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5 reasons we’re joining the gym before traveling | Don't Ever Look Back

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5 reasons we’re joining the gym before traveling

5 reasons we’re joining the gym before traveling

Yep, you heard right. We’re joining a gym in the lead-up to our departure date in mid-2011. “But aren’t you guys supposed to be saving for long-term travel?” we can hear you asking, or at the very least thinking.

While we definitely are in savings mode, we have weighed up the benefits against the cost and have concluded that gym memberships are indeed a wise investment for the 6 months leading up to travelling. While many consider them to be a complete waste of money, we’ve come up with a list of reasons why we think joining a gym before you travel is a great idea.

Health benefits. It’s a well-known fact that exercise keeps you healthy, reduces stress and boosts your immune system. If this prevents one of us from catching a cold, virus or the dreaded flu whilst on the road, then it will be well worth it.

Fitness and Strength. Traveling means that we’ll be doing plenty of walking and other cardio activities on nearly a daily basis. It also means carrying around suitcases and backpacks regularly. By increasing our fitness and strength in the next 6 months, it will hopefully make these tasks simple rather than arduous.

Opens up possibilities on the road. Would those who lead sedentary lifestyles be able to climb a mountain? I would doubt it very much. And while we might decide not to climb that mountain, at least we have the choice to make.

Creates good habits. By making exercise and the gym part of our daily routine, it will firmly be embedded into our lifestyle by the time we get on the road. Exercise is easy to overlook when you’re busy traveling, but it will be much easier to make time to fit it in if we are already doing it prior to leaving.

Look good in photos. Who wants to look back at their travel photos in a few years time and see bloated versions of themselves? We’re going to look back at this experience for the rest of our lives and may as well look great!

Those are our five main reasons, but we’ve also come up with a list of secondary reasons why joining the gym is a great idea.

  • You can exercise at the gym regardless of the weather outside.
  • Going to the gym eliminates any distractions that get in the way of exercise.
  • It’s safer to exercise at the gym at nighttime.
  • There is no need for extra equipment at home, eliminating clutter.
  • It provides an escape from family, housemates, etc.

If you have any other reasons, please list them in the comments and we’ll add them to this post.

Flickr Photo: jerryonlife


  1. Posted November 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    going to the gym is a great idea – we also make sure we work out WHILE traveling around the world at least 5 days a week. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore workout, but by taking 15-20mins a day to do some push ups, sit ups and a short run, we find it really helps to keep the uncertainly and stress levels down. We don’t us a gym, since you can find many other areas to do basis work outs: beach, park, dorm etc.
    Nathan – As We Trave recently posted..5 Great Electronic Ways To Keep Yourself Entertained On A Long Flight

    • Posted November 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      We hope that making this change now will help us maintain our exercise routine when we are traveling. It definitely takes dedication to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Bodyweight exercises are fantastic and if you can do it for free then that’s awesome! We do enjoy exercising outdoors but joining a 24 hour gym will be of great benefit to us.

  2. Posted November 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I did the same exact thing before I left. It helped a lot really. There’s probably a million reasons why working out is a good idea in general but for travel, it does certainly help. Great post!
    Michael recently posted..Feeling Alive

    • Posted November 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Michael – we’re exercising moderately at the moment but definitely want to step it up a notch before we start traveling so it really makes a difference. It’s great to know that working out before travel has helped others as well, it helps with our motivation. 🙂

  3. Posted November 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree. I hit the gym for a solid 6 months before leaving (for more reasons than just traveling) and can’t imagine how I’d be doing if I hadn’t. I have been exercising a little since being on the road, but just lost my running shoes, so I’ll have to find another before running again…Good luck and good health!

    • Posted November 20, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Awesome to hear Brooks – how often did you get to the gym? We’re aiming for at least 3 times a week plus regular outdoor exercise on our off-days. I don’t know how we’d go running in the humidity of SE Asia but good luck finding a new pair of shoes, shouldn’t be too hard in BKK if you’re still there!

    • Posted November 20, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      I had some weight to lose, so I went everyday. I would like to start running here as I’m sure it’d be good training and I want to lose a little more weight. Got chubby sitting behind that desk 🙂 I’m hoping to pick some up when I pass through KL as I’ve already left BKK.

  4. Posted November 21, 2010 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    I was a regular gym goer before my trip but I have to say I’ve really been slacking on the road and I think I’m going to pay for it when I head to Machu Picchu this month.

    My best advice is back and calf exercises as you’ll need those muscles on the road!
    ayngelina recently posted..Viva Cuenca!

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I guess that’s one of the challenges – keeping the exercise routine going when you do start traveling. Thanks for the advice, we’re definitely focusing a lot on building that core strength and will be doing a lot of hill walking to work those calves!

      Good luck with the hike to Machu Picchu, looking forward to reading about it!

  5. Posted November 21, 2010 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Pre-trip training is such a great way to prepare you for activities like hiking, especially high altitude treks or just having to walk around with your backpack for a long time.

    Looking good in photos (not just slimmer, but better posture) is a +1 too 🙂

    – Lily @ Explore for a year
    Lily Leung recently posted..The 4-Hour Workweek- Book Review &amp Give-Away ends Sat Nov 20

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Definitely. We’re not too sure how many treks we’re going to do, but at least we have that option to do them if we choose. If we had no fitness base at all it wouldn’t even be on our radar because it would be physically impossible!

  6. Posted November 21, 2010 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    I think you made the right decision. I am a huge advocate of excercise, including weight training. Are you going to keep up the gym time while on the road? I do. Once a week (maybe sometimes once every other week) I think it’s a good thing to spend the money to get in the weight training so my muscles don’t atrophy before I go home. Gyms can be expensive but I think they’re worth it. Of course, all the natural exercise you’ll be getting from walking around counts too 🙂

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      We’ll be trying our best to keep up the gym while on the road – if we can’t find one, we’ll still be doing plenty of walking (as you said!) and we can always do bodyweight exercises where we’re staying. But we definitely don’t want to lose the results from the next 6 months when we start traveling and hopefully this commitment to exercise now lasts a lifetime. 🙂

  7. Posted November 21, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Hmm those are very good reasons to have a gym membership before leaving. I actually cancelled mine a few months ago cus I was gonna be taking a wieght class for school. That will be over in a few wks & I will then start riding my bike & walking & also lifting wieghts at home that I’ve had collecting dust. So I’m gonna be sure to get in shape before I leave. I seriously wanna loose a few lbs before leaving so ill make sure that happens.
    Jaime D. recently posted..THE CONSEQUENCES

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I just sold my weights that I had at home because we’re moving out of the apartment soon but I often found that there were always too many distractions around the house to regularly work out. Good luck with getting in shape – we just need to remember what we’re doing it for and we’ll be fine!

  8. Posted November 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi There,
    I discovered your site from another blogger. I am hoping to head off for a couple of months next year – to Latin America. Just as you mentioned, I have not mentioned it to work colleagues except two who I consider good friends.
    I wish you both good luck with the Gym – I have also recently joined one – thought I should get in there before the Christmas rush.

    I look forward to reading more about your plans.
    Good luck to you both.

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mdc, glad you found us! Hope you have a blast in Latin America, when are you planning on going? Yeah we’ll get in before the rush of people who join as part of their new year’s resolutions – hopefully we’ll be there long after they’ve given up!

  9. Posted November 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Great idea, also when every one esle is going out and you’re getting jealous you can be like…. i would love to join but I am hitting the gym later!
    I tried to get into the gym routine before I left because I am definately not the strongest but things like my finals and stuff took priority!

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Haha I like that! Definitely a good reason to give friends so that we can avoid spending money before traveling.

      We’ve been putting off joining the gym for a while but it will be a good escape when we move back to the parents house!

  10. Posted November 22, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’m personally not big on gyms. I’m more motivated to exercise outdoors than I am indoors. But if it’s motivating for you, then I say go for it! I look forward to longer trips because that’s when I’m usually in the best shape. Constantly walking, surfing, and hiking keeps me away from eating all day long too! When I’m at home it’s tempting to eat when I’m bored at the office.
    Christy recently posted..Holiday Gift Ideas When You Are Far From Home 5

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment Christy – any exercise is better than none! Can definitely relate to you with that… sitting behind a desk all day does no favors for anyone!

  11. Posted November 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    looking good is the best reason to go to a gym, and maybe the cardio vascular exercise

  12. Posted November 23, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I can relate fully! I am pretty broke at the moment but saving for a big trip to Peru next summer and I just joined a swim club to get back into shape for that trip.

    I incorporated daily exercise into my routine when I was in New Zealand and Australia, that I don’t do anymore and would like to get back that way before I hike Machu Picchu!
    Rebecca recently posted..New Zealand – Paihia

  13. Posted November 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Great pointers. Recently my fiance had a customer (Doctor) at his job talking about all the risk factors if you don’t excises. I think keeping fit and health is a great way to start you’re fun trip and adventure. I’m totally on this with you. Of course for us girl, looking good is such an important factor in out pictures heheh

  14. Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again to everyone for your comments!

    @Zablon – that’s definitely one of the upsides of the gym. Every little bit helps.

    @Rebecca – awesome, swimming is definitely a great workout. Good to see you’re getting a head start in preparation for Machu Picchu, make sure you keep it up! 🙂

    @Sarah – oh yeah, it’s pretty scary the health risks of not exercising and eating the wrong foods! Hehe looking good is becoming more and more important for guys as well these days!!

  15. Posted November 24, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Good luck with your trainings! It’ll sure help you get fit for the big adventure and keep you healthy and strong.

  16. Posted November 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Very good idea! As well as building up your stamina for carrying your luggage around the world or going off for hikes it will be good compensation for the weight that you might put on if you get on a role eating all the yummy food you will experience on your travels.
    Spencer recently posted..Be Live Carey- All Inclusive

  17. Posted December 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I hit the gym before my 3 months in Europe and the USA. Best decision ever – lost even more weight running around Europe in 40 degree heat for weeks on end… but then gained it all back in the USA before coming back home lol.
    Lynda recently posted..The Chronicles of Sydney I

  18. Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    This is something you don’t see too often on Travel Blogs, but I agree completely! One of my favorite things to do while traveling is going for long runs, and of course you have to be in shape for it! It’s one of my favorite ways to explore a place.
    Kyle Morgan recently posted..Mad Dash Across States to The Airport

  19. Posted December 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The gym is a great idea before heading out on a big trip. In my experience I found it tough to dedicate time to working out. Maybe I’m lazy? LOL. As much time as we had in the day, I just had a tough time getting myself to exercise and I’m totally a gym/running type of guy when I’m home. Good luck!
    Ryan recently posted..The Best Place to Stay in Bali Little Pond Homestay

  20. Posted December 31, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Man, oh man I wish I’d gone to the gym before I hit the road! You do so many physical activities while traveling that you don’t normally do, it can be a real good reminder of just how out of shape you are, even if you don’t see it in your normal life!
    Aaron recently posted..2010′s Weirdest Travel Experiences

One Trackback

  • By The Gen Y Travel Blog Carnival: 5th Edition on December 3, 2010 at 1:04 am

    […] it and how did they make it happen.The guys at Don’t Ever Look Back give their reasons for joining a gym in preparation for their RTW trip.Hejorama interview filmmaker Shaun Jefford about his travels and […]

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