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Strategies I’m Using to Stay Fit While Traveling

Strategies I’m Using to Stay Fit While Traveling

I believe that we are meant to live physical lives, which is why I love training, weightlifting, and athletic competition. However, I also believe that we are meant to explore the world around us, which is why I love adventure, photography, and travel.

Balancing these two passions can be a struggle sometimes. Eating healthy and getting to the gym is easier when you’re at home, but harder on the road.

I’m still learning and experimenting with different ideas, but here are some strategies I’ve been using to stay fit while traveling. Plus, the new approach that I’m taking this year.

1. Do what you can, when you can.

I think the simplest approach is to fit training in whenever you can. When all else fails, you can always resort to this strategy.

Example 1: After 14 hours of flying and a 9-hour time change, I landed in Russia and made it to my hotel late at night. I was exhausted, but decided to do a 10-minute pushup workout before melting into the pillow. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.

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Example 2: When I was on the road in the Midwest, I spent 20 minutes doing sprints in the parking lot of an apartment complex. (And a particularly interested inhabitant came out on his balcony and cheered me on.) Again, not much, but I think it was worth it.

You get the idea.

I think the most important part of this strategy is learning to not care what other people think about you. When travel restricts your options, sometimes you have to train in strange places. If you can learn to not care what you look like, then you can always find a way to do some push-ups in your hotel room, toss in a set of pull-ups on a nearby tree branch, or go for a short run in the parking lot.

2. Train with the locals.

It doesn’t always work, but if you have friends or friends-of-friends in the place you are visiting, then this can be a perfect solution. They can take you as a guest to their gym or you can meet up for a training session. As an added bonus, you get to hang out with a friend.

3. Make hard choices.

I spent a week exploring Italy (photos here) before heading to the fantastic St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland. By the end of the week, I was itching for some exercise. However, I also needed to catch up on sleep since there was a speaker I wanted to hear leading a session at the symposium the next morning.

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Something had to give.

I decided to sleep, exercise in the morning, and go to the symposium an hour late. I missed a great speaker, but after the workout and some rest I was in better spirits for the rest of symposium. It was a hard choice, but I don’t regret it at all.

There are constraints and limitations that happen every day of our lives. They just seem to be especially apparent while traveling. Training on the road isn’t magically going to be easy. Your time and options are limited, so sometimes you have to make a hard choice and miss out on something else.

4. Schedule your travel during an “off week” for training.

This is my latest and greatest approach and I’ll be trying it out for the next 12 months. Essentially, I’m scheduling my travel to happen during a planned “off week” in my training. My thought is that if I travel for 6 weeks of the year, but train consistently for the other 46 weeks, then I’ll be able to have the best of both worlds.

Currently, I’m training on cycles that are approximately 8 to 10 weeks. After each cycle, I’m planning to take an off week from training that usually lasts 5 to 10 days. During this time, I give myself a free pass on lifting while I spend a few days diving into travel, adventure, and photography.

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I realize that many people don’t have this kind of flexibility with their travel plans. In fact, I didn’t have this much flexibility myself until very recently. Creating freedom in my life has been one of the main driving forces of my entrepreneurial career and now I’m fortunate enough to have it.

Here’s what this strategy looks like in practice:

My latest training cycle started after Thanksgiving of last year. I trained for nine weeks from the beginning of December through the end of January. I then spent my off week traveling through Morocco (photo essay coming soon!).

During this “off week” I did a lot of walking, hiking, and exploring around different cities to take photos. It was definitely a week of active rest. I didn’t touch any weights, do any push-ups, or run any sprints. I just walked, and ate, and took thousands of photos. It was a great creative break. I’m hoping that it will be a good physical break as well, setting me up for the next phase of training.

The only real answer is the one that works for you.

Obviously, these strategies aren’t the absolute answer. I’ve said many times before that I don’t have it all figured out. I’m just experimenting with ideas and seeing what works for me.

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As an entrepreneur, my schedule is more flexible than usual. As a photographer, my mission when I travel (to capture the essence of a place) is different from what many people have in mind when they travel. In other words, while these strategies work for me, they may not be a perfect fit for your lifestyle or your mission. That’s fine. Take the ideas that work and leave the rest.

No matter what you do, keep training and keep exploring.

James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares science-based ideas for living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance by 10x, join his free newsletter.

This article was originally published on JamesClear.com.

Featured photo credit: FUMIGRAPHIK-Photographist via flickr.com

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James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits. He shares self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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