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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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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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