While travelling, keeping to your fitness routine can be the first thing that you slack off on, mainly because it is so easy to do so. You’re moving around, you’re already walking plenty, you don’t want to spend money on an expensive temporary gym membership, etc. But at the end of they day, these are all excuses. If you travel a lot, or are a full time traveller like I am, then there will never be a good time to workout. I’ll tell ya, it’s not easy to motivate yourself sometimes, but hey, that’s why we need a good goal and reason to keep fit. Here are some of the ways I keep fit on a budget while travelling full time:
Have a plan, then do your research
It’s a simple first step, but a crucial one. If you want to bulk up and need to lift weights, then it might be a bit of a problem while travelling. Some places might have gyms with the right weight racks but many places won’t. Plus if you have the moolah to pay for short term gym memberships (and some gyms might not even provide this) then go for it, but these are often expensive. So you might need to rethink your plans a little. Bodyweight, high intensity interval training, yoga, running, walking, hiking are all great workouts and cost almost nothing.
I always research the city I am heading to on Google, checking out yoga studios and outdoor free or cheap workout groups I can join before I head to the city. This not only saves you time but will motivate you to get your butt to the mat / field when you land. If yoga is your jam, and you can’t afford the expensive studio fees, many yoga studios also offer donation classes, park yoga and beach yoga - all for affordable fees.
Get a nifty little app for your phone
I’ve covered some really great fitness apps that you can use to stay fit and almost all of them have the option to skip the gym. Using an app you can track your progress, get feedback from the community and if you don’t want to have to think of a different workout everyday, just follow the workout that the apps have laid out for you. Simple, and cheap! And if you stick to it, it work!
Sprints and stairs
Sprinting is one of my favourite and least favourite workouts. It is effective and yet, all it requires is a stretch of road and your running shoes (or barefoot if that’s how you roll). Before sprinting, be sure that you warm up adequately. The rule is the longer the run, the less the warm up needed. So with a short 10 minute sprint workout, you’ll need to warm up for at least 20 minutes so you don’t shock the body and risk injury. Start with a slow jog 15 minute jog, and then follow that with some stretching. Yeah, sometimes the warm up can feel like the whole workout! Once you’re nice and warmed up try sprinting for 10 seconds and resting for 20 seconds - that’s one rep. Do 10 reps and two sets if you can, resting for two minutes between reps. When you’re sprinting really give it your all. Alternatively you can also sprint up a flight of stairs. Once you’re done, make sure you warm-down properly.
While sprinting is a really great workout, I’d recommend you keep sprinting a once a week activity, or if you really want twice a week - unless you’re training to become a professional sprinter that is. Sprinting can really strain the body so add walking, running, body weights in between sprint days.
Join an ultimate frisbee group
Not all cities have Ultimate Frisbee, but if they do then I’d suggest joining this intensive yet fun activity. Not only will you make some fun friends but you’ll be getting a great workout at it. Nothing better than playing outdoors, running, jumping, catching! Hand / Eye / Leg coordination at its best. Most groups are free to join or charge a nominal fee.
An alternative to Ultimate Frisbee is to hit the local park and find a slacklining group which another great group activity that really works on your core, balance and strength.
Hiking and walking
People often underestimate the power of the walk, thinking that the only way to do cardio is ‘hard’ cardio like running, sprinting or zumba. But much can be said for low grade cardio like walking and hiking. You don’t want to overstress your body with chronic cardio. Plus this activity doesn’t require nothing but your own two feet and a sense of adventure (and perhaps a map!). Go ahead and wander around your new city. Or join a hiking group and make some friends while hiking to check out some lovely scenes. I try to get myself out of the house for a daily hour long walk while using the MapMyFitness app to track my distance and speed.
Running, cycling, in-line skating are also great alternatives to hiking and walking.
Yoga studios can charge a bundle to find your zen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I carry my yoga mat with me everywhere I go so I can do yoga at home or in the park for free. Nowadays you can find some really great travel yoga mats that will fold neatly into your suitcase. I have a membership with the yoga streaming site YogaGlo that I use to do yoga at home. If you don’t want to pay for a monthly membership, head over to YouTube for a ton of free yoga flows. Just be sure to have the flow cued up and ready the night before so you don’t spend 10 minutes finding the ‘right’ one - precious 10 minutes that could be cutting into your workout time.
Keep it simple
Working out doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. There is no need to overthink it and come up with complicated workout routines. The best way to keep at it is to make it as easy as possible to achieve. So if all you can manage is strapping on your shoes and going for a 30 minute walk, then do that. If all you have available is a set of stairs, then climb them - again and again and again. If all the space you have is your room, then do jumping jacks followed by some yoga. I find that finding a simple routine and sticking with it without much modification (except to raise the bar) is the best. Having to think about the what your next workout is going to be might sap up whatever available motivation you have for the actual workout. So find something simple that you can replicate in each city without much hassle.
These are my fitness tips when I travel, wanna share yours in the comments?