Who doesn't like to travel? It's a great way to experience the world, whether it's longterm, for vacation or for business.
However, the big problem is that when you are outside your normal routine and away from home, it's hard to maintain your health and fitness, right?
That is why I put together this Ultimate Guide To Staying Fit While Traveling.
These are all the things I wish someone had told me, shown me or found for me on the web - related to all things travel, health and fitness.
Anything from tips, tricks or hacks, and enough information to get you to a place where you can travel and stay fit at the same time!
You can use the table of contents below (click on a link or image) or simply scroll through the vast amount of information on this page.
** If you want to share it, link to it, or help me expand this, feel free to get in touch. I appreciate any and all feedback!
Find A Hotel With A Gym Or A Pool
You can do all kinds of exercises in your room and even on the go, but nothing will put you in the mood like being in an actual gym. When you are surrounded by all that equipment and other people who are working out, you will be much more motivated to do some workouts yourself.
That is why you should make sure that the hotel you booked has some sort of fitness center. The easiest way to do that is to search for it via booking.com.
Once you have chosen your destination and the duration of your stay, be sure to also check these filters. You will then have access to a list of accommodation that has these facilities. And more often than not hotels will have photos of their gym or pool uploaded, so you can know exactly what you are paying for.
There are also a lot of hotel chains that will have the same facilities in their buildings all over the world. The Westin hotels and resorts are an excellent choice, as they have a 24/7 fitness center that is at the disposal of their guests. And if you prefer to workout in the comfort of your own room, you can even book a room with a treadmill or a stationary bike!
Naturally, the Westin hostels aren’t the only ones that have fitness centers. The Hilton, Marriot, Hyatt and W Hotels all also have fully equipped gyms that are at the disposal of their guests. If they are within your budget, they are always a great option for a comfortable stay, since you can find these hotels in most countries all over the world.
Find Local Gyms
If you are not staying at a hotel, then you will have to do some digging to find the best local gyms. Here are a few tips for you on how to find the best gyms in your proximity.
Get A ClassPass
A ClassPass is basically the most flexible gym membership you can find. It includes thousands of fitness studios from three different continents, so you will be covered pretty much wherever you go.
With a ClassPass you choose a fitness class that you are interested, be it yoga, boxing, cycling or so much more, and then you will get a list of studios that are nearby and that you go to at that time. But you will also get access to workout videos that you can do at home, for when you really don’t feel like being around people.
You can choose between three subscription plans, depending on how many workouts you think you’ll need. And with each plan, you basically get a limited amount of credits that you can use to book classes. Each class costs a different amount of credits, especially in different regions.
For example, an average class in New York costs about 9 credits, but a class in Sydney usually costs 6 credits. The subscription costs also vary accordingly.
But you can select the town you are going to be in (and also check out all the towns across the world where ClassPass studios are available), and then choose between dozens or even hundreds of studios that are available there.
You can choose between a monthly subscription or a day pass. So if you are going away for a longer period of time, a monthly subscription will definitely be worth your money.
It will give you access to their
- exercise programs
- group classes,
- wellness centers and pools
And the best part about the YMCA is that they have incredibly low membership fees. That will not only help you stay fit, but also keep your wallet fat, healthy and ready for enjoying your trip.
Use Google Maps
It might sound silly, but it’s the best way to find gyms that are nearby. Just type in “gym” in your Google Maps, and in a second or two your map will be swarming with red dots, which represent gyms in the area. From then on you can get information about the gyms – phone number, website, photos - directly from the maps app.
And the best part is that you can see
- what kind of a rating a certain gym has
- what people are saying about it.
You can also check prices, and find the most affordable one, while still having all the equipment you need.
And if you are already planning a trip and want to find a gym beforehand, just type in “gyms in X” (X=city you are visiting). That way you can arrive at your destination fully prepared and without a worry in the world.
TRAVEL FRIENDLY OPTIONS
Sometimes there just isn't a gym available, or perhaps you are just not a fan.
Either way, there are plenty of options for exercising wherever you might be on the road - in the hotel, outside in a park, or just as you go about your day.
Dive in for some fun and inventive options for keeping fit while traveling.
Exercise In Local Parks
If you don’t think a temporary gym membership will be worth your time and money, don’t stress – there are plenty of other ways to stay healthy and exercise on your trips.
It’s important that you dress comfortably, just as you would in a gym. This will allow for freedom of movement, and give you better exercise results. But, unlike a gym, the park won’t provide you with all the equipment you need. However, there are some exercises that you can do even without any equipment, but they are not for beginners!
And there are plenty of workouts that you can do in park playgrounds that will help you stay fit and healthy. They can be fairly easy or far more difficult, so it’s important that you choose the intensity for you. And some of these exercises will only require you to use your body weight (lots more on that below).
But for more serious workouts, you will have to bring some equipment along with you. So, you can also find some awesome travel-friendly workout equipment here. And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your own music! Nothing can get you in the zone and hyped like just the right workout playlist.
Skipping rope is another exercise that you can do practically anywhere, if there aren’t any chandeliers around. It’s great cardio, and it can do wonders for your physique. And depending on your overall fitness experience, you can do some low intensity jump rope exercises, or step it up a notch and burn 700 calories in a single workout session.But you will have to get yourself a jump rope that is suitable for exercise, and not one of those that we all had in our childhood years. The King Athletic jump rope is a great affordable choice, and you’ll even get a free eBook with it that will make you an expert rope
A suspension trainer is a great way to get some workouts done, particularly because it requires nothing other than your body weight. And you can set it up pretty much anywhere.
From then on there are plenty of exercises you can do. You can target specific muscle groups in your arms or your legs, or you can do it all at once with a full body workout. Just find a workout program you love and stick to it.The classic TRX kit (as shown in the video above) is probably your best option. But it is quite pricey, and there are other, more affordable suspension systems that you can get. The GoFit Gravity Straps are a pretty good, cheaper alternative.
Inflatable Exercise Balls
Exercise balls are excellent travel companions because they take up very little space in your luggage. Provided that they are deflated! And they allow you to do total body workouts in the comfort of your hotel room, or just head outside. But you can also do more targeted exercises with it, and work on your abs, legs and glutes or your arms.The DYNAPRO inflatable exercise ball is an awesome choice for everyone’s budget. You’ll get a handy pump with it that is travel-friendly, and easy to carry around. You just have to make sure that you choose the correct size of the ball, according to your own height.
Fill Up Kettle Bell
Kettle bells are incredibly versatile pieces of gym equipment. You can do a lot of different workouts with them, and exercise different parts of your body. However, carrying around a 25+ pound kettle bell in your carry on isn’t really practical, so it’s a good thing that portable kettle bells exist!The Kamagon kettle bell is an excellent option. You can get it in two sizes, a 9-inch and a 14-inch. The larger one has a larger reservoir, and it can hold up to 45 lbs of water. The cool thing about these is that their weights are adjustable; just fill them up until you feel that they are as heavy as you’d like. And when you’re done exercising just drain them out, and you are left with a very light and portable ball.
Nobody said that you have to do yoga in a class. All you need for a good session is a yoga mat, some water and an app you can download on your phone. Just type in “yoga” in your phone’s app store, and hundreds of apps will show up. You can then find the one that works best for you.
The best yoga apps will show you short videos or animated gifs of the movements that you are supposed to copy. And they will also allow you to choose from a difficulty setting for your workout – beginner, advanced, pro, etc.As for a yoga mat, you can find plenty of cheap ones on Amazon. The TOPLUS reversible yoga mat is a really cool option, but there are plenty of others you can choose from.
Follow A YouTube Video Training Routine
There are plenty of fitness experts and personal trainers that share their expertise online. You can find them both on YouTube and on Instagram, and check out the exercise videos that they post.
But first you need to figure out what kind of an exercise routine would fit into your lifestyle best. Do you want to do more cardio than weight training or vice versa? Do you want to work on one muscle group each workout, or are you more into full body exercises?
When you figure out the details, you can head over to YouTube and check out some of these awesome channels:
- POPSUGAR Fitness
- Fitwork Nation
- The Body Coach TV
- Athlean-XX for Women
- Yoga With Adrienne (shown in the Yoga section above)
Each of these instructors has tons of workout videos that you can choose from. There are workouts for beginners, advanced workouts, as well as full-on insane ones that even they themselves barely complete. And there are also some that rely only on your body weight, and other that you need certain equipment to do.
But browse around and see what you like. Try out some workouts at home, and then try to make a list of the ones that you know you’ll be able to complete on your trip. And that’s already half the job done!
Video Courses Like DailyBurn Or Sweat
There are plenty of online courses you could subscribe to, just like there for practically everything else in life. These are subscription services that will allow you to follow a certain workout routine, and track your progress within the app. You will also get detailed demonstration of each exercise, and the subscription fees aren’t that high.
DailyBurn is one of the most popular such services, with over a 1000 workouts that are adaptable to any fitness level. They will create a personalized workout plan for you, which will be fully tailored to your own fitness goals. And the best part of it is that the first month is completely free, and you can cancel whenever! So, you can try it out for free on your trip, and if you like it, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to use their service.Another very popular fitness app subscription is Sweat. This one has three fitness trainers with several different workout programs, but by far the most popular one is BBG (Bikini Body Guide) by Kayla Itsines. Many women swear by this program, and it’s definitely something you should try out. The first month of the subscription is free, and you’ll even get a meal program that will help you reach those fitness goals! And many workouts don’t require any equipment, which is perfect for beginners.
BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES
When you are traveling and just can't afford the extra weight that training gear requires, body weight exercises can certainly save the day.
Whether you just want to do them in your hotel room or maybe you are willing to go a little further afield (like a park), there are more than enough options to give you a full workout.
A lot of you might be thinking that using only your body weight won't be enough. But trust me, the kinds of exercises, positions and repetition you do really make all the difference.
So, what kinds of things can you do?
If you are used to pushing hundreds of pounds with a squat machine, this may come as a surprise. Your body weight can also be used on your legs.
Lunges might sound too easy. And, they can be. But the beauty of them is that you can always take it to the next level, and the next, if you need.
The most basic form is the stationary lunge, where you first position yourself in a lunge-like position, then drop down towards the group and return to the stationary (lunge) position. This is the one I would start off with. Whether to warm up or doing as many reps as you can. Things get a little harder from here.
The body weight lunge is probably more of what you would expect from a "lunge". You stand upright, then quickly lunge forward with your foot and then return to the standing position. You can either repeat it with one leg, or alternate legs.
The walking lunge is similar to the body weight lunge only you keep going forward. This is a great way to gradually increase the difficulty of the lunge because you can increase the difficulty not only in the lunge depth, but also the speed with which you walk (lunge). It can get seriously painful!
We all love squats in the gym, but how do you do them without weights?
Well, you can start with body weight squats and then we can ramp up the difficulty from there!
This baby is gonna hurt! Only start this is you are seriously strong in the legs.
It basically puts all of your body weight, plus the added weight of extending your leg, into one leg as you squat. Ouch!
It also gives you a seriously good workout because you have to use most of the lower leg muscle groups as well as the stabilising muscles in your leg, core and other parts of the body.
You can't go past this classic exercise if you want to work your upper body, especially your pectorals (aka chest muscles).
There are so many variations you can do, from the standard shoulder width apart to variations of hand placement and angle (ie. putting your legs or hands higher up). Each will focus on more specific parts of the muscle group so you can do a combination of different angles and positions if you like.
This video shows you the best way to do it, and some easier and harder variations (ignore the loud music at the start, it gets better).
If you want to go a little further with your triceps (because pushups, especially when your elbows are in close, already work them) you can add some dips to the mix. The trick is just finding something the right height and solid enough to give you a good grip and support. A park bench or chair should do it.
Back & Biceps
Now things get a little trickier. Pull-ups require you to find a place to hang from. Whether it is a bar, a portable hangboard you bring along for your travels or the underside of a table or desk.. It obviously makes a difference which, with the bar or portable hangboard being the best option (full weight hanging from it).
If you can only manage a table/desk, then you have to do the simplest form or pull-up (see the first one in the video below) where you have your legs out and touching the ground, and you pull your body up to your chest (against the table).
The video below also shows you how to progress to a complete pull up if you are not quite ready for that yet (let's face it, it can be painful/difficult). Oh, and ignore the shape the guy is in on the video, he is on another level!
Further down you can see a variation of the hotel desk pull up!
Note for biceps: The best option for focusing on the bicep is with your wrists facing forwards, fingers curled towards you. Although, any kind of pull up will tend to use the bicep in any case.
Core / Stomach
Situps & Crunches
Another set of classic body weight exercises you can do absolutely everywhere. There are tonnes of variations of both of these but let's start with the basic ones. Just remember, situps tend to use the hip flexors more, so some people avoid them. Crunches tend to do the same thing, and you can also do things like the plank (more on that below) to add to it.
For some reason, we have to have a "the" in front of Plank. So, let's talk about doing the plank.
This is a great exercise, including its many variations, to work on your core. Not just your abs, but your whole core, which is what you really need to focus on to have a full and healthy workout.
Here is a great 3 minute workout with plank variations...
The Reverse Plank
You can also throw in some reverse planks if you want to focus a little more on your lower back, but also work your core again. You can do it with arms outstretched, like in the example below, or with elbows bent, more like the standard plank above.
I know, this one looks a bit weird with you thrusting your butt into the air, but it's worth it!
Sometimes you have to get a little cardio in, as well as totally fatiguing your muscles.
That is where something like the burpee comes in. Super popular of late, and no surprises there. The burpee can give you a serious workout when you combine it with push ups and jumping.
Here is a video showing you the basic move and then some bonus soul crushing extras to make that workout really hurt!
Yes, there are a lot more exercises you can do. Almost limitless if you go searching on Youtube. The ones I have listed above are just some ideas and starting points.
Below is a great chart I found online that also lists some extra options for each area of your body.
Image courtesy of Darebee
Another big thing of late is HIITS training. High Intensity Interval Training.
The basic idea is to do lots of reps, get the heart rate going and burn calories that way. HIITS has the tendency to keep the body working out long after the actual workout is over, or so the theory goes. Hence the trend.
No matter what the actual theory, this stuff is going to get you sweating and you don't need any special equipment. So, it's perfect for a travel workout.
Below are a couple of body weight HIITS workouts I found on Youtube that look pretty intense. They both suit men and women, the second one having two people doing the workout with options for both. If neither of these work for you, just search for "body weight HIIT workout" on youtube (or click that link, where I have pre-searched for you).
Let's face it. There is no shortage of stairs when you are traveling. Hotels, cities, parks. They are everywhere. And they are a great way to get your heart racing, even if you are only climbing them for a few minutes.
My sister, who is a crazy fitness instructor uses stairs as a great training resource whenever we are at my parents. They have a lighthouse nearby with about a hundred stairs. After a few laps running up and down, we are done by the end of it!
You can do a moderate or extreme workout on stairs with laps, stories of a hotel, or a complete workout like the video below. Either way, it's gonna keep you fit.
Exercise ON THE GO
You don’t have to be in a gym to exercise. There are plenty of things that you could do even when you are just waiting at the train station or standing in line. The thing to keep in mind is that the key to staying fit is keeping your metabolism going, and nothing can slow down your metabolism like sitting for hours on end.
That’s why we are going to talk about a few ways to get your blood flowing that don’t include any (conventional) gym equipment. So, here are the best things that you can do to help improve your fitness level and overall health when you are on the go.
Do Things While You Are Out And About
Many of the things we’re going to talk about will include little changes that you can make in your everyday routine. That way you can turn them into a habit, and you will do them even when you go on a trip.
And most of them are pretty simple, and things that you probably know that you should be doing but for some reason don’t (shame on you). So, here are some little things that you can do when you are out and about that will help you stay fit and good looking.
Always Take The Stairs
A study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that taking the stairs instead of the elevator will actually save you some time. That is because, while you are waiting for that elevator to come down, those who took the stairs are already halfway to their destination. And not to mention that taking the stairs burns more calories than standing in an elevator.Yes, I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but that is because it actually works. If you get into the habit of switching out the elevator for stairs, you could burn thousands of calories throughout the year. And even more if you do it while you are carrying grocery bags or your suitcase.
Run Up The Stairs
Running up the stairs is even more effective than walking, because it will really get your heart racing and you will also burn more calories. And actually, running up the stairs is not only good cardio, but it’s also a good exercise for your glutes and quads. If you want to sculpt those legs, then this is a very good way to do it.In fact, this exercise is so effective that you can even fully replicate it in a gym. All those stepper machines that you see in your local gym are living proof that running up the stairs can have a great impact on your body. And it could be the perfect way to kill a couple hours at the airport while you are waiting to board your flight.
Sprint Every Now And Then
If you are walking somewhere or just going up the stairs, try to switch things up a little and sprint every now and then. That is also known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio, and apparently it’s all the rage at the moment.
And there is a good reason for it. HIIT is excellent for fat burning, and it really shows. It will help you get fit quick, and also stay fit. Additionally, it is also much easier to push yourself for short periods of time, then it is for longer exercises.
So, the next time you are jogging or walking somewhere, try sprinting for 20 seconds every couple of minutes. It will get you sweating, and really help you shed off those last few pounds. And as you get stronger, you can increase the duration of those intervals, to suit your newly acquired strength.
Grab Nearby Tree For Pull Ups
If you are out at the park, there are plenty of exercises you could do there. Pull ups are just one of them, and they don’t require any equipment other than a sturdy looking tree. They are a great exercise for your arms, and can really help you build muscle there, so why not do them whenever you have the opportunity?Just make sure that the tree you grabbed is a really sturdy one - you do not want to break a branch and wind up on the floor. So when you find a good tree for a pull up, make sure that you are doing it properly. We want you to stay fit, not to get injured along the way and wind up in a hospital - that would really ruin your trip.
Do Body Weight Squats While Waiting In Line
If you are standing in a really long line, why not take the opportunity to squeeze in a quick workout? Body weight squats are an exercise that you can do anywhere at any time, and they are great for your lower body.
But, in order for those squats to be effective, you really have to do them just right. Many people do not have the correct form while doing squats, which is why they don’t see any results.However, if you are a pro at squats, then try to do some that are more challenging. Waiting in line is a perfect opportunity to try out the pistol squat or a side squat. Or you could do push ups, provided that there is enough space and the floor is not too dirty. There are plenty of options, and basically the only important thing is that you keep moving.
Go Out Dancing
Who said that you couldn’t burn some calories and have fun at the same time? Dancing is a great way to combine those two activities, and really blow off some steam. And it can also help improve your coordination, which is good for not only your body, but also for your self-confidence.
You can go to club and really let loose on the dance floor. And don’t be shy if you are a terrible dancer - most people at clubs usually are. Or you can go to a dance class and have a professional teach you some really cool moves. That way you don’t have to be shy on the dance floor, and who knows - maybe it turns out you’re really good at it.
Walk Everywhere You Can And Avoid Public Transportation
Walking everywhere will not only help you stay fit, but will also help you explore a lot more of your trip destination. If you want to go to a coffee shop or see a landmark that’s just a few blocks away then walk to it, instead of taking the bus or a tram.
On the other hand, if you are going somewhere that’s a bit further away, than sure take the bus. But get out a few stops sooner, and walk the rest of the way. You can see much more of the city you are in that way, and you are also getting in some exercise - it’s a win-win. And maybe you will get some amazing photo-ops that you would have missed if you took the bus!
At The Airport Or Train Station
The worst thing you can do while you are waiting to board your plane or for your train to arrive is just sit. When you remain seated for a long time your heart rate and blood flow slow down, which in turn makes your metabolism also slow down.
And when you combine that with the fact that you are also going to be seated for a few hours during your flight or ride, it’s no surprise that you’ll feel tired and bloated when you arrive to your destination.
There are plenty of other things that you can do to keep your blood flowing while you are waiting for your transportation. So here’s some advice on how to stay fit even when you are at the airport or the train/bus station.
Walking is the easiest thing that you can do to keep your blood flowing, and your body will thank you. Don’t just sit around and wait, get up and walk. Or just pace around; it is only important that you keep moving. And you’d be surprised how many calories you can burn even if you are walking around for only 10 minutes.
Don’t believe me? Install a pedometer app on your phone and you’ll see. It will keep track of how many steps you have taken, and how many calories you burned along the way. And most of them will already have a daily goal of the number of steps you should take (which you can increase), which will only motivate you to keep moving.
If you don’t feel like walking, that’s fine - you don’t have to. You can also burn calories just by standing up! Standing for an hour burns about 50 calories on average. That might not sound like much, but if you were to stand for 2 hours every day for 5 days, that is 500 calories - or 2 hamburgers from McDonald’s - burnt by doing basically nothing.
And nobody said you have to stand for 2 hours straight. You can do it in intervals; sit down for 5 minutes and then stand up for 10 minutes. Switch things up a bit - it’s good to stretch your legs from time to time anyway. And if you were to stand with a heavy object in your arms, you would burn even more calories, so pick up that suitcase and don’t put it down!
If you were at the gym, you would probably do some weight lifting. Well, you could also do that at the airport or the train station, you just have to get a little creative. Why not think of your luggage as a dumbbell and do some weight training?
And don’t worry about people looking at you like you are a weirdo; you are the one staying fit and healthy, while they are probably munching on some chips and slowing down their metabolisms.
You can do some squats while you are holding your suitcase and squeeze in a quick leg workout. Or you could work on your arms and upper body and lift it as high as you can. But if you are not used to weight training, there are some easier exercises you could do. Simply walking around the airport while carrying your suitcase will also help you stay fit much more than just sitting around would.
I know that you’ve probably heard this a million times, but it is very important to stay hydrated. Did you know that when you drink more water, your body actually retains less of it? And when you feel that you are thirsty, that means that you are already somewhat dehydrated.
When your body starts to feel dehydrated, it goes into self-preservation mode and starts retaining water, because it doesn’t know when it will get it again. That is why if you drink more water, you are going to be less bloated and actually weigh less. And don’t even get me started on the wonders that it will do for your skin!There are plenty of ways that you can remind yourself to drink 2 liters of water every day. You can get yourself a water bottle that will tell you exactly how much water you need to drink by a certain point in a day. Or you can download an app that will send you push notifications when it’s time to rehydrate.
If you have a favorite sport, or way to keep fit while at home, often you can find the same options when you are traveling.
Whether it's a sports club, fitness center or any other place where sports lovers gather, there is always an option.
On top of that, you can partake in all sorts of sports when you are traveling, you just have to broaden your mind...
Sports Clubs & Facilities
The most obvious thing to do here is to look for places you can do the sports you normally do at home.
If it's a team sport, then it might be a little more challenging, especially if you don't speak the language, but don't give up on the chance to find a local club who may be willing to train or play with you.
Another more simple option is to do some training for a sport that does not require a team, something like swimming, cycling, golf, or other leisure activities that will more than likely have facilities in the area you are visiting. Just keep in mind that some of these ideas will require equipment rental as well, which you should check is available when you decide to book the facility or meet up with a team.
You can look for clubs or facilities in the obvious spots like:
Sports That Are On Offer
This is the kind of sport that I love doing when traveling. It's the events, opportunities, organised tours and such that not only get you out and active but immerse you in the local culture too.
Enjoy The Water
These kinds of things can range from hiring a kayak, Stand Up Paddle board, or even a pedalo you can sit in, wherever there is water (lakes, beaches etc).
Of course, if you are an active swimmer, you can also simply throw yourself in the water and do a kilometer/mile or two. As long as you have your bathing suit and maybe goggles with you, you will be good to go!
Go For A Ride
Or, you can hire a bike and go for a ride in the city you are visiting, especially with all the free (or super cheap) bike rentals you can get in major cities these days simply by using a bike sharing app. Bike sharing is booming so much, as you can see in the chart below:
Here is the full list of these bike sharing services but a few of the big ones include:
- Jump (currently only in San Fran, but purchased by Uber, so big things to come)
- Moovit has added bike sharing hubs to their already epic public transport app.
- oBike (founded in Singapore but expanding rapidly)
You can even go mountain biking in many mountain-filled countries like Switzerland even if you don't have the hill-climbing fitness. Electric bikes are all the rage, so you can hire on in the town you are in, still get a workout, but enjoy the spectacular scenery too.
It all kind of depends on where you are and the time of year it is. However, here are a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing...
- Walking, Running or Hiking
- Tours in your local area that incorporate any of those
- Snow shoeing
- Winter walking
- Ice skating
- Cross-country skiing
FITNESS APPS (FOR MOTIVATION)
To stay motivated, it is important that you set a clear fitness goal. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, maybe you want to sculpt your body, or maybe you are into CrossFit – whatever your goal is, it is the one thing that is bound to keep you motivated to continue your fitness journey.
There is a popular fitness saying that it takes 4 weeks for you to notice that your body is changing. And, 4 weeks is plenty of time to lose sight of your goal, along with your motivation – particularly when you are on a vacation, and all you want to do is lay down and soak in the sun.
So, why not try out a fitness app? It is much easier to stay motivated when you can track all of your progress, and see just close you are to your goal. That way, you won’t find it hard to work out, and might even like to squeeze in a few push-ups on the beach. Here are a few fitness apps that will help motivate you and won’t let you lose sight of your goal.
Built In Phone Pedometer
Most smartphones today will already have an app that will help keep track of your movement throughout the day. And not just your movement – you can track your calorie and caffeine intake, as well as your water intake and stress levels. On iPhones, it’s the Apple Health app, on my Samsung it’s the Samsung Health app.
When you are on vacation, you are probably going to be walking around a lot anyway, so why not keep track of your steps and distance walked. And you can also set a daily goal – 10,000 steps is the optimal number, if you want to see results.
When you set a goal like this, it will be much easier for you to stay motivated. Say you are about to return to your temporary home and see that you just a 1000 steps away from reaching that goal – trust me, you’ll want to take the longer route back, just to see the number on the app go over 10,000. Or if you are well over 9500 steps, it will motivate you to move around just until you hit that 10k.
Most of these apps will also tell you many calories you burned and you also use that to determine your goal. Maybe you want to burn at least 250 calories each day – you just have to keep walking around until you see that number on the app. Really, nothing can motivate you to keep going like seeing exactly how close you are to your goal.
RunKeeper, Map My Run & Runtastic
If you are a runner, you are going to love these apps – if you’re not already using them. As I already said, the best way to stay motivated is to keep track of your goal, and to be aware of just how close you are to it. And that is exactly what these apps will do for you.
RunKeeper allows you to choose a workout, and than track your route. As you are running, it will give you live updates on how you are doing with your session. You can choose exactly which stats you want to get updates on, as well as how often you want to be updated. So, you can set the app to update you on your running session in intervals from one minute to anywhere up to 30 minutes.
Also, if you own an Android or Apple watch, you can connect the app to it, and leave your phone at home – it will still do all of the above. And if you choose to get a paid subscription for the app (which is optional, but has its benefits) you can get customized training programs, designed for you by experts.
Map My Run will do something very similar, but it has a few more options. For example, it will allow you to see running routes that have been logged from people nearby, and you can then select one of them and run those exact routes. This is great for newbies who don’t have a lot of experience and established routes that they love.
But more than that, it is perfect for when you are away in a foreign city. This way you can see what routes are most popular with the locals, and then select one that is just right for you. And just like with the previous apps, you’ll get live updates during your workout.
Runtastic is another awesome app you should try out. This app will also allow you to set your yearly running goal. Say you want to run 400 kilometers a year; the app will then tell you how many kilometers that translates to each week and month.
You can also choose between different running plans, depending on what your overall fitness goal is. Whether you want to get fit for the beach or eventually run a marathon – Runtastic has your back. But, to unlock all the plans, you will have to get a paid subscription.
30 Day Fitness Challenge
This is a great app that I’ve personally used, and I can vouch for its effectiveness. For one thing, it will send you push notifications to remind you to work out, and you can choose the time when you want to receive them. And what is very cool about this app is that it requires you to work out for 30 days, which is a pretty short time period, so you will most likely be motivated to complete all the workouts.
But what’s best about this app is that it has 5 different types of workouts you can choose from – full body, abs, butt, arms and legs. You can then choose between 6 different plans within each workout type, based on how often you work out and how advanced you are.
So once you select everything, the app will tell you exactly what exercises you should do – and show you animations that depict how exactly an exercise should be performed – and how many reps for each exercise. My advice to you is stay away from the hard plans (and that’s just day one in the photo), unless you want to be sore for the rest of your vacation.
But I still haven’t told you the best part. The app is completely free to use, and you can get all of its options without spending a dime. So, definitely try it our, and see how you like it.
The JEFIT app works on the same principle as the previous one, but it has more options and plans you can choose from. However, there is a limited amount of free workout plans, and to get the most specific ones you are going to have to pay for a subscription.
But there are plenty of free plans you can choose from, and of various difficulties. The app will show you how to perform each exercise, as well as tell you how many sets and reps you need to do.
You can also choose from 1300+ exercises and create your own workout, if you feel that none of the existing ones are just right for you. The app tracks your progress, which definitely helps with motivation. And it also helps you adjust the intensity and duration of your workouts, so that you can get consistently see results.
In general, it’s an app you should definitely try out if you are serious about sculpting you body, and are just looking for some guidance and motivation. But, I do think that the interface is a little crowded, and it takes some time to get used to it.
7 Minutes Workout
Do you think you can spare 7 minutes each day to work out? I think it sounds very doable, and if you agree, this app is great for you. For one thing it’s perfect for people who have very busy lifestyles, even when they are away travelling.
The app is very easy to use; you choose a workout and get a list of all the exercises that you are about to complete in the next 7 minutes. When you are ready you just tap ‘go’, and the app will then show you what you need to do and for how long. And it will also give you some tips on how to push yourself even further with each exercise, and really make the most of those 7 minutes.
This fitness app also allows you to track your workout data and progress, which is just perfect for keeping you motivated. In addition to that, it is free to download and use, as long as you don’t mind the ads. But if you do, you can always get the pro version for less than $3, which definitely isn’t a lot.
Nike Training Club
The Nike Training Club is an app that has tons of content and hundreds of different workouts. And shockingly, it is all completely free! You should definitely give it a go, since it has something to offer to everyone.
Whether you want to get lean or build muscle, you will find a workout that is suitable for you and your fitness goal. You can choose from all the different workouts, or you can create your own plan, and I strongly recommend you do the latter.
You can choose between 4 goals – to get fit, to get lean, to improve your muscle tone or to get strong. You can then select how many days per week you want to work out, whether or not you want to include running in the workouts, and a few more things that will make the workouts really tailored to your needs. After that the NTC app will select the best exercises for your plan, and all you have to do is follow that particular plan.
It’s just like your own personal trainer, but it’s always on call and it’s completely free of charge – color me impressed! And you don’t have to go to gym to meet it; your trainer will always be in your pocket and just a few taps away from you – even when you are travelling.
Yoga is another great way to stay fit, and it can also do wonders for your overall health. Especially if you have issues with back pain or lousy posture; in that case, you should definitely try to do some yoga in your spare time. The best part about it is that you can do it anywhere, even on the beach. And the soothing sound of the waves can only help you relax.
Down Dog is a great yoga app because it has detailed video instructions for every exercise. You can choose between 5 different sequences for practice, and one of them is called Intro To Yoga. It’s great for beginners and people who have never done yoga in their life, as it is not too tiring, and it will help you learn all the fundamental poses and yoga basics.
For more advanced exercises you can choose from the other 4 sequence types. Each one allows you to choose a difficulty level and duration of the workout, so you can perfectly tailor it to your needs.
So, similarly to the Nike app, the Down Dog is like your own personal yoga teacher – with a pretty dope playlist to help you stay zen.
This is another cool app for toga exercises, but it has significantly less free workout plans than the Down Dog. In fact, only two plans for beginners are available for free, and everything else requires a pro subscription. But you can get a free trial and see how you like the workouts, before you actually spend any money.
Each plan is unique, targets different muscles and has a different impact on your physique. And there are plenty of different plans to choose from, so you can easily find one that will work best for you.
You will have exercise videos in the app that will guide you, and show you how to perform each exercise. Some workouts will even tell you the approximate amount of calories that you can burn with them, which always a plus. If you are a fan of yoga, or are just getting into it, definitely give this app a go.
Ideas For Recovery
This will depend a lot on where you are, what you have access to and how much money you are willing to spend. If you are in South East Asia, then there will be a huge amount of choice in terms of massage. If you are in Outer Mongolia, not so much.
However, if you are in a position to spend some time and money on it, a little recovery will definitely help your body love you again.
Here are some things you can look for:
- Wellness & Spas (if you are in a place like Switzerland, there are lots of options)
- Hot Springs
- Thai Chi
- Take a bath in your hotel
Ideas For Relaxation
It might not be about spending money on recovery, sometimes just a little rest and relaxation is enough to get you back on track.
Try to find some time and space to unwind and recover from all the hectic of travel and being in a new place
Here are some things you can try:
- Meditation (more on that below).
- Reading on the beach, in a park, wherever is quiet
- Watch some TV
Fitness Is Also A State Of Mind
Breathing properly during any exercise is very important if you expect to see results. If you don’t breathe properly you will get tired more quickly, and so your workouts will be shorter. But, learning to control your breathing can also help you in other types of situations that are bound to find you in your travels.
It can help you calm down and relax when there is something that is stressing you out. And it can also help you control your anxiety, which is something many people struggle with. So, here are some tips that will help you maintain not only a fit body, but also a fit mind.
Let’s say there’s a crying baby at the airport, or a very loud person that you find annoying. Stress is very bad for your health, and it can have a seriously negative impact on it. Meditation will help you calm down, and tune out all those noises that are bothering you and causing you stress.
So, how exactly do you meditate? It’s not difficult; meditation is all about controlling your breathing. Sit down (or lie down if there is enough space), relax and close your eyes. Focus all your attention on how you’re breathing, and on your body movements that accompany it. And don’t make an effort to control it, just focus on it. Keep that up for 10-20 minutes, and you will feel much more relaxed and calmed down.
Sure, it will be somewhat challenging to get it right on the first few tries, which is why you should try to practice it regularly. And there are plenty of apps for your smartphone that can teach you to meditate. The Mindfulness App is available for both iOS and Android, and it offers courses for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced practitioners. Give it a shot, you can only benefit from it!
You could also get yourself your own meditation assistant. The Muse headband is perfect for beginners who often struggle to keep their mind calm. You can connect it to an app on your phone, which will then play you relaxing music that will help you get in the zone. And it also measures your brainwaves and adjusts the music that you hear accordingly, so that it’s much more difficult for your mind to wander off.Some people might find it hard to relax and get in the zone when there are so many things that are stressing them out in their environment. But don’t worry, there is some other equipment that can help you overcome those. A meditation cushion will make you more comfortable than sitting on the floor, and that can only help you relax.
Ok, this is a huge topic and I am not going to pretend to solve all your sleeping problems in this section.
However, I will offer you a few solid and useful tools, tips and products to help you through your travels.
On The Plane Or Train
These tips don't just work on a plane or train, so don't skip this if you travel by bus or car :>
The trick I find to getting solid sleep is setting yourself up for success. If you are someone who generally cannot sleep without a bed, then it's business class for you! However, everyone else, keep reading...
1. Pick the best locations
It all starts with picking the place where you will be interrupted the least. So, if you plan on sleeping start by knowing your habits.
Personally, I make sure I don't over indulge in any liquids and then plonk myself in the window seat on the legs I intend to sleep on.
Then, I also pick the centre of a section to avoid babies crying (they tend to have them in the first row) and people hanging out at or going to the bathroom (they tend to be at the front and rear too).
Also, I pick the window seat so that no one climbs over me or wakes me up to go to the bathroom, and it also gives me optimal leaning real estate for my pillow. If you are someone who's head flops forward when you sleep, this is one of the best solutions!
2. Bring the right sleeping accessories
This is a personal thing for sure, but there are quite a few things you will want to bring with you to make sure you get the best sleep possible.
- A comfy pillow. Whether it's inflatable, padded, or one of those cool ones you put on the table in front of you.
- An eye mask. Airlines have been cutting back on these lately (if they ever provided them in your country) so make sure you bring one along.
- Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones. Depending how you sleep, headphones might not work (I sleep on my side). But either play some music, or just dull the noise from the people (and hopefully not - crying babies, around you).
- Sleeping Pills? Personally I have never had the need for them, but if you are someone who struggles, then it's an idea. Please consult your doctor before trying any pills though, sleeping pills can be very bad for you!
3. Pick the right time to sleep
Sleeping whenever you feel like it might not be the best plan if you are traveling to a vastly different time zone. Trust me, I live in Europe and travel to Australia at least once a year (for nearly 20 years). It is a 8-10 hour time difference.
It pays to plan your sleep (and otherwise stay awake) so that you start to acclimatise to your future time zone. I also plan my flights with this in mind so that the longest leg is when I need to get the most sleep.
The easiest thing to do is sleep when it is night where you are headed. But, only experimentation on your part will help you figure out what is best for you. Just be aware of this issue and have a think about it before just nodding off in the plane. You might save yourself a few days jetlag as a result.
4. Avoid the things that keep you awake
When you are traveling and on international flights in particular you will often be tempted by the free alcohol. If you plan on sleeping avoid it. Alcohol stops you from getting a good nights sleep.
Likewise, if you are someone who is affected by caffeine (I am almost immune to it and can sleep straight after a coffee, yes, weird I know), then avoid it while traveling.
When You Arrive & At The Hotel
To be honest, most of what I said above applies here too.
Be sure to pick a quiet room, especially if you are a light sleeper like me. Ask for something away from the elevator, the air conditioning units (on top floors) and something as high up as possible (to avoid the above neighbours sounding like elephants).
For the rest, the main thing is to try to sleep in the same rhythm you would at home.
- Try to stay awake until your normal bed time.
- Avoid lots of alcohol and coffee
- Avoid screens (phones and laptops) for a few hours before you sleer
- Use all the helpful devices you can from the plane if you need them (eye mask, ear plugs etc).
Another idea to try out, although I personally cannot recommend or deter you, is Melatonin. This is your body's natural hormone that regulates your sleep.
Some people claim that taking it in specific doses and at specific times can help you overcome jetlag faster.
Again, if you are going to play with pharmaceuticals, I recommend consulting a specialist in the area first, or your doctor.
FOOD & HYDRATION
Eating clean is a big and important part of every fitness journey. You can exercise all you want, but don’t expect to see results if you still eat all the fatty and sugary foods.
Most people (myself included) who are dieting or trying to eat clean tend to go easy on themselves when they are on vacation, and indulge in whatever they want. And, that is not really horrible, but the problem is that often times you won’t find it that easy to go back to your original meal plans. And there goes all your effort.
In this chapter, we have a few tips for you on how to stay healthy by eating and drinking properly.