If you’re going away for a quick weekend trip, there’s no need to stress about getting a workout in, especially if it’ll require you to pack too many extra things. But if you’re gone for a week or more, and are used to training at least a few times a week, you’ll want to make sure you maintain a certain level of exercise, especially if you have any physio to do!
This summer, my husband and I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for a month! (It was such a great trip, and I hope to post more about it soon!) I’m used to 5 days a week of powerlifting training, a HIIT/turf day, and whatever running, yoga, or fun activity like hiking I want to throw in there. I wanted to maintain a certain level of fitness, while still being able to enjoy our vacation, so I prepared carefully.
Instead of training 5+ days a week, we tried to get to the gym twice a week, be active on our exploring days, and I made sure to hit my physio and core workouts in the hostels using resistance bands. I also found that trying all the crazy gyms in Southeast Asia was a fun way to experience the local culture!
How to Plan:
- What are your favourite activities? Make sure you have basic gear that could work for that, especially sneakers. There are rock-climbing gyms, spin studios, yoga studios, everything, everywhere.
- Find the spots. If you can’t miss spin classes, check out a studio near your accommodations to see the prices. I researched gyms that we could walk to from our hostels so we’d be prepared, and it was in the budget.
- Plan your workout schedule. If you’re going to be lounging on the beach in the afternoon, you could hit the gym in the morning. If you’re going to be running around all day, focus on exploring.
- Take advantage of your surroundings. One morning when we were on the beaches of Koh Samui, we did sprints and a HIIT workout. It was such a cool experience with that view! If you have a good route nearby, go for a run!
This also includes knowing what sort of places near you have healthier options. We had to eat a lot of fried noodles and rice, no fresh vegetables (to protect ourselves from the Delhi belly), and not enough protein. I lost a few pounds on the trip with all the walking and the lowered caloric intake, but I would have liked to have budgeted for some smoothie bowls every once in a while.
What I Brought:
- At least one workout outfit, as well as a bathing suit I could train in
- Sneakers (I chose my Sketchers that I can squat in or run if necessary, but they’re old so I wouldn’t mind if they got wrecked, unlike my training shoes)
- Hip circle/resistance band
- Long resistance band with handles
We did carry-on only, so I could only pack things that could serve multiple purposes. A skipping rope would also be useful if you’re worried about getting in cardio. If you have a checked bag, you could even bring ankle weights.
Simple Hotel Room Workout:
- McGill Big 3 (key for building a strong core, especially for those with back injuries)
- Banded glute bridges
- Bicycle crunches
- Deadlifts and squats with the band under your feet for resistance
- Rows with the band
- Flys with the band
Good luck on your next trip!!!
Something extra! The gyms we visited:
Chiang Mai, Thailand – Exclusive Fitness Training – 200 baht
- This gym was a walk from my uncle’s house, but clean, small, and decent equipment. The floors were weirdly padded, so it was hard to get a grip while benching or squatting. As expected, hard to find plates, but still had a good sweat. WOW, did we sweat.
Siem Reap, Cambodia – Angkor Muscle Gym – $1 USD
- Definitely our favourite gym! It was a 3 minute walk from our hostel, which was fantastic- we could rush right home to the pool! Open gym (see above, left) with lots of bodybuilding equipment, and benches. We felt very comfortable here, despite being the only tourists. You can even buy cheap big water bottles and protein shakes.
Hanoi, Vietnam – X-Men Fitness ~$1 USD
- I liked this gym (above, right) because I was close to hitting a PR on squats, but it wasn’t actually that great. Same weirdly padded floor, the bars were maybe 10 kgs? and the squat rack had a weird bar with a metal bar pad on it… Felt comfortable taking my shirt off, since the Vietnamese women were doing it, and enjoyed the sweat I got.