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The Essential Guide to Staying in Shape while Traveling (part 1)


Ahh, it's that time of the year again to let go of commitments for a while and go abroad to have fun. To take in the sights, sounds, smell and taste of everything foreign.

Traveling sounds fun to most people. Unfortunately, for many people who are conscious about how they look, traveling may pose a challenge to their fitness routine.

If you've ever felt frustrated about trying to keep your fitness routine while abroad, worry no further! This article will help you out.

Simply follow the following few principles and you will be good to go. In this 3-part article, we will go through the key ideas in part 1, and nutrition aspect of things in part 2, and the exercise aspect in part 3.

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Key ideas

1) Maintenance - and not improvement - should be the goal

Surprised at reading this? Well, for the most part it's easier to maintain muscle mass, maintain body fat levels, and strength and other physical fitness components than to progress on them. You want to focus on maintaining your fitness levels.

It's important to have a realistic expectation of fitness. In this context, if you go on every vacation expecting to carry on with progressing, you will end up disappointed. If you have a realistic expectation, after the holiday you will likely return to the gym with more hunger to progress. Furthermore, you take away the anxiety and pressure associated with stressing yourself out and get to fully enjoy yourself.

Now, here's a caveat: if you are traveling for a week or less, maintenance should be the focus. If you are going for more than a week, it's realistic to expect to progress. This is because one week is an insignificant time period to expect progress. A week more would be reasonable.

2) Focus on weight maintenance - not gaining or losing

Similar to the previous point, you should focus on maintaining your weight.

However, if you are going to compete in a bodybuilding/physique show, participate in a photoshoot or engage in a sporting activity which requires weight manipulation, you should continue on your weight change track.

Additionally, if you are holidaying for over a week, you should continue with your weight change goal.

3) Focus on maintaining healthy habits you've established

A common habit among fitness enthusiasts who successfully maintain their fitness while traveling is to pay attention to food selection and get in one or two workouts in a week.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking "Because I can't stick to my usual fitness regime, I will give it up for now". Don't adopt this all-or-none, black-and-white thinking.

Instead, acknowledge that you may not be able to continue your regular plan 100%, and that it is okay to make adjustments so you can maintain key habits. When you are back from holiday, you can transit easily back to what you've been doing prior to the holiday.

I hope this has been useful for your consideration so far. Stay tuned for the next part, in which we will cover the nutrition aspect.