Getting to a fitness centre or finding an organized yoga class is often a challenge when travelling abroad. Many towns and small cities do not have these types of amenities, or they are not suitable for whatever reason. For example, when we were in Ho Chi Minh City, I found a great fitness centre that was only a block from our hotel. Unfortunately, I nearly choked on my pre-work out beverage when I learned that the going drop-in rate was equivalent to almost $20 USD. I quickly realized that some gyms on my travels would be an unaffordable privilege for a penny-pinching backpacker like myself. So here’s my list of my 5 favourite exercise-accessories that make spontaneous workouts possible.
A skipping rope is a great tool for warm ups and for mixing a little extra cardio into my routine. Typically, I’ll skip for 1 minute then do 1 minute of a random calisthenic exercise (i.e. pushups, sit-ups, etc.) of my choice for 20-40 minutes. This routine keeps your heart rate up and your body moving, even when one muscle group gets tired. I use a simple and cheap rope with lightweight plastic handles that you can find at any sports-equipment store.
I know you can easily workout without using supplements. However, using pre-workout gives me an extra little boost of energy, motivation, and focus. It acts as an extra little kick in the butt to get sweating. Furthermore, it’s a great way to ensure my body is properly hydrated before my workout and is a comfort from home that I truly cherish. I’ve been using “Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer” for over a year and I quite enjoy it. It’s certified vegan and gluten-free and isn’t as intense as many other pre-workout powders out there, which have caused my heart to race and give me anxiety. It’s a great option for women and newbies to pre-workout powders, because we don’t require the same intensity or dose of pre-workout that a large professional bodybuilder might. We highly recommend experimenting with smaller scoops (perhaps half) at first, while you’re getting use to the product to avoid a tummy ache. Plus, its made in Canada by a Canadian company, based out of Burnaby (a city close to home for me), which is always a good thing! The jar is pretty small as you only need an itty-bitty scoop to do the trick, so it fits in my 45L backpack without a problem! Here’s a link to Vega’s home page, where you can learn more about the company and their products.
PS- I am not paid by or affiliated with Vega in anyway, I just genuinely enjoy their product!
Mini Bluetooth Speakers
I brought my mini speakers along so that I could get the party started from anywhere, but they’ve also been great for my outdoor and hotel room workouts. I like that they give me a bit of a break from my headphones, and I love working out to music. The cordless option is key for me, so that I can keep my phone closer to me to reference my exercise program and to skip songs. There are plenty of good options out there for these speakers and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on them, but my advice is to avoid the top of the line speakers. I say this because, many of your belongings will get ruined or mysteriously lost on your travels and you really don’t want to be too heartbroken over the monetary value of these losses.
This is an item that I would highly recommend buying when you get here, as they’re a bit of a pain in the ass to bring with you on the plane if you’re hoping to carry on all of your luggage. Plus, the mat I bought in Hanoi has suffered some serious abuse along the way. Abuse that I definitely wouldn’t have been so chill about, had I brought my expensive mat from home. They’re dirt cheap here, which makes it so you don’t have to feel attached to it! Like I said before, we bought our mats in Hanoi, for about $10 USD and have used them a ton! Typically, I’ll have mine rolled out next to my skipping area to use for crunches, v-sits and other calisthenics. OH YEAH, I also use it for yoga.
Fitness Clothes that Double as Street Clothes
I know this advice doesn’t work for everyone, because there are a lot of people out there who are a lot more stylish than I am. However, I personally love wearing my yoga pants and my boxing gym’s t-shirt everywhere. It has made packing a lot easier, as most of what I wear from day-to-day can also be worn in the gym. That said, I do miss my more feminine clothes at times. I’ve settled on 3 pairs of leggings and 2 pairs of jogging shorts for mixing and matching with a handful of sports bras and tops. I’ve also got my Nike Flyknit Zoom cross training shoes that I wear basically everywhere.
As everyone’s needs are unique, these tips obviously aren’t universal. However, I have yet to find a fitness accessory that I would prefer to have. I’m curious about what works for everybody else! Please leave me a comment with your suggestions! We’d love to hear from you!