Keeping fit and sticking to a diet is quite often the last thing on your mind when travelling. It’s a time to escape the status quo, relax, explore and give in to calorie dense temptations. While relaxing and enjoying life is certainly important, if you travel regularly for your job or are working towards getting fitter and improving your diet, travel can throw a spanner in the works when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals.
As a personal trainer and an avid traveller, I have put together my must do’s to stay fit and healthy while travelling.
- Pack appropriate active wear and a good pair of training shoes – great for training, walking, exploring and to wear during transit too.
- Choose your travel companion wisely. I’m most compatible with the early bird who likes to explore and keep active. Where possible, opt for someone who’s on the same page as you (i.e. maybe not the nocturnal party animals).
- Throw some lightweight equipment like resistance bands and a skipping rope into your luggage. They will increase your exercise options and will require less space in your suitcase than your hairdryer.
- Pack supplements. Depending on where you are travelling to, you may not always have access to the best quality or quantity of food. I like to travel with supplements to make sure my body remains nourished and functioning optimally. I usually pack fish oil, super greens, protein powder, and multivitamins.
- You got space. You got a gym! You don’t need expensive equipment or a traditional gym to workout. All you need is a little bit of willpower and creativity. Here are my four favourite workout options:
The 100’s game: Choose 5 basic movements (eg. body weight squat, push up, glute bridge or burpees) and complete 100 repetitions in as few sets as possible. Do not move onto the next exercise until all 100 have been done.
Sally up challenge: If you don’t know the song ‘Flower’ by Moby I suggest you download it before you travel. Moby will be your instructor. As the lyrics go, “Bring Sally up and bring Sally down” you will action the movements accordingly. Most exercises will work for this song, for example, sit ups, push ups, dips, and squats. Test yourself. See if you can complete the entire song.
Youtube is a great resource if you have access to wifi. Searching for a hotel room, bedroom, lounge room or body weight workouts will give you plenty of options to choose from.
Make the most of your surroundings. Do some research. Explore, walk, run, climb, cycle or swim, be active in as many ways as you can.
This is the hardest part so don’t freak out. No one expects you to count calories or meal prep on your holiday. However, sticking to a few simple rules can save you a lot of catch up time and effort in the gym when you return home.
- Eat whole-food where you can. Prioritise unpackaged and unprocessed meat, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts and select nourishing, colourful food to fuel your body.
- Utilise the kitchen and pack snacks. A visit to the local supermarket can prevent you from eating junk food, provide you with healthier options and save you a lot of money. I like to pack protein bars, mixed nuts, and seeds.
- Stay hydrated. Pack a travel drink bottle that you can empty before checking in and fill up when checked in. I travel with my protein shaker. I assure you it will pay for itself.
- Avoid liquid calories. Alcoholic beverages, juices, and smoothies can pack a caloric punch.
- Be picky when ordering. Ask for dressings, sauces or cheeses on the side, especially when travelling in the USA.
- Eat breakfast. Meal timings can be very unpredictable so make the most of the hotel breakfast.
Be mindful of the choices you make and find the healthy balance between ‘all or nothing’. It will provide you with the best of both worlds.
(RN, PGC Critical Care Cardiology, PT - Cert III/IV Fitness)