The holy grail for many people today is to find life balance. Imagine finding life balance between work, world travel, and having a fit lifestyle? Sounds too good to be true right? It not easy, but it is possible. Here, I share my journey and 5 takeaways to find a life balance between travel and fitness and I hope to inspire you.
When we try to balance work, family, traveling, social life and a healthy lifestyle it sounds that there are not enough hours in the day to do it all.
Finding a life balance between travel and fitness is not an easy task, as traveling takes a lot on the body. Long hours on the plane, we don't always have access to healthy meals and gym, not enough time for working out...and the lack of resources can go on!
During many years I traveled up to 40% of my time on international business trips, also traveling for fun during my vacation time and I still had to keep up with my fitness goal.
I started to get overwhelmed (go figure) with so much pressure I put on myself to get it all. Then I found out that all I would have to do was to dosage with proper prioritization, planning, tons of discipline, and time management in order to find that life balance.
I have decided to share with you my 5 takeaways on how I can balance my two passions - Travel & Fitness and I hope to inspire you.
Paula's Note: I would like to illustrate this article starting with my own personal example between being an athlete and my traveling lifestyle. If you wish, you can skip it and go to the bottom of this article for the 5 takeaways to find a life balance between traveling and fitness.
My athlete lifestyle
I am a typical gym rat! My passion for a lifetime is working out with weights. But I also run, I do yoga and go on hiking and trekking during my trips...I am constantly finding ways to be physically active.
I am a professional Figure athlete - a girly category of Bodybuilding, where the athletes need to have the right amount of muscle, combined with hardness and body symmetry.
I started to workout and became a gym rat at age 16. Since then, no matter what happened in my life, I have always had a gym membership. I started to compete at the NPC (National Physique Committee) when I was 30 years old, and at the age of 38 I became a Professional Natural Athlete.
Fitness has been my lifestyle from an early age with a combination of working out and healthy eating habits.
I think that all the athletes would agree with me, that getting ready for a competition is a full-time job.
Well, as a Figure athlete I work out twice a day, 7 days a week, eat 6 meals a day and I prepare all of my meals. I feel that if I am not working out, I am eating or I am in the kitchen cooking or cleaning dishes.
But the best thing about being an athlete is that I learned a lot about myself through this journey. I found out that I was a real athlete, and I didn’t want to compete only one time for my own personal goal. I wanted more. The feeling of getting better, faster, stronger combined with my mental toughness (that did not know I had). This passion for the physical and mental challenge took me to next level.
Where traveling fits in my lifestyle
You are probably asking this question by this point.
At 24 years old I left my home country, Brazil, and I never went back. I lived in England, now I live in the United States and I am on the road in any opportunity I have.
I just love discovering new places, meet new people and photograph the places while I Pin the Planet. I have been in 40 countries and I am still counting...
I also have done a lot of business trip with my job, and being on the road has been really part of my life.
I became a travel blogger in 2019 following a dream I had to help others to find authentic destinations around our planet, and also, to help local communities through the tourism.
The enlightenment moment: I found life balance
I had the “what should I do with my life” moment.
I was now a professional athlete and found my passion for the sport and had reached the next level. But I was also a professional travel blogger, and what could I do about my other passions for traveling, photography and learn about new cultures?
If I continued to compete in Figure, I wouldn’t have time to prepare for trips. I wouldn’t be able to prepare and weigh my meals or have access to the gym during my busy traveling schedule. Could I continue to do all that I loved or would I have to sacrifice one thing over another?
After a period of self-life reflection, and playing different scenarios in my mind about what would make me happier, I realized that I did not have to sacrifice one or the other. The answer was “Life Balance”.
Like everything else in life, it is important that we find balance, and that we feel fulfilled doing things that we are passionate about.
Here is how I balance my traveling schedule with my fitness lifestyle:
DURING COMPETITION SEASON I GIVE 100%, AND MAINTAIN FOCUS TO ACHIEVE MY GOALS:
- I don’t miss a single workout session, even on the days when I feel extremely tired and sore.
- I don’t have much of a social life since I don’t drink anything besides water and I only eat my homemade controlled portions
WHEN I AM TRAVELING MY PRIORITIES CHANGE:
- I don’t pay for a gym membership at my destination because I am always traveling around the country that I am visiting, but I just keep moving adding long exploration walks, hiking, trekking or any other physical activity
- I don’t follow a strict diet, especially if I am traveling in remote places and I cannot be too picky. I like to enjoy the local food, but I always look for healthier alternatives
- The most important thing, I don’t feel guilty for not working out or following a diet. I know I will get back to my schedule when I am back home, so I enjoy my time-off.
When I am traveling on vacation I feel so blessed to be able to explore our wonderful Planet, and my main focus switches from hours of hard work to achieve my physical goals as an athlete, to enjoying the moment and exploring the new.
The exception is when I travel for business. Since business trips are shorter, I need to stay consistent with my training. I look for a hotel that offers a gym and will get my work out done first thing in the morning.
MY TOP 5 TAKEWAYS ON HOW TO FIND LIFE BALANCE BETWEEN TRAVEL & FITNESS
1- Time Management
I truly believe that time management is the most important thing and the root of any life balance decision you have to make.
During many times I have been overwhelmed with my crazy busy travel schedule, trying to take care of my career managing my work load and still find time to work out...oh, and still have a social life!
You will need to have discipline and "train" yourself to manage your time and see what works best for you and evaluate your productivity on a daily basis.
Decide if your goals are tangible and at the end of the day, evaluate your level of satisfaction. Continue this exercise until you find the perfect recipe that works for you.
2- Work on priorities
You don’t need to choose one thing over another. If you prioritize things, you can do it all!
I start my day with a "to-do" list and I try to stick to the plan as close as I can, this way I can organize myself and manage my priorities.
Your goals can be managed by hours in your day, or periods of time during your year, or set goals for a short, mid, and long-term to accomplish things you want to do in your life.
I am a perfectionist who is always putting very high standards on myself, and I push myself to take the courage to focus on one pillar at a time and try to convince myself I don't need to do it all perfect all the time.
When I am competing, I give it all. When I am traveling, I enjoy it all!
3 - Be consistent
Consistency is not that easy, especially with our super busy lifestyle. But it is possible!
You have to have a clear objective for each day or week and stick to the plan. To achieve life balance there is no such a thing as "go with the flow"
As some examples:
- When you are following a workout and diet plan, be consistent with your plan
- Set a wake-up call for an hour earlier and do some yoga, go for a run or head to the gym first thing in the morning. You will have a much better day guaranteed.
- Go to bed early, this will allow you to get up earlier and do your work out.
- When you are back from your vacation, be back to your routine and take the willpower back. A trip or a vacation shouldn’t be an excuse to let the hard work go, but it should be a rewarding time for all your hard work.
4 - Make healthy choices your lifestyle
I don’t diet, this is my lifestyle. I trained my brain and my body not to like unhealthy (processed food, fast food, high sugar, grease, fried…) and I don’t crave those types of food.
When I am not traveling I plan and prepare my meals, as it helps to keep on track of what I eat. If you don't have a plan, with the crazy lifestyle you will end up eating whatever you find in your fridge or skipping many meals because of lack of time. Plan, prepare and execute your meals.
When traveling, I see myself getting super excited about trying a local dish that is prepared with fresh ingredients or trying some of the local exotic fruits.
It doesn’t mean that if you go to Italy, you aren’t going to try a delicious pizza or that amazing gelato, but have 1 gelato instead of 3. Practice portion control and incorporate it as a lifestyle, including when you are traveling.
5- Be an active person
This is key! Our bodies need to move and be active.
Hitting the gym after 8 hours of sitting in front of my computer is the best feeling.
Make choices to walk instead of rent a car or motorbike. Stroll around the cities and appreciate the local culture. It is so easy to just walk thousands of steps while we are having fun exploring.
What about training for that big adventure coming up, such as choosing a trek or hike during your vacation? It’s a perfect goal to be active before and during your vacation.
In this article, I share 12 reasons to use your next vacation as your biggest motivation for your fitness goal.
CONCLUSION ON HOW TO FIND LIFE BALANCE BETWEEN TRAVEL & FITNESS
Maintaining a life balance between travel and fitness can sometimes feel impossible. It takes hard and consistent efforts to achieve it, but in the end, you’ll find yourself enjoying the time you are at home following a healthy lifestyle, and living in the moment while you are on the road traveling.
Be mindful and make sure you enjoy whatever you are doing at the moment while you are doing it. Add quality to whatever you are dedicating your time.
Prioritize your goals and manage them by hours of your day, or period of time. Whatever works better for you and for your accomplishment. Don't try to do it all at once because you will feel overwhelmed and most likely, you will fail.
I hope to inspire you to leave your positive mark on our planet. This is the purpose of this blog, and I feel honored to be able to share my lifestyle with you. Travel & be Healthy everyone!
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