There is no way I can maintain my normal eating and workout routine when I travel, it would be too boring and take away from the fun of trying new foods and getting the full travel experience. But that doesn’t mean we go hog wild and undo years of dedication just to indulge in an endless dose of sugar and processed foods. It’s actually very easy to stay fit while traveling if you move often throughout the day and sandwich those splurges with the right types of food.
While I’m sure most people strive to find balance while they travel, the exact ways to achieve this can be confusing and sometimes the temptation is too great. Here are 13 tips you can use while you are traveling to find that sweet spot between indulgence and maintaining your fitness while traveling.
Tips for Staying Fit While Traveling
1 | Skip Breakfast
Forget that you’ve been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s not. Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to detox your body and regulate your metabolism.
Most breakfast foods actually cause a spike in your insulin levels which can lead to metabolic issues. If you are active in your travels, it’s easy to skip breakfast and spend more time enjoying your travels especially if you do #2 and #3.
2| Walk Everywhere To Stay Fit While Traveling
Most cities around the world are very walkable. When we travel to big cities like London, Paris, Copenhagen, we might stay just outside the city and take the public transportation to the city center, then spend the next 8 hours walking to all the best attractions and restaurants.
Besides walking in the city, hiking based travels outside of cities is one of the easiest way to stay fit while traveling. Download the AllTrails App on the App Store or Google Play to find great hikes near your next destination.
3 | Splurge
If you want to stay fit while you travel, you should avoid overindulging, but I highly recommend you pick one (or two) indulgences a day. When we travel we usually have one splurge a day in the form of a sweet treat like ice cream, gelato, a donut, or a chocolate croissant, and I always have one drink.
If you do all the other things listed here, you will stay fit and healthy even with a few treats, and honestly, you may even go home thinner from it.
4 | Time Your Splurge
Your body handles sugar much better if it’s within 30 minutes of exercise. If you are in a city and walking a lot, this is a better time to sample that gelato or croissant than after a meal or when you are about to go to bed.
Remember, pre-diabetes happens when we lose that insulin sensitivity from eating too many carbs and sugars throughout the whole day, so it’s better to have a bunch of sugar at one time (and best to have no sugar) and then stick to protein and fat the rest of the day or even intermittent fasting.
5 | Snack on Healthy Fats
Carry some raw or dry roasted nuts with you while you are out exploring.
Remember blood sugar management is the most important part of staying fit and healthy so if you have that ice cream, beer, or pastry, follow it up with some walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or nut butters to prevent an insulin spike. Avocados are also a great source of fat and easy to add to salads, tacos, omelettes, and more.
Try snacking on a little cheese and olives if you have some wine before your meal.
6 | Eat Desert or Drink Before your Meal
I always have make my kids eat their sweets before dinner and I always have my one alcoholic beverage before my meal.
First, it’s a good way to relax before you eat and will improve your digestion and second, like I mentioned above, it is very important for good sugar management to finish your meal with protein and fat.
7 | Limit Your Alcohol
It’s hard to believe this, but I am a strong believer that alcohol can actually help you stay fit while traveling. Alcohol can play a positive role in weight management assuming you can mange your intake.
Related: How to Drink Beer and Lose Weight
Having one glass of dry red wine before a meal can help you relax and improve your digestion. Blood sugar management is key so try to drink just enough to relax but not so much that you end up over eating or intaking a large amount of sugar and carbs.
Remember it’s best to have a bit of fat with that drink to prevent reactive hypoglycemia.
8 | Fill Your Plate With Veggies
This is an easy rule to follow in so many places around the world, especially many of the poorer countries.
I remember being surprised the first time we went to Costa Rica and over half my plate was a form of vegetable. I felt great that entire trip and it was easy to get by on one pastry for breakfast knowing that my dinner was going to be fibrous and nutrient dense.
9 | Protein Up
Protein is the building block of muscle and muscle burns more calories so I try to not skimp too much on my protein serving.
Even if there isn’t a great sourced chicken or beef option, I at least add some extra eggs to my diet when I travel in order to make sure I am getting protein and not losing too much muscle while I travel.
10 | Drink Lemon Water
Traveling can be hard on the body and eating out at restaurants all the time can cause major toxin build up. Try having a glass of lemon water in the morning to help your body detoxify.
Also, drinking extra water will help you stay fit while traveling by flushing out toxins and helping you feel better. If you are partying hard and overindulging often in your travels, you may even want to try a shot of apple cider vinegar diluted with water first thing in the morning to really boost your detoxifying powers.
11 | Skip Sugary Drinks
If you haven’t noticed yet, staying fit has a lot to do with blood sugar management. While I do give the thumbs up to one alcoholic drink a day, unless you are exercising very intensely (I mean like you-just-did-a-14-mile-hike kind of intense exercise) skip the sodas, juices, smoothies.
I’d rather my kids have a few ounces of wine with their meal than ever let them have soda or juice (but that’s just me, kids drinks in Europe ya know).
12 | Go Au Natural
When in doubt, just stick to real food. You’re on vacation after all. Don’t reach for packaged foods. If nutrient timing is impossible and you want to savor all the tastes and textures of the area, stick to real food. Food that can be traced to a mom or a seed.
Eat the potatoes with gravy, the pie with real butter, the ice cream from cane sugar. Trying to justify an indulgence with sugar free options is actually way worse for you and just contains a whole bunch of fake ingredients that your body won’t know how to process.
13 | Eat With Gratitude
I believe that eating slow and savoring each bite is really important for digestion and a healthy metabolism. You are on vacation so slow down, eat with intention, and practice gratitude for the amazing chefs that can combine such intense flavors in each bit. When you make each bite count, you’re sure to stay fit while traveling 😉
I hope these tips help you stay fit while traveling. If you are looking for a workout to do while you travel, check out my blog 5 Travel Workouts That Can Be Done With or Without Equipment.
If you travel often for work and need a piece of equipment that is super compact and has an awesome app with over 300 different workouts on it, check out my review of Monkii products (coming soon) or purchase the Pocket Monkii here.
You Might Also Like:
- Best Travel Yoga Mat
- 25 Foods all Travelers Should Be Eating
- 10 Nutrition Habits for a Heather Lifestyle
- Yamas + Happiness: What Yoga is Really About
- Pre-Hab Exercises for Shoulders
- 6 Steps to Master Your Adventure Mindset
- 6 Easy Ways to Stay Fit + Healthy During the Holidays
- How to Be a Badass
- 25 Books that Will Change Your Life