Keeping Fit While Travelling

Or more correctly, how to fail at keeping fit whilst travelling.

I have traveled quite a bit so far this summer- to Cyprus and two cities in Germany. So here are a few things you should keep in mind when you are travelling and you still want to exercise (you crazy fool, you)...

Use it as a way to explore the place...

You can see some really excellent things whilst running, and also get a real feel for a place. For example, a run I did early on in Hamburg gave me my bearings; made me love how they've built a city around such a beautiful lake; and also gave me a feel for how exercise-friendly Germany is. They had an outdoor gym, loads of exercisers, no-one looked at me funny, and two people actually gave me a thumbs up whilst I was doing squats. Unsure if that was 100% the exercise concept but, hey, they seemed friendly. In Cyprus the runs were more contained (because the first 1 mile was just getting out of our residential area), but we used a run to find the beach!

Alster Lake, Hamburg

But, do your homework first. 

Make sure its safe! In Cyprus we knew we'd be safe and our main concern was the weather. It got hot fast so we had to workout early in the morning. The one time we waited till evening, we regretted it. There was also a beautiful dried up river bed that I was itching to run on, but my running buddy wasn't up to it and it would have been dangerous to go alone- if I had fallen I would have been alone, in heat, with no landmarks and little connectivity in a valley. Unwise. I still am sad when I think of it though!

The Alster Lake area in hamburg is very safe. Germany in general had a ton of pretty safe parks. But in Berlin we also went to a park where people kept offering us drugs. I mean, they were extremely friendly when we turned them down, but still I'm not sure I'd love running there early at night or early in the morning, or have found it so funny if I were solo. I worked out where to safely run in Hamburg and Berlin by checking TripAdvisor and Runners World forum chats. I also chose middle of day busy times for the exercise I did do.

Unfortunately this meant I didn't end up doing very much at all. Berlin is a busy city to see- you need all the time just to rush around. In Hamburg I wasn't really on holiday, I was working. Which is fine when its day only. But when its also night socials the amount of time to exercise goes down to none, especially if you still want to sleep.

Use the facilities you do have.

You're out of your normal zone, away from that hill you use for reps and the local gym you go to spin at, but that definitely doesn't leave you out of options. Last year, the conference I was at was in Seattle. We were lucky to stay in a snazzy-ass hotel with a gym and a pool and all. I used those options. In Hamburg we had no gym and no pool, so I used the outdoors and was happy to find an outdoor gym too. In Cyprus we had the local roads, and also a rooftop deck that we used for strength exercises. You can exercise in 2 metres squared worth of space if you are shameless enough. Go for it!

View from the roof deck in Cyprus- not bad!
Recruit others.

If you're lucky enough to have an S.O. that enjoys their exercise you are golden. You can legitimately spend time with them and also exercise. My S.O. does not feel this way whilst on holiday. He would rather sleep then go see the world. Fair.

However, in Cyprus I managed to recruit a running buddy in advance and even had my grandmother (81 yrs young) doing inchworms and burpees on the deck. Amazing! I think she just wanted to prove she could...

Try some secret exercise.

By this I mean that there are many holiday experiences that are secretly exercise in disguise. In Berlin for example I went on a biking tour (awesome, 100% recommend Fat Tire bike tours), which was an 8 hr cycling day, and walked so much that my feet were aching on day 3. In Hamburg we... erm... danced? Okay, Hamburg isn't a great example. In Cyprus we swam in the sea and were never out of the pool. It all adds up. Go a hike, learn to surf or paddle board, do it all!

Let yourself have a holiday.

In the end, if the exercise just doesn't fit, let it go. Most holidays are just a few weeks at most. Who cares if you're keeping up your routine if you're with people who love you, seeing the world? I'd always say make exercise part of your life, but only to the extent you enjoy it. If I'd insisted on cramming exercise in in Hamburg, it would have affected my professional performance and I would have missed out on quite a lot of awesome social opportunities. In Berlin it was nice to get some time to sleep in and then go see the sights. I don't regret it, even though I'm feeling unfit now!

Holidays are times to eat like you want, sleep like you want, and not feel guilty about a single moment!


Do you exercise whilst on holiday?


  1. Love this post! Great advice too! So glad you found some awesome places to run In Cyprus! I loved running there but it got SO hot so early that it was difficult to get up that time on holiday!! ...or maybe that's my innate laziness!! :)

    1. Oh I 100% was the same. And regretted it every. time. ha ha. I actually wish I'd gone out more but then again... holidays are holidays! Thanks for commenting :)

  2. Great post loved reading :) I'm not off anywhere so fancy lol but sure I'll be pounding a few beach roads followed by fish and chips ;)

    1. Well fish is a great source of recovery protein ;-)!