Since I recently wrote a post declaring my love to a pastry, I figured it was about time I share some of my tips for how I stay in shape while traveling full time.
First things first: It’s not easy. The kind of “boutique fitness” that I was used to in my NYC life doesn’t exactly exist in Serbia/Cambodia/Bulgaria, and there are soooooooooooo many other things I’d rather be doing than sitting in a gym. When I first hit the road back in February, I had a really hard time working a workout into my daily routine. With everything else going on — like meeting new people and trying to maintain some semblance of work productivity from halfway around the world — taking care of my body took a back seat, and it wasn’t long before it really started effecting me. I wasn’t sleeping, I was constantly stressed out and I could feel my muscles slowly turning to jello. I knew that I needed to get my shit together, STAT, and figure out a way to make exercise a permanent fixture in my daily life.
Like I said, Soul Cycle and FlyBarre haven’t exactly been viable options, so I’ve had to get creative. And FYI? Over the Fourth of July, my ex-boyfriend asked me how I managed to stay in such great shape while traveling the world (#WIN), so I’d say my plan is working. Here are my tips for how to stay in shape while traveling, which will allow you to eat as many pastries, and whatever else your heart desires, as you want.
Workout Apps, #FTW
Considering my bedroom in NYC was so small that my bed touched all four walls, I’ve never really had the luxury of using a workout app at home before. Now, though, I have all the space I could possibly need to do burpees in every room of my apartment. There have been two apps that I’ve becoming obsessed with in the last eight months:
- SWEAT! With Kayla– The idea of a bikini body definitely isn’t “PC” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to look hot in a bikini during my year of endless summer. The Sweat! App, from Bikini Body Guide guru Kayla Itsines, has been a total game changer for me. They are so fucking hard, but worth it given the results. The 12 week plan includes three days of 28-minute resistance training (legs, arms/abs, and full body), three days of cardio, two recovery workouts and an optional challenge. The workouts get harder as you progress through the program, so you’ll never plateau or stop being challenged. There’s also a huge community of Sweat With Kayla fans out there, and “sweaty selfie” sharing is one of the many ways the app connects people to help motivate each other…. Which I have never, ever done. My only issue with SWK is that it often requires gym equipment, like a bench or weights, so I’ve had to get V. creative in my apartment (think: water bottles and step-ups onto my bed when my boyfriend isn’t looking).
- S’WORKIT– This is what I use when I’m looking for a quick (and, ok — easy) workout that will get the job done… And when I don’t feel like i have it in me to do a full Kayla workout. The app’s website brags that they have “something for everyone,” which includes me on any morning that I don’t really feel like pushing myself that hard. Their pre-set workout options include everything from yoga to strength training at a variety of levels, or you can DIY your own based on time and target area. You can pick what you want to do and how long you want to do it for (I usually do some sort of 20-minute strength training thing) and the 30-second intervals of different moves will have you seriously sweating by the end.
Running Sucks Mildly Less While Traveling
I’ve never been a big runner (I literally passed out after a 5k once), but there’s something about exploring a new place that makes it much more bearable. I’ve gotten into the habit of going on a long run when I first arrive in a city as a way to get my bearings and take in some of the sights. I’m a hardcore MapMyRun user, mostly because it can tell me where I’ve been after the fact. For example, if I see a restaurant or shop I want to go to while I’m running, MapMyRun helps me re-trace my steps after the fact with its map feature.
Outdoor Gyms Are Cool!
I honestly don’t know how these haven’t become more popular in New York yet. There have been outdoor gyms sprinkled around all of the European cities I’ve lived in (Belgrade, Portugal, Prague and Sofia), and they are actually a lot of fun to use… As long as working out next to enormously jacked Eastern European men doesn’t intimidate you. I’ve looked up a bunch of gymnastics workouts, and had some really great sessions using the parallel bars, monkey bars and weird ab machines.
Turn Your Workout Into A Daily Activity
Hiking, biking, swimming, rock climbing — there’s so much stuff to do in a new city that it doesn’t actually feel like working out. But you’re burning calories! The other day, I helped out at a youth center doing manual labor (Think: Lifting bricks and shoveling rocks) and it turned out to be a 2-hour long, full workout. Just because it doesn’t happen at a gym doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as exercise. I’m a huge fan of extra long bike tours and hikes to feel like I’m killing two birds with one stone.
Food Is A Challenge
Not going to lie, eating healthy on the road has been really, really difficult for me (see: the pastry love letter). I just want to try all of the things!! I’ve done periodic food challenges — like going vegan for a month, or a 3 day juice cleanse — to help me get back on track when I feel like things have spiraled a little bit out of control food-wise. That said, I’m not torturing myself too much. There’s too much amazing stuff to taste in this world to put a calorie limit on it. In every city, I try to find a few go-to healthy restaurants, and cook vegan meals for myself as much as I can (even when I’m not on a strictly vegan diet). It’s not perfect, but neither am I.