Firstly, I will apologise for the photo which I have used here, this is merely a free gym/park setup which we encountered on the walk to the Kuala Lumpur tower which is situated in a nature reserve. Believe me; neither Scotty nor I have step foot in an actual gym since being here apart from in Koh Samui where we went into one purely to see what the prices were like. As it happens we could have had 3 decent meals and a nights’ accommodation in Samui for the price of us to use this particular gym for the day trying to sculpt ourselves into Adonis’ before losing all our hard work probably only two days later through a few cheeky beers ;).
Diet is the biggest factor for anyone wishing to stay in shape whilst on the road as what you eat and how often you eat plays vitals roles in the maintenance of your energy, of which you need an abundance of to carry your backpack around at often random unexpected times of the day and night. If you skip meals in Asia for example where it is extremely hot you will soon become weak due to the amount you are perspiring even just from lying down. This weakness can soon become a habit if you are not careful and then you start binging on easy food with absolutely no nutrition like fast food, Pringles and chocolate and quickly find yourself in a downward spiral of sugar spikes and lows. Personally when I was back in England I often skipped breakfast which most people do and suffered from fatigue around mid morning and the early hours of the afternoon which affected my performance and ability to focus on tasks in hand. In the last seven weeks I have eaten very regular meals and man sized portions as I am aware of how quickly that energy is burned up with regular activities. Yesterday in Kuala Lumpur we walked around 6 miles just to see what was going on and this is a very regular occurrence when you have no idea where you are going and no idea how to get back haha.
Water is the most essential part of your day with regards to nutrition. If you stick to sweet drinks and energy drinks you will soon fade and your body will absolutely despise you so get yourself at least 4-6 litres of water down you a day. At 20 pence per bottle there really is no excuse to not stay hydrated on a day to day basis. More so, if you have had the obligatory boozy blowout on the previous night. If you have to force yourself to drink or eat regular portions then do it, it is a struggle at times but if you don’t you’ll be tempted to sleep through weakness and fatigue and wind up missing the whole point of coming travelling; the scenery, views, people, locals, lifestyle, events, activities or whatever your taste is! Both of us have forced ourselves to go back out the next day, taking on the gruelling alcohol sweats, moments of utter woe and hours of silence because our minds are still not quite with it but it is always worth it when we inadvertently stumble on something we never expected.
I have found that eating local produce is the cheapest and most tasty way to stay healthy too whilst out here. You only have to look at the locals to see they are lean, toned, happy, energetic and full of life to realise that they have one thing in common, that thing is their diet! They have not succumbed to the crappy Western diet just yet, KFC, McDonalds, Ben and Jerrys and Burger king. All of this is utter shite and should be avoided for the reasons I mentioned earlier on. Sadly these big conglomerates are popping up all too frequently in these beautiful countries so avoid them and don’t support them if you can. Saying that I did have a KFC the other day as there was nowhere else to go haha. I’m not preaching believe me but you can live a healthier and cheaper life on the local food which is better in every single way you can imagine. If you like spicy food then go for that option too as the heat from the chillies increases you metabolism thus increases the rate at which you burn unnecessary fat ;).
On the exercise front the best way to shed the pounds naturally, which you will, is via walking with a great weight on your back (a backpack or giving Scotty a drunken piggy back). Swimming if you are near a pool or even better in the sea where you are fighting the waves and natural currents is another great form of exercise. I have always done push ups since a young age so I still try and do 20-50 a day whilst I’m out here when I have a moment where no one is looking, I don’t want to look like a complete dick…Actually as I write this now from the guest house in Kuala Lumpar Scotty is doing some in front of me.
So all in all I would say stay hydrated, eat local food often, walk lots and don’t go out every single night on the lash. If you can do all these things you will feel awesome and energetic all the time and enjoy your travels to the fullest. I’m off to Singapore in 5 hours time on our first train experience since being away so I’m pretty stoked about that…Not to mention the price of an immensely cheap 6 quid!