How to Keep a Healthy Routine When Traveling: Fitness Tips & More
Something I've really wanted to touch on is keeping a balance when you travel, keeping a routine. We live our daily lives in routine, we keep it and create new ones all the time because that is how we thrive, we as humans tend to crave that comfort. We keep what feels good in our daily lives, otherwise we'd throw the routines out. Therefore, it makes sense to incorporate that into your travel life, especially if you want to travel more long-term. I struggled with finding that balance for a long time, and actually found myself indulging too much when I travelled for months abroad at times. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin after these over indulgences, I didn't like how I looked and this created negative reactions from something I loved doing: traveling. That needed to change. Heres the thing- when you have those indulgences you create the idea that travelling is a vacation, not a lifestyle. I wanted travel to be my life so this wasn't okay with me.
The more you make traveling become your life however, the easier it becomes to incorporate your diet, healthy habits and more into that travel routine. It may even expand how you think of your health and body as a whole if you seek that lifestyle out as you travel. Eating the local cuisine doesn't have to be unhealthy, in fact many aren't, it's just the touristy places that fill you with ideas on how to indulge.
The balance thing isn't always easy, but that all plays a role when it comes to accepting the culture, and trying new things especially if you're a major travel foodie. If food is something that is really important to you, and you're all about trying everything, here's the thing: don't let your health go out the window just to indulge in everything. Keep the balance. Listen to your body, if you are bloated from one big meal you tried, take some time to walk and cleanse it out with water, tea, and healthy fiber filled veggies. Don't over do it.
Here are a few more things to consider when traveling and below are some fitness and diet routines I keep myself on even when visiting new countries, keep in mind however I have dietary differences and also am not really into "foodie travel" as much as some might be. So change it up to how you are obviously, but stick to compromises when it comes to your health and well being.
(**I am a foodie, just more of a health foodie I guess)
1) Learn Health Tricks and Tips From the Culture
When I was in India, I learned that different herbs and spices can benefit how I process my food, certain ones keep me from getting sick and others might not be best for my diet. In Paris, I learned where to get the right type of un-processed foods (particularly dairy) and how to tell the difference. Other cultures have more to tell you than you think, and all you have to do is ask and take note. It's funny what you can find out just in seeking that out. If I had never been a health nut I might've never figured some really interesting things out about my body. What it needs, and what it really craves when it starts to want things that aren't the best for myself. There is a reason for it all, and your body gives you little clues to get to the bottom of it.
2) Walk as Much as Possible
In most countries, aside from a few off the top of my head, I think you can pretty much walk everywhere. When its slightly farther public transportation (trains, buses, etc) should be your first go to. You always end up walking more. This is obviously a no-brainer but I think its easy to get in the mindset of what takes the least amount of time? We are always on the go, trying to fit everything in a schedule. Traveling finds a way to change your schedule anyways, so take it in at a pace that lets your body absorb it all as well.
3) Stick to Your Dietary Limitations - With Some Exceptions
Now I say this for those that may be like me, gluten free and dairy free is a hard one to keep up with in some countries but for the most part my advice here is ASK. You won't know until you ask and some cultures are very open to these things, they understand and want to give you good food that won't leave you in pain or ill so trust me here and ask first. Second, if you're like me and you're in Paris and can't not have a croissant, then you understand the concept of exceptions. Every now and then I give myself that option, just not constantly. I open myself to it then have to cleanse it a bit as I said before. Let me tell ya though...worth it. In moderation.
**Another thing that is CRUCIAL when traveling: protein protein protein!!!! This is what will save your butt every time you travel, it keeps your energy up, keeps you full longer so you're not stopping every hour and wasting that precious time, and if you're in a hot place where you're sweating out your weight, it keeps you from dying of some illness. Protein, whatever it is for you should be something you consider for every. single. meal.
4) Look At Menus
Look up words you might need to use if the area doesn't speak much English. This has saved me in certain places (especially small towns) and actually earned me some points for being prepared and bonus points for trying to learn their languages. Sometimes I come out looking like an idiot of course but they appreciate the effort usually, and really do want to give you food you will enjoy so work with them and try not to be shy about it.
If you are going to be complicated when ordering, don't feel guilty or weird, you have to live with it so put in the work beforehand. It'll only benefit you and it shows respect for the cuisine and culture to look ahead and ask questions!
5) Get Up Early
When you wake up earlier, you are getting your body into a routine that benefits your health. You're doing more in the day, you're lowering stress levels by getting a routine focused in the daytime and bonus: your metabolism is working earlier which is definitely what you want especially if you're eating constantly.
Not a morning person? Work your way there. Start by aiming for an hour before your normal waking time, and slowly get to a point that you can feel accomplished. For me? I usually get up around 6 am when I travel! 5:30 if I plan workouts beforehand or earlier if I'm trying to catch the sunrise with my morning coffee (I'm big on sunrises>sunsets).
6) Adrenaline Rush
I noticed as I wrote in my journal the other night that a lot of the crazy things I do, I do when I travel. But this is interesting because it's only expanded my comfort zone, and I truly believe it reduces my stress levels. It's also a fact that it has positive effects on your body. The process makes it so its suddenly pumping way more blood to your brain, lots of good vibes are sent to your body from that. Hence, why we have adrenaline junkies. Granted, I'm not to that level but I do seek out the things that get my blood pumping because 1) they're usually breathtaking things you should all do in your life and 2) it has positive body effects for me.
7) Give Yourself Indulgences
Don't wanna be that person that says don't do this or this or this, that's no fun. And if I said I limited my lifestyle and diet perfectly I'd be lying so here's the truth. When I'm in Paris, I let myself have a croissant, a macaroon or some chocolate every now and then. When I'm in Italy I may at times drink more coffee than I should ever have or perhaps a plate of pasta that's NOT gluten free. Scandalous, I know. Do I feel bad about those moments? Not at all. Because they were small indulgences I delighted in. These are small moments that didn't affect my body to the point of ruining my trip so it was okay for me personally. Indulgences are not meant to be an everyday thing though, and I know it get's hard in this culture of "treat yo self" and all but keep it to a minimum that you are comfortable with.
Now I know this is total yogi of me but I truly think meditation helps with stress and balancing out your body. Traveling can be overwhelming sometimes, I know I've definitely had my moments that I just needed to decompress everything I was seeing, everything I was taking in. If you're not into meditations try your own version of it, whatever it is that helps you decompress, keep that in your routine, everyday. It's really important to have that daily even if you didn't feel you experienced a whole lot that day or something, it's still you time that is separate from whoever you're traveling with. It's time you need, even if you don't always think so.
I can't even stress this enough you guys. Water is so important. All day, every day. But also the right kind of water. Make sure you're being smart about where you get your water from, don't get it from a random stand off the side of the road, get it from the nearest store, gas station, stock up at a grocery store that seems reputable. Do research if you have to. Don't get water poisoning, it's the worst thing in the world. I still have nightmares about it happening again to me so I'm just going to say it again here for added effect: don't get water poisoning. A pro tip for ya is I tend to travel with my osprey backpack that has an added water bag in it so I just buy jumbo water bottles or fill it up at a safe restaurant or hotel and continuously chug throughout the day. Don't ever travel without water. Going to the beach for the day? stock up on a few. Going on a boat? bring water. Heading to a shopping area for the day? BRING WATER. Can't stress it enough. Please hydrate.
Some people roll their eyes when they find out I'm the weird girl with a bunch of supplements when I travel, but I've learned from trial and error let me tell you. I used to be the girl who was learning how to travel with friends and ate some food that upset my stomach, and I thought wow this sucks if only there was something I could've done to make my stomach indestructible. Well it may not make it indestructible, but it sure as hell makes it close. The benefits from supplements go on and on and I could talk about it for several pages but just so I don't overwhelm you, here are a few:
Probiotic - take daily, actually improve digestion, and prepare your stomach almost like a shield to help you adjust to the new diet that's about to enter your body. Food is prepared differently in different countries, its washed with different water than you're used to and overall this can be overwhelming to your body.
Vitamin C and B - boost your immune system. Note: take extra (double dose) about a week before your trip and this usually helps keep your body strong and ready for what you're about to put it through. This might be especially needed if your going to do a volunteer trip of sorts, anything where you directly interact or touch other people constantly.
Magnesium - aids with stiff muscles (can you say long flight?), enhances sleep, reduces stress, and helps with circulation.
Activated Charcoal - can actually help with bloating! One of my favorites, I'll just add it to my water sometimes when I feel overly bloated (which can also happen from altitude changes, not just from my diet changes), it naturally reduces gas, or any discomfort in your body.
How do I travel with all of this?
I do the ziplock bag thing like a pro, others might get small containers or something but in my opinion, that's weight I don't need to deal with on my back. If you put them in something other than their original containers don't forget to label them!
My Workout Routine
Want to know more on what I tend to do to stay fit while traveling? Here are some of my favorite reps to do! If I'm feeling it I'll do two of them but it really depends, mostly I'm in these countries to walk around and experience everything I can so this is not the main priority of course but my body is #1 and usually working out makes me feel good! Here are a few workout routines I love!
Workout #1 - Abs Abs Abs
Start with 15 mins cardio of choice (Pro tip: I bring a jump rope everywhere I travel!)
20 sit ups
60 second plank
20 lying double leg lifts
30 mountain climbers
30 Russian twists (with added weight of choice)
45 second plank
1 min flutter kicks
2 min knee ups
15 sit ups
30 Russian twists (with added weight)
**While traveling if you don't have weights I recommend using household items, or filling a heavy water bottle, using books or your backpack. Get creative!
Workout #2 - Leg Burn
10 mins of cardio
50 jumping jacks
30 fire hydrants per leg
10 jump squats
10 squat pulses
30 split squats per leg
1 min wall sit
30 lunge jumps
15 squat pulses
60 second chair pose
Workout #3 - Full Body
15 mins cardio
60 second (add weight) squat and press
30 squats with tricep extension (add weight)
25 lunges with weight
25 tricep dips
25 squat jumps
60 second plank (this time on your forearms) and dip your right hip to the mat, and switch sides every few seconds.
30 second mountain climbers
15 Russian twists (with added weight if possible)
15 leg lifts
15 sit ups
60 second wall sit
For added workouts I'll usually finish with some yoga, or sometimes I just want to do yoga that day and sweat out some toxins. It varies depending on my body, as I'm sure it will for you too!
Main lesson here is: listen to your body.
Stay tuned for my next post loves! xx