Traveling is one of my biggest passions. Fitness comes in a very close second. Now put the two together and that can be challenging. We all know prepared foods are calorie and sodium-dense. And, hotel gyms often leave lots to be desired in the forms of equipment options. When eating on the road (restaurants), it can be difficult to adhere to your health and wellness program. When trying to find a place to work out, it can be hard to stay consistent. But with some adaptability and creativity, you can!
One of the biggest challenges I run into during travel is the hotel gym equipment. Or, when traveling overseas the lack of a gym period. Though some hotels have GREAT gyms, most are lacking. So before I leave I scope out the gym. I can always find photos online. Depending on the equipment available (free weights, cardio, machines, etc..) I make a loose training plan for my time there. Or if the gym is nonexistent or skimpy I search for a local full-scale gym that I can buy a day pass. If I arrive with a plan I can be efficient, productive, and get my work out completed. Then I can head out to enjoy my travel destination. I always get my training in first thing in the morning so I have the rest of the day to explore my destination.
If there aren’t any hotels or local gyms (hello Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, etc… that was fun! ), I have to get creative. I do a ton of international travel so I have had to adapt a lot. So what do I do? I create a HIIT program and bring a great playlist. I can do it in my room or outside depending on the location of my accommodations. When I use a bodyweight program (HIIT and strength) that I can do in my room space is a factor. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space. If not, use the opportunity to explore my area and create a bodyweight HIIT program with what is available to me. Box jumps on beach benches. Running up and down walls of rocks (agility and cardio). Jumping back and forth over low decorative path fencing, adding burpees, running up and downstairs, etc.. ! These workouts become quite fun since I am outside and playing like I am on a playground. There is always a way. I have even been known to work out in a hotel lobby when the weather didn’t cooperate outside and there wasn’t enough space in my room. Yes, I checked with reception first. There is always a way if you have a plan and you WANT to get some exercise in.
Not feeling any of that stuff? That’s ok. You can walk! Walk everywhere. It still exercises. And it counts!
Now let’s talk about eating on the road. Restaurant food is more often than not calorie, fat, and sodium dense! When I am traveling I always see a couple of things I want to try. Either cultural foods or just something that hits every craving I have. For those meals, I just enjoy the food guilt-free. I don’t count calories, macros, etc… I’m on vacation and food is part of the whole experience, especially with international travel. Because I truly crave healthier, cleaner food I don’t feel well if I eat too many of those processed, heavy meals. So I pick them wisely! Just like I find a way to exercise, I find a way to eat clean and healthy while on holiday. This entails finding restaurants with salads and vegetables. I ask for modifications on most of the items I order at a restaurant, even the “healthy” items. Because guess what? The healthy items aren’t usually that healthy! A restaurant salad can easily pack 800-1200 calories! So I get dressing on the side and use a small amount. I avoid creamy dressing. I ask for vegetables without butter or salt. If I get a veggie burger or anything with cheese, I ask them to hold the cheese. Etc… I also find grocery stores. Most hotel and hostel rooms/lobbies have a microwave at the bare minimum. I purchase canned or frozen veggies and tofu and have a nice warm meal. I also purchase salad ingredients and prepare that in my room.
The other challenge I run into is eating enough protien while I am traveling. I am a vegetarian so it’s not as easy to find plant protien. How do I adjust to this? I pack protien powder. Nutrex protien powder is my absolute FAVORITE. High protien, low calories, great taste. (Use code AngieMorinWellness to get a discount! www.Nutrex.com). I also pack protien barns and other non perishable high protien snacks. None of these things take a lot of room in my bag. By doing this I still hit my protien goals while traveling and Im not scrambling trying to find plant protien (especially at an airport).
These habits keep me on track towards my goals. Although food is part of the travel experience, I am there for the sights, the culture, and the experience. I eat meals that feel like part of the experience. And I find a way to eat healthily and clean the rest of the time.
It may be hard to believe now but when you eat mostly clean your body craves only clean. You have no idea how different you can feel just by the foods you put into your body until you put only clean foods into your body. The change in how you feel won’t happen overnight but if you give yourself a week you’ll already start to feel how much lighter and more energetic you feel. You will not be lethargic. You will not be bloated. You won’t feel heavy like you can’t exercise. I don’t want to be unwell during my holiday! I want to feel full of energy and light. So I make eating clean and healthy part of my holiday. By doing that I have the energy to enjoy the days even more.
With a little preparation, you can enjoy a holiday while still staying on track with your goals. As you read more and more about this lifestyle I’m sure you are noticing that success and long-term success is dependent on preparation. You must have a plan. Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep Etc. A plan keeps you on target towards your goals.
I bet some of you think I sound like am very rigid. Like how can I possibly have fun!? Well, I have plenty of fun! And truly, I am very flexible and adaptable. Yes, I plan my workouts. I plan to find a grocery store. I have a plan for my health and wellness goals. But if something I see calls to me, I change the plan. And most of the time I have no plan at all. My health, wellness, and fitness is the only thing I plan. The way to be successful is to have a plan. There is no way around that. The beautiful part is, once this because a lifestyle you don’t need to plan as much. Or you can detour off the plan a little more without feeling like it’s hard to get back on track. The more you do this, the less you have to think about it. The less you have to plan. It becomes natural because it is your lifestyle. You won’t feel like you are dieting or forcing yourself to exercise. It will feel natural. Whether home or on the road or across the world it’s just the way you live. It’s easy. If it’s not yet, it will be soon. Just give it some time.
Photo: Exploring the rainforest in Panama, Central America.