In the land of 10p beers, bargain street food and countless beach parties, it’s easy for your intentions to stay healthy to take a back seat. When you’re embracing new cultures, indulging in delicious local gastronomy and living life without a routine, you may think it’s impossible to get fit or at least stay healthy whilst backpacking.
However, just because you’re away from homemade food, a strict workout plan and a gym membership, that doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain your dream beach body that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Being a backpacker doesn’t mean you need to abandon all health and fitness goals and settle for a body that you’re not happy with. If you lead a healthy, active lifestyle back home, there’s nothing to say that you can’t continue with your discipline and embrace your new environments and local delicacies. Although you may be far from your protein shakes, spin classes and dumbbells, you can easily stay healthy and maintain the body that you’ve worked so hard for by following a few simple rules:
Watch out for hidden calories
When you’re constantly eating out, it’s always difficult to know exactly what’s going into your food. Whether it’s a fried rice or fruit juice, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be additional ingredients in there to make your dish extra tasty, which means you often consume more fat and sugar than you think.
With things like fruit smoothies, although it appears to be the healthy option they’re often packed with additional sugar, syrups and condensed milk. Unless you know exactly what’s going into it, stick to fruit in its raw form whenever you can to avoid consuming those extra-unwanted calories and stay in shape.
When it comes to staying active whilst you’re travelling, improvisation is key. Although you may be short of a treadmill or an abs class, there’s nothing stopping you from maintaining your activity levels just in a different environment. Practice yoga at sunrise, go for a run on the beach or if you’ve got the space, create your own workout class and get sweaty with Shaun T’s Insanity videos.
Eat a good breakfast
Opt for a protein rich breakfast to start the day right, get your metabolism going and keep you energized until lunchtime. I always find that if I start the day with a good, healthy breakfast, it prompts me to stay disciplined for the rest of the day. An omelette or boiled eggs are always a good breakfast option; eggs a fairly cheap, safe bet and they’re great for packing in that extra protein first thing.
Limit the booze
The backpacker lifestyle will inevitably involve a lot of partying, socialising and drinking. In many places such as Vietnam, beer is cheaper than a bottle of Mineral Water so if you’re living on a budget then alcohol can sometimes seem like the cheapest option. If you’re trying to stay healthy and in shape, remember alcohol is laced with sugar and calories, not to mention the hangover binges that follow the next day. Try to limit alcohol intake and watch out for cocktails too – as tasty as they are, they’re usually packed with fruit juices and sugar which are the worst for piling on the pounds.
When you’re constantly on the move, it’s easy to fall into the habit of indulging in snacks between meals. Especially when you’re spending your days travelling on boats and buses, bordem can often be mistaken for hunger and it’s tempting to indulge on sugary snacks and processed food. If you know you’ve got a long day ahead, plan in advance and buy a bag of nuts and some fruit before your journey. This way, you’ll be less likely to snack along the way and you can limit those extra unwanted calories.
Have you got any key tips for staying healthy whilst backpacking? Drop me a comment below!