Author: Kendall Greenwood
Hiking, kayaking and biking. CSU senior, Sylvia Usery, 21, did these activities every weekend during her study abroad in New Zealand in spring 2012. Not only could she check out the scenery and be social, but she could stay healthy during her time away.
Traveling can create a challenge for a healthy lifestyle. There can be decreased food options and no gym to do normal exercise routines. To stay fit while traveling abroad requires a balance of two things: nutrition and exercise.
According to Albert Powell, 33, a strength and conditioning personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, the two most dangerous foods to eat when traveling are starches â€“ like bread, rice and noodles â€“ and sugars.
â€œThe starch is your bricks and your sweets are basically the concrete,â€ Powell said. â€œSo what youâ€™re doing with your body is youâ€™re blocking everything up [with starches] and [with] the sweets youâ€™re pasting everything.â€
This can create future unhealthy habits, but it also has adverse effects on the health you gained.
â€œSo you go on this vacation, you look and youâ€™re like ‘man, I put on five pounds,’â€ Powell said. â€œWell, youâ€™ve been eating nothing but carbs and sugar.â€
Usery adapted to meals in a similar way while in New Zealand.
â€œI actually paid for a whole semester of dining hall food, but I stopped going because it was just disgusting,â€ Usery said. â€œThey have like 5 kinds of potatoes and bread every night.â€
Instead, she bought her own food at the grocery store to give herself more balanced meals. She was able to afford some healthier options on a student budget. Avocados were cheap so she was able to eat plenty,Usery said.
Exercise is the other important key to staying in shape. According to Powell, exercising while traveling is very easy.
â€œIf you want to stay in your room and [workout] for a quick hour,â€ Powell said. â€œ[Get a] resistance band and exercise ball.â€
These two objects can work your biceps, shoulders, back, abdominals and legs with the right movements. The exercises will keep your muscles toned and ready for when you can get back into the gym.
â€œAs soon as my clients come back and we pick back up where we left off,â€ Powell said. â€œThey felt like they never left.â€
Plus, they are not a strain on luggage.
â€œ[The exercise ball] comes with a pump so you can just take the air out and hold it in your luggage,â€ Powell said. â€œThe pump is small, so itâ€™s easy to travel [with].
Target has resistance bands available for anywhere from $12.99 to $19.99. Exercise balls at Target are priced from $19.99 to $29.99.
When Usery was abroad she chose to participate in activities where she could see the scenery and connect with people.
â€œEvery weekend we would go somewhere,â€ Usery said. â€œHiking is always fun and they had such beautiful terrain there that it didnâ€™t feel like you were exercising, because you were just looking at everything around you.â€
Powell says you can incorporate this group dynamic into resistance band and exercise ball exercises by doing partner and group workouts.
He has experienced first-hand what these kinds of workouts look like. Before becoming a personal trainer, Powell played international basketball. As his team traveled they had to alter their normal workouts.
â€œWhen youâ€™re on [season], you donâ€™t want to come in and lift a bunch of weights because it throws your shots off,â€ Powell said. â€œSo a lot of what we would do is what Iâ€™m telling you [about].â€
For Usery, being able to mix exercise and friends added to her experience.
â€œI would definitely say stay active,â€ Usery said. â€œItâ€™s a great way to meet people and just get around the country.â€