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Training when you travel: How to keep fit when you’re on the move!

Everyone travels, whether for business, or pleasure, to see family or friends, or simply to explore. As wonderful as travelling can be, it can also upset our daily routines massively. We are all creatures of habit and many of our habitual activities get thrown totally off balance when we travel. If you work out in the gym, you find yourself without daily classes or equipment. If you like to run around your area, you will find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Preparing your own food with no kitchen becomes impossible, and sleep is often affected.

Travel workouts can be fantastic; however, it is also important to not stress out if you skip out on a few days of training. It will not set you back in any way. Nonetheless, breaking a sweat comes with so many benefits that if you can find the time to squeeze it in you will likely find yourself in a better mood, with more energy and it can even promote better sleep!

Depending on where we are travelling to, and of course on our travel schedule, finding the time or the fully equipped training spot can be difficult. SO we need to consider our options:

  • Take a few days break and deload. If you have been training really hard, travel can often give you the opportunity to take a little pause. Use your time off to practise a little active recovery, explore your surroundings on foot and walk off any stiffness!
  • Bodyweight, bodyweight, bodyweight! There are hundreds, if not thousands of possibilities for bodyweight workouts. Don’t underestimate the power of bodyweight! Check out this list of 20 bodyweight exercises to get you started!
  • Mobility Work. Pack a foam roller and a couple of lacrosse balls and work on some much-needed mobility! Check out this great video for some amazing hip mobility drills!
  • Explore skip the gym and find active and creative ways to explore your new destination!

Working Out 

It might not always seem apparent (if you are in a tiny cramped hotel room, or staying on a friend’s sofa), but you can always find space to work out! Maybe time is your biggest concern! If so, find five minutes, do some squats when you can, if you find a solid bar crank out some pull ups, or just drop and do some push ups! Most importantly, when you travel you should aim to always be active, and have fun! Why not sign up for a bike ride through a city, or a local hike to explore the landscape!

Don’t worry about being perfect, and shoot for “good enough” while you’re traveling. There are often once-in-a-lifetime experiences that may shift you slightly off your food or exercise routine. Irrespective of your fitness levels, there will be fun activities that are native to the country you are visiting. This can also be a great way to meet people, discover the local culture and learn something new!

Tips for designing a travel friendly workout!

Regardless of where you are working out, always always start with a warm-up. It is extremely important in order to raise your core temperature and to relax your muscles. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. I like to use this little warm up:

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 50 High Knees

  • 50 Knees to Bum
  • 15 Bodyweight Squats
  • 10 Lunges on each leg
  • 10 Push Ups

Perform exercises with no break in between, this should probably take 4-5 minutes.

Once sufficiently warm, move onto your workout. Set a timer for 15 minutes and complete as many full circuits of the prescribed exercises as possible. Be sure to use perfect form for each and every repetition. There are three levels of workout. I would advise beginners to start with the first level and only progress when you feel comfortable enough. The goal is to complete the exercises in a consecutive manner and try and minimise any break time. Do NOT compromise your form! This is not a race, it is purely about creating a pace and sticking to it for the prescribed time.

Have you got a good pair of workout shorts? Check out these awesome Hurley shorts!

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2

LEVEL 3

Don’t forget to do a good stretch after working out. This will help to avoid any post workout stiffness and can help to reduce any risk of injury. Here is a great little video to get you started on your stretching routine! Please note all the above exercises are designed to be done within a confined space. If you are lucky enough to find a nice park or outdoor space (and the weather allows for it!) this link has some great ideas! If you are going to workout outside and go for a run, be sure to get yourself some good running shoes!

Eating Out

If you want any success with your training while you travel, you cannot forget to include a big emphasis on food too! You may find yourself in a place where options are limited, or you find yourself eating every meal out. As Roosevelt aptly said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

When you can it is always best to plan ahead, if you know you are going to be travelling for hours, pack some snacks. I rarely go anywhere without a bag of nuts, a couple of apples, and some homemade protein bars.

Going somewhere cold? These Saxx Performance Tights are a great investment!

Much like with our travel training plan, you cannot be perfect, but a little bit of planning is required to avoid going overboard. We have to keep the rules simple and easy to follow:

  • Eat real food most of the time.
  • Avoid liquid calories.
  • Aim to do the best you can. Don’t freak out!

The goal is to eat food that will keep us sated and on target. This means eating a diet rich in vegetables, with lean proteins (either from animal sources or legumes) some fruit and nuts, occasionally some rice and potatoes and keeping bread, pasta and sweets to a minimum.

Coping with Parties Strategy

As the holiday season is upon us and many of will be travelling, I thought I would add a little section on how to party like a pro!

It is not news to anyone that drinking alcohol is not the healthiest thing for us, neither is staying up too late. However, we all do these things and like with everything in life we just need to practise everything in moderation. Drinking alcohol is not good for us, but if done occasionally, and in moderation then I believe we can still achieve a healthy lifestyle.

If you choose to drink, good for you. If you pick not to drink, that’s fine too. You know yourself best: Be smart.

Healthy Drinking Strategy:

  • Wine and liquor (sipped slowly) without mixers are the “healthiest” options.
  • Sugary mixed drinks or energy drink-and-alcohol combinations are terrible for you.
  • Drink water between each drink.

If you have any other strategies to keep healthy while travelling, please feel free to share them with us here! Enjoy your holiday season!!

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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