It’s a hard life, galavanting around the globe. Harder, still, is fending off the flab as you hop from hotel to hotel, sipping cocktails and coffee whilst the days pass you by.
Modern Traveller is no stranger to the struggle of seeing off excess pounds abroad. Too tempting are the spring rolls and sausages of foreign climes for “diet” to mean much more than saying no to a second helping.
Thankfully, over the years, MT has picked up a helpful trick or two to stay in (reasonable) condition – despite the jet-set fun.
First on the list is the hotel room solution to staying the right side of flabby on your holidays. Downloading a good workout app ought to give you inspiration enough to do your daily moves – even if your head is heavy from the night before.
Something like Freeletics will do plenty more than prevent a paunch: its an all-in calisthenics program which could see your body better than ever in just 15 weeks. It does, though, make you sweat like a pig and pant like a pooch, as well as annoying the neighbours with round after round of banging burpees.
A more maintainable alternative is Seven: a straightforward 7-minute workout app which exercises your entire body, it’s done before you know it and makes you move just enough to keep the belly at bay. Pay the reasonable monthly fee and you’ll also get access to a host of targeted workouts, so you can be beach body ready – despite the beers.
Sweating with the locals
Of course, huffing and puffing in your hotel room can be somewhat disheartening. What’s the alternative? Have a browse and find a local sports club.
If you’re heading to Asia, South America, or somewhere similar, there should be a host of expat clubs catering to almost every sport – from touch rugby in Saigon to hockey in Singapore, via five-a-side football in Buenos Aires. Better still, if you know the lingo and like a challenge, why not dive in with the locals?
What’s more, for a post-match warm-down, Yoga is a universal language – and you’re likely to find classes in almost every city across the globe. Go easy with some Yin, or get sweaty with Vinyasa – either way, a bit of flexibility is no bad thing.
Stepping it up
Here’s one you can do with nothing but a little added effort: whether you install an app, wear a pedometer or use a fitness tracker (MT is a fan of the Withings Activité Pop), setting a daily target of 10,000 steps is a superb system for combatting calories. In fact, the NHS reckons a 70kg 45-year-old could burn as many as 400 additional calories every day.
Unless you’ve got an absurdly attentive subconscious you won’t be able to count all 10,000 by yourself, so you’ll want to acquire some assistive hardware – and, once you have, it tends to become quite addictive.
Say no to that tuk tuk and step off the subway: taking an extra toddle to reach your target means your dinner is well-earned and your sleep is dreamily deeper.
Parks and reps
If you’re in the market for a little more muscle but lack the baggage allowance to bring the dumbbells, fear not: many towns and cities possess workout parks.
From pull-up bars to leg swings, rowers to curlers, this heavy-metal equipment is built to last (whatever the weather) and is the perfect way to get some sun on the guns and buns.
You’ll often find locals lifting, shifting and swinging themselves fit at sunrise and sundown, whilst nearby en masse aerobics classes provide excellent workout playlists – particularly if you’re into karaoke.
Splashing in shape
Hotel got a pool? Start putting in the lengths: just 30 minutes a day helps build muscle, burn fat and improve breathing. Rise early to avoid the crowds and you can start your day on a high, courtesy of some body-boosting breast stroke.
Pools can also be excellent environments for in-water workouts: use edges and ledges for dips and presses, relying on the greater density of H2O for a little added support, and you’ll have burnt off last night’s burger in no time.
Pack for pull-ups
Landlords and hotels alike hate pull-up bars: famed for damaging door frames, these extendable rods need to be truly secure before you can trust their staying power – otherwise you’ll be the next laugh in a YouTube compilation.
Even so, if you can find a sturdy extrusion to slot between the uprights, a pull-up bar offers an optimum blend of portability and whole-body toning. Grunting against gravity boosts your biceps, engages your abs and strengthens your shoulders, all without waking your other half.
Modern Traveller‘s preferred pole is Trend-Welt’s drill-free offering – but be sure to assess your individual requirements before buying.
Run before the sun
Finally, and perhaps easiest of all, sling some running shoes in your holiday kit bag and head out at sunrise. Putting in a few kilometres before the heat of the day means you’ll both miss the masses and see a different side of town – as well as mincing those fat molecules.
Whether you’re a pavement pounder or a gentle jogger, even a short circuit around the block will get your blood pumping and your body ready for a day of sightseeing and smoothie slurping.
WORDS BY CHRIS ROWLANDS