How to stay fit while travelling

When you’re on holiday it can be easy to just let go, over indulge and enjoy yourself with late nights and booze benders. When you return home you get on the scales and realise you’ve put on 5kg. Oops.

I lived for a year in France on a student exchange when I was 15 and put on 10kg. I went from 47kg to 57kg and I looked rough! I’ll have to dig up a photo of myself back then one day…

We’ve been travelling continuously for more than a year now and if I kept up my bad eating and no exercise habits I would’ve easily found myself in a deja-vu situation of my previous days. And I wasn’t keen for that to happen.

So Dave and I have been staying fit while we travel and here are five tips on how to do the same.

Work out Double-Barrelled Travel

How to stay fit while travelling

Pack your gym kit

I’m not just talking about your trainers. Pack a skipping rope and resistance band, which weigh less than a hairdryer, and use them in your workouts. Skipping can actually burn more than twice as many calories as running, at around 10 calories a minute.

Resistance bands are great when you don’t have access to a weight machine – just use your own body weight with these for a great workout.

Nike Training Club app

Dave and I are obsessed with this app. We try to use it every second day.

Nike Training Club app Double-Barrelled Travel

The Nike Training Club app consists of high intensity workouts and you can choose whether you want to work out for 15, 30 or 45 minutes. You can also select a beginner, intermediate or advanced session.

You hardly ever need any equipment (although some workouts require dumb bells – we just use full water bottles) and you’ll be sweating in no time.

You do exercises like sit ups, push ups, burpees, squats, high knee runs and so on, with the app beeping and instructing you when it’s time for a new exercise. You can also programme your own music from your phone to go with the workout – it’s great.

The Nike Training Club app is free to purchase.

(We are in no way affiliated with the Nike Training Club app.)

Empanada Quito Ecuador Double-Barrelled Travel

Stuffing my face with an empanada – not a good way to lose weight!

Fitness DVDs and YouTube workouts

I recently bought the Zumba DVD and have found it to be a great workout. You don’t need much room to complete it and it’s a fun way to start your day by dancing around the room. I used to go to Zumba classes in London and although doing it in a group is more fun, the DVD is the second best thing.

Zumba says you burn 1,000 calories an hour, but I think it’s more like 400 – 600 depending on your weight.

YouTube is also a great resource for workouts. Dave and I regularly use it in the evenings to do short pilates and abs workouts. One of our favourite abs workouts is this one, and Denise Austin has some great pilates workouts on YouTube.

Canoe Amazon Ecuador Double-Barrelled Travel

Not a bad spot to work out… on a canoe in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Find a place to run with prior planning

Dave and I always try and book accommodation that’s close to an open green space so that we can go for a jog. At the moment we’re house sitting in Cuenca in a place that’s close to a river. Unlike other places in Ecuador, it has a well-kept public footpath running along the entire side of the river, which is perfect for running.

Use your local environment in your workouts. Dave uses tree branches for pull ups and the other day he was doing weights with a log he found!

If you want to burn fat but are looking for a quick workout, try doing sprints. Run as fast as you can for 200m – 300m and then walk slowly for 30 seconds. Repeat. You’ll be fit in no time!

Here’s a helpful article from the Huffington Post for more information on the benefits of sprint training.

Kayaking Dominica Double-Barrelled Travel

Hire a bike to explore the city

One of the best ways to explore a city is to hire a bike because it allows you to take in the local neighbourhoods will you cruise along at your own pace. We’ve done this in places like Montreal, Rottnest Island and Croatia.

You can burn calories while you sight see – a win-win situation!

In fact, incorporating exercise into your sightseeing is one of the best ways to stay fit while travelling. For example hire a kayak, like we did in Dominica, or go for a day hike to explore a national park.

Bike riding Montreal Double-Barrelled Travel

Bike riding in Montreal

Don’t make excuses

Yep, it’s the crux of all arguments against working out but if you’re on holiday then you’re meant to have more time on your hands, right? So you should have time to get up a little early and make the most of your day with a good workout to boost your mornings.

Sometimes it’s hard – I’ve certainly been there – but that’s why I set my alarm up on the otherside of the rooms these days… to ensure I actually get out of bed.

What tips can you add for how to stay fit while travelling?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

4 comments on “How to stay fit while travelling”

  1. Lesh- NOMADasaurus Reply

    Great tips. We are long term travellers too and staying fit gets hard. You meet people, get to know more about each other’s adventures over a beer or 2, then boom….beer belly. 🙂 When you are on a budget beer always seems the cheapest too. And of course all the delicious food in some countries,. But you do need to look after yourself.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Luckily (or not so luckily – it depends on your perspective!) I’m allergic to beer. Dave suffers from the beer belly from time to time though, and I certainly get a wine gut 😉
      Glad you enjoyed the tips!

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