Trim Travels, Part 1 - Ways to Stay Sweaty when Exploring New Worlds
Let's talk about travel and physical activity!
Lucky for you, you have made, or are making, regular physical activity and eating right a habit in your life. Congratulations! This is the one of the main ingredients in a happy life. For many, one of those other ingredients to happiness or wealth is travel. Anyway, you trip is booked. Now you are going to spend the next few days or weeks in a place where everyone is trying to feed you and you are not a member of any gym.
Traveling and vacationing can be one of the most motivating or obscuring things on your path to all around wellness. And taking time off is also so very important to health! The difficulty comes when you have just started a fitness regimen, leaving the comfort and routine of home can pose major setbacks in your progress. It is very frustrating to work hard for weeks a weight loss or fitness goal, and then lose all the wind in your sails because you spent a week or two on the beach. Or maybe you are someone who travels a lot or travels for long periods of time. for some, it is easy. Others may feel bit shy or overwhelmed when everything is unfamiliar and they are surrounded by large numbers of unfamiliar people. Being constantly on the go means that you are always struggling to adapt. If you are a gym junkie, you may find that the promise to do push ups, sit ups and runs every morning hard to keep.
Guess what? Like all roads to progress, you are going to have to plan ahead. Not so excited about that? Trust me, there is only one thing WORSE than planning ahead: feeling fat, guilty, irritable and annoyed that you went backwards in your progress and have to start over again. Yuck. I hate that.
Keep these things in mind before and during your trip.
Set your standards
Decide what kind of trip this is. Is this an anything goes trip? Do you really NEED to to NOTHING and just eat? If yes, do it with pride and joy. If creeping feelings of guilt come, remind yourself you earned dessert and naps everyday. Is this any other kind of trip? If so, modify you current training schedule. If you normally train 4-5 days a week, then switch it up to 2-3 days a week. That is easier to commit to and enjoy rather than going full blast when you are traveling
Stay active during short trips
WALK! I cannot stress this enough during travel. This offsets a lot of extra stress and indulging calories (hello, corporate lunch). If this is a business trip, and you won’t have time to workout, walking is your savior. If you are working out less often than normal, frequent walking can substitute for gym session. plus, walk and riding bikes is a great way to scout out new cafes and see soak in some local culture.
Scout out the studios and classes ahead of time
If you take classes to get in shape, you have it easy! Crossfit, yoga, Zumba, spin, boxing and MMA - these activities are offered nearly every city or town with at least 50.000 inhabitants - especially crossfit and yoga. In fact, exploring the way other instructors teach is part of the culture and fun of these two activities. Do a google search for your favorite sport before you get there and send an email about a good time to drop in. My Uncle even contacts football/soccer clubs ands asks about local pick up games that he can crash. In 35 years of traveling for work, he has never been turned down when he shows up to play.
Budget for gym hopping
We all know that travel is riddled with unseen costs. Expect to pay anywhere from 5 - 20 Euros per workout session or class. In my experience, 10 or 15 bucks will usually get you where you want to go. It’s always cheaper (sometimes free) when you go with a friend who is already a member.
Workout at a local college
I really love doing this. The day rates are usually cheap and the facilities are well kept. being fit and health is a thing and universities and colleges are putting good money into their student training facilities. I have seen brand new buildings with rock climbing walls and indoor pools to retro wooden floors and 50 year old squat racks. If you are a gym junkie, this is your best fitness hack. I also find the energy lighter and more motivating in these gyms versus regular fitness centers. Those kids work hard. Plus, hearing the conversations, I have never felt so happily grown up and responsible in my life.
Find your people
When people see you making good choices toward your health and fitness, the people around you inherently judge their own wellness. This is an underlying cause to NOT going to the gym when visiting friends and family. Counter that! When I know someone I love has a gym membership or a workplace gym, I pester them until them take me. This is how I have bonded and grown closer to many family members (and got to lift weights in an old bomb shelter at the BP headquarters blasting nirvana over the speakers). If you don’t have a person in your immediate environment, ask someone if they have a friend that is into lifting or spin or whatever activity you seek (or talk about it a lot until someone mentions a friend) and see if they are willing to let you tag along. I have never been turned down when asking if I can crash a friend of a friends workout when I’m in town. Every fit person understands you gotta get those sweat hours in.You can either work to gather or split when you get there. You might even pick up a local swollmate to sweat with whenever you are in town.
Ask about walking/running paths
Locals know all the great places to take in sights. Fitness hack: ask an older person where a nice place to walk or run is. Old people seem to know that best places to enjoy the fruits of the city. I like to get al least one run in before I leave a for home. It’s just a good way to get the feel for the city or town you are visiting. If you don’t ask, just look on a map for streets near water or parks. Or, you can always pick a street, run straight for 20 mins out and 20 mins back. Solved.
Make an adventure out of it
If I am going to be doing some gym hopping, I seek to visit independent gyms. We all know those large chains of mega gyms that all look the same- in fact, you probably, like me, have membership to one of them. So I search for “best powerlifting and/or Bodybuilding gym,” “independent gym in _____,” best yoga instructor in____.” This is part of the fun if you play Crossfit. Checking out new places keep it fresh and helps you learn new stuff. When you arrive, walk through first to check out the equipment, THEN change and make a workout plan. I never feel very confident just standing there in my gym clothes and towel trying to quickly soak that place in. Seeing what is available BEFORE you get ready to move lets you move through the facility grace and skill when you are working