How to Stay Fit While Traveling
A lot of people ask me how I stay fit traveling all the time. I usually say the same thing in short; eat well and exercise. However, there is more to it than that of course. In this post, I’m going to outline how I stay fit traveling. Plus I’m going to give general tips on how to stay fit traveling that anyone can use for their own well-being.
The more you travel the harder it is to motivate to stay fit because you’re often exhausted, jetlagged, or just not feeling great. Plus people tend to eat poorly when they travel. Especially for work as there are often extravagant work dinners with desserts, alcohol, etc. I totally get it. I’ve lived it and still do to this day. However, I’ve managed to overcome these obstacles by being disciplined and making the effort to be in shape regardless of where I am. Here’s how I stay fit traveling all the time.
Diet is the Most Important Thing
Without a doubt, a proper diet is the most important thing in how I stay fit traveling all the time. Diet includes all meals, snacks, coffee and alcohol. Here’s what I do and what I find to work best in a low sugar, low carb, high protein, high fruit and vegetable diet.
First things first-eliminate all artificial sugar. This means no soda; especially diet soda (Coke, Pepsi, all of them). No sugary desserts like cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, etc. No candy, sugary drinks, sports drinks, etc.
Next, you need to limit your carbohydrate intake. Carbs are found in many things of course but mainly in breads, potatoes, pastas and other filling foods. If you want to lose weight and really be fit, you must lower carbs-especially as you get older.
Now for the two most important things that people always ask me about. First, don’t put sugar or any artificial sweeteners in your coffee. I drink a lot of coffee but I have completely eliminated sugar from my coffee. I stick to non-flavored skinny lattes or almond milk lattes. I will also drink straight black coffee or Americanos, espressos or other similar coffee drinks.
There are few calories in these coffee drinks and they do the trick to help wake you up. Plus, coffee gets your system flowing and also curbs your appetite a little bit. This helps to fight the urge to overeat and gives you energy to be more active throughout the day. I don’t suggest more than 2 coffee drinks a day although I’m known to go up to 3 on occasion.
Alcohol is also a popular question I get. The easiest thing to say is to give up booze totally but for most people, that’s not realistic. So here’s what I do as I do enjoy my cocktails and whiskeys.
First, I have completely given up beer. Beer is fattening, is generally loaded with carbs and fills you up. I know some people love beer and that’s fine but switch to light beer or even a low carb beer if you must have beer.
Second, I have completely given up mixed drinks aside from vodka soda; which has very few calories. I used to drink whiskey or bourbon with Diet Coke for years and sodas like Diet Coke are the worst things for you. This has been a major change for me and now I just have straight whiskey, bourbon or scotch when I drink. This means fewer calories and you don’t feel full.
Addressing Your Biggest Weaknesses
My biggest weakness food-wise for my whole life has been and always will be pizza. I love pizza more than I can say and I simply cannot give it up. However, I have learned to limit myself on how much of it I eat. I used to eat it literally 6-7 days a week. I live in New York, don’t cook and there are pizza places on every corner. It was always easy to just grab a few slices for a good, cheap meal.
However, pizza isn’t good for you, as you know. But if you identify pizza (or whatever) as your biggest weakness then you can have cheat days to enjoy pizza as long as it’s not too often. I pretty much eat pizza every week or two nowadays. I find that I really enjoy it even more now when I have it. Plus it gives me something to look forward to.
Having the Right Attitude
One of the biggest factors to how I stay fit traveling all the time is that I have the right attitude and discipline. You must be disciplined of course to maintain a healthy lifestyle but the most important thing is having the right attitude. You must be positive, embrace the lifestyle change and enjoy it.
What I am describing in this post isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle change. Diets like Keto, Whole 30, South Beach, etc. are fads and are finite. Most people who do those will see some weight loss but then put it all back and more soon after they stop it. This yo-yoing isn’t good for your body. In order to lose the weight and maintain a level of fitness, you must make a conscious lifestyle change and embrace it as I have done.
I legitimately love feeling healthy, being in shape and eating well. I know what it’s like to be unfit and unhealthy-and it sucks. I feel like I am less tired and lethargic throughout the day, more confident and in a better mood. I also fall asleep faster and sleep better because I’ve led a full day. Being in a rut is hard to get out of. If you compound it with bad eating and exercise habits, you’ll put on weight and be less productive. You need to have a positive attitude to make fitness a lifestyle.
Exercising is very important and I recommend you do some exercise every day. I exercise for at least 30 minutes each day and usually over an hour. Plus, I walk a lot and keep track of my steps so I know I’m moving enough. You can do this with a Fitbit or just with your phones-they have the app built into your phone already.
My exercise routine is very simple. I do abs everyday for at least 3 songs or 10 minutes a day. I do straight crunches with my legs in the air. I do several hundred in a few minutes. Then I do oblique crunches to get both sides for a few minutes as well.
then turn sideways and lie flat and do more oblique crunches but slower and really squeezing. I do two sets of at least 50 on each side. Then I do my least favorite exercise of lower abs leg lifts. These are not fun but they get the job done in the hardest region to work. Obviously, any variety that works for you is good but this is what I do to achieve and maintain my 6 pack abs-even at 40 years old!
Then I lift weights. I lift light weight doing high reps. My objective is to train and maintain long, lean muscles. I’m not trying to be a body builder or bench press 400 pounds. I will do dumbbell bench press using 40-50 pound dumbbells and do 15-20 per set for 4-5 sets. Then I’ll take 25 pound dumbbells and do as many as I can do before my arms collapse.
On the same day I do chest, I also do triceps. Again, light weights, high reps on the machine or lifting small dumbbells up over my head. These are good exercises and help to keep your arms in shape. On day 2 I will do biceps curls to work the other side of the arms with 4-5 sets or curling 25-30 pounds dumbbells 12-15 times. I finish up with 10-pound dumbbells for as many reps as I can do before my arms stop working! Again, long, lean muscles are my objective. I want to stay and look fit, not be bulky.
I usually do about 30 minutes on the treadmill each day if I have time. If not, I am sure to make sure I walk at least 5 miles a day outside. I should mention that I occasionally run but running is bad for your knees so I find walking fast to be better for me. I usually walk at 4.5 miles per hour sometimes getting up to 4.8.
Some Helpful Healthy Travel Tips
- Go to the gym immediately when you arrive in a new place. It helps you to deal with jetlag, gets your blood flowing and makes you feel better after a long flight. I don’t care if it’s 3am-go to the gym immediately on arrival.
- If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, improvise. Do abs and push-ups on your hotel room floor. Make sure to walk or run outside. Utilize things like chairs or the bed to do triceps presses, etc. Be creative.
- Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and keep your system flowing-especially on planes.
- Take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators and walk to meetings or the office instead of taxiing or Uber.
- Get as much sleep as possible.
- DON’T MAKE EXCUSES
As the cliché goes, diet and exercise are the most important things in how I stay fit traveling all the time. But the other huge factor is attitude. This may be the most important overall thing because attitude is connected to motivation; which leads to a good diet and exercise routine. Make it a routine like brushing your teeth. You’ll love yourself more for it.
Read more inspiring travel tips from Lee on his website, leeabbamonte.com.