I stepped on the scale at the gym today for the first time in over 2 months and was shocked at what I saw.

I have lost 25 pounds (10 Kilo’s for those outside North America).

“Losing weight while travelling happens naturally” I have heard many people say. I have heard the opposite as well.

Although I haven’t actively tried to lose weight, stepping on that scale got me thinking of how I live my life differently when I’m on the road.

I am a healthier person when I travel. I don’t actively try to be, but I am. I eat better, sleep better, exercise without even realizing it, and have little stress. All factors we will look at today in this article.

I am now 6’4 and 180 pounds. I was 205 when I looked at the scale back in November, in Italy, when I was hunting for Italians.

I do believe that if you follow some simple steps and aren’t lazy, losing weight while travelling will happen without you even realizing it, and before you know it you will be stuffing your face with burgers like I am trying to get it back!

Check out these simple suggestions for losing weight while travelling. 

5 Kilometers is Walking Distance

Remember your grandparents saying “I used to walk 20 miles to school everyday, uphill both ways, in a snowstorm!” This is now you. You are walking everywhere, uphill both ways. Accept it and get used it. Learn to love it. 

Travellers like to walk. This is mainly out of cheapness though; losing weight while travelling generally isn’t their goal.

losing weight while travelling

Sure a taxi across Bangalore, where I write this from, will cost the equivalent of about $3, but the average traveller will laugh at that price and walk.

“Are you kidding?” they will say, “I’m not spending that kind of money!” and they hit the streets, losing weight without trying to.

I will walk as well. Not out of lack of money or cheapness, but rather for the exercise.

I have set a rule that when the gps on my phone says my destination is less than 5km, I will walk it. This takes less than 1 hour.

If you are walking 10km or more a day, you are burning a crazy amount of calories, and losing weight while travelling will come naturally.

The first few times, your feet will hurt; maybe your legs will burn, but suck it princess and get walking.

Elevators are Terrifying – Always use the Stairs

If losing weight while travelling is on your mind, then elevators are not your friend.

In fact, elevators aren’t anyone’s friend. They are claustrophobic little death boxes waiting to trap you.

While I was living in Albania with my buddy Rob from Stop Having a Boring Life, we had this little death trap of an elevator in our pimped out airbnb penthouse sea view apartment. (If you click on that airbnb link and sign up we each get $25, that’s a win-win!)

This elevator would just stop. The power would cut out, and we would hang there, suspended in the air, sometimes for a minute, other times for longer.

It would be going up, then suddenly the cables pulling it would jerk and we would free fall a few inches before it would catch itself and keep going. Sometimes the door wouldn’t open to let us out.

This happened twice, and that was two times too many. From then on the stairs became my new friend.

This is a good thing, taking the stairs is a workout, especially when you’re higher than the 4th floor.

losing weight while travelling

I don’t care though, give me a room on the 20th floor, you can take the elevator ill meet you there, or maybe I won’t because you could die on the way while I stick to safety of the stairs.

As I look back I realize this has played a role in losing weight while travelling for me, I hit the StairMaster daily. I have become the stair master. I am the stair master. The master of stairs. The… ok that’s enough.

Smart Travellers don’t eat Fast Food, They eat the Local Diet

Think of the garbage they put in the fast food you eat at home, where food regulations are strict.

Now imagine eating such things in countries where laws and regulations are lax at best, if not non-existent. How does your Big Mac taste now?

Most of the time this isn’t even an option. I haven’t seen a fast food joint in months. They just don’t exist where I travel it seems.

As you walk around Asia, India, South America ect.. you don’t see a lot of fat people. Sure there are some, but most people are relatively thin.

losing weight while travelling

This comes down the food they eat. If you eat healthy you don’t even need the gym, your body will naturally reshape itself.

Losing weight while travelling has a lot to do with what you put in your mouth. We’re talking food here people get your minds out of the gutter.

Most of the breads, cheeses, veggies, and any other dish here are made fresh. Preservatives are non-existent and freezing isn’t much of an option. If you eat with the locals, and don’t over eat, you will lose weight.

Stay away from banana pancakes, even though they are delicious. And definitely stay away from western food in non-western countries. You are you doing yourself no favours with that garbage.

I broke this rule just after a travel conference in Athens where I found myself getting fat in Greece.

Eating meat is up for debate, and this is what’s next in our losing weight while travelling discussion.

Should I eat Meat while Travelling?

For my first 7 weeks in India I didn’t touch the meat. I was turned off by it for reasons that will be discussed in another article.

I have been back on the meat (again, we’re talking food here people) for a week now and am happy with this choice.

Has not eating meat contributed to losing weight? Probably. Would I suggest it? It’s your call. I like meat and will continue to eat it. But in reality, you don’t see a lot of fat vegetarians walking around now do you?

Going to the Gym in Foreign Countries is Cheap! Take Advantage of it

I have gone to the gym here in Bangalore and payed $3 each time. If I were to sign up for a month it would be way cheaper, but that is for too much commitment for this man.

I like to get to the gym in other countries. Have a read about the time I met a new friend while hitting the gym in Albania.

This is an obvious way to lose weight while travelling. It’s just a matter of not being lazy.

As I sit here writing this article, my plan was to go to the gym 16 minutes ago. I’m using this story as an excuse to postpone it, defying my own rules.

Ok on that note this story is on hold – be back in 2 hours.

losing weight while travelling

Back and feeling PUMPED. Just kidding, although I did just go to the gym and always feel good about myself after. You should too.

Head to Nepal and do some Trekking – The Dal Bhat Diet

This was a suggestion from Kristin of Be My Travel Muse. Read about her trek on the Annapurna Circuit.

I can agree because I too have experienced what I like to call the Dal Bhat Diet.

As you trek, you are fed the same thing everyday, rice and dal. Dal is lentils, high in protein and no fat. This does get old but also does help with weight loss. 

Both Kristin and I have trekked through the Himalayas, I actually almost died on the bus ride from Kathmandu to Shivalaya!

Walking 12 hours a day, you can’t help but to lose weight. Even if you actively tried to get fat you couldn’t. This is the ultimate 2-week diet plan.

There aren’t any mirrors on the trek so after a couple of weeks when you come back to civilization, if you can call Kathmandu that, you will be shocked when you see your reflection.

Cut Back on the Partying

This is obvious… drinking makes you fat.

Pounding beers and cocktails every night does no service to your body.

This is a slightly hypocritical piece of advice on losing weight while travelling because I have been known to have a casual drink or two myself once in a while.

Anyone who knows me well knows the truth to that statement.

Travelling and partying go hand in hand for a lot of people and that’s ok, when you are on a 3-month trip through South East Asia. You are there to party and really “find yourself”, more like you are there to party and find a member of the opposite sex. You aren’t concerned about such things like losing weight while travelling.

Anything is fine in moderation. Take me for example, you won’t find me at the pub drinking daily. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. When I go out for some drinks, I really drink, Just like in business there is no half-assing it. The rest of the time I’m sober as a judge. (Is that a saying?)

Heading out with a bunch of crazy Australians into the Red Light District of Paris at night is doing yourself no favors.

I notice when I don’t drink for a couple of weeks (I know, big pat on the back for going 2 weeks without drinking) that my belly shrinks down and my energy increases. Who would have thought right?

Losing Weight While Travelling

Although this post was written with humor in mind the lessons hold true.

Let’s recap what we have learned here today.

  • Don’t be lazy when it comes to walking long distances
  • Stay away from death-traps known as elevators
  • Eat local, stay away from fast food in foreign lands
  • Maybe become a vegetarian? But probably not
  • Go to the gym
  • Go on a long trek in the Himalayan Mountains
  • Don’t be a drunken fool

I am living proof of what happens when these obvious steps are followed. Heck, you don’t even need to be travelling to do this.

Use these losing weight while travelling tips at home and watch what happens as well!

Have I missed any? Do you have any tips or suggestions you would like to add? How do you keep fit while travelling? Let me know in the comments below!

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10 Responses

    • Alex

      Hi Bethany

      I can totally see that. I week trip usually involves all you can eat buffets and open bar by the pool haha, for me anyways!

  1. Tracy Cross

    Hi Alex,

    Your weight loss story motivated me a lot. I will try to implement these tips in my regimen to lose weight. Travelling not only freshen up your mind, body and soul in addition they make you feel happy in every way.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Great post 🙂

  2. Brez

    Too true Alex, only stumbled upon your blog whilst looking up Royal Enfield’s from Mumbai down south, but still aint looking forward to the miles, but from being stuck in an office all day to strolling miles of beaches, and around town, and not nibbling on snacks all day, and with the heat, you’re gonna shift a few pounds.
    Great blog and info, so glad I’ve crossed paths, and great hints on Hampi, you have made my mind up to get over there by bike, sounds awesome dude.
    Brez recently posted…Mobile and ready for the next adventureMy Profile

    • Alex

      Thats awesome Brez! You must get a bike for sure. Its really the only way to travel india.