice for how to keep fit or at least not completely let yourself go. Remember to explore and walk as much as possible, enjoy yourself and try the local foods. You can always do head stands at altitude like me in the photo at Lake Titicaca, probably wouldn't recommend it though. Party with people from around the world and just remember, everyone looks like a trampy traveller so your gut is the least of your worries really!
Good luck keeping fit let us know your workout tips!
P.s I don't always wear matching socks, so I won't always write 10 tips!
Blog by Grace off of Yugen Explore
Good luck keeping fit and let us know any of your tips!