Fitness Challenge: Staying in Shape While Traveling

Staying in shape while traveling isn’t always easy. On the one hand I find myself doing more calorie-burning activities such as walking tours, hiking through mountains and abseiling down rock faces. On the the other hand I find myself eating far more food, and drinking a lot more beer than usual. With my lifestyle, I also spend a lot of time stuck in front of a computer drinking cups of tea!

Pommie Travels at Promthep Cape Phuket

When you’re moving around it’s also a lot more difficult to keep a routine, especially if you have a few late nights partying. You can’t visit the same gym every day or go to a regular yoga class.

Since I found a place to stay in Phuket for a month, I decided now is the time to get fit.

I am lucky in the sense that I have always been quite petite and slim. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am fit. In fact I often find myself feeling sluggish, tired and bloated after a meal. I struggle when climbing big flights of stairs or hiking up to temples in Thailand.

This will not do. I want to have energy, stamina and some toned definition to my body.

So I have made some changes to my diet, and have found some ways to introduce cardio and toning exercises into my daily routine. Today I’m going to share with you some things that I find useful for staying in shape while traveling.

Getting Fit Without Joining a Gym

If you’re staying in a hotel with a gym then that’s perfect, but what about if you’re staying in a hostel or an apartment with no such luxuries? You can try a supplement called forskolin slim if you are on the move and simply have no time to exercise or eat properly.

You can still do lots of free activities such as running along the beach, swimming in the ocean or hiking to the top of a hill. All these types of things are a great way to get a cardio workout. If you check out the local neighbourhood or your hostel noticeboard, you might see an advert for yoga or local fitness classes; why not drop in and give it a go?

Whenever you can, find a way to get some exercise. Instead of taking taxis or tuk-tuks, try walking instead. You’ll see much more of a city on foot anyway! Read up on some six pack tips, they are not all crazy!

Failing that, you can always do one of these Youtube fitness videos I mention below if you are traveling with a laptop.

Youtube Fitness Videos

If there isn’t a dance class or yoga class in the place you are visiting, you can simply do a fitness class on Youtube! I have a few favourite videos on Youtube that help me to burn the fat.


One of my favourite trainers is Jillian Michaels, and I like doing her 6 Week Six-Pack Abs Workout. She really motivates me to keep going with it even when I feel like I’m dying! This 30 minute abs workout is quite tough the first time around but gets easier I promise! It’s designed not only to work the abs, but to also burn fat through cardio.

For abs exercises, I also like Laura London and her 10-minute abs workout for women. This is great if you don’t have much time on your hands and you just want to get some exercise in before your day of adventures!


I am traveling with a pair of fairly light dumbbells, but I know these can add weight to your luggage, so I would recommend using two normal sized water bottles as your weights. These are some exercises you can do:

Overall Fitness

If you need a little encouragement to get that bikini body, then sign up for the Tone It Up! Bikini SeriesWhen you sign up you receive a welcome pack that includes a full body toning routine and 4 Tone It Up recipes to help get you started. Then each week you receive weekly check-ins from your trainers, Karena and Katrina; free printable workout routines every Tone It Up Tuesday; plus free healthy recipes and workout tips. Here’s a video explaining what it’s all about…

Going with Jillian Michaels again (I just LOVE this trainer!), I also like her 30-day shred video and her Yoga Meltdown workout.

Finally, one of my fave fitness DVDs is Pump it Up by Ministry of Sound. Unfortunately I left the DVD at home, but you can find it in parts on Youtube:


Travel Fitness

Green Smoothie

Since I am staying in one place for a month I bought a cheap blender, which was about 350 Baht (11 us dollars). It’s not that great but it does the job while I’m in Thailand and I won’t be taking it with me.

I have been making green smoothies in the morning and adding a scoop of protein powder to help my muscles recover from exercise. If you’re going to include protein in your diet, make sure you get a low carbohydrate whey protein. I currently have a Vanilla-flavored protein and it doesn’t taste too bad! Everyone should read more about the different ways to achieve a healthy weight.

I have been using a green smoothie recipe from Able James aka Fat Burning Man. Obviously this would only really work if you are staying in an apartment with a blender or you are staying put for a while. Beware of the green smoothies you see in supermarkets as they are often loaded with sugar. Patriot Power Greens might be something you can try on, see this review before you buy. For more information, read this guide on how to lose weight with smoothies.

Going sorta Paleo

I wouldn’t say I have gone completely Paleo but I have definitely cut out processed foods and I have eliminated carbs such as bread, pasta, rice etc. It has certainly made me think a lot about what I eat.

I have stocked my fridge mainly with raw vegetables, salad items, fruit, cheese, olives, beans and nuts. I have also focused on trying to eat a decent amount of protein, such as eggs, fish, chicken and meat.

According to, it’s quite easy to eat healthily in Thailand. When I go out to a restaurant I order the papaya salads or stir fry without the rice, and I avoid the Western section of the menu where you’ll find all the burgers, pizza and other stuff. I have also discovered a great raw food cafe in Phuket that serves some delicious meals. They substitute things like pasta with shredded zucchini, and a burger bun with lettuce leaves. I’m also allowing one day per week where I can eat what I feel like eating.

Here are just some of the meals I’ve had since starting my fitness kick:

Thai Food

Prawns in Oyster Sauce

Spicy Beef Salad

Raw Food Burger

Fitness Accessories to Travel With

At the moment I am traveling with a pair of Nike Free Run sneakers. I actually have such small feet that I was able to buy the kids size in Australia!

Nike Free Run Kids

I have also invested in a cheap yoga mat. It’s extra weight to carry around, but I think it’s worth it if I want to do some abs exercises or yoga etc.

Carrying around heavy dumbbells isn’t very practical for traveling, so you can use full water bottles as weights instead.

I would also recommend getting a pair of earphones for running so that they don’t fall out of your ear every time you go running. Barefoot running shoes are also brilliant if you want to get as close as you can to shoe- free running: check out the best ones at Runnerclick where you can see the pros and cons of each.

Maintaining this Healthy Lifestyle

The question is, can you keep it up?

It can be difficult sticking to a specific diet when you are in different countries all the time. If you are offered food by a local, for instance, it would be rude to say no. Sometimes when you are traveling there are very few options and you have to go with what is available at the time.

But where you can, I think it helps to avoid the the sugar, the carbs and processed food, and stick to the healthier options…quite obvious really.

As for exercise, I am going to try to commit to 30 minutes of exercise each morning wherever I am in the world, then I have the rest of the day to do whatever I like. I’m also going to make more effort to walk everywhere, and I won’t say ‘no’ next time someone asks if I want to hike to a castle on top of a hill, or climb to the top of a waterfall!

13 thoughts on “Fitness Challenge: Staying in Shape While Traveling”

  1. Great post!! I find for me the two biggest obstacles for staying fit where I live in Central America is the heat and safety. For 90% of the day it’s way too hot to do anything outside, and when it finally cools off it’s nighttime and not safe for me to be out by myself.

    1. yeah in thailand it’s very hot and humid, and i certainly wouldn’t feel safe going running at night. you can still do exercise indoors with the fitness videos i mentioned, and do some repetitions to get in shape.

  2. Having just come back from some quality time in Belgium where I devoured more than my fair of its delicacies, let’s just say that I’ll be revisiting this post in my future travels. By the way, that Jillian Michaels workout is intense, but will be a part of my workout routine for the next 6 weeks. Let’s see how it goes!

  3. My biggest travel worry: Eating at too many food stalls (they’re cheap and I like cheap) and sitting on the computer for countless hours. The two don’t mix and this girl is prone to one large booty. I had no idea Jillian Michael’s workout videos were on YouTube. I’m going to have to download these for the road. Have you tried looking for the Insanity Workout on YouTube? I’ve heard they’re pretty rough.

  4. Two tricks I’ve used to keep my bag light while still allowing for some exercise:

    1) Get a theraband and you can do a wide variety of arm and leg exercises that you’d normally do with weights.

    2) Make the move to “barefoot” shoes, they general weight half as much as regular runner and take up half as much space. They are also suppose to be a lot better for your body, I know they helped me a lot.

  5. wow, you travel with small dumbbells? you have much more commitment than I could manage!
    To be honest I think everything you’ve said there is all good advice whether you’re travelling or not. It just such a shame its not always easy to get such amazing Thai food outside of Thailand!
    I’ve bookmarked the videos to try later 🙂

  6. Great tips! I had visions of getting back into yoga through videos but haven’t searched the web yet, so maybe I’ll start with some kickass Jillian videos. It would be great to find a cheap, small yoga matt to travel with but I can probably stick to a towel for my next big trip.

    I walk so much when I travel, but the food gets me, it’s so hard to say no! P.S., those Vibram five finger shoes that Pedro mentioned is best for trails… not really for the street, especially in the beginning.

    Love your blog!

  7. Hey, great article. I really like it and can you suggest a few more fitness supplements that I can carry while traveling. Well, I also like to eat street foods and want to be fit as well. Thanks for sharing all the videos it helps me a lot. I feel really glad if you help me with the answer that what type of supplements you carry while traveling and it is costly or not? Well, I prefer fitness supplements on a budget and I also read about it here that may help you too

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