How to keep fit when travelling: advice for greedy gay couples!

How to keep fit when travelling: advice for greedy gay couples!

This gay couple loves their food. A lot!

The first thing we do in each new destination we visit is set out to discover all the local flavours. The delicious cuisine of Japan and yummy curries of Sri Lanka are stand out favourites. Some cuisines are not only delicious but also quite heavy, like Russian food and those Argentinian steaks.

With all these new culinary discoveries everywhere we go, we have to keep an eye on the physique, otherwise the Nomadic Boys would quickly become the Nomadic Blobs!

Of course, we work hard to prevent this from happening.

“Together we will conquer any obstacle, even when you steal my food you greedy Frenchman”

A photo posted by Nomadic Boys (@nomadicboys) on

So how do we keep fit when travelling?

The starting point is your mentality. This may sound obvious, but if you want to keep fit, then you’re already half way there.

For us, fitness is super important. We prioritise it and make it part of our daily schedule. It not only does wonders for self esteem and confidence, it allows us to pull off those vain speedo shots…

how we keep fit while traveling proud speedo pic

The proud Frenchman exuding with confidence on the banks of the River Li in Yangshuo, China

With the right mentality firmly in place, then what? We break this down into 3 parts:

1. Cardio training

2. Weight lifting/bodyweight exercises

3. Healthy clean eating

Here’s how we implement it during our travels.

How to keep fit while travelling speedos in Koh Lipe

Stefan proudly rockin’ the speedos in Koh Lipe, Thailand

#1 CARDIO TRAINING

People primarily associate cardio exercises with losing weight. Whilst this is certainly true, it’s also super important for overall fitness. The heart is a muscle and needs to be exercised, otherwise it will get weaker. There are countless studies showing how cardio helps to lower depression, tackle stress, reduce the risk of cancers, hip fractures and much more.

Working online means we spend most of our time behind a laptop. This makes it even more important to get out there and be active. As a result we incorporate a variety of cardio training in our exercise routines.

how to keep fit while travelling running selfie

We almost hit 10km but Stefan forgot to switch his Nike app to metric

THE LOCAL PARK

When booking a base to stay, we always seek out places which are near a large green space.

Local parks are a blessing when you’re looking to keep trim. Doing a few laps around one for 5-10km is the best way to burn off heavy meals and unwanted calories. It’s also a lot of fun, especially with a local running group or friends.

How to keep fit while travelling running selfie

Running selfie with our friend Bosco in Suzhou, China

Parks are also perfect places to do bodyweight exercises, weather permitting of course.

In Buenos Aires there’s a strong outdoor fitness culture and most parks have several small yellow huts called Estación Saludable where you can get water, fresh fruit as well as measure your weight, BMI and heart rate.

How to keep fit while travelling buenos aires estacion saludables

Seb stretching by one of the ubiquitous yellow Estacion Saludables in Palermo, Buenos Aires

SWIMMING

Swimming is one of the most satisfying ways to keep fit. Most cities will have many inexpensive swimming pools.

One of our favourites was the public outdoor pool near our hostel in Vientiane, Laos. It cost just £1.50/$2 each time to use and made the perfect respite from a day behind the laptop.

how to keep fit while travelling swimming

Our swimming pool selfie in Vientiane, Laos

When searching for Airbnb apartments, you can filter searches to include swimming pools.

In Bangkok for example, there are many inexpensive condos in the suburbs like Udom Suk, which will have decent 25 metre swimming pools along with a small gym. The average price we paid for a condo in Bangkok with gym and pool was around £20/$25 a night.

how to keep fit while travelling swimming

Our “Christmas by the pool” picture from our condo in Bangkok

ADVENTURE TRAVELLING

One of the best ways to incorporate cardio into travelling is via fun outdoor sports like kayaking, trekking and underwater activities.

In Nepal we trekked the Annapurna Circuit, which included around 7 hours walking in the altitude almost every day. Down at sea level, we love the underwater world and do lots of snorkelling and scuba diving, both of which are fun cardio exercises.

how to keep fit while travelling snorkelling

Snorkelling with Nemo the Clownfish in Koh Lipe, Thailand

One of our most memorable adventure holidays was Koh Tarutao in Thailand. This island is completely free from mass tourism with plenty of cycling, jungle treks, kayaking and snorkelling opportunities.

You know your body’s been worked hard when after a day of scuba diving or trekking at 5,000 metres, you’re craving calories and carbs like crazy.

how to keep fit while travelling kayaking

Sebastien getting ready to go carb cray cray in Koh Tarutao, Thailand

#2 WEIGHT LIFTING

It’s all well and good doing lots of cardio, but that’s not going to keep the pecks firm or bring out the biceps in those tight T-shirts.

The most obvious way most people do their weights training is at their local gym. But take this away and you quickly discover many unique ways to maintain body shape.

how to keep fit while traveling speedo motivation

Sebastien preparing for a few bodyweight exercises on the beach in Gran Canaria, Spain

BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES

During our travels we’ve adopted a daily routine of body weights circuit training. These are super easy to do, they don’t need any equipment and can be done everywhere: in the park, on the beach or in your hostel room if the weather outside is bad.

The hard part is the will to do it. It’s so easy to make up excuses to skip it. Luckily we have each other to push and encourage the other.

how we keep fit while traveling bodyweight exercise routine

One of Stefan’s crafty ways to motivate Sebastien to work out with him in El Nido, the Philippines

A typical circuit for us will involve 4 rounds of 7 exercises, 1 minute each. Each circuit will include a series of warm up/cardio and core exercises, with the remainder devoted to a specific muscle group: chest/triceps, back/biceps or legs. Examples of each include:

  • cardio/warm up exercises: we incorporate at least one of these to the start of each circuit to wake up the body: high knees, burpees, butt kicks, mountain climbers or star jumps.
  • chest: the main exercise for chest is normal push ups. You can vary push ups to work different parts of the chest, for example wide push ups with a metre distance between your hands.
  • triceps: using a chair or table for triceps dips.
  • biceps: ideally from a pull up bar if there is one, otherwise we do biceps curls using heavy objects like Sebastien’s backpack or large bottles of water.
  • back: pull ups are the best for back, but without a pull up bar, we do decline push ups. These are similar to normal push ups but the legs are raised on a chair or small table as the starting position.
  • shoulders: pike push ups target the shoulders. They are like normal push ups but the start and end position is with the bum up in the air, instead of aligned with the body.
  • legs: the main ones are squat pulses, lunges and jumping jacks. We incorporate heavy objects to make squats and lunges more challenging.
  • core on the back: core exercises which start lying on your back are great if you’re working out your arms. Examples include: leg raises, bicycle crunches, v sits, Russian twists and ankle touchers.
  • core involving your arms: these are more intense core exercises, which use your arm muscles more. They’re ideal when doing a legs circuit and you want to make the core exercises harder. Examples include various forms of planks and elbow to same/opposite knee.
how to keep fit while traveling bodyweight exercises

Stefan planking on a Swissball

You’re not going to bulk up with bodyweight exercises as much as you would using weights in a gym. However, maintaining a daily routine has definitely helped keep us toned and trim while travelling.

Bodyweight circuits are ideally done outside in a local park, weather permitting. In addition, most parks will have an outdoor gym which you can incorporate into your circuits.

how we keep fit while traveling outdoor gyms

Sebastien really going for it at this outdoor gym in Ulan Bator, Mongolia

LOCAL GYMS

A local gym is the ideal place to do weights training. When we arrive at a new destination, we search for affordable gyms to use, particularly when the weather does not allow you to go to a local park.

This is also a fun way to meet with and hang out with like minded locals.

how we keep fit while travelling local gym

Sebastien and our buddies Ryan and Mary at our gym in Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia

In most cases, local gyms are inexpensive to use for a daily/weekly/monthly membership.

On average we’ve paid a daily rate of no more than a few dollars per person. The best we’ve found is the government funded Cumando Parque Urbano in Quito, Ecuador – a large new sports complex with gym, pool, classes, and the bonus, it’s completely free for all!

how we keep fit while traveling local gym Quito

Stefan doing pull ups at our local gym in Quito, Ecuador

#3 HEALTHY CLEAN EATING

Exercising everyday is all well and good, but your body needs the right nutrition to keep it fit and happy. This is again down to mentality and your approach to food.

We always strive to eat clean. At the same time we don’t care for diet fads, we proudly devour our carbs and are happy to enjoy delicious cakes, knowing a 5km run the next day will take care of it. We’re also very adventurous with what we eat and always try out every new possible cuisine.

how we keep fit while travelling eating clean

Food is very important to us and we never shy away from new culinary discoveries

We are nonetheless careful to avoid processed foods and prioritise fresh products. A balanced Nomadic Boys meal will always contain a source of protein, vegetables and carbs.

We also make fresh fruits and vegetables a daily priority. In every new place we visit, we seek out the local market to stock up on a few days’ fruit. Shopping for fruits is not only a fun way to discover a new place but at the same time you learn about new exotic fruits, like Ecuadorian pitayas, red Indian bananas or Chinese dragon fruits.

How we keep fit while travelling eating well

Stefan’s love affair with Chinese dragon fruits caused quite a stir in our travels in South China

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you approach and prioritise fitness.

For us, keeping fit is extremely important, not just to maintain a vain Instagram gallery, but it makes us feel more confident, alert and generally more positive.

We make fitness and healthy eating part of our daily lifestyle and it is this mentality which enables us to keep fit when travelling.

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48 Comments

  1. FREDINMOTUL

    Fantastic advice, as always guys!! Thanks for reminding me. I have a short trip to the US with family coming up, and keeping my exercise routine in place will help with other stresses as well!! This was well done and very well laid out. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks buddy!

      Reply
  2. Anne Slater-Brooks

    Great advice. My exercise regime has taken a battering this year due to a back injury (ouch!) but prior to that I would always do regular runs on holiday with some interval training. Lately I have been having to focus more on kayaking, swimming and walking – something is better than nothing right?

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Absolutely! 🙂 So sorry to hear about your back though ?

      Reply
  3. Kelly @ TastingPage

    Exercise while traveling can be one of the hardest things, but looks like you guys have no issues at all! Thanks for all the advice to keep me healthy!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Our pleasure Kelly ?

      Reply
  4. Elena

    First of all, great photos. Whatever you do on the road, definitely works. I wish i knew this magic power that you certainly mastered to stay in perfect shape. Frankly, this is one aspect of our slow-travel-around-the-world lifestyle that I am constantly struggling with. Coming to a new place means tasting a new cuisine and I am too weak to refuse an additional helping of a delicious meal. I agree with all 3 parts of your “staying in shape” philosophy. Sadly, putting it into action is what I am not good at. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Elena

      Reply
  5. Tamara Elliott

    I love to explore a new city by cycling- a great way to cover ground quickly, and enjoy a bit of a workout too!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      AGREED!

      Reply
  6. Sara Broers

    Great tips! Snorkeling and/or swimming with a clown fish would make my day any day of the week. Parks are such a great way to explore and stay fit while traveling, as I’m glad you included them. Each park offers a fitness activity and if you just get moving, it’s easy to do. And you are correct, prioritizing does help!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Sara 🙂

      Reply
  7. Fiona Maclean

    gosh you are so good! My main challenge is having any kind of routine. Without routine, I just don’t exercise – unless there’s a nice pool!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Fiona 🙂

      Reply
  8. Laura Lynch

    You guys are awesome. These are all great tips and as long as you can find the motivation, they are all very doable just just about anywhere. I love the tip of staying near a park. I never thought of that. The only time we did this, on accident, was in Buenos Aires, where there’s a park every two feet practically. It was very nice to go walking everyday. I’m telling you, it’s hard being a food writer! 😉

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Laura ?

      Reply
  9. Shannon

    I’m all about the swimming when I travel. Though I do also hit up gyms if the hotel I stay in has them. Some great tips here! Thanks

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks for reading Shannon 🙂

      Reply
  10. Chrysoula

    These are some great tips if you stay long on the road. I am struggling to put gym into my daily life but I think that will be my new years resolution!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Awesome Chrysoula 🙂

      Reply
  11. Megan Jerrard

    Fantastic tips guys – I actually find that I lose weight while traveleing, because we’re always walking so much, but because we’re distracted by new sights and a new city, we never realize how much exercise we’ve racked up. Love the tip to hit up a local gym – I’ve found this is a great way to meet members of the local community too 🙂

    Have stolen a couple of these photos for inclusion in our upcoming “sexiest traveler” posts 😀

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      ??

      Reply
  12. Megan

    Love these tips! I’ll be honest it’s not something I’m always good at while traveling. I do try and walk as much as possible which does help! Thanks for inspiration to work on getting better about it.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Our pleasure- thanks for reading Megan ?

      Reply
  13. Vishal Vashisht

    Great article and unique perspective. A lot of travelers forget about their health while traveling. Your article is not only a reminder of being healthy while traveling, also being healthy in general. I am a firm believer of “health is wealth”. With wealth, you can enjoy a lot but without health, you can’t enjoy anything. Getting your tips in detail is the game changer here because I want to be healthy while traveling, but what should I do? The tips here give me to do list and point me in the right direction.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Vishal ?

      Reply
  14. Viajar pela história - Catarina Leonardo

    Very nice tips nomadic boys! I think running in the park is a excellent option. Very healthy and good to get to know the locals. I must remember that example!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  15. Rosemary

    Great post!! We totally can relate as we keeping fit is important to us as we eat our way around the world as well. Our most challenging place to keep fit was the Philippines. After struggling to find places outdoors to exercise, we ended up at Kerry Sports, the largest fitness center in Manila. This was a welcome reprieve from the heat and pollution and with amazing classes. We also love to explore the city through running. Interesting experiences and adventures always come through this 🙂 Hopefully, we will see each other keeping fit somewhere around the world soon!! Cheers!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Hahaha thanks Rosemary! We hope so too 🙂

      Reply
  16. Mar Pages

    Thanks for the expert advice guys. Keeping fit and healthy is definitely super healthy when on the road. Now let’s not forget about yoga…

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Yoga’s awesome 🙂

      Reply
  17. Jennifer

    All good tips. We find the easiest way to get a workout in while traveling is to go for a run. We need to pack very little extra and it’s a nice way to get out and see the cities we’re visiting too.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Agreed!

      Reply
  18. francesca @onegrloneworld

    Nomadic blobs – LOL! Gosh I so needed this post. I am starting to realize my “cultural experiences” tasting everything I can get my hands on is finally catching up with me lol!! I’m going to try to start swimming, or hitting up the local gym. You guys look great btw!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Francesca xxx

      Reply
  19. Indrani

    You guys are an inspiration. But I doubt if I will ever follow this kind of schedule during travels. I like to taste the local cuisines, variety of them, loads of them. All exercise after returning to base. 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      🙂

      Reply
  20. Sophie

    Great post! When I was in China I found swimming to be the best way of keeping fit. And good exercise too!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Agreed 🙂

      Reply
  21. Ficko

    Hi guys, it is great post and lovely tips!! I, traveled in Europe and Asia and interest on to street food too, my eye always catching the food color which is make appetite out then try it before ask how their process it.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      🙂

      Reply
  22. Priya

    These are some great tips and they are all very doable anywhere. We love going for walk on the beach or doing some yoga but I love the idea of staying near a park.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  23. Ben Diaz

    Hey boys, it was always a big question how to keep your body fit. At home in Germany I always use the gym. But like you I needed an alternative for my travel.

    Anyway I did not do too much cardio. During my travel I walked a lot. So for me that was the best way to keep me fit. I lost a lot of weight. To be honest it worked so good that my muscles even got less. Something that I didn’t liked lol.

    Sure there are a lot of exercises that can keep your muscles fit. I believe especially pushups are great since they affect many muscles the same time. The only problem that I had were my biceps. I also used water bottles. But in comparison to the weights in my gym the bottles seemed to be to light. What I didn’t tried was to use my backpack. So next time I will try that one too. By the way – great idea.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Awesome 🙂

      Reply
  24. Agness of Fit Travelling

    Great tips as it can be quite challenging keeping fit while travelling. Great job!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Agnes

      Reply

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