HOW TO EXERCISE WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING AND STILL HAVE TIME FOR SIGHTSEEING
• No more excuses! Learn how to make the most of your time to get in a quick workout and maximize time seeing awesome stuff.
• Embrace this daily gift
• Use this to get things in order
• How to create your own workouts
• (Pssst.) Free workout videos
• Highlighted sections: 1 minute
• Full article: 8 to 10 minutes
The idea of working out while traveling presents an interesting dilemma:
That angel on your shoulder says, “You have been working so hard. Don’t screw this up.”
That devil on your shoulder says, “Are you kidding me? We didn’t come to the Czech Republic to eat carrots. Keg stand!”
Traveling is a time to enjoy yourself.
It’s an opportunity to see new things, try odd foods, and drink from the local watering hole.
Can fitness really fit in between backpacking from London to Nuremberg?
Of course it can, Doubtful Debby.
This is especially true if you are a wanderer who believes in traveling for months or years at a time (like a certain blue-haired blogger). Once the road becomes your life, you need to start shifting everyday tasks into that life.
Do you stop paying bills while you’re abroad?
No, of course you don’t. Those bills are waiting for you no matter what.
Here’s what it comes down to:
While you’re traveling, you wouldn’t stop taking care of the necessities of your life back home…
And your health and fitness is one of those necessities…
MINDSET SHIFT: CHORES TO REWARDS
The first thing you need to cast aside is this notion that says if you’re exercising while traveling, you’re somehow having a less interesting time.
Whoever says you don’t have time to do a few sets of squats, pull-ups, and sit-ups while traveling clearly hasn’t traveled…
Or doesn’t take fitness as seriously as you do…
If you feel some kind of odd guilt the moment you get the urge to work out after you wake up in your hostel, kick it out of your head.
Embrace that feeling of wanting to take care of yourself.
Your body is calling.
It wants that physical challenge.
It needs it.
So why not indulge?
Now, if you think there isn’t enough time in the day to work out while you travel then think again. Here are 4 simple tricks you can use to make plenty of time to exercise AND see the city you’re staying in.
EMBRACE THE 1440 PRINCIPLE
Each day, when that clock strikes 12:00 a.m., we are given the gift of 1440.
Each day, you are given 1,440 minutes to spend as you see fit.
This idea that time is out of our control is preposterous. You set your schedule. You choose to be productive or you choose to slack off.
In other words, you choose exactly how you spend your 1,440 minutes.
If you have time to lie around your hostel because of bad weather then you have time to work out.
If you have time to update your social media for an hour, then you have time to work out.
If you have time to Skype with family and friends (who can just look at your social media pages to be updated) then you have time to work out.
Don’t waste those 1,440 minutes. Yes, you are traveling and having fun is a priority but so is your health. Considering you can spend most of the day sightseeing and all of the night partying, sparring a fraction of those minutes on a workout is completely manageable.
The best way to look at the 1,440 minutes of each day is to imagine that you are following a schedule. Since you’re in charge of the schedule, be sure to…
PENCIL YOURSELF IN
As crazy as it may seem, using a daily planner while you’re traveling is extremely useful.
This is especially true if you’re one of those travelers who wakes up late, misses time sensitive activities like guided tours, and then finally gets out of the hostel to ask where the day went. For those of us who need that extra discipline, a day to day planner is perfect.
In that same mindset, you should be scheduling more than just sightseeing activities. You need to be scheduling time for yourself to work out. Again, it doesn’t need to be some Arnold-esque 2-hour lifting session. It can be a fast paced, high intensity workout (which I’ll talk more about below).
HERE’S A FEW TIPS FOR PLANNING:
Use an App or Handbook
• As mentioned above, you can use an application on your phone or e-mail (you can also go old school and use an actual hand planner).
Block off 10 to 30 minutes
• Start off small – No reason to shoot for the sky
• This time will be dedicated to exercise only. Not your social media pages and not travel research. Exercise only.
Schedule in the Morning
• Do your exercise first thing in the morning because you’re less likely to do it as the day goes on. Wake up, exercise, and the rest of the day can be yours.
Number of Days
• This all depends on how long you’re traveling. If you are only on a week’s trip, one or two days is fine. If you’re traveling long term, then you need to treat the schedule as you would as if you were at home. A minimum of 3 days per week should be what you’re doing. For example:
• Example 1: Let’s say that you have a 6-month visa stay in Santiago. You have found a gym or you will exercise in your apartment. You should be on a normal fitness schedule, exercising 3 to 4 days per week. This can be a combination of cardiovascular training and weight lifting or resistance training, depending on what is available to you.
• Example 2: You’re only staying for 2 weeks in Berlin. After you return to your home, you’ll be right back to your old gym schedule. In this case, you have two options: a.) One full body workout at the gym per week or b.) Two calisthenics workouts per week at your hostel / hotel / host’s place.
So, to summarize: Using your handy dandy app / scheduler, select the days you will work out and block out 10 to 30 minute time slots on the mornings of those days.
You just have two more things to take care of…
CHOOSE A PLACE TO WORK OUT
Another thing to consider if you want to work out and save time is to find a convenient place to do so. Working out doesn’t need to take place in the confines of the local gym. You can work out anywhere at any time (weather and self-confidence permitting).
If the gym is close to where you are staying (10 minutes or less) and you have it in your budget, by all means, get at it. Show the locals how it’s done.
If you don’t have access to a gym or you can’t afford the daily / weekly membership, simply look around you. So long as you have enough space to do a basic push-up, you have a place to exercise.
Measure out the space it would take to perform a push-up. That’s all the room you’ll need to perform a number of calisthenics that can help to promote muscle building, fat loss, and endurance boosting.
Not sure what you can do in that little space? I have the workout for you. Check out my Hostel Workout here. It’s a space AND time saver.
Maybe it’s a nice day and you have access to outside fitness facilities or maybe you want something more challenging. In that case, you need to…
HIT UP H.I.I.T.
You’re convinced you need to work out.
You set your schedule.
You chose a convenient place.
Now, you’re asking,
“What kind of workout should I do?”
Just because I think you should exercise doesn’t mean it needs to be a 2-hour gym session.
However, if that’s what you have access to and if that’s what you prefer, then by all means. Get to it.
That’s not what has to happen though.
The idea here is to match the workout to the place you have access to, the time that’s available, and your experience. If you’re like most travelers, your best option is going to be something that’s quick and intense.
A quick workout means more time to sight-see. A high intensity workout is superior to a traditional long duration, low intensity workout. Lucky for you, these two things go hand in hand.
I would recommend performing a bodyweight-based high intensity interval workout. More commonly referred to as H.I.I.T., this type of workout will take you 10 to 15 minutes to complete, on average.
Need a workout program? Here are two exercise routines that you can do anywhere! I’ve created two different versions: one for beginners and one for those who have been exercising for a long time.
Click here to watch the beginner’s workout.
Click here to watch the advanced workout.
WRAPPING IT UP
• Think of your day like a schedule – You have 1,440 minutes to use – Don’t waste them
• Pencil in time for yourself to exercise
• Schedule your workouts in the morning
• Find a convenient place to exercise to maximize your time
• Perform one of your own H.I.I.T. workouts
• Use one of the workouts that I provided
LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS
Are you an expert at making time for exercise while traveling?
Share your tips below!
Have any questions about any of the tips I listed above?
Don’t be shy! Ask away.