10 Tips For Keeping Fit While Traveling

10 Tips For Keeping Fit While Traveling

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Keeping fit while traveling is certainly a challenge!

Back home we’re used to our gym routines, with a daily diet regimen we’re normally in control of. But when we’re discovering a new place, this all goes flying out the window. Keeping fit just falls to the back of the queue when you want to go out and discover a new place — and, of course, go headfirst into all the many local delicacies.

Over the years, we’ve worked hard at keeping fit while traveling, each time finding novel ways to stay trim and in shape. Over the past year, in particular, with the rolling Covid lockdowns, we’ve found these tips handier than ever!

In this article we summarize some of the most effective ways we’ve found that have helped with keeping fit while traveling — equally applicable during the lockdowns.

1. Wanting it is half of the struggle!

The starting point is your mentality. This may sound obvious, but if you want to keep fit while traveling, then you’re already halfway there.

For us, fitness is super important. We prioritize it and make it part of our daily schedule. It not only does wonders for our self-esteem and confidence, but it also allows us to pull off those vain speedo thirst traps we love to post…

2. Start your day with Yoga.

We started doing this during lockdown, and it’s one of the best things we’ve done. Yoga is an incredible way to energize you in the morning, remove negativity and manage stress/anxiety. We find it puts us in the right frame of mind to start a new day. There are countless benefits to yoga!

Our personal favorite online class we’re loving at the moment is Yoga With Adriene. She offers several 30-day challenges, which are such a joy to start each day with. The great thing about them is you can do them anywhere as long as you have a device and internet access. They are also different in length, ranging from 20 minutes to 30 mins or more. It’s not too strenuous and easy to dive straight into when you’ve just got out of bed.

Swimming pool selfie in Vientiene

3. Follow a routine of bodyweight exercises.

There are a ton of exercises you can do using your own bodyweight, great for keeping fit while traveling. The great thing is they don’t need any equipment and can therefore be done anywhere — in your hotel room, in your quarantine room, in the local park or by the beach.

The hard part is the will to do it — see tip #1 above! It’s so easy to make up excuses to skip it.

We try and aim for a 30-minute session with a mix of things like pushups, high knees, core exercises (planks, Russian twists, sits ups, etc.), squats, walking lunges, mountain climbers, tricep dips on a chair, star jumps and many more.

You’re not going to bulk up with bodyweight exercises as much as you would using weights in a gym. However, maintaining a daily routine has definitely helped keep us toned and trim while traveling.

4. Get yourself a good online trainer.

Listen, we get it. Working from home or traveling solo, it’s hard to motivate yourself. You may not have the right equipment, or just can’t be bothered to do any exercise. This is when a good online coach can challenge you and help you achieve your fitness goals.

Thanks to Covid, the online fitness world has exploded! There are so many gay personal trainers offering classes or 1-2-1 sessions you can book — some free, some for a cost. Fitness influencers like Tom Daley and Davey Wavey frequently post different routines on their YouTube channels.

5. Find a local park for outdoor cardio training.

An outdoor gym in Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Hands up those who have done more running now than at any other time in their life? One of the exemptions to lockdown rules is outdoor exercise. We’ve never seen so many runners out in our local parks!

People primarily associate cardio exercises with losing weight. Whilst this is certainly true, it’s also super important for overall fitness. The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised, otherwise it will get weaker. There are countless studies showing how cardio helps to lower depression, tackle stress, reduce the risk of cancers, hip fractures, and so much more.

Lockdowns and working online means we spend most of our time behind a laptop. This makes it more important than ever to get out there and be active. As a result, we definitely recommend incorporating a variety of cardio training into exercise routines.

The same applies for traveling. When booking a base to stay, we always seek out places that are near a large green space. Local parks are a blessing when you’re looking to keep trim. Doing a few laps around one for 5-10km is the best way to burn off heavy meals and unwanted calories. It’s also a lot of fun, especially with a local running group or friends.

Parks are also perfect places to do bodyweight exercises (weather permitting, of course). In Buenos Aires, for example, there is a strong outdoor fitness culture — most parks have several small yellow huts called “Estación Saludable” where you can get water, fresh fruit as well as measure your weight, BMI and heart rate!

6. Seek out local swimming pools and beaches.

Sebastien kayaking in Koh Tarutao, Thailand

This one applies less during lockdowns and more for travels: Most cities will have many inexpensive swimming pools for locals to use. For example, our hostel in Vientiane, Laos, was just a few blocks away from the city’s main public outdoor pool. It cost just $2 each time to access and made the perfect respite from a day of sightseeing or catching up with emails behind the laptop.

When searching for Airbnb apartments, you can filter searches to include swimming pools.
In Bangkok, for example, there are many inexpensive condos in the suburbs like Udom Suk, which will have decent sized lap pools along with a small gym. The average price we paid for a condo in Bangkok with gym and pool was around $30 a night.

7. Incorporate high-energy activities into your travels.

Snorkeling in Koh Lipe, Thailand

One of the best ways to incorporate cardio into traveling is via fun outdoor sports like kayaking, trekking and scuba diving/snorkeling. We find these types of adventure holidays to be the most rewarding — burning calories while having tons of fun at the same time!

In Nepal, we trekked the Annapurna Circuit, which included around seven hours walking in the altitude almost every day whilst being awed by the incredible Himalayan landscapes. We also love the underwater world, so we always try to do lots of snorkeling and scuba diving (both super fun cardio exercises) when holidaying close to a tropical reef like in Thailand and Indonesia.

One of our most memorable adventure holidays was on Koh Tarutao island in Thailand. It is a protected island completely free from mass tourism with plenty of cycling, jungle treks, kayaking and snorkeling opportunities.

8. Remember to eat clean and healthy!

Exercising every day is all well and good, but when it comes to keeping fit while traveling, your body needs the right nutrition. This is again down to mentality and your approach to food.

We always strive to eat clean. At the same time, we don’t care for diet fads. Ultimately, it’s all about balance. We proudly devour our carbs and are happy to enjoy delicious cakes in moderation knowing a 5km run the next day will take care of it.

We are nonetheless careful to avoid processed foods and prioritize fresh products. We also make fresh fruits and vegetables a daily priority. In every new place we visit, we seek out the local market to stock up on a few days’ fruit. Shopping for fruits is not only a fun way to discover a new place but at the same time you learn about new exotic local fruits you’ve probably never heard of — a few that come to mind include Ecuadorian pitayas, red Indian bananas and Chinese dragon fruits.

9. Seek out any local gyms or hotel gyms.

A local gym in Kuching, Malaysia

In a post-Covid age when things start to reopen normally, a local gym is an ideal place for keeping fit while traveling. When we arrive at a new destination, we search for affordable gyms to use, particularly when the weather does not allow you to go to a local park.

In most cases, local gyms are inexpensive to use for a daily/weekly/monthly membership. On average we’ve paid a daily rate of no more than a few dollars per person. The best we’ve found is the government-funded “Cumando Parque Urbano” in Quito, Ecuador — a large new sports complex with gym, pool, classes and the bonus, it’s completely free for all!

Many hotels will often have a decent sized gym to use, or will let you use them for a nominal fee if you’re not staying there.

10. Sleep well!

Never underestimate the effect a good night’s sleep has on everything — from energy levels, stress and overall state of mind. This is also when the body heals, repairs and muscles grow.

We use a mix of our Fitbit and phone apps to track our sleeping pattern and to monitor how well we’ve slept. We also try to stick to a strict routine, which inevitably gets broken on weekends or when we go out partying on holiday.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you approach and prioritize fitness. For us, keeping fit while traveling is extremely important. Beyond having a vain social media gallery (!) it makes us feel more confident, energized and generally more positive. Therefore, we make fitness and healthy eating an important part of our daily lifestyle, which is what enables us to keep fit when traveling.

Do you have anymore tips for keeping fit while traveling?

Nomadic Boys are gay French/Greek couple Stefan and Sebastien, who have been traveling the world together since they met in 2009. The boys use their gay travel blog to inspire and show that LGBTQ travelers can travel anywhere, by providing a first-hand account of their travel adventures.

All images courtesy Nomadic Boys

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