A backpackers’ survival guide to staying fit while traveling
With summer fast approaching, you might be wondering how to keep up your goal to get fit (or stay fit!) while backpacking. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of checking out new bars in new cities and attending every hostel event with free goon, only to realize 8 weeks later that you’ve added some unwanted “fluff” to your body. Even though you’re on the adventure of a lifetime, everyone wants to feel confident and fit.
Here are some of my best tips for staying healthy while backpacking!
Take Advantage of Hostel Freebies
As more and more hostels realise that backpackers enjoy staying fit as much as they enjoy a nice cup of goon, many are starting to offer FREE fitness classes! Check out the ones I’ve found while travelling Aus:
Sydney – Wake Up! Sydney and Bondi Backpackers both offer free yoga classes, guided walks, personal training sessions and more! Wake Up! Sydney also offers half-price passes to the local Jett’s gym. The personal training sessions at both of these hostels were some of the hardest workouts I’ve EVER done. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry. The trainers are fantastic and offer modifications to challenge every fitness level.
Byron Bay – Much like the Sydney location, Wake Up! Byron Bay offers free yoga, personal training, surfboard hire, bikes, and more! The personal training sessions often involve some basic partner exercises, so you can bond with fellow guests over your burning muscles.
Cairns & North Queensland – Bounce Hostel gives you free access to a nearby gym that’s full of every type of cardio, weight machine, and free weight equipment you can imagine. Dingo’s Hostel has a swimming pool. It may not be your typical gym, but you can get a great workout swimming laps and get a tan at the same time!
Melbourne – Space Hotel has a small gym inside the hostel including some cardio and limited weight machines.
Check out Local Gyms
Much to my delight, I’ve discovered that many gyms and studios offer trials or discounted classes for a cheap workout. Here are my top tips from my own adventures in Sydney!
1) Fitness Playground offers a 3 day trial, as well as a few studios in the area let you try a yoga class for free as well
2) If you’re staying at Wake Up! Sydney, take advantage of the half-price passes to Jett’s gym for only $7.50.
3) Stores like Lululemon also offer free workout classes once or twice a week. If you’re staying at Bondi Backpackers, there’s a Lululemon on the same street.
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask fellow travellers, staff, or even drop by local gyms/studios near your hostel to see what the best offers are!
From professional training apps to fit-spo on Instagram to training plans on Pinterest, there is so much inspiration right in the palm of your hand. Check out my top tips!
1) Nike Training Club
With the ability to pick “no equipment” workouts, this app can become your best friend! You can do many of the workouts anywhere and create a plan to meet your goals. The workouts typically range from about 15 to 45 minutes, so you can easily do a short workout in the morning before heading out to explore. Try using a picnic table or staircase as a workout bench to challenge yourself even more.
2) Nike Run Club
This app tracks your path and distance, making it easier to run further than the time before. It also syncs with the Nike Training Club app so you can include running in your workout plan.
Search “no equipment workouts” and you could scroll forever. Try getting even more specific by searching for “no equipment leg workouts” or “outdoor workouts.” There’s a wide variety of exercises you can use and once you get the hang of it, try creating your own workouts!
4) MyFitness by Jillian Michaels
Although this app does have a paid program, you get a week for free! Plus, there are always free 7 minute workouts. You could do one a day, or put a few together for a full body workout.
Fitness influencers, such as Kayla Itsines (an Australian!) Kelsey Wells, and Alexia Clark, post workout videos that you can do with or without equipment. Use them for inspiration, take screenshots to use later, or if you’re like me, stalk their profiles for some superb motivation.
Use Your Location
Luckily, most cities in Australia have countless outdoor gyms in parks and near beaches (thank you Aussie government for supporting our fitness obsession!). The outdoor gyms are – as the locals say – ‘kitted out’ with equipment including pull-up bars, benches, and arm presses. These free outdoor gyms are all over the country, and even in some of the most #instaworthy spots such as Bondi Beach, Prince Alfred Park in Sydney, and Cape Byron in Byron Bay meaning that you can focus on your fitness and the ‘gram at the same time.
If you’re after a cardio kick, never forget running! Not only is it free and something you can do absolutely anywhere, it’s such a fantastic way to explore a city. While staying in Byron Bay, I found running parts of the Lighthouse walk (and snapping a few pics) the perfect way to kick off a sunny day. Wake Up! Byron Bay even offers a sunrise shuttle a few times a week!
Despite common perceptions, travelling and staying fit really can go hand in hand. Wherever you travel, be sure to ask for advice from staff and other backpackers for the best-kept secrets on budget-friendly fitness opportunities near or at your hostel! Make 2019 your year to prioritize your health and happiness while you explore the world!
by Janine Denney-Mazzilli
Hi there! My name is Janine and I am a self-professed, travel obsessed foodie from Seattle. I recently graduated the University of Washington and am now living my Australian dream on a working holiday! Follow along on @janini133