Health and Fitness

Getting Fit and Traveling at the Same Time

I have some competing desires in my life. On one hand, I want to explore the world at all times, eat delectable food, and indulge in all of the amazing things this world has to offer. On the other hand, I want to stay healthy, fit, and not burst out of my pants.

Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible to work on your fitness and travel at the same time. I think there’s a perception, particularly here in the United States, that travel = weight gain, not weight loss. I think this stems from the fact that most people I know tend to cut loose, lounge around by a pool, get drunk, and eat at the buffet when they take vacations. It’s true that an all-inclusive resort or cruise with unlimited food and drink options with ample lounging time sounds like a good time to many people (myself included, really), but there’s another way!

I’m a cheapskate, so when I travel I tend to drop myself in the middle of some city with nothing but an Airbnb reservation and a comfortable pair of shoes. If I’m found lounging by a pool somewhere with a cocktail in my hand, it’s probably due to the generosity of somebody else (thanks, Mom…).

As a result, my trips become less about sitting around and eating and more about tromping around all day long on foot, discovering the area. Sure, I eat my fill of local delicacies, but it’s usually when I’m starving because I’ve been walking for four hours straight and I just want to sit down and fuel myself up for four more hours of walking. Not surprisingly, I tend to lose weight on trips. I wanted to write up a little piece with some tips for getting a little more fitness in, no matter what kind of trip you’re on.

For urban explorers….

Good news! It’s pretty easy to stay in shape when your main interest is discovering a new city. Arm yourself with a map (and some general knowledge about which areas of town you might want to avoid on foot), and you’re off! Exploring on foot is so much fun, and you’ll get some great exercise while you’re at it.

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Travel provides the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try something new – in your health routine! While in Seattle, that 'something new' has been bouldering! . My 2014 PrimalCon Tulum roommate and friend, @thejisunband, introduced myself and a few other AHS attendees to her home gym, The Seattle Bouldering Project, which not only has several warehouse rooms full of bouldering walls for every skill level, but also houses gym facility with a quality selection of free weights and Crossfit- style equipment! 😍🏋🏻‍♀️ . I've had some experience rock climbing, in which you wear a harness connecting you to a belayer on the ground who's there to catch you in the event of a slip. Bouldering is another story – no harnesses, no safeties. Just shorter climbing walls and a floor pad to cushion your fall. . Bouldering is a blast because 1) it's a full body workout, and 2) it's a mental game. Not only do you have to pull yourself up a wall using hand and foot holds, but you have to determine the best path and strategy to get your there safely. . Never would I have gone bouldering if I were in the comfort of my fitness routine in Los Angeles! Now I can add "bouldering" to my list of physical activities I enjoy! 💪🏻🙂 . . #bouldering #rockwall #climbing #climbinggym #paleotravel #healthytravel #travelfit #travelfitness #fittesttravel #fitnessmotivation #moveyourbody #travelhealthy #wellnesstravel #heathcoach #wellnesscoach #wanderlust #travelworkout #paleoblogger #fitfoodie #paleofit #workouttime #challengeyourself #upperbodyworkout

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If you’re looking for a little bit more, you might want to try out a walking tour, usually offered in most major cities. You can also take it a step farther and sign up for a 5K, 10K, or even a marathon in the city you’ll be visiting. Runner’s World has a great race finder on their site to help you find a race, and Active.com is another great resource for finding races around the world. You can also simply do a google search for the kind of race you would like to run in your destination and see what comes up.

Another option for urban explorers is to find a fun fitness class in your destination. Cities usually have a plethora of options for those who are interested in trying out a class. There’s something for everybody: CrossFit, Yoga, Boxing, Pilates, Cycling, and so much more. What’s great about these classes is that they are a fun way to stay in shape, and you can usually meet some locals while you’re there. Win-win.

As far as healthy eating goes, cities usually offer the most variety, so you’ll be in good hands. Hit up some grocery stores to enjoy a lesser-seen aspect of a foreign culture while at the same time picking up some healthy food. If you want to try local specialties, which you should definitely do, make sure to choose your indulgences wisely and maybe split larger entrees with your traveling companion.

For nature lovers…

You’re going to have the easiest time staying in shape on your trip. There aren’t too many tempting pastry shops out in the middle of nature, so you’ll need to pack your own healthy snacks. Enjoy activities like hiking, kayaking, swimming, surfing, whitewater rafting, trail running, mountain biking, or whatever else you fancy. You’ll be burning calories while having the time of your life. Who could ask for more? Just make sure to bring enough water and healthy snacks to get you through whatever activities you’re doing. You’ll need fuel!

If you’re not interested in going it alone, there are tons of healthy trips out there where you can meet like-minded people and get healthy at the same time. From surf trips to Costa Rica, hiking tours of the French Alps, to rafting tours of the Grand Canyon, and so much more…there’s something for everybody!

For those who prefer the resort life…

You might think the above advice is all well and good, but really, you just want to chill at a resort or on a cruise. I get it. Life can be stressful and sometimes you just need a little pampering and downtime. There’s nothing wrong with that!

The thing is, you can still have a healthy trip while relaxing at the same time. You’ll return refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world!

Most resorts and cruises offer healthy activities such as yoga classes or other fitness classes such as Zumba or aqua fitness. They also usually have things like pool volleyball games, deejays with a dance floor, and more. Take advantage of the amenities and get yourself moving! You’ll have a great time and laugh your way to a healthier you.

Go for a refreshing morning swim in the pool, get a massage, and zen out at a yoga class. Pampering yourself can be totally healthy if you do it right. Make sure not to drink too much alcohol. You don’t need to abstain entirely, but think a leisurely glass of wine in the evening rather than a day of doing tequila shots by the pool. All inclusives can also often be danger zones for overeating due to the abundance of delicious, high calorie treats and all you can eat buffets. Try to go for the healthier foods whenever possible, and keep portion sizes within reason. If there’s something you must try, have it, but limit the amount of treats you allow yourself. Instead, think of it a wellness spa trip and feed yourself mostly nourishing, healthy things. Think of how good you’ll feel later. And have that piece of cake. It won’t kill you…just don’t have three pieces!


What are your tips for getting and staying healthy while you’re on vacation?

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