Last year fitness became a huge part of my life. It was January 1st 2013 and I was like thousands of other girls vowing to eat clean and exercise regularly from here on out. The only difference being that I actually stuck to it. Something just clicked and I became incredibly dedicated to my health. Starting off as someone who thought it was cute to say “I don’t run for fun”, it was a big change to delve into the world of fitness. I started following all of the “fitblrs” on tumblr, reading books, researching new recipes, and working out five, if not six days a week. I even joined a gym, and if you know me, you know that’s a big deal. The changes were pretty phenomenal. I always thought I felt fine before, little did I know how good my body would feel after falling into a routine of activity. I slept harder, ate better, and felt stronger and more flexible. I became somewhat addicted to that feeling and that is what kept me going. I felt like every other aspect of my life fell into place once I felt good about how I was treating myself.
For the first time in my life, fitness and health became a priority while I was traveling. So, onto the real question here; how do you stay fit while traveling?
Let me preface by saying that fitness should not be your number one priority while you’re on the road. It should be a thought in your mind, but it shouldn’t consume your everyday life. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a week of workouts, or eating that dessert. Don’t let yourself feel like crap when you get home for “falling off the wagon”. You should enjoy life while you’re traveling, but this does include keeping your health in mind.
Biggest tip? Walk everywhere! Skip the bus, taxi, shuttle, etc. If you can walk, rent a bike, rollerblade, jump rope, or pogo stick somewhere, do it! Use alternative travel whenever possible. Walking everywhere is a guaranteed way to get a workout in without even realizing it, and it is especially wonderful because you’re not trapped in the bubble of a car. You’re experiencing the culture and the people. You’re seeing the sights, and staying healthy while doing it.
If you’re somewhat outdoorsy like me, you love finding a beautiful new place to hike. Find some hiking trails at your destination of choice and get at it! Sometimes the most beautiful sights in the world are at the end of a hiking trail, and it really is a killer workout.
Maybe your accommodations have a gym. If it’s late at night and you can’t sleep and you think nothing in the world sounds better than a workout, do it! Personally, I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels with gyms, but let me be honest; I can’t think of a time that I actually utilized one. I have good intentions, I even pack my sports bra, but the hotel gym just isn’t where I want to be while on vacation. What I have done is bust out quick workouts in my hotel room. Generally first thing in the morning or late at night, I’ll do tricep-dips, push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that use only my body weight. If you’re really feeling crazy, you can throw in some cardio like jumping jacks, butt kicks, or jump rope (without the rope). I spend no more than 10 minutes doing these things, and it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something towards my fitness.
Aside from moving your body, the other most important thing is what you put in it. Food is your body’s fuel. Food is survival. Eat when you are hungry, and don’t eat when you’re not. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may or may not have an abundance of healthy foods to choose from, but there is always a better choice. Definitely eat that ice cream, but maybe instead of the 2-scoop waffle cone with sprinkles, you have a scoop in a dish. You don’t have to deny yourself, but if you consistently try to make the healthier choice, you’ll set yourself up for success. It can be really fun to scope out the local food and challenge yourself to find foods that you’ll feel good about eating, and that will give you energy and fuel your activities for the day.
Overall, just be aware of your health while you’re on vacation. No one is asking you to track calories, or work out five days a week. You don’t have to pass on the fancy dinner out or dessert. Just make an effort to make healthier choices on a consistent basis, and get outside! Our bodies were designed to move. Just keep it simple! Utilize your strength, and eat foods that will support those efforts. Trust me, your body will thank you.