As someone whose main two interests aside from being a mother of course are fitness and travel, I’m often asked how well the two go hand in hand. I’ll admit that at first I found it quite difficult to find my rhythm; it seemed like it had to be one or the other – maintaining my fitness OR travelling. Trips abroad always seemed to mean that I’d fall off the wagon and coming home meant constantly catching up, but I soon worked out how to maintain a steady level of fitness whilst travelling and I’ve got some fab tips for you guys too!
I think one of my main challenges is that my travels are so sporadic (I’ve finally been able to use that in a sentence since Clueless – woohoo), I could be away for a week, back for two, away for 2 nights, back for 10 and so on. The trips also vary so it could be a mixture of long haul and short haul destinations as well as city breaks and resort stays. There’s no real routine so when it comes to my fitness I keep things simple, take the pressure off and work my fitness into each trip as it comes.
1 – Know what you’re eating
This applies more specifically to all inclusive resorts as it’s so easy at dinnertime especially to just pile five different meals onto one plate. When we’re at home would we ever eat lasagna, curry and stir fry in one meal? No, so on holiday keep it simple. The options will be there all week so try to eat as cleanly as possible and whatever you choose try to be aware of what’s in it, it’ll help you to stay in tune with your bodies energy levels and to calorie count if that’s what you do (I personally don’t).
2 – Start your day with a healthy breakfast
I always try to put the most effort into my breakfasts wherever I am and that’s for two main reasons. Firstly if you have a healthy breakfast you’re setting your mentality on the right track, you’re fuelling your body with the right things to feel energised, clean and happy which will give you more motivation to carry on those good vibes throughout lunch and dinner. Secondly if you are travelling a lot in the day and perhaps won’t have much of a variety of healthy meals to choose from at least you’ll know that you’ve already gotten a lot of your daily intake of nutrients! I’d personally have a smoothie packed full of greens and then something carby like porridge to give me energy for the day!
3 – Take the stairs/ walk places
On city breaks we tend to do a lot of walking but when we’re at all inclusive hotels it can be so easy to just lounge around all day, so try to incorporate a bit of everyday fitness like opting for the stairs rather than the lift and walking over taxis. You’ll feel so much better sipping that cocktail if it’s after a nice long stroll to the marina and getting into bed after a long day is so much more satisfying after you’ve taken the stairs!
4 – Make the most of hotel facilities
If you’re staying at a hotel then make the most of the facilities on offer; on our recent trip to Cyprus I used the gym most days and I also took part in the morning stretching sessions and after lunch Zumba classes! I always try to swim abroad too (if it’s not too cold) and a few laps in the morning when the pool is quiet or in the afternoon to burn off a heavy lunch is so revitalising!
5 – Find a gym
If you’re accommodation doesn’t have a gym then there’s nothing stopping you from finding a local one. Most gyms worldwide offer pay as you go rates which of course work out more expensive than a monthly membership but if it means keeping those gains going while you’re away from home then I personally think it’s worth it! I’m a member of David Lloyd which has clubs worldwide, I’m yet to visit one abroad but it’s great to know that I could use one whilst away without wasting my membership!
6 – Take a resistance band
If weight allowances weren’t so tight on planes then I’d totally take ankle weights and a kettlebell around with me but instead I stick to my good old resistance band! I take it anywhere I go as it’s so light and compact yet I can get such a great workout from using it! I mainly use it for glute exercises but you can incorporate it into any target areas and it really gets your muscles burning!
7 – Monitor your fitness
It’s easy to feel out of sorts fitness wise when you’re away from your home comforts but I’ve found using either my Fitbit or health app on my iPhone helps me to track my steps, sleep etc and it keep me motivated. I recently took a trip to Sintra in Lisbon and managed 13000 steps just in an afternoon which made me feel a lot better about not hitting the gym for a couple of days beforehand!
8 – Have readily available workouts
Having workouts accessible to me on my phone helps me to feel prepared on my travels. It means that whether I’m in an air bnb, a hotel gym or a city park I can find a workout to suit my surroundings without feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. I’m quite a planner and I like to know what exercises I’m doing before I start so I simply search for things like ’20 minute abs workout’, ‘no gym arm exercises’, ‘resistance band glue workout’ on Youtube, Instagram and Google and follow those. When I find exercises that work for me I save them as notes on my phone to build my own customised workouts that I enjoy and know work for me.
9 – Workout first thing
Everyone is different but for me working out in the morning is the best way to do it. Getting it out of the way first thing means that you can relax for the rest of the day and make plans; it’s also when you’ve just had the longest rest and recovery, your stomach isn’t heavy from a day of eating and if you’re in a hot country the weather is still nice and cool. Mentally, working out in the morning prepares me for my day ahead, it gives me a confidence boost and leaves me feeling more productive and ready to take on the days challenges.
10 – Drink water between cocktails
If you are someone who likes to have a drink whilst abroad then try to fit a glass of water in-between cocktails; it’ll keep you hydrated and lessen the hangover the following morning. Even if you’re not a drinker make sure to drink atlas your normally daily amount and add more if you’re somewhere hot or doing lots of walking around.
11 – Stick to 3 meals a day with snacks
It’s so easy on an all inclusive holiday or while out and about in the city to just eat at every stop but try to remind yourself to stick to what your body is used to – 3 meals a day with snacks in-between or 5 smaller meals a day. If you’re walking a lot or are in the heat then of course increase your meal sizes but try to keep your body regular to save you from problems like indigestion and bloating.
12 – Stock up on healthy snacks and meals
Whether it’s for the plane, apartment or beach keep some healthy snacks in your bag at all times. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a low sugar cereal bar will do but it will stop you from reaching for unhealthy options between meals. It’ll also save you a few pennies too!
13 – Improvise
If you aren’t able to get near any equipment but you really want to do a bit of weight training then try using things from around your hotel room or apartment. Full water bottles are great for full body workouts as well as tins of food or heavy fruits like watermelons!
14 – and finally … take the pressure off!
Don’t be hard on yourself if your fitness levels drop while you’re away, it’s called a holiday for a reason and as long as your maintaining it enough to keep your body and mind in balance then you’re doing more than enough. If I know I won’t be able to get to any weight equipment while I’m away then I try to have a few heavy weight sessions at the gym before I go to tire me over until I get back. I also just make sure to work extra hard when I get back but I honestly find that as long as I’m maintaining an even level it’s pretty easy to dip in and out of my normal routine at home and my body thanks me for not letting it slide completely!
How do you maintain your fitness levels whilst travelling? Let me know in the comments below and of course share this with your travel and fitness friends!
Thanks for reading!Jess