The Complete Travel Fitness Starter Kit
You’re going on vacation and you want to find the balance between staying fit, still having a good time, and not ruining all the hard work you’ve put into the gym. As someone who’s been on the road for 6 months now, and has managed to stay fit, while traveling and thoroughly enjoying myself, trying new foods, eating out all the time etc. I have a lot of practical advice you can use to stay fit on holiday. By the end of this article, you will have everything you need to stay fit, including a free workout plan for indefinite long-term travel.
It’s simple advice, you don’t need to endlessly count calories or macros (in fact I don’t do that at all), and you don’t need to spend hours working out. It takes 30 minutes of your time 3 x per week to follow.
How To Stay Fit on Vacation (Quick Answer)
To stay fit on vacation:
- Stick to 3 meals per day, with 1 item as a treat.
- For each meal eat proteins, carbs, vegetables, and fruit for after
- Get 30 minutes of exercise 3x per week
- Stay hydrated
- Limit your alcohol consumption
Eat when you feel hungry, don’t over-eat, and ensure you work out.
You don’t have to limit the items of food you eat or count calories – just make sure you’re getting decent amounts of protein, veg, and fruits, and drinking enough water.
Make sure your snacks are decent, something like dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, cereal bars, protein bars, or something equivalent. Don’t go eating Mars bars or Snickers for snacks.
With this knowledge, you can leave the article now, but if you want some more information on what kinds of foods keep you nourished and full, as well as a workout plan to stay fit, continue on…
How To Eat Healthy While On Vacation
Sticking to your diet isn’t always possible if you’re on holiday, and if you’re on holiday (and not traveling for work or something like that) it’s ok to miss out on a couple of days.. you’re there to have fun after all.
The easiest way to eat healthy while on vacation is having a meal like this:
- Meat/Fish (BBQ, Pan Fried, Boiled)
- Rice/Potato/Pasta/Bread (Fried, Steamed)
- Veg (Mix of green and colorful veg)
- Fruit (1 piece of fruit for dessert)
- 1 item you consider a treat
- Limit alcohol consumption
You can use the above plan as a building block for each meal and swap out different meats, carbs, and veg to keep it interesting and to allow yourself to try different local foods and still get that experience of travel.
For instance, it could be used for:
- A burger – beef (meat), bread (carb), salad (veg), fries (carb)
- A small pizza – chicken, pepperoni (meat), bread (carb), side salad (veg)
- Some pasta – prawns (protein), pasta (carbs), mushrooms (veg), side salad (veg)
- You get the picture…
When you go home, you can use the exact same formula, just be more strict with it.
Have lean proteins instead, carbs like white rice, whole grain pasta, potatoes, and salad + vegetables with one treat item per day. Eat fruit as snacks, with nuts or dried fruit/cereal bars (no not coco pops or chocolatey cr*p), protein bars etc.
If you stick to this throughout the holiday, you won’t blow all the hard work you’ve done, and additionally, you won’t have to deal with the horrible week of getting back into your routine.
This plan allows you to have the meals you want, and keep in shape. So you can have burgers, pizza etc. etc. just don’t eat an entire family bucket of KFC to yourself if you’re not doing the work to burn it off.
Along with this, make sure you’re still getting your greens and vitamins in alongside a decent water intake. This way you don’t have to count calories and you won’t put on much weight (especially if you’re going out exploring and walking places).
If you don’t mind having to deal with the week of low energy and feeling off track, while recovering after the holiday then do it. It’s not like I haven’t done it before. If eating an entire tray of brownies while having 6 cases of beer is your idea of relaxing and fun go for it, it’s a holiday and you only do it a couple of weeks a year.
But, realistically, that’s never as fun as it sounds. If you end up feeling sick, or hungover, don’t go exploring the town as much as you’d have liked to.
The 3 meals per day, with 1 treat item, allows you to still feel good, still feel like you’re able to experience the different foods and drinks, and still have the energy to explore.
Healthy Eating Example for Vacation
Here’s what I do to stay healthy while on the road for indefinite travel, you could do something similar but follow it more loosely as you’re on holiday:
- breakfast 6 am/8 am
- black coffee for breakfast (pinch of salt will change the game for you)
- some light fruit, apple, orange, watermelon… no starchy fruit like banana
- pea protein shake/whey shake at 11 am-1 pm mixed with water.
- lunch 1-2 pm
- meat/fish with veggies and carbs
- I prefer BBQ’d meats and fish, but you can eat pan-fried if you want
- some salad with olive oil, salt, black pepper
- a single serving of fruit for after
- healthy snacks between 3-6 pm
- almonds, peanuts, cashews
- fruit or fried fruit (dried bananas are godly)
- if I feel low energy I’ll have something starchy to pick me up a bit
- e.g. potato, small portion of white rice, etc.
- dinner 6-8 pm
- protein fish/meat again, or maybe eggs
- basically the same as lunch but with different foods
- fruit for after
- dessert/treat for the end of the day
Healthy Foods That Keep Your Nourished and Full
Here’s a quick list of healthy food options that will keep you full and nourished:
- Lean meat
- Nuts & dried fruit (portions of 30g nuts + 30g fruits max)
- Fruit (try stick to non starchy such as banana)
- Salad (eat with dressing like oil, salt, black pepper, avoid mayonnaise stuff and salad cream)
- White rice (no eating white rice is not a sin)
- Potatoes (normal and sweet)
- Protein shakes (try to avoid whey)
- Protein bars (try to avoid whey)
Alcohol Consumption on Holiday
The easiest way to destroy your progress is to drink a lot during your holiday. Of course, drinking a couple of beers, wines, or whatever the f**k you like isn’t going to automatically eat all your muscle mass away or automatically inject 20 pounds of fat into you.
However, drinking so much that you’re constantly hungover and need to recover, leads to eating awful foods the next day, and feeling lethargic… the list goes on and on.
But of course, it’s a holiday and some of you are going to want to drink, so do it. Enjoy your beers. The key is to keep it at a decent level. Keep a constant level of tipsy throughout the night, rather than get so wasted you don’t remember stuff the next day.
If you’re worried about the calories… a week isn’t going to do a lot. But, it’s better to stick to spirit drinks like Vodka, Whiskey etc. with soda waters or low-calorie sodas.
A good trick to monitoring alcohol consumption on holiday is to drink 1 pint of water for every pint of beer you drink. Or drink 1 glass of water for every measure of spirits you have. This will keep you hydrated, keep your drinking habit in check and prevent your hangover from being so bad all you want to do is lie in a dark room and watch mindless TV all day.
If you’re really concerned and are a bodybuilder on a cut, you can drink straight spirits and eat all your calories from lean proteins and low-carbohydrate vegetables like broccoli. But that’s not any fun now, is it?
How Do I Get A Proper Workout In Without A Gym on Vacation?
You don’t need a gym, dumbells, or fancy exercise equipment to stay fit on holiday. You don’t even need a gym for indefinite travel. I currently run a bodyweight strength program and I’m increasing my strength and control, all while staying lean, just using my body weight for exercises.
There are 0 excuses for getting a decent workout in on holiday. You can do 30 minutes 3 x per week and still stay in shape + build muscle mass.
You’ll feel a lot better for doing it too! The number one way to stay in shape on vacation is to have a bodyweight exercise routine. Or, if you have a hotel gym, you can just use that for 30 minutes.
Vacation Bodyweight Workout With No Gym
Here’s a quick strength training plan you can do on vacation with no gym:
- Push Ups 3 x 10-failure
- Pike Push Ups 3 x 10-failure
- Squats/Jump Squats 3 x 10-20
- Lunges 3 x 10-20
- Good Mornings 3 x 20
- Body Weight Rows 3 x 10-20
- Sit-ups 3 x 20-30
- Bicycle Kicks 3 x 30-60s
This will work your whole body, and you’ll easily be able to complete it in 30 minutes, meaning you can wake up, get it done, and then enjoy the rest of your day guilt-free.
Importance of Adding Intensity With No Equipment
The idea of working out without a gym is to increase the intensity or use time under tension methods to make up for the lack of heavyweights to break down your muscles.
I personally like to mix my workouts with HIIT cardio, mobility work, and strength training jammed into the 30 minutes. This is completely possible because you just push yourself to your limit in that 30 minutes, along with use exercises like Good Mornings and Pike Push-Ups in a dynamic way to stretch as well.
For instance, I’ll commonly take the above workout and mix 3 of the workouts into a circuit with no rest:
- Push-Up to failure
- 20-40 squats
- 1 minute squat sit
- 20 good mornings
After the last exercise, you repeat these reps for 3 sets. This will easily work your cardiovascular, strength, and mobility.
With the 4th final exercise, you should design it so that you are doing a dynamic stretch or mobility workout. This gives you time for active recovery, so you’re ready for the next circuit when it comes around.
After finishing, rest for 1 minute and start a different circuit.
Plan, Pack and Prepare For Working Out
If you prepare before going on holiday, you can bring extra equipment that will allow you to get a better full-body workout.
The best lightweight travel exercise equipment to take is:
- Resistance band
- TRX System/Gym Rings
These will take up a tiny amount of space in your luggage and add a tiny amount of weight. They also open up the number of workouts you can do just using your body. For instance, you can find any tree and attach your gym rings/TRX system to it, allowing you to now do pull-ups, L-Sits, Chest Dips, and more.
You could additionally use your hotel room‘s furniture to expand your workouts. Using a chair you can do tricep dips, chest dips, L-Sits, decline push-ups etc. You could also use your heavy suitcase for arm curls, tricep extensions etc.
Use your imagination and creativity to get a good workout in.
Hiking, Biking, Swimming & Exploring
If you’re an adventurous type, you’ll easily get your cardio done for the day on holiday. Even if you’re simply exploring the city or local markets for a couple of hours, you will get a lot of steps in. This can be considered cardio.
Additionally, if you’re spending the day at the beach or the pool, try to get some lengths in.
If you’re near some places with sports centers, go there and join in on some sessions. You’ll make friends with people, be able to play sports together, and get your cardio in without it feeling like it.
Workout/Yoga Videos on YouTube
If you really can’t think of a way to work out on holiday, there are an incredible amount of fitness routine videos available online that you can complete in 15-30 minutes. Search on YouTube for one of these, do it, and go enjoy your day.
If you’re a real hard nut try David Goggins’ 45-minute workout on YouTube.
Free Vacation Workout Plan For Holiday or Indefinite Travel
Here’s a workout plan I made for people who are indefinitely traveling, but you can use it for home workouts, vacations etc. it’s a plan built with strength training, mobility, and cardio in mind and only takes 30 minutes of your time.
There are progressions for each exercise with video breakdowns included, make a copy of it and get at it yourself!
We’re Harry & Iris – and we were tired of the same old “10 best places I’ve never been but I’m writing about for some reason” blog posts. So… we’re two young travelers on a mission to travel the world and share our true, unfiltered experience, including all the gristly details. From packing our life into one bag for a year to traveling Vietnam by motorbike, to sorting out Visas for specific countries – we’ve done it all, are doing it all and only give our advice on things we have done – not regurgitated cr*p from another source *cough* most publications *cough*. So bear with us! This project will take some time to grow, and will take a fair bit of money. But we’re determined to make it the single best source of information about traveling on the internet.