Keeping Fit While Traveling: Guest Post

by Lance Ekum on · 19 comments

everything i own
Creative Commons License photo credit: late night movie

Note: This is a guest post from Zen to Fitness.  Zen to Fitness has a passion for fitness and living a simple life – along with reading, writing, and travel.  About six months ago, he began eating an improved diet of whole foods, while also adding more exercise – and he has seen great results from this.

Keeping Fit While Traveling

Fitness and Nutrition while on Holiday/Traveling is harder than we come to expect.  Staying in shape during these times can be a test of will and dedication.  I have picked up the following tips that helped me keep in shape during my busiest periods:

  • Eat a light breakfast or fast if you do not exercise that morning. Usually I will get up and get going picking up a black coffee en route followed by some fresh fruit/nuts and cold water. This normally keeps me full until midday time if I haven’t exercised. Plus it keeps me mentally sharp and feeling light.  If I do exercise that morning I will have a more substantial breakfast around 1 hour after the workout – something along the lines of some eggs/bacon and fruit or a high fiber breakfast like yogurt, nuts and berries.
  • Improvise with your workouts.  Go for short runs with sprints and jumping squats mixed in, do pull-ups in playgrounds and do loads of pushups (put some books in a backpack to add weight to these).  Use your suitcase as a weight.  Keep your workouts short and intense and play as much as you can.
  • Want a $10 (or less) gym?  Buy a used backpack.  Now do 3sets of 10 reps of pushups, pullups, lunges (up a hill), 1 legged squats.  Add weight to the backpack to increase your resistance.  No excuse not to workout, adjust weights as needed….and if you really want some fun, hold the weighted backpack over your head while you lunge up a hill (disclaimer – my version of fun may be different from yours).
  • Try to explore by renting a bike or going for a jog if your in a new city.
  • Don’t get too tied up with what you eat!  Often our eating is a little less controlled.  We need to socialize and that may mean eating pizza, ice cream, cake whatever.  Just try to eat wholesome foods 80% of the time and eat what life throws at you for the other 20%.  I usually find after an evening of bad eating my will to eat well and exercise is far stronger.
  • Enjoy the fresh Local things. I always find that when traveling, the best foods are always things like the local fruits and vegetables, or cheeses – so enjoy these things.  They are great for you and may be something you won’t be able to get again at home.
  • If you have a big dinner with drinks, etc and over indulge – go for a quick run fasted in the morning.  This will help flush the toxins out of your body and burn up last nights food.  Morning is a great time to exercise while traveling, as it leaves you with the rest of the day to do what you want.
  • Remember to keep your brain fit.  When traveling you have less distractions and more time to read.

Finally, enjoy the journey, have fun, try new things, and keep fit.  At times it will seem hard to go for a workout or run, but you will always feel better afterwards.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

MizFit August 20, 2008 at 7:55 am

creative post.
especially the use the traveling as brain fitness time & enjoying the local foods.

no one returns from a trip wishing (ok maybe some people do but they arent the ones w/whom I hang) theyd not experienced so much local flavor.


MizFits last blog post..Viewer Mail & The Art of Weight Maintaining.


Writer Dad August 20, 2008 at 8:21 am

A ten dollar gym; it’s so true. Push-ups and sit-ups, right? We’ve been doing them forever, but have they ever been improved on?

Writer Dads last blog post..Just Pay Attention


Chris - Zen to Fitness August 20, 2008 at 9:03 am

Lance, Thanks so much for giving me the honor of a guest post! hope the topic can help a few people out…..

Chris – Zen to Fitnesss last blog post..Reasons to start Sprinting today!


Stacey August 20, 2008 at 11:36 am

Great post. While I don’t necessarily agree with fasting for breakfast, the rest is very helpful. I also like to travel with a resistance band – light and can easily fit in a suitcase or backpack. And don’t forget about chair dips – great for the triceps. Sometimes we think our fitness routine has to stay the same when we travel, not so. I always say be ok with some minutes just so you’re not starting from scratch upon returning home.

Great reminders!


Cath Lawson August 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Hi Lance – I wish I’d read these tips before my vacation. The squats etc with backpacks are a really good idea.

I was so hot that I spent a lot of time walking and swimming instead.


Mark Salinas August 20, 2008 at 1:17 pm

I strongly believe that one should always eat a breakfast. Some very good tips…nice post!

Mark Salinass last blog post..Ladder Pushups


Lanceman August 20, 2008 at 3:23 pm

@MizFit – Yes, I liked that too about brain fitness – creative!

@Writer Dad – A backpack with some weight in – neat way to get some exercise. And right, push ups, etc can be done anywhere, we just don’t always think about it.

@Chris – Zen to Fitness — Thanks for you contributions here!

@Stacey – Yes, I also believe breakfast is an important meal. And, right keep it simple when you’re away, but get a little exercise in just so you’re not too rusty when you get back home.

@Cath – Shoot, even squats without a backpack can be an excellent workout!

@Mark – You’re right, breakfast is a very important meal. What you probably want to avoid is too many donuts or other junk food for this meal!


Annette August 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm

great post 😉 I agree with being able to enjoy some treats on vacation. Once the vacation/trip out of town is over, you will be inspired to get back to the routine again.

Annettes last blog post..Fun with Bananas


Vered August 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Great tips. Personally, if the trip is up to a week, I just don’t worry about any of this and indulge in local foods and drinks. We tend to walk so much when we travel, that I consider it as exercise, even if it’s not power walking.

Vereds last blog post..Thank You For Smoking


Marelisa August 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm

I like the 80% rule: there’s no need to be “good” 100% of the time. I also agree that exercising the brain is as important as exercising the body, and that eating the local food is the way to go (although it’s OK if you don’t want to try the more “exotic” things others may eat).

Marelisas last blog post..Lessons to Teach Your Children (Part 1)


chris August 20, 2008 at 10:30 pm

I find that whenever I go on vacation, I become more fit because I tend to walk a lot more and do more physical activities. Like you said, enjoying the local food also help because they are usually fresh and healthy.

chriss last blog post..Divine Intervention


Monika Mundell August 21, 2008 at 12:53 am

Hi Chris and Lance,

This was a timely post for me. I need to get my butt into shape right now and I don’t even travel, at least not physically. I like the idea of eating light foods for brekki if I haven’t done a workout. Plus the $10 gym is priceless. I actually refused a local membership just two weeks ago because they wanted $800/year. I think this is daylight robbery.

I rather use your suggestions and do it the simple way.

Monika Mundells last blog post..Blog Communications


Chris - Zen to Fitness August 21, 2008 at 1:25 am

Great posts, for those of you not keen on the morning fasting I would suggest reading this article:

Each to their own though. If you feel you need and prefer a breakfast, do what makes you feel good. Morning fasting especially after a big meal the night before is something I find works very well though.

@ Mark Salinas. checked out some of your blog posts, very impressed!
@ Stacey. I too love resistance bands and normally throw them in my backpack when traveling. really helpful for stretching and some resistance.

Chris – Zen to Fitnesss last blog post..Reasons to start Sprinting today!


Lanceman August 21, 2008 at 6:07 am

@Annette – Yes, vacation is a time to splurge a bit on yourself – it is a vacation after all, right!

@Vered – Right, vacations can involve a lot of walking around, and that’s good exercise itself. I like the idea of the local foods as well. It’s a great way to experience the culture of the area a bit.

@Marelisa – The 80/20 rule is a good example of how to do a pretty good job, but still splurge on vacation. Some local foods may be hard to stomach for some – I agree. Then stick with something more “normal” for you, right.

@Chris – Like Vered said also, yes – walking can really be a great thing about vacations. In fact, I just got back from vacation recently, and we walked a lot! It even tired out our kids – and they seem to run a lot normally, so I’ll take this as a good thing if we could tire them out from walking!

@Monika – Gyms can be expensive, can’t they! Makes the $10 traveling gym seem like an awesome deal. Gyms can be nice in that they have lots of equipment to use. But, sometimes, it can be even nicer just to get outside and experience your surrounding – $10 backpack in hand! Thanks for stopping by!

@Chris – I think you hit on something here – we each need to do what works for us. Not keep doing what works for someone else, but we fail at. And the key to eating, as well, is to eat good quality foods. Thanks for stopping back here to check on some of the comments.


Stacey / CreateaBalance August 21, 2008 at 8:35 am

I’m leaving for a long weekend tomorrow and will be sure to pack in some of your tips. There will be lots of hiking and moving around…and now I’ll also be sure to add in a early morning and evening power walk. I can burn off the smores and get some alone time away from the campsite. Thanks!

Stacey / CreateaBalances last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Dream Bigger


Evelyn Lim August 21, 2008 at 10:09 am

I’ve got to admit that when I pack for a holiday, I don’t always bring along my running shoes. But your tips are great and they don’t necessarily require running shoes, if I don’t have them. Thanks!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..Guest Post: 7 Tips On How To Handle Rejection In Life


Urban Panther August 21, 2008 at 8:38 pm

When I travel I want to walk. I’d rather put miles in on foot exploring the city or countryside, than sit in a car or coach. Breakfast is normally more a continental breakfast, and I love to go into a deli and buy cheese, fresh baguette and a few cold cuts. I save eating out for dinner. I generally lose weight on vacation!

Urban Panthers last blog post..He said he never…might…will get married


Lanceman August 22, 2008 at 5:20 am

@Stacey/CreateaBalance – Camping – that sounds fun! Have a great weekend out in the woods. There is something about smores and camping that go so well together.

@Evelyn – Yep, I don’t always pack my running shoes either. Sometimes a holiday is a good way to step away from the normal and do some things out of the ordinary. And some of these tips are creative ways to do that!

@Urban Panther – Losing weight on vacation – that’s awesome! That could be your exercise program – vacation!! Walking is a great way to see a new place and get some exercise. In fact, I know I came back from my last vacation having lost weight also. And we walked alot.


scheng1 March 2, 2010 at 8:47 am

i dont think I can survive on a light breakfast! Breakfast is almost the largest meal in a day.
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..What are the benefits of quitting smoking? =-.


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