I don’t own a scale which is a good thing because if I had one I would probably mistreat it for telling me
lies a truth I don’t want to hear. Traveling and staying fit & healthy sometimes don’t go together very well. I wouldn’t want to leave you the impression that I am an expert on this matter. I am an expert on believing that calories eaten on trips don’t count. Forget the old tale that they don’t count while you are on a plane! They basically don’t count the moment you leave your house, so go and get yourself some gummi bears for the taxi ride to the airport. I also believe that passing up free drinks is just rude and I really wouldn’t want to upset a flight attendant any more than the screaming baby in row 21.
Once I have arrived, it is obviously my travel blogging duty to eat ALL the food so I can tell you about it – the good, the bad, and the help, my button just popped!
No, I may not have this fit & healthy business down while traveling but I am for sure a happy traveler.
However, lately have I realized that while being a happy traveler is all well and good, my approach to food and drink does me no good when I travel as much as I do. While it used to be one or two trips per year, it is now a trip per month and I feel like I cannot ignore the issue anymore. It is not about weight, but traveling is exhausting and I need, I want a healthy, fit body. Climbing that mountain starts in your head but you will need your body to get you up there eventually.
I know what you will say now. I should use the hotel gym. Or do my Kayla Itsines program in my room. Or simply not go to the breakfast buffet more than once. Okay, the latter is actually sound advice especially considering that I don’t even like breakfast very much, but the others….yawn. I mean, have you ever been to a hotel gym that looked vaguely exciting?? And as far as Kayla goes, she actually scares me
a lot a little – nobody human has abs like this.
So with that said, I started to think about what may actually work for me to stay fit while traveling, eat all the food and not having to rely on the fact that travel calories don’t count*.
*Written while eating a bag of new Haribo gummi bears because calories from gummi bears truly never count!
BEND IT LIKE BIKRAM
In case, you didn’t know I am an avid Bikram yogi. I started back in the day in New York with amazing teacher to the stars, Tricia Donegan, and have since practiced my way through quite a few countries. While there is all shapes and forms of yoga, the thing I truly love about Bikram is its consistency, it gives me an immediate home away from home. Check out the Bikram website to find studios all over the world and know that you can be sure to get a good class.
When I first arrived in Bangkok, jetlagged and confused it was my first mission to find a studio. What I only called a mission turned into an actual one, but making my way through this wonderful crazy city and mastering public transport, turned out to be a great achievement. Mind you, I arrived with a minute to spare as I couldn’t make sense of the Thai street signs and with 100% humidity outside getting there was probably enough of a workout already.
Needless to say, in some parts of the world yoga studios come a dime by the dozen so you will always find a mat somewhere. A lot of studios these days offer not only single classes but also weekly passes for ‘wandering yogis’. If nothing else, you can always turn a beach towel into a mat and practice an audio or online class. Honestly nothing beats yoga with a view! Just don’t let the monkey disturb you…
It always surprises me how excited I get when I see a gorgeous hotel pool, yet I rarely make my way into the deep end. I cool off, I splash around a little, and stay close to the spot where I left my cocktail. This will change with the next pool. I shall do lapses. Ten (or more if the pool is tiny) before breakfast, another ten while sunbathing and ten under the moonlight when I stay at the Royal Mansour (you will see soon why that’s going to be exciting!). It’s exercise, but still a perfect way to enjoy the scenery.
On that note, I will also stop eating waffles and pastries for breakfast. I don’t even like waffles and pastries very much, but for some reason, they always find their way on my plate when I am on a trip. So does Halva in Greece, cake in Brazil, and coconut balls in Bangkok. Mind you, I will never give up coconut balls so ten more lapses when I am in Thailand next.
WHEN IN ROME…
I tend to follow that saying in most things when I travel, however, I had to take a trip all the way to Brazil to realize that this can be applied to local sports as well. Mainly for the guys, this meant playing soccer with the locals, for me, it meant taking a capoeira class. Not only did I work up a nice sweat, but I also learned a good deal about Brazilian culture and the historic origins of the sport. So if you are keen on a workout with cultural immersion think Tango in Argentina, Sumo in Japan, Sepak takraw in Malaysia, and of course, Golf in Scottland.
Never underestimate the power of the ocean. That’s not only good safety advice but also helpful when it comes to staying fit when you travel. I realized after day one that scuba diving was not only going to be my most beloved activity from then on out but judging by my sore muscles it was also a brilliant workout.
Whether you are ready to take the plunge or prefer snorkeling, like to get your Johnny Utah on or kayak simply to see more of the scenery, most watersports are awesome to up the heart rate and take in a good dose of vitamin sea.
CLIMB THAT DAMN MOUNTAIN
While I was initially scared of climbing Mount Kinabalu, I do love hiking when I am traveling. There is something deeply meditative about being surrounded by green and just focus on putting on foot in front of the other. I did struggle (and lose a toenail) in Chiang Mai, but absolutely loved the way being in the mountains made me feel.
Same when I hiked around the Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and through the jungle in Brazil. Give me a rocky path or a jungle and chances are I will emerge sweaty, dirty, and very very happy.
There is not always a mountain available, but usually, you can find at least a concrete jungle for a little workout. So don’t forget the obvious especially when you are on a city trip – walk! I believe when visiting cities like New York or Lisbon you can eat whatever you want because you will definitely burn any calories off by walking everywhere. Lisbon especially will throw in some nice hills and while the cable cars are picturesque, I also found them quite expensive and preferred to huff and puff my way up.
For those runners amongst you, I recommend you take your running shoes and discover the city one stride at a time. People like me will join you after eating all the breakfast coconut balls! After all, I will need something to walk off…
I realize that with all those tips to stay fit while traveling, the common denominator seems to be that I like the idea of workouts that don’t feel like one, but rather add to my experience in a country. With that said, what are your best ways to stay fit while traveling so you can eat ALL the coconut balls?