As some of you know, my husband and I just returned home from a month long vacation in Southeast Asia. This is a yearly tradition we’ve kept up since we’ve been married so I’m no stranger to the struggle of trying to stay healthy and maintain my fitness as I travel the world- but I won’t lie, that doesn’t make it any easier. Not that the holidays are easy for anyone in that sense, but having somewhat of a normal routine and at least access to the gym or some sort of equipment can provide some structure.
Our travel times have ranged from 8-35+ hours in the past all of which leave us completely drained once reaching our destination so my first rule of thumb is to ALWAYS get a hard workout in on the last possible day before we go or the morning of if we don’t have too early of a flight. While being sore while traveling is not ideal, I make sure to get some yoga in while waiting at the airport and in between bathroom stops(yes you may have to ignore some funny looks). While I’m stuck on a plane or bus, I do core contractions (belly button to spine) and glute squeezes to pass the time. Once we arrive somewhere, we usually stay at least 2 days so as soon as I have a good nights rest I make sure to get up early and get a workout in. In the past I have just used my back pack as weight but this trip was the first one that I took a set of small bands with me and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. They took up no room in my pack and added some serious intensity to my workouts. I stuck with basic movements adding in some variations with my bands and finishing with core (see examples). You’ll have to get creative sometimes but there’s usually at least a chair in the room that you can use for step ups and dips. If you get lucky with a set of stairs you can get some cardio in, if not Burpees usually do the trick;)
Diet is a whole different battle, especially when traveling to a third world country. We are extremely blessed to have access to what we do as a country and as the wife of a vegetable farmer I am extremely spoiled to have such a variety of vegetables at my fingertips. That being said Southeast Asia was much better than Central America with the availability and preparation of fresh vegetables, but my usual intake of kale was still WAY down. My preparation with diet begins at home though where I always pack a bag of snacks to have throughout the month. This usually consists of a green powder of some sort, protein packs, quest bars, peanut butter packets, nuts and dried fruit. I opt for these snacks while traveling as opposed to the processed foods available at the “convenient stores” operated mostly out of peoples homes. Another popular option for food is street food. Carts lined city streets mostly serving fried noodles or rice but sticks of mystery meat on the grill, smoothies, crepes were also widely available. If you’re lucky you’ll find a fresh Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad) cart where a lady will chop up some green papaya, green beans, tomato, chile pepper, lime and roasted peanuts along side some sorrel, cabbage and bean sprouts. Although you weren’t always guaranteed the extra greens and most often you spent half the meal sucking in air to save your blistered taste buds because the chilies were so dang hot, this along side some grilled mystery street cart meat was my favorite go to meal. The smoothies were also a life saver, but you had to try to communicate to them that you didn’t want sugar or sweetened milk of any sort and that was sometimes more trouble than it was worth. The restaurants we ate at usually had a stir-fry protein, veggie option that was ALWAYS served with a side of white rice. I would usually opt for chicken or fish when available and either not touch my rice or eat only half of it. They mainly use palm oil over there given its availability, which in large amounts can be a bad thing, but you don’t have any other choice so it’s the best I could do. When it comes to dessert in an attempt to save money as well as calories, my husband and I will always choose to split something. This will sometimes come at the expense of my better judgement on desserts but sometimes it works out that I don't actually want that much of it:P
All this being said, the main point of my vacation is to enjoy myself, so I don’t ever stress out if I don’t get a workout in that day or if my macros aren’t on point. I’ve actually only ever lost weight on vacation and have never skipped dessert when available or not eaten my fill of delicious foreign foods. Everything in moderation.
So to sum things up, here are a few rules to follow to stay healthy and active when traveling.
Get a good, hard full body workout in before you leave.
Yoga when possible
Pack healthy snacks.
Bring workout bands.
Never go more than 3 days without a workout (regardless of how much walking you’ve done)
Try to keep your sugars & simple carbs low.
Enjoy dessert, but only half.
Make the healthiest choices when possible.
Don’t stress about it when you can’t.
50 Clamshells/50 Banded walks
100 Banded squats (3 sec pause at bottom/squeeze at top)
100 Lunge Jumps
100 banded hip thrusters (3 sec hold at top)
50 side lunges ea leg
100 banded glute bridges (3 sec hold at top)
(2x)50 wall sit abductors/50 banded walks
100 burpees for time
Core: 1 min ea 3x
Table top raise
Plank knee drive