Travel fitness

working out

Travel is good for our mental health, but bad for our physical health.

On Eating
Everything is a novelty to us. Another bottle of Rioja? Croissants with butter for breakfast? Brie? Blue cheese? Camembert? French fries with mayonnaise? Bacon sandwich? Olives? Anchovies? Meat with that meat? Duck fat fried duck fat? But of course. When in Rome.

The problem is that we love food so much. How can one say ‘no’ and opt for an apple when you can have an apple strudel with fresh vanilla bean creme fra√Æche? Often we might not even have the choice. Some places, these healthy and/or vegetarian options aren’t even options. I don’t think I’ve eaten a whole grain since I left Canada! Just like home, the worse the food is for you, the cheaper it is to buy. What are you supposed to do when alcohol is cheaper than water? What are you suppose to do when you don’t have access to a kitchen every night? We do what we can.

Breakfast usually consist of cereal and yogurt or bread with peanut butter, or whatever local spread we can find and the supermarket. If we’re lucky, we’ll have found a local market and get some snacky/sandwich faire for lunch, otherwise it’s sandwiches or street meat. Dinners are usually budget restaurants.

As exciting as it is to eat these exotic and rich foods, a lack of home made meals and routine eating is taking it’s toll. We’re trying to decipher whether or not there can be a difference between holiday eating and travel lifestyle eating?

On exercise
The other half of this fitness equation is exercise, of lack there of. Back in Ottawa, Mark and I were playing sports or going to yoga 5 out of 7 days a week. Our diets back home never followed the Canada Food Guide or any dietary recommendations but they were still fairly regular and healthy. But we had our exercise to keep things in check.

We are spending energy traveling; some days we’re walking 10 hours a day and I’m so tired that my feet feel like they’ll fall off. But walking isn’t keeping us fit or toned; it doesn’t get our heart rate going the same way as running down an ultimate field does or jumping in the sand for beach volleyball. Sometimes I do squats while wearing my backpack, for a little weight bearing activity, but it’s inadequate and doing tricep dips on the side of my bunk bed gets strange looks from my hostel dorm roomates. I used to have ambitions to climb/hike in every country. Ben Nevis was a start. Sierra Nevada was good. However, I’m losing my ambition in proportion to my fitness. Simply walking through the gently undulating streets of Ronda yesterday, I felt as though my legs were going to give out on me.

We’re both taking multivitamins and fish oil pills in hopes they will help fill in the nutrition gaps. Will things balance out on their own? When I get to India will Delhi belly help me lose those extra pounds? For now and in the future we’ll continue to do what we can.

Fortunately, our mental happiness and the exhilaration of being in these new places has so far enough to overcome our lack of food and muscle energy, but if anyone has any tips or recipes they’d like to share with us, please do.

Just for fun, we decided to visualize our appearances should we continue along this gluttonous route. Not so bad eh?




    For quick and efficient weight loss – head to Bolivia (or other parasite filled country). I lost 15 lbs in just SIX WEEKS. That’s right 15 LBS IN SIX WEEKS. Nothing like the parasite diet.

    Nice photsoshop job by the way!


  1. Dallas Husar

  2. At least it looks like you will avoid cankles even if you travel forever!


  4. Mark,

    For some reason I find myself strangely more attracted to you in that picture, wink, wink.

    I hate dissolve your notions about Delhi Belly, but the first time I went to India, I GAINED 15 pounds. The food is too good, and rich, and CHEAP (stay away from the street side desserts)! On the other hand, the second time I was there I drank bad water, and lost 10 pounds in two weeks. I have always had that same trouble of staying fit while traveling, and have found that learning to say “NO!” to seconds (and sometimes even to firsts…sadly) and putting up with strange looks from the locals as I take a run through the streets in the early morning is as good as I, personally, can do.
    It sounds like you guys are having a great time…I’m envious!! Take care! (PS – Sang, Rach, Steve, Kathy, and I are meeting up at Pub Italia next Thursday…we’ll have a beer for you!)

    Parasites and non-potable water = good for weight loss! Awesome. Thanks guys. I’m not overly concerned since it’s just a weird new routine and eventually I’ll get back to normal. It helps that I never get a good chance to look in a mirror these days. I’ve tried running a few times and I do yoga here and there. My shoes gave me blisters though which was a really good excuse to give up running early on.

    Mark looks so weird in his picture! I don’t think it’s ever remotely possible for him to look like that. I love it!

  5. Cougar pack

  6. Hehehe. Don’t accept that final mint at dinner or you may eventually explode. Miss you guys!

    Oh dear… the Delhi Belly! I do not recommend it. Although it may be good for weight loss, having to yell at a taxi driver to pull over so you can vomit into a roadside gutter is not good for the ego (or karma, I imagine!) This is indeed a lesson learned from personal experience.
    Honestly kids, I think you should just enjoy it while you can! You’re young, have higher metabolisms than you ever will again, and who knows when the next time will be that you get to taste a real French baguette or sample Spanish red wine for 3 euro a bottle!? Eat now, diet later!
    Cheers and bon appetit!

  7. Dallas Husar

  8. Oh Paul, I was waiting for a comment like that!

    I just ate homemade nachos and a bag of ketchup chips. Don’t feel bad.

    Here’s a little song we’ve been singing tonight… I hope you like it.

    “Moooose factory! Mooooooose factory!! Hey”

    Hahahaha – Mr and Mrs Jellino!

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