How do you find workout motivation while traveling? Most of us know why we should workout, even on vacation. And many of us even know how we can do it. If you’re anything like me though, the physical activity is not the hardest part.

The hard part, at least for me sometimes, is moving from the why to the realization of the how. I’ve spent a lot of effort optimizing this connection over the years and have learned a great deal in the process. Here’s how I motivate myself to stay active while traveling.

Workout motivation while traveling

Real Workout Motivation While Traveling

My top ten tips for finding the motivation to exercise while traveling. It’s all about breaking it down into easy, manageable steps.

1. What is your why?

This is something you should be doing every day, even at home. Ask yourself your why. What is the reason you want to get in, or stay in shape, the reason closest to your heart? Why is your fitness important to you? What are you looking forward to because of it?

  • Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve your overall health?
  • Do you want to be able to keep up with your teenagers?
  • Do you want to be as independent as possible for as long as possible?
  • Do you want to be around and able to play with your grandchildren?
  • Do you want to be able to climb the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or see the gorgeous Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica?
  • Maybe you want to trek to Machu Picchu one day?
  • Do you simply want to recover more easily when returning home?

Asking yourself why you want to make time for fitness can help you stay aligned with your values and priorities. When you understand why something is important to you, it can help you make better decisions and prioritize your time and resources more effectively.

Dig deep, and keep digging, until you’ve uncovered your real why. You’ll know it when you hit it.

By asking yourself “why” every single day, you can ensure that you are staying true to yourself and your goals and making progress towards the things that truly matter to you.

This can help you live a more fulfilling and intentional life, and to achieve the success and health you desire and deserve.

I’ve found that connecting with my why first thing in the morning is the best way to start the day. When I plan my day, my priorities are front and center, as is my motivation to exercise.

Combine the asking of “why” with a habit you’re going to do every day wherever you are anyway, even on the road. Do it at home every day, make it a habit, and you will automatically find yourself doing it on the road as well. Here are some suggestions for when to do it.

  • When you’re still laying in bed thinking about your day
  • When you’re brushing your teeth for the day
  • When you take that first sip of ice-cold water, hot tea or freshly brewed coffee in the morning

Doing so will help you stay focused on your goals and motivations. When you have a clear understanding of your “why,” it can provide you with the necessary motivation to stay committed and take action towards achieving your goals.

This translates to workout motivation for travel and for home life.

2. Set specific goals

Setting specific, achievable goals can give you a clear direction and purpose, and help you stay motivated.  Make it simple. Make it doable.

Specific goals for travel fitness could be any of the following or your own individual objectives.

  • Never go two days in a row without working out before breakfast. Identify the days you will exercise and the kind of workout you will do.
  • Walk every morning after breakfast or every evening after dinner and explore your new city.
  • Identify specific fitness opportunities you want to do, when you’ll do them, where and how will you get there. Rent the paddle board in advance, sign up for the walking tour before you leave home, hire a hiking guide before your trip.
  • Incorporate a variety of specific exercises and activities into your routine to keep things interesting and prevent boredom. This could include day 1 strength training, day 3 walking tour, day 5 outdoor yoga class, and day 7 hiking trail.

When you have a clear and specific goal, it provides you with a target to work towards. It helps you stay focused and motivated.  Specific goals help you break down your larger aspirations into smaller, achievable steps that you can take to make progress towards your desired fitness outcome.

3. Plan ahead

Plan ahead to support your specific goals, to have the motivation to workout while you’re away. This can make it easier to follow through and to make it seem less daunting.

  • Look up the workout options available at your destination, whether it be a hotel gym, local fitness classes, or outdoor activities.  Plan which days you will be participating in those activities.
  • Schedule your active tours and events so you have down time in between.
  • Pack appropriate clothes and walking shoes for whatever activities you will be participating in.
  • Pack your water bottle and your jump rope if you have one you love.
  • Include the specific exercises or activities in your regular trip itinerary.
  • When planning other activities, plan to walk or ride a bike to get there if you can.
  • Plan for fueling up with complex carbs and healthy proteins on a regular basis. You don’t have to do it for every meal, but at least one should be truly nourishing.

Plan for the time it takes to take care of yourself. Plan for making fitness a priority of every vacation you take. You don’t need to overdo it. You could even tone it down a notch.

The point is to make a plan to keep moving. When you know exactly what you want to achieve and have a plan for how to get there, it can be easier to stay motivated and avoid distractions or detours.

hotel gym

4 .Visualize success

Imagine yourself achieving your goals and how it will feel when you reach them. No matter how small they are. In as much detail as you can. Take time to focus on the results of your efforts, of your why.  

  • Visualize exercising regularly throughout your vacation and not coming home and having to start from the beginning again.
  • Imagine being stronger when you return than you were when you left.
  • Visualize not gaining extra weight yet still enjoying the foods of your journey.
  • See yourself not only surviving that trek next year, but thriving on it.

Visualization is a proven and effective technique for achieving success. By picturing yourself succeeding in your mind’s eye, you can increase motivation, build confidence, enhance focus, and improve behavior.

Visualizing success can help you see what’s possible and give you a sense of purpose and direction.

It can also help you overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk, which can be major barriers to success. By training your mind to stay focused on your goals and mentally rehearsing your fitness routine or strategies, you can increase your chances of following through with them.

Whether you want to be able to walk around easily on the cobblestone streets of Seville or hike the Inca Trail, visualization can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals and reach your full potential.

This practice may naturally follow your why, connected with a morning habit, and that’s fantastic if it does. But you can also visualize your achievement throughout the day whenever you are wanting more motivation. Even when you’re actively exercising.

I find it extremely helpful and therapeutic to imagine my well thought out accomplishments as I’m lying in bed ready to sleep. Give it a try for yourself.

What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Falling asleep on that positive note on a regular basis and you will notice a difference in your attitude.

5. Make small productive decisions

Adopt the perspective that fitness, in whatever form you choose, is a treat for yourself. Because it is. And because perspective is everything. When you exercise, you’re doing something for you, your your body and your future.

The time you spend exercising is a privilege that not everyone is able to experience. Enjoy it. Embrace it. It’s a time in which you get to focus on yourself, whatever else is going on around you, however long you give yourself.  

You can make this seemingly minor changes in your attitude in a number of ways.

  • Staying hydrated keeps you energized, aware and ready to meet challenges head-on.
  • Fueling your body with mostly healthy food most of the time can give you the inspiration to continue your positive trend and maintain your momentum.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Positive self-talk can help us focus on our strengths and accomplishments, rather than dwelling on our perceived weaknesses and failures. This can help us to develop a more positive and resilient attitude towards challenges, which can ultimately lead to greater success and happiness in our lives.
  • Replace “I have to” with “I get to,” starting today

Learn to look at fitness as a reward in itself. Your reward is the feelings of good health, satisfaction, pride, confidence and energy you will achieve.

When you shift your focus toward one in which feeling good is all the reward you need, you’re shifting it in a positive direction that will build on itself with every workout.

6. Make it fun

When you find a physical activity that you enjoy, whether it’s touring around on an ebike in Ballard or watching the sunset from the highest point in every city you visit, you find inspiration. And working out while traveling is no longer a chore, but something you look forward to.

The key to making exercise fun is to find an activity that you enjoy, to find what works for you. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, swimming, paddling, solo sports or playing sports with others, choose an activity that you genuinely look forward to doing.

Make physical activity that you enjoy part of your travel experience. For example, you could take a scenic hike or go for a run in a new city to explore the area.

Doing the same exercise routine every day can get boring quickly. Mix things up by adding variety to your vacation. This can help keep things interesting and challenging.

  • Try a new sport such as snorkeling, paddling, mini-golf, pickleball or horseback riding.
  • Exercising with friends and even strangers can make it more fun and social. Surround yourself with people that have similar goals as you, at least for that hour, and you will be more motivated to exercise in the future.
  • Listening to music or podcasts can make exercise more enjoyable and help distract you from the physical exertion. Create a playlist of your favorite workout motivation songs or listen to a podcast or audiobook that you find interesting.

Include variety, rent a paddle board, sign up for walking tours, have music on hand, do what you love or enjoy. This is one of the easiest ways to find motivation, because the fun overrides the effort and is what you remember most.

paddling boarding

7. Take action

Changing your mindset is not just about thinking differently, but also about taking action. Identify actions you can take to reinforce your emerging mindset.

  • Post health and fitness quotes where you’ll see them
  • Keep travel workout equipment close
  • Set your workout band next to your swimsuit where they’re both easily seen  
  • Set your phone alarm for the time you will be working out.
  • Do something, anything, even it seems small.
  • Look for random opportunities to add more physical activity to your day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or biking to where you need to go.
  • Choose activities that involve walking, like the Freedom Trail in Boston or walk the beach at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge in Sequim.

Changing your mindset requires more than simply thinking in a different way. It necessitates action. These actions serve to reinforce your new mindset by providing tangible evidence that your thought processes have changed.

By regularly engaging in activities that align with your new mindset, you will find that it becomes increasingly natural and automatic over time.

Additionally, it can help you stay motivated and committed to your goals, making it easier to maintain your new mindset in the face of challenges or setbacks.

8. Get a workout buddy

Find a friend or family member to workout with you, either in person or in heart, and to whom you are accountable. Having someone to hold you responsible can help you stay motivated wherever you go.  

You can also ask a personal trainer to be your accountability partner, though you will have to compensate them. This person can help you stay motivated and committed to your exercise routine.

9. Take advantage of technology

Fitness apps and online workout programs can provide you with the motivation and support you need to stay committed to your fitness routine while on the road.

Many of these resources include features such as progress tracking, workout reminders, and social support networks, all of which can help keep you accountable and motivated.

One of the biggest benefits of using fitness apps and online workout programs is the convenience they offer. You can access them from your phone or laptop, making it easy to fit in a workout whenever and wherever you have time.  

10. Focus on the big picture

Did you know that staying active while traveling is one of the best ways to feel energized and refreshed, to fully experience your journey?  

Exercise also reduces stress and boost your mood, which can be particularly beneficial when you are away from home and dealing with unfamiliar environments.

outdoor fitness

Whether it’s going for a jog on the beach, taking a yoga class, or hitting the hotel gym, finding ways to stay active during your vacation can help you feel better physically and mentally. Plus, it can give you more energy to fully enjoy all the fun activities that come with being on vacation.

Do you need to workout when vacationing?

You should workout, definitely, but how you choose to get your exercise is entirely up to you. You should get into the habit of exercising in some way at least four times a week, wherever you go.  

There is no reason you can’t sleep in, feel lazy and get in a good workout at the same time. The key is in how you plan your days and where your priorities are, on vacation and always.

Remind yourself also of the many benefits of exercise, such as improved mood, increased energy, weight loss, and reduced risk of chronic disease. Keeping these benefits in mind can help you stay motivated to exercise.

I plan to exercise on my vacations because it makes me feel better about myself and my day, and because it’s one of the few things I can control when on vacation.

FAQs, Exercise Motivation

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Commonly asked questions about working out, motivation to do so and the challenges we face to get it done.

What are some tips for workout motivation for beginners?

It’s important to start with small, achievable goals that can be gradually increased over time. Working out with a friend or joining a fitness class can help to keep you accountable and provide encouragement and support along the way.

Keeping a workout log or using a fitness app can help you to see the progress you are making over time, which can be a great motivator. Mix up your routine by trying new exercises or switching up the intensity of your workouts.

Remind yourself of the many health benefits of regular exercise, such as increased energy and better overall health. Keeping these benefits in mind can help to keep you motivated even on days when you don’t feel like working out.

How do you find motivation to workout during the holidays?

The holidays can be a challenging time to maintain a consistent workout routine. Finding motivation to exercise during the holidays is important for maintaining physical and mental health.

You can help yourself by setting realistic goals, prioritizing exercise, find a workout buddy, focusing on the benefits and trying new things.

What does workout motivation for females look like?

Workout motivation for females is not any different than for men. It includes finding enjoyable exercise, setting realistic goals, building a support system, focusing on the positive effects of exercise, and incorporating a variety in your workouts.

What are some good workout motivation books?

There are several great workout motivation books available that can help inspire and motivate you to stay committed to their your goals.

What is a workout motivation calendar?

A workout motivation calendar is a tool designed to help you stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals by providing a visual representation of your progress.

The calendar typically includes a specific fitness plan or workout routine, with designated days for different types of exercise or rest days. It can be as detailed as you desire.

Workout motivation while traveling

Final Thoughts: A Fitness Mindset

Staying active while traveling can help you feel energized and refreshed, so follow the steps above, and make it a priority to find motivation to exercise in some way during your trip. In more than one way. Understand that consistency is key when it comes to fitness.

By setting goals, creating a plan, finding an accountability partner, mixing up your routine, rewarding yourself, and focusing on the benefits, you can stay motivated and make exercise a regular part of your travels and your life.