5 Reasons to Work Out While Traveling

View from the Cozy Suite at Mantra Samui Resort (photo courtesy of Shawn Baisley)

Let me preface this by saying that if it starts to sound patronizing, then forget the intro and cut straight down to the reasons. I’m not here to tell you that working out is fun. It’s not. I hate the amount of staunch self-motivation required to even put on a pair of gym pants, but I also know that getting there is half the battle, and finishing a good workout is comparable to the feeling you get when you come off a rollercoaster ride that you can’t wait to get back on again and again. As someone who (aspires to) travel as much as possible, I can’t escape the nagging nibbling thought that I should try to stay in shape abroad as much as I do in New York (which is no more than the average self-loathing New Yorker), but the way most of us perceive exercise and vacation, the two might as well be polar opposites. However, giving your muscles a stretch away from your regular routine can be incredibly rewarding. Let me try to convince you. Pretty please?

  • The change in facilities is an ideal opportunity to explore a new move, position or pace. The gym at your resort or hotel may have a different cardio machine, or maybe it’s so remote, it doesn’t have a gym at all. Maybe it has a gorgeous outdoor yoga pavilion or a kickboxing studio, or maybe.. just maybe.. you take matters into your own hands and run or walk along the beach. I’ve found that various hotel and resort accommodations make different provisions for active lifestyles, which helps add a variety of classes, degrees of difficulty and landscapes to test out.
  • That brings me to my next point. Take advantage of the view! Hopefully, what you’re looking at is easy on the eyes. Mountains, jungle, beach or a mirror image of yourself, sweating out last night’s margaritas. One of my favorite views has got to be the gym at Mantra Samui Resort on Koh Samui in Thailand (I know, I write about them a lot, but they are new and so worth the buzz). Small, but equipped with cardio and conditioning machines, weights and a Himalayan salt yoga studio next door (with a talented instructor), both front a wall-to-wall view of the lush forested coastline. I would never forgive myself for missing out on that.
  • If your city of habitation experiences a winter season, enjoy the precious time in a climate that encourages outdoor activities with balmy temps, rather than a frigid wind chill that forces you into hibernation (welcome to my life). Throw on a bathing suit after your workout and jump in the pool (who showers anyway?). Let the droplets glisten and roll of your strong, hot new sense of confidence. Aftercare? Wear as little decent clothing as possible and strut your shit.
  • Now, I can get to one of the best parts about getting a workout in on vacation: eating awesome stuff. Nothing feels better than rewarding yourself with a good meal (maybe a nice hearty breakfast if you exercised in the morning) after you’ve pushed yourself physically as far as you can go, and then nudged it one more notch up. I practically sprint home from the gym to make my meal.
  • Last, but perhaps most essential, you’re going to need a healthy kick to your lifestyle if you want to survive jetlag, strange cuisine, temperature flux and an active itinerary. Whether I was heading to a riverside village on the Rhine, a waterfall in Jamaica or a spelunking cave in Israel, ALL excursions started by 9a.m., if not earlier. And no, I certainly didn’t exercise on every trip, but I’ve noticed that when I did I just had an extra burst of energy (and many more priceless instances of guilt-free vacation binging). For those who still aren’t convinced, take it as an opportunity to snooze upright a bit longer and evade another morning with a honking alarm clock.


Happy and healthy travels!


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