Have you ever found yourself putting aside your love for fitness because you’ve been on the road? Stopped exercising? Eating unhealthily? Beginning to hate the thought of exercise?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone!
Having a passion for both travel and fitness doesn’t always come hand in hand. A lot of the time it feels as though two hands are not enough to carry both fitness and travel for any means of time. If only we had an extra hand or two! Travelling, as we know, generally becomes your life for the length of time you’re on the road, therefore there are a lot of factors that begin to impact your thoughts when deciding whether or not you should follow your training plan.. and we all know the easy option generally prevails.
Firstly let me break down the causes before we come to the resolutions.
Whether you’re on a beach holiday in the Maldives, road-tripping across America, on a gap year in Australia, travelling around Asia, on a safari trip across Africa or Inter-railling through Europe, and whether you’re travelling long term of short term.. this applies to you. As long as you’re travelling you will benefit from the tips and advice provided here. Buckle in, it’s time to get fit!
Factors that make fitness so hard when travelling:
When travelling it’s very normal to feel your energy zap, as if, out of nowhere it has just leaked out of you and gone. Where?..
- Lots of walking around and activities
- Increased amounts of standing about and waiting (transport, queues..)
- Waking up earlier than usual (always go go go!)
- Lack of routine (eating schedule and bed time)
- The heat
- Not eating enough meals (snacking for convenience)
- Not enough water!
- Those cheeky extra beers and cocktails
As obvious as some of the above may sound, think about them and also why they may be zapping your energy – the fuel that you previously hoped to use to keep yourself fit & in shape..
More often than not, the struggle of keeping fit when travelling always comes down to a lack of energy/tiredness or dehydration. Only 2 things we need to overcome, this will be easy!!.. (Usually not the case). A lot of the factors above stem into a snowball effect therefore meaning that depending on your circumstances, your location and your situation – once you associate with one of the above, it can very easily lead onto another, and another..
Thankfully there are many ways to overcome these problems, or in worst case scenario – reduce the impact of them. So don’t worry if you’re all too familiar with these types of situations, there are many solutions for everyone. Yes, you!
- Change your workout environment
A simple change of workout environment can be enough to engage your desire to workout. When there’s lots signals telling you not to train, the last place you’re going to want to go to is the same gym you’ve been using for a while, with the same people, same music… you get me? Taking your workout to the beach, out in the garden or by the park, can be the one change your mind was needing to get your endorphins flowing and your heart going. Or if you need a variety of equipment, why not visit another gym? You’ll be amazed how much a change of scenery can affect you.
- Make sacrifices in your weight training
As much as some people love heavy weight training, it is really demanding and requires a lot of energy. Take into consideration the factors mentioned above with the addition of weight training = far too much. Combining both is not only going to negatively affect your training, but also your travels so sacrifice your heavy weights and just do something. Otherwise you’ll burn out quick.
- Try something new
It has been proven that as humans our minds react to change. Depending on your situation when on the road you may be left with little choice other than to try something new. All this requires you to be is open-minded and willing, which I assume you are, given you’re a traveller (yay that’s a good start) so why not take part in a local bootcamp, practice yoga or pilates, go a run down the beach, hike a nearby mountain, go scuba diving, walk round the city, take part in poolside games, play football with the locals or do water sports. There are SO many alternative activities you can take part in, wherever you are in the world. I don’t want to hear about “there’s no gyms nearby”. The world is your gym, find things to do and do them!
- Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. You’re automatically setting yourself up at a disadvantage if you don’t provide your body with enough food to start the day. Think of a car and a long road trip. You wouldn’t head off without fuelling up your car (there’s always a chance you may not come across a place to get fuel – the same goes with eating) so why would you start your day without fuel? Get a good breakfast – you and your body will thank you for it.
- Re-hydrate before bed
We all hate waking up during the night/in the morning with a dry mouth and a sore head. One simple mistake: not enough water before bed. Think back to the factors I mentioned above –
• Hot weather = sweat more = dehydration
• Extra beers and cocktails = dehydration
• Drinking less water = dehydration
The evident issue being dehydration, but little do we know, by the time we feel thirsty or have a dry mouth or a headache; we are past the point of becoming dehydrated. It sets in before we feel these symptoms, so don’t wait till you’re feeling dehydrated. Before bed, ensure you have a glass of fresh water then fill it up and leave it at your bedside for during the night. On top of that, a glass of water first thing when you wake up will ensure your hydration is at a good level to start the day. Remember that dehydration levels carry over through the night, so unless you act on replenishing this, you’ll feel just as bad – if not worse, in the morning.
- Shower first thing
As much as this may not sound appealing whist in the midst of your early morning wake up struggles, there actually is nothing better than feeling awake and alive in the morning. Out with the slow groggy mornings where you don’t have enough of your brain switched on to function properly. Jumping in for a shower (or into the pool, if you’re lucky) right after waking up is a guaranteed method to get you started for the new day. Feeling so alive at that time in the morning doesn’t sound right, but believe me, once you’ve tried it you’ll reap the benefits and be ready to take on the day! Ps. it’s good to start off clean also..
- Take a rest and forget about fitness
As absorbing as fitness can be once you’re into the swing of things and you’ve found what you enjoy, it really can be hard to let yourself lose your grip of it. But with all things in life it is important to have a balance between what you’re doing, therefore trying to be over-productive can in fact lead to a lack of productivity. If you’re trying to juggle too many things at once and only applying part of your efforts and attention into it, why not take a genuine rest from fitness? It doesn’t have to be long – maybe 1 day, or even a week. Listen to your body’s signals and judge it from there. You’ll find that once you’re back into your training after a rest period, you’ll be ready to go harder than you were before. More energy, more motivation and more excitement. Even some relaxation like visiting a spa or meditation could be the missing link in your routine that’ll get you back to normal.
So don’t worry if you’re on the road and you’ve been faced with a lack of motivation to workout. There are many solutions to overcome this – all it takes is a bit of thinking to identify what is causing the issues, applying some small changes into your routine and then reaping the rewards.
Who says you can’t balance your fitness with your travels? I say go go go, what are you waiting for!
Check out ‘Your Guide to Fitness on the Road’ for 6 effective tips guaranteed to improve your fitness-game when travelling OR check out my Guide on HIIT for a quick and very effective training method to keep your body fit and lean.