Ever since I was little, I’ve had a love for travel. But as I got older (i.e. high-school – mid-twenties) my passion for exploring new destinations was almost overridden by a fear I had of gaining weight on vacation.
First of all, I was always trying to lose weight prior to travel so that I’d “feel good” whilst traveling. But then I’d worry about not having “any control” while I traveled and that straying from my normal eating regimen and workout routine would cause me to gain weight. Anyone else feel me?
Luckily, after lots of inner work (including coaching, therapy & going back to school to become a nutrition and hormone health practitioner) I was able to overcome this vicious cycle, and can now honestly say I look forward to EVERY PART of travel without any worry (at least as far as my appearance and weight is concerned).
But no matter where you’re at in your journey — I’m confident you can make the switch from vaca struggle to total travel joy, while staying fit and feeling your best.
DISCLAIMER — Because this is such a complex subject (and one that touches on many aspects of ourselves, especially the relationship we have with our bodies and food, the stories we get stuck in and tell ourselves, etc.) this post will be specifically focusing how to stay fit and feel motivated to move/exercise while traveling. That being said, if there are other topics you want more info on (like food, eating out, etc.) drop me a comment below!
5 EASY WAYS TO STAY FIT & MOTIVATED WHILE TRAVELING
+ Do It First Thing
I wrote an entire post on the importance of a morning routine and how “winning the morning” can set you up to win the day for good reason. Doing the most important things upon waking ensures *YOU ACTUALLY DO THEM.* The later in the day we put them off, the less likely they are to get done, due to decision fatigue and other life events or time-suckers that inevitably come up.
So if staying active, fit or feeling good is important to you while traveling, make it a priority by scheduling some type of workout first thing in the morning. I do this on a daily basis, whether or not I’m traveling, because I know starting my day with movement fuels me with energy, puts me in a good mood and helps me feel my best.
Bonus Tip: Traveling with someone? Figure out if there’s an activity you can do together so you have a layer of accountability. You’re both more likely to follow through as a result.
+ Opt Outside
I find that when possible, opting outside (especially if in a beautiful setting) is so much more enticing and enjoyable than forcing myself to run on the treadmill or lift weights in the hotel gym. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with choosing the gym (especially if that’s your thing) incorporating outdoor exercise while traveling is an amazing way to explore the location.
Before we head to our travel destination I always look up trails or scenic areas nearby that I can hit up. Last week, for example, we traveled to Missoula, and before we left I entered our Air BNB address into google maps and realized we were within walking distance of the Clarke River Trail and the “M” hike. It was so much more motivating to me to get up and start the day moving when I knew I had some scenic options that would allow me to take in all the beauty the city had to offer. Which brings me to…
+ Turn It Into An Experience
Again, this may differ based on your workout style and what you enjoy doing, but I find myself and my clients are much more motivated to exercise if the focus isn’t purely on exercise, but rather an experience or adventure.
This might look like paddle boarding if you’re staying near a lake, taking a surf lesson at the ocean or yoga class on the beach, hiking to get an epic view of your locale, or simply choosing to walk/bike around your destination and take in all the sights.
Just try and think of things you’re interested in or genuinely enjoy that include some form of movement (bonus points if it’s tailored around activities or sights unique to your travel destination). I often have to remind my clients fitness isn’t just about rigid or intense workouts, rather it’s about incorporating movement daily that helps you feel good in your body. This is also what the healthiest people in the world do (see: Blue Zones) so taking a cue from them is a great start.
+ Plan A Reward
As human beings, we’re hardwired for pleasure. This is why it’s all too easy to indulge in a delicious donut (instant gratification) but flossing our teeth every night takes a herculean effort (because who actually likes to floss?!)
Because this is innately embedded in our nature, I encourage clients to take advantage of this trait, rather than waste energy trying to fight it. No, this doesn’t mean always eating the donut. But it DOES mean including a small treat or reward if you complete a habit that’s otherwise hard to follow through on (like flossing).
For me, my workout/travel reward is a fancy coffee. I absolutely adore coffee, and one of my favorite things to do whenever we travel is check out the local coffee shops and treat myself to a lavender oat milk latte (or whatever else they might offer). So often, if the circumstance/location allows, I’ll get up first thing in the morning and exercise, then immediately head to a coffee shop and treat myself (or even combine the two by running to the coffee shop!)
Bonus Tip: Think of some things you genuinely enjoy about being on vacation (whether it be the local coffee, a massage, reading a good book or enjoying a cocktail). Promise yourself one of these indulgences as a reward for honoring your body with movement/exercise. Just keep in mind the more instantaneous the reward (i.e. coffee immediately post-workout) the more motivating it will be for you!
+ Pack The Right Gear
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you get to your travel destination and realize you forgot your running shoes, chances are likely you won’t be going for a run.
Not only is the right workout gear necessary in order to actually workout, but I know for many of my clients (as well as myself) the style, functionality and appearance of the gear is equally important. Let’s face it, we’re way more motivated to workout if we feel confident and comfortable in our clothing (refer to humans always seeking pleasure above).
As someone who runs her business out of her home, I’m a huge fan of athletic wear (i.e. all day every day) and one of my fave brands is Adidas. Their clothing checks all of the boxes for me — it fits well, it looks stylish and it enhances my athletic performance (especially their ultraboost shoes, which are the most comfy athletic shoes on the planet IMO). For travel I opt for clothing that is lightweight and can do double-duty as an outfit later (their muscle tee and second layer sweater look awesome with denim and sporty slides).
Bottomline I know if I want to follow through on my intentions to stay fit while traveling, packing the right gear that enables me to do so is crucial. See below for all my fave summer travel workout gear options!
While these tips may seem overly simple, that’s kind of the point. The more we overcomplicate things, the less likely we are to want to do them. And when we don’t want to do something, we’ll find a way to make an excuse. However if we embed important habits (like daily movement or exercise) into positive, enjoyable experiences (like scenic travel opps), we’re much more motivated to see them through.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What’s one action step you can incorporate into your next trip in order to enjoy your vacation and feel amazing in your body? Inspire this community and tell us below!