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Picture this. You wake up to your alarm blasting at 6:00AM.

You are reticent but you get out of bed, put your workout gear on and head to the gym/yoga class/spin class/ “substitute favourite gym class” class. You manage to squeeze it into your day that is otherwise work filled, meeting filled, dinner plans filled and Netflix filled (no shame, we all do it), because you know it makes you feel great, sleep well, smile at strangers, and ultimately makes you far less irritable which makes everyone else in your life quite happy.

But then you decide that you are sick of the rat race and the routine of it. So you quit your job, and go on an epic 6 month travel adventure (or for the less risk prone amongst us, you take 2 weeks off of work to travel). And while the travel adventure is bliss, and you feel full and happy, the prospect of not working out for 6 months or 2 weeks (or anything in between or beyond) terrifies you.

So here are a few tricks to embrace your adventure while abating the worry, maintaining your fitness, and enjoying the ride.

Bring those sneakers, and go for a run

Zen out with AM Yoga

Book a bike tour

A runner is a runner, no matter the postal code (or zip code, or whatever it is you call it outside of my native Canada) you find yourself in. Whenever I travel, I always bring my running shoes with me. They are as essential as bringing my phone or my beloved water bottle.

Yoga - bliss and increased flexibility in one.  Done solo or in the warmth of community, yoga is an energizing addition to any day.

Indoors or out, yoga can be integrated into your travels! You can do it in your hostel using your own routine, or a YouTube video (my cousin swears by Yoga with Adriene - a yoga routine for every occasion!).  Or venture outside, to a patio or roof top terrace of a hostel or hotel. If you’re in a beach city, try free yoga on the beach (I know many beach cities have them - Vancouver, Canada for example is notorious for it).  Or try SUP yoga (we have a Wandure Barcelona experience if you happen to be in Spain!).  

And if you're a yogi and have some key pieces of equipment to assist your practice, like a yoga block be sure to bring it with you or seek out a studio that meets your needs. As a yogi myself, I recently came across a helpful guide to using yoga blocks which I found very helpful to my practice - wherever I may be completing my yoga routine!

The sun rises, wherever you may find yourself, and so you can happily engage with yoga wherever that sunshine greets you.

And eat a great breakfast to fuel you for the day! While your favourite green smoothie may not be available, or eggs and toast, you can find something healthy and local to nourish you. Remember that half of how you feel is what you put in your body! So indulge in the local flavours, but also nourish your body with healthy foods so that you can feel energized as you explore your new locale.

If you have innate balance and excellent steering skills, one of the best ways to see a city is on a bike tour - solo or with a group!  As a person who has neither of these things (just ask my friend Alicia, who relishes in one of her favourite travel stories - me attempting to drive an e-bike in Myanmar), this is not my usual go to. But even I dabble here and there!

Most cities within any modicum of tourism have bike rental shops or official bike tours. So be sure to pack a day pack, sunglasses, and your water bottle for a day with your bike in town.

The gift of experiencing nature while you travel is grounding and a wonderful way to connect with your destination of choice.

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How to Workout while you Travel

Hike those mountains

The journey, the views, the physical exertion, the natural beauty, the chats or the silence - the cumulative adventure that hiking provides is an absolute highlight in my travels and my daily life. I feel genuinely alive when I am in nature, and exhilarated to go and do more. To experience life to its highest degree. The gift of experiencing nature while you travel is grounding and a wonderful way to connect with your destination of choice. To see the sights, to feel the energy of the place - to experience to the forests, jungles, plants, flowers, insects (bring eco-friendly bug spray!), birds and mammals.

For example, the camping and hiking infrastructure in Thailand is fabulous, and worthwhile exploring. When I was living in Bangkok, I went on an adventure in Kao Yai National Park (one of 120 National Parks in Thailand!). Directly translated to mean “little mountains”, Kao Yai has splendid walking but the true beauty of Kao Yai is not in the mountains but in the wildlife that call the park home. On this epic day-long hike, we encountered a wild elephant and poisonous ants (the elephant was remarkable, the ants were terrifying). And by the end of the hike (on which we were wore leech socks - to ensure they didn’t enter our boots and come home with us) we were exhausted and rewarded. Oh, and bring your water bottle so you can stay hydrated!

If you’re hesitant to run by yourself (which depending on context, language barriers, and safety - you may be), run with a group. Maybe your hostel has organized a running group? Maybe there is a meet up? There are numerous safe ways to get out there, explore the city, and get that heart rate pumping!  

Do a 15 minute full body workout (using your own body weight) before starting the day’s adventures

The science of using your own body weight to gain muscle has been lauded as an accessible and effective method of exercise. Referred to as calisthenics or bodyweight workout, this workout regime is portable on the road as it only requires one key element - YOU! Using your body’s mass as resistance, you increase your strength, fitness, and flexibility through a series of movements including pulling or pushing yourself up, as well as jumping and bending etc.

You can find a plethora of different, pre-established body workout regimens online. Some differentiate between workouts tailored for men and women, and others are more specific still. Most include push-ups, pulls- ups, crunches, calf raises, lunges, plank, sit-ups, squat jumps, jumping jacks, dips, box jumps, and, leg raises. For more information on how to maximize your calisthenics/bodyweight workout, check out RenegadeWorkouts' piece on how bodyweight training builds muscle.

While I would provide you with a list, it is best to tailor it to your own style, time frame, and preferences, so be sure to do some research to figure out the best set/sequence for you!

March 6th, 2019

By Chelsea Sauvé

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Check out your sport community abroad

When I travel, I like to expose myself to the local flavour and culture - a day in the life so to speak. And so, as an avid fitness junkie, I seek out local gym classes (many countries offer such classes in English) and engage in a spin class, yoga class, or martial arts class. Meet locals with similar interests and get a feel for the local fitness experience.

Enjoy team sports?  Maybe an ultimate frisbee enthusiast? Find a local meet up. Into basketball? Find a local court and get in on the game (there’s always Google translate to overcome that language barrier)! Or, find and join in a local soccer match  (also known as football for those more sophisticated amongst us). Certainly a good way to get to know locals and the feel of the city from the lens you enjoy best.

Walk the city

A few days later, we were once again totally and utterly lost. Wandering through the streets of Barcelona, we happened upon a unique neighbourhood tradition in Barcelona (to this day, I have no idea which part of the city we were in - somewhere near Parc Guell, at least I hope so because that is what we were attempting to find at the time!). It was a festive competition where neighbours decorated their respective streets using a predetermined theme in beautiful, home-made, larger than life ornaments - the year we happened upon the tradition, theme was dressmaking/tailoring. The rivalry occurs in good spirited fun, as locals gathered to eat in the streets on long communal tables beneath the gorgeous decorations they had created and shared in a lovely, boisterous meal together. Despite the fact that our own neighbourhoods were thousands of miles away, we were invited into the celebration as though we too were neighbours. By the end of the evening, we were honourary members of this lively community!

Walking and exploring a city is the best way to get to know it - its’ landmarks (both remarkable and unremarkable), its’ food (both remarkable and unremarkable), its’ people (usually remarkable).

And as a bonus, it’s better for the environment to use your own two feet to explore rather than a plane, train or automobile. Win- Win.

When I visited Barcelona, my then partner and I got lost twice. Both of these lost moments resulted in the most memorable experiences of the trip.

First, we came across a street party, with dancing and mojitos galore. We danced and danced in the (very severe) heat, for hours on end - thrilled to be in the thick of this local extravaganza (there were very few tourists who had the delight of encountering the street party).

And when in question…. dance it out

Who here dances when stressed? Raise your hand (my hand is raised). Dancing can be an awesome way to refuel yourself, feel the music… and … let go. Whether at a club, on the beach, or in your hotel room in your undies (bliss), get your cardio on and dance, dance, dance.

Inspired by a few trusted sources and the need to move, here is a “dance it out” playlist to make life super easy for you (you’re welcome):

 

1. Come and Get Your Love - Redbone

2. I Want You Back - Jackson Five

3. Twist and Shout - The Beatles

4. I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston

5. Hooked on a Feeling  - Blue Swede

6. All the Single Ladies - Beyonce

7. Blurred Lines  - Robin Thicke

8. Happy - Pharrell Williams

9. Barbara Ann  -  Beach Boys

10. Dancing Queen - ABBA

11. Stuck in the Middle with You - Stealers Wheel

12. I’m a Believer - The Monkees

13. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison

14. Get Down on It - Kool and the Gang

15. Last Nite - The Strokes

16. Mr. Brightside - The Killers

17. You Really Got Me - The Kinks

18. What I Like About You - The Romantics

19. Do You Love Me - The Counters …  (a Dirty Dancing throwback for all those who share the Baby+Johnny love)

Here’s to many happy workouts ahead!

Also be sure to check out TrainAway for your gym needs while abroad. This handy app allows you to find a gym close by while abroad! As a gym enthusiast myself, this totally excites me!