10 ways to stay healthy + fit while traveling!
We've been away from home for a couple of months now and in the past have traveled up to 6 weeks at a time! Let's just say trial and error has definitely perfected our system of not only staying in shape but feeling great while traveling too! I thought I'd share my best tips for how to stay healthy and fit while traveling.
Between the lack of routine, all the delicious food, and no fitness equipment, you might find it hard to maintain your regular healthy habits on the go! I have struggled finding that balance between enjoying my trip and not totally giving up on my health. While traveling through Southeast Asia, I had a hard time finding enough nutritious and filling food to give me energy for the day. Now that we're in Italy I'm having the opposite problem: how do I NOT eat bread and cheese and gelato for every meal?!
I'm not promising you'll become a muscle machine with these tips - in fact being on a diet, cutting, or bulking, is probably not a great idea while traveling. I suggest simply trying to maintain overall health and fitness! You can get back to making progress when the trip is over.
I feel like I should tell you I'm NOT a health expert or anything like that. You should definitely listen to professionals when it comes to your personal diet and fitness plan. These are simply some tips I've used personally to come out of a vacation feeling healthy! If you're on a week long trip, then I say have fun and indulge a little. Otherwise, go ahead and see if any of these suggestions might help you out. I'd love to know your thoughts + hear any tips you personally have for staying healthy and fit while traveling!
1. Survive long flights by packing snacks and healthy meals beforehand.
When you first head out, you can easily pack food from home! We love homemade granola, cut up fruit and veggies, peanut butter sandwiches, greek yogurt, boiled eggs, and little salad bowls. Once you're out on your trip you obviously can't pack from home but you can hit up the supermarket before the flight or even try to buy something in the airport like one of those salad kits, granola bars, fruit, or even a sandwich! Almost anything is going to be healthier than the meals and snacks they offer you on the plane so try to prepare yourself against temptation.
2. Eat breakfast + lunch from the supermarket and only eat out for dinner.
Not only will this help you feel healthier, it will save some money too! You'll also avoid eating lots of hidden oil, salt, and sugar most restaurants sneak into their dishes. If your hotel offers free breakfast, definitely take advantage of that! At the hotel I try to eat the boiled eggs, fruit, and maybe a piece of toast if they have it. Sometimes we have been lucky enough to be close to a place with healthy smoothies but that rarely happens. Otherwise stock up at the beginning of the week and plan your breakfasts and lunches out.
Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Cut up fruit bowls, eggs (if we are in a place with a kitchen we like sunny side up or soft boiled), toast, granola and almond milk, peanut butter and bananas/apples, cut up cucumbers + peppers + carrots, salad kits (or you can buy a head of lettuce and just drizzle balsamic on top), sandwiches (PB+Honey is the most economic option), greek yogurt and blueberries, a small block of hard cheese + salami and wheat crackers, granola bars (try to find ones with minimal ingredients and low sugar), or nuts and seeds.
3. Order some variation of protein + veggies for dinner.
This could be a chicken salad, grilled fish and vegetables, or really anything you enjoy eating with protein and greens! If you didn't get any veggies for breakfast or lunch, definitely emphasize the amount of green you get for dinner. Don't get me wrong, you should definitely indulge and enjoy the culture of the area once in a while. I've had my fair share of pasta + pizza here in Italy. But 80% of the time I am eating something on the boring side because I love having energy for the next day!
4. If you do get dessert - SHARE!
Try to keep desserts to a minimum (which btw, is super freaking hard with all the gelato shops, but I'm proud to say it's been over a week lol) and if you do get something sweet see if you can just share it! Don't get in the habit of ordering it every single day: make it a special occasion. See if you can satisfy your sweet tooth with just a couple bites. Usually that's enough for me!
Side note: if you do overindulge seriously just brush it off. Move forward with some goals in mind but don't beat yourself up. In fact, beating yourself up about not eating perfectly will only increase the likelihood of another binge cycle. Try to plan your indulgences ahead of time and enjoy every single bite - no need to overthink it!
5. Don't eat everything on your plate.
I know I'm going against everything mama taught ya but you don't HAVE to eat everything on your plate! In fact, restaurant portions are usually double what they need to be (especially in the states). Just to clarify though: I am NOT encouraging disordered eating or anything like that. If you are hungry, EAT. Eat until you are full, but not so stuffed you feel like throwing up. The point of this tip is to simply acknowledge that sometimes we have a habit of eating everything on our plates without thought when in reality we should simply eat until satisfied. Pay attention to hunger cues and push your plate away to help with the temptation of cleaning it off.
6. Don't wait too long between meals.
I know for me, I make REALLY poor food choices when I feel like I'm starving. If I know we're about to go on a long hike or boat ride or something then I try to eat a good meal beforehand so I don't come out of it absolutely ravenous. If you can get protein, fat, and fiber with your meals as often as possible then you will be able to last longer between eating. So pack some healthy snacks, make room for meal time, and don't get haaangry.
7. Take the stairs and walk EVERYWHERE.
Fun fact: I recently started tracking my steps on my iPhone just out of curiosity and I found that in Hawaii I averaged about 2 miles of walking each day (this doesn't include intentional exercise). When I was staying with my family in Arizona I averaged about half a mile each day (it's so hot you wouldn't want to be walking outside). Here in Italy, I'm averaging 10 miles per day!!! What a huge difference from my normal life! My feet hurt from all the walking!
But you know what? Walking so much has actually made me feel so much healthier and fit! I find myself being okay with not hitting up the gym every day because I know my body is moving. So if you can, try to walk everywhere possible. If the walk is 30 minutes or less then it's worth ditching the cabs and trains and just taking a stroll. Oh, and take the stairs. Your booty will thank you.
8. Commit to a 10 minute workout routine every day.
No matter how packed your schedule is, we ALL have 10 minutes to workout. It might seem small but doing one of these workouts every day makes me feel good! My muscles stay tight and I just overall feel better. If you have more than 10 minutes throw in some yoga or repeat the circuit. If you have a hike or other strenuous activity planned for the day then don't stress about doing a workout. I am not a personal trainer and these workouts are not going to make you a fitness queen (remember I'm focusing on maintenance, not progress). I actually wrote these out for myself but thought I would share! It's simply based off of moves you can literally do anywhere using what you'd find in a hotel room.
Grab the workouts here. (It's a PDF so you can easily refer to it on your phone!)
Some other ideas for workouts are Youtube videos (just search for no equipment or home workouts) or an exercise app such as BBG! You can also buy a resistance band or inflatable dumbbells if you want some lightweight equipment to work with.
9. If you're lucky enough to find a gym, use it!
I personally prefer working out in the gym because I love to push myself and feel like I get more out of it if I can use weights! Sadly this isn't always possible when you're on the go but once in a while your hotel or street might have a gym on it. See if they have a daily or weekly rate and go put in some extra effort when you can. For me I try to workout mostly upper body if I find a gym because I can always get a decent leg workout without equipment.
10. Don't forget your mental and spiritual wellbeing.
It helps if you can wake up early before everyone else and just get a bit of alone time to read, journal, pray, meditate, do yoga, or anything that prevents you from feeling stressed or anxious. I'm not perfect at this tip but when I make the time I always feel so much better for it! I also like pass the time on train rides or planes by focusing on my wellbeing in this way as well. Another tip to go along with this is to GET SLEEP. We're old married folk so partying late at night isn't our vice, but vines and memes definitely are. If we manage to get to bed early and wake up with the sun it makes a world of a difference! Try to prioritize sleep and do all the fun stuff while the sun is out.
I hope you enjoyed all these tips for staying healthy + fit while traveling! Let me know what you liked and definitely leave some of your best tips below so we can all benefit from them.
PS: I know it can be hard to stay motivated but I love following uplifting accounts on Instagram that keep me going. Some of my awesome friends back home have health, wellness, and fitness accounts, so if you're looking for some extra inspo check out these lovely ladies:
Maddie (I don't know how I became friends with essentially a professional chef but every time she posts something it makes my mouth water)
Britnee (my fitness babe friend who posts lots of body weight workouts which are easy to do from almost anywhere!)
Madi (my friend who got me into lifting! this girl is just pure positivity inspo and every time I feel like quitting I'm seriously inspired by her fitness journey)
Lauren (overall wellness and health tips! she's got a free smoothie ebook and takes care of my skin so for those of you asking for extra tips she's definitely your gal)
Randi (my sis in law who has an epic healthy cookbook and is always posting little recipes that inspire me!)