Strategies I’m Using to Stay Fit While Traveling
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I believe that we are meant to live physical lives, which is why I love training, weightlifting, and athletic competition. But, I also believe that we are meant to explore the world around us, which is why I love adventure, photography, and travel.
But balancing these two passions can be a struggle sometimes. Eating healthy and getting to the gym is easier when you’re at home, but harder on the road.
I’m still learning and experimenting with different ideas, but here are some strategies I’ve been using to stay fit while traveling. (Plus, the new approach that I’m taking this year).
1. Do what you can, when you can.
I think the simplest approach is to fit training in whenever you can. When all else fails, you can always resort to this strategy.
Example 1: After 14 hours of flying and a 9-hour time change, I landed in Russia and made it to my hotel late at night. I was exhausted, but decided to do a 10-minute pushup workout before melting into the pillow. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.
Example 2: When I was on the road in the Midwest, I spent 20 minutes doing sprints in the parking lot of an apartment complex. (And a particularly interested inhabitant came out on his balcony and cheered me on.) Again, not much, but I think it was worth it.
You get the idea.
I think the most important part of this strategy is learning to not care what other people think about you. When travel restricts your options, sometimes you have to train in strange places. If you can learn to not care what you look like, then you can always find a way to do some pushups in your hotel room, toss in a set of pullups on a nearby tree branch, or go for a short run in the parking lot.
2. Train with the locals.
It doesn’t always work, but if you have friends or friends-of-friends in the place you are visiting, then this can be a perfect solution. They can take you as a guest to their gym or you can meet up for a training session. As an added bonus, you get to hang out with a friend.
My favorite example of this happened last year in San Francisco. My buddy Scott Dinsmore treated me to a morning kettlebell session under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a perfect workout and ended up being one of my favorite moments of the trip.
3. Make hard choices.
Last year, I spent a week exploring Italy (photos here) before heading to the fantastic St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland. By the end of the week, I was itching for some exercise. But I also needed to catch up on sleep and there was a speaker I wanted to hear leading a session at the symposium the next morning.
Something had to give.
I decided to sleep, exercise in the morning, and go to the symposium an hour late. I missed a great speaker, but after the workout and some rest I was in better spirits for the rest of symposium. It was a hard choice, but I don’t regret it at all.
There are constraints and limitations that happen every day of our lives, but they seem to be especially apparent while traveling. Training on the road isn’t magically going to be easy. Your time and options are limited, so sometimes you have to make a hard choice and miss out on something else.
4. Schedule your travel during an “off week” for training.
This is my latest and greatest approach and I’ll be trying it out for the next 12 months. Essentially, I’m scheduling my travel to happen during a planned “off week” in my training. My thought is that if I travel for 6 weeks of the year, but train consistently for the other 46 weeks, then I’ll be able to have the best of both worlds...