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How To Balance Between Traveling And Fitness

As a world traveler, staying fit is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in my life. My normal routine gets completely messed up when traveling. Back at home, it is very convenient for me to find the time to go to a gym anytime I want to. I usually can prepare my own meals. I’m also used to a good night’s sleep at a specific time. Everything was under my control. 

However, after embarking my first solo travel in Japan, Shanghai, Thailand, Cambodia, and the list goes on, things always got screwed up whenever I traveled – hotel gyms were awful, I was always “too busy” or “too tired” to exercise. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted because, hey, I’m living the travel life.

Or I didn’t eat enough because I wanted to save up money. Not surprisedly, my fitness progress would come to a halt or slowly I was going back to the old me. I was worried about backtracking to my old self (you can read here) where I was not happy with who I am and what I was doing with my life, such as losing all tracks of my goals. 

I mean, I was going to be living out of a backpack, visiting a new city every few days, sleeping at odd hours, exploring exotic locations, crossing off crazy things from my list, and also working full-time as an online personal trainer. Staying fit means I get to experience life better. That’s the dream, the lifestyle I wanted… My Story (Link to blog post) and why I am so set on getting in shape even when traveling

Basically, when traveling, everything is up in the air. When my life is up in the air, I don’t have the complete control as I had back at home. My schedule gets disrupted. The majority of the food options are unhealthy or unbalanced food portions. And sometimes, it’s even harder to find a gym. If so, it’s probably not a good one or ridiculously expensive.

Despite an incredibly hectic life and travel schedule, I still want to keep traveling to see the world and that I need to find a way to stay fit while traveling. Through trails and errors, I’ve actually managed to balance between fitness and travel. I was able to pack on 20-25 pounds of muscle during my six months of ongoing travel!

Now, here I am in the best shape of my life while exploring the unknown places in Taiwan. Look, it wasn’t all easy for me and even maybe for you too. That’s something I won’t deny. I did fall back when I was in India (read here: “How India challenged me and my fitness journey”).

Since then, I know I can bounce back again. And I will tell you this, I absolutely tired the best as I can to incorporate fitness into my travel lifestyle. Everyone’s goals are different but you can find your aways just like I’ve found my ways and worked my ass off. Here are tips that you can do by:

Making it priority and be consistent

I made a commitment. I wanted to become big and stronger while living my dream to travel the world at the same time. That means no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would need to find a way to work out – no excuses.

Even if I was traveling around countries, sleeping on buses, exploring temples, and visiting a new town seemingly every other day, I still find a way to exercise. Again, NO EXCUSES. Add it to your calendar, set up an email reminder, do WHATEVER it takes, but do not take no for an answer. So if you have to wake up early one day to get some workout in, DO IT. If you are waiting for the bus to come, take advantage of working out randomly, may it be a jumping jack, lifting up your backpack, etc. 

The best way to reach your fitness goal is to be constant and that means keeping up your routine even while traveling.


When I started traveling, I knew it was going to be different, but I didn’t realize HOW different it was going to be. I go to the gym whenever convenient, but in many of the places I ended up to, it’s difficult to find a reliable gym.

So I bought some elastic bands I take with me everywhere I go and it’s been awesome! I cannot more highly recommend anything as portable and effective. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been done Airbnb, in airports, hiking, or just in a new city that doesn’t have gyms with a day pass.

I recommend getting a set instead of a single band because different exercises require different levels of resistance so that you can progress. These resistance bands are commonly underestimated. Many people assume that it doesn’t really target their goals; however, if you get creative with it and add more sets and reps, you can maintain your progress. 

Here is a pdf of band exercises. This is a good place to start for first-time resistance band users. Each cycle of exercises takes about 10-12 minutes to complete. I can be done in 45-60 minutes which would be around the same time I’d spend at the gym.

Remember, your body is the most amazing set of weights that you have. Use it! You can stand up from your seat right now and do some push-ups, squats, glue bridges, bird dogs, planks and more. The possibilities are endless. You can even further enhance body-weight exercises by looking for one of three things:

  • Do pull up on any sturdy bars you see, such as a bus stop overhang or a tree branch
  • If you are nearby a park, use the swing and do various of exercises like this ___). 
  • If you don’t want to do a pull-ups, do bodyweight rows. You can use a desk or table or pick up your backpack to squat and do some dumbbell rows. 

What about my workouts? I usually do these workouts when I am unable to go to the gym:

  • Push ups or handstand push ups (5 sets, 15-20 reps)
  • Pulls up or chin ups (5 sets, 5-12 reps)
  • Lunges or squats (3 sets, 10-15 reps)
  • Planks or hanging knee tucks (3 sets, 30 seconds or more)


You cannot outrun a bad diet, and you cannot out-train it either.

Proper diet and nutrition is the answer in order to reach my fitness goal. That is to gain healthy weight on my trip, which means… I would need to eat a lot of food. This has been the most challenging part of the fitness travel journey and here’s how I overcome:

I plan ahead – 

If I was going to be on a bus for 8 hours, I bring healthy snacks like raw nuts such as walnuts, cashews, and almonds, apples, dried fruits, and a jar of peanut butter to make sure I got my meals and calories in. 

If your goal is weight loss, try to maximize the good stuff (meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and minimize the bad stuff (junk food, processed grains, and carbs, sugary beverages, etc). If you plan ahead, you’ll find that it’s not too difficult as you think. 

Save up and spend a little more on food  

Eating more and/or healthy usually cost more. Solution? I spent less money on extra expenses so that I could afford to eat enough while traveling. I actually save more money spent on food in other countries than back home in America. For example, in Taiwan, a typical meal consists of vegetables, meat, and rice (or noodle) cost $3-4. 

My diet is my priority – Being on a tight budget and no consistent kitchen is tough when I want to gain weight and muscle. 

I did the best I could – sometimes it doesn’t work the way you want. These things happen.

If your trip is only a month or less or you’re truly pressed for time, don’t worry about it and enjoy your trip. You have the rest of your life ahead of you to focus on fitness after your trip. 


Obviously, your goal is to be better today than you were yesterday. How would you know if you don’t know how you did yesterday!

I kept track of every single work out while I was traveling including sets, reps, and the weight. I just simply wrote these down on a notepad on my iPhone. By doing that, I knew exactly how many reps and sets of each exercise I needed to do in order to be better and stronger compared to the previous.

If you could only do one squat and half a push-up yesterday, aim for two squats and 3/4ths of a push-up tomorrow. It doesn’t matter where you start, no matter how weak you are. What matters is that you’re better than you were last time.

To summary everything up:

Sticking to my commitments was the number one thing that helped me above all else. Even with just resistance bands for the majority of my workouts, I was able to achieve the results I am extremely happy with. 

Bands are not a replacement for heavy lifting in the gym, but they are a great supplement. You can always size up on the amount of resistance weight.

Plan ahead. Make your healthy eating a priority. Success!

By the way, if you want to keep yourself accountable while traveling, having a coach may be very helpful! 

Join my Online Coaching Program and I can be right there with you, from anywhere, to make sure you hit your fitness goals.

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