I can’t live without my two biggest passions—traveling and fitness. I haven’t stayed in one country for over two years. Of those two years, most of the time is spent visiting neighboring countries.
I’m also a gym rat—a workout junkie—a meathead. Whatever you want to call it, I’ve always been a health and fitness enthusiast growing up. My day is ruined if I miss a workout, even when it’s vacation time. Over the past couple years, though, I have met people on the road in great shape.
They gave me tips on how to stay fit and not have to sacrifice my fitness to fulfil my hunger for travel. Here are some of them—
The gym has no limits
Your mind is a ball of creativity. Telling yourself that you need a gym to stay in shape is an excuse for being lazy. There’s always something around you that you can use as weights. Find something that can get the blood going and keep your muscles active and pumped. Use chairs, litre bottles, rocks filled in a backpack, tables, etc. You can also buy inflatable weights that you can fill with water, but they can get expensive. Don’t complain about a hotel room that doesn’t have a gym—instead, make your own.
The experienced fitness junkies know that bodyweight exercises can be very challenging. All you really need is some space and you can have a great workout. If you don’t have a workout matt, use a few towels until you’re comfortable.
Push ups are great for your chest and triceps. They also work the shoulders. If you cannot do too many of them, perform the knee-version instead. If you can do endless amounts of push ups, do some decline ones with your feet off a table or chair for more resistance. If push ups bother you altogether, then do dips using a couples chairs instead. Dips work the chest, triceps and shoulders just as effectively as push ups. Make sure you put your suitcase or something heavy on the chairs to stop them from sliding.
Squats are the leaders of all full body workouts. You won’t find a better exercise for your lower body. When I’m on the road, I find things to fill into my backpack—like rocks—and go deep into my squats so I can get the most out of the resistance.
Of course, the most famous muscle group to work using your bodyweight is your core. Do some sit ups, crunches and leg raises to really challenge your abs—make sure you keep it high-reps, too. If you need more resistance, hold some weight against your chest.
Always keep a pull up bar
A door-mounted pull up bar is the most useful bodyweight tool to a fitness freak’s arsenal. They don’t cost more than $30 a piece and fit comfortably into a big suitcase. You can place them onto door frames to use as a great back workout. Chin ups and pull ups at different grips will give your lats a real beating. You can also take it off and use the handles to grip when you perform push ups.
Again, let your mind run free and you’ll figure out ways to work different muscle groups. Exercise programs like P90x cover great exercises which use pull up bars.
If you still need a gym, then just find one!
More advanced athletes will run into problems when sticking to bodyweight exercises. Some trainees can’t get a lot of resistance no matter how much alternative weight they use. If you are at this point, then you can start using public facilities. Shamelessly, I will admit that I use this method quite a lot when I travel. All you do is find a local gym and ask for a trial day. 90% of the time they’ll
be happy to give you a try with their equipment and facilities. Most towns will have more than one gym, so don’t be afraid to go all out! After all, we have to do what it takes for our fitness!
If you want a better workout AND keep your karma in balance, then many modern day cities have public parks and stations that actually make a decent outdoor gym. Find some monkey bars to perform chin ups, pull ups, and dips.
You forgot about your legs!
You’re on your feet a lot while traveling—from walking to hiking, it can turn into some great
exercise. But if you’re used to running 5 miles or more a day, a bit of walking isn’t going to be challenging at all. The rush you get when you do cardiovascular exercises is totally different. Now that you’re on vacation, though, all you have is free time. I like to go for a jog before I start an adventurous day—that way, I can get to know where I am staying and get a feel of the surrounding environment. You could also rent a bike and use that as transport for a day. Roller blades will do just as well, too.
If you are planning to venture off into the unknown and give yourself a break from life, you’ll need somewhere to stay. HotelClub have good deals running into the summer so check that out. Above all, remember to stay fit and do some exercise—a vacation doesn’t mean you can let yourself go!
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