As I mentioned previously, keeping fit while you travel might not be as hard as you would imagine. There are a few aspects which make it easier (more free time, better weather) but the biggest barrier I have found is the lack of routine. Back in London I would go to the gym every weekday on my lunch break, it was part of my daily routine and thus I never missed my workouts.
When you travel however, routine is the first thing that goes out the window (along with underwired bras – yassss!). This means no more just picking up your pre-packed gym kit from under your desk and going to your usual gym class. Now every time you work out you have to push yourself that little bit harder. You have to make yourself work out when you could be doing so many other fun things, you could relaxing with a book on the beach, out sightseeing, or having a delicious breakfast. I’ve struggled with pushing myself to workout and have come up with a few tricks and tips which I use to make sure I get up off my ass and exercise.
1. Plan ahead
The only way you’re going to stick to a fitness routine while you travel is by planning ahead. Sure, some days you might feel super motivated and go for an impromptu run but more often than not you’re going to get distracted with other more fun things and then find you have not worked out at all for a week.
Most of the time you’ll know what you’re going to be doing for at least the next 7 days, so take your fitness routine week by week. Every Sunday I look at what we’re doing for the week and figure out when I’m going to fit in a workout and at what time. Write it in a notebook or set reminders in your phone to make sure you stick to your plan.
2. Write it Out
Write out your routine before you work out – which body parts you want to focus on, which exercises you want to do and how many set and reps of each. Every workout should have a goal and a structure, otherwise you probably won’t push yourself hard enough. Having a list of what you want to do in front of you will help keep you focused and make you push yourself harder.
During your Sunday planning session write out your workouts for the week. Say Monday you’re going to focus on Legs, Wednesday is Upper body, Friday is full body – and maybe you can slip in a quick ab blast on Saturday morning? This will give your week some structure and will create some much needed routine.
3. Switch up your workout.
On days when you’re not feeling super motivated, find ways to add a little variety to your workout. Try some new cardio, pump the music a little louder, do a new exercise you’ve been meaning to try. Sticking to the same exercises all the time can make a workout boring and monotonous, turn your squats into jump squats, swap running for skipping or just change the location of your workout.
I love Kayla Itsines, The Body Coach and p90X workouts that you can find on Instagram / Facebook and Youtube. Some days when I have a workout planned and I just don’t feel very motivated I pop on one of their videos and work out along to to it. Having someone else to motivate me makes it a lot easier!
4. Make it easy to start
When you arrive in a hotel or hostel take out your gym gear and put it to one side, socks included. This will make it easier to start working out. I started doing this after I missed a few workouts because I couldn’t be bothered unpacking my whole bag to get my kit out (I know, it’s a terrible excuse!). But now my gym clothes are always on the top of my bag and I put them in a spot that I can see when I wake up. Even doing something as simple as this can make it a lot more likely to stick to your workout schedule.
5. Monitor your progress
The motivation to start working out and the motivation to keep working out are very different. Usually feeling a bit shit starts you exercising and then feeling better keeps you going. Seeing your progression is such a great motivator for sticking with with a workout routine.
I’m not just talking about the physical aspect of your progress, which is great, but also progression in your strength and endurance. Keep track of how many sit ups / push ups etc you’re doing or what weights / which resistance band you’re using. Watching the number of reps and the weight go up is a great way to motivate yourself. Maybe you can only do 5 jump squats right now without getting out of breath, or 5 push ups, next workout try 6, then 7 and just keep going. Write it down, add the date and every so often look back and see how far you’ve come.
6. Set goals
In my experience weight-related fitness goals are pointless when you travel, you never have access to a scale so you’re not going to be able to keep track of the numbers. Instead I constantly set out to improve the weight and reps of the exercises I do, and the distances I run. Goals will help keep you motivated and give your workouts a proper meaning. Write them down, or keep them on your phone and keep track of your progress.
7. Find a workout buddy
Lots of backpackers these days are into keeping fit. We often see TRX trainers hanging outside beach huts or meet other backpackers who are running.
If you arrive at a hostel and spot someone who looks like they work out, go chat to them about it. They might know of a gym nearby you can go to or if they work out in the building you can join them while you’re staying there. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people and to shake up the monotony of exercising alone in your hotel room!
There you have it! My top tips for getting and staying motivated to work out while you’re on the road. I swear by them and hope they work for you too 🙂 Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips.
Thanks for reading!