Indian Olympic Athlete Tells You 5 Ways to Stay Fit While Travelling

Award-winning swimmer Rehan Poncha has incredible fitness hacks to make your travel itinerary more fun!

Sure, vacations are your time to chill and just let down your hair. But, you don’t have to bid adieu to your workouts just because you are jet setting for a much-needed vacation.

“I always include a workout in my day, no matter where I am. Most hotels have a gym so I will plan for a workout in my day. If time is limited, I may just focus on getting in a cardio workout – like a 20-minute high intensity run on the treadmill,” says award-winning Olympics swimmer Rehan Poncha. Anyone with an active lifestyle would agree, missing a workout might make you feel sluggish, low on energy with disrupted sleep pattern. And, of course…the gym-goer’s guilt is rather real!

Rehan Poncha

Burning calories while on a vacay don’t always have to be a chore. Here are ways you can do just that with Olympian-approved tips by Rehan:

Prep for the travel

“Air travel can be very dehydrating, and that among other things increases jet lag tremendously. So, try not to have alcohol on flights – which is dehydrating- and drink plenty of water instead. Start your day with one or two glasses of water as soon as you wake up can be a great energy booster,” he says.

Foodie alert!

Food can be a bit of a challenge when you travel but that does not mean you have to give up on the local cuisine. Rehan says, “Try not to eat two bad meals in a row, and when you do eat, have a nutritious meal and try not to fill up on empty calories. I would also advise not walking into supermarkets or malls while you’re hungry, as you will be tempted to eat what you see. I often carry small packs of trail mix, an energy bar or a fruit to snack on.”

Include workout in your itinerary

Walk, run instead of taking transport to turn sightseeing into a workout especially if your hotel has no such gym facility. Rehan vouches for a morning run. He says, "It is always a great way to get in your workout and discover a new city. Make it part of your sightseeing itinerary – I have caught some spectacular sunrises on the beaches of Turkey on my morning runs."


He also adds, “When it comes to workouts and travel the key is to maximise results in minimum time. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges and bench presses will work for multiple muscle groups in one go. So, you burn more calories in a shorter time. HIIT (High-intensity interval training) which involves brief bursts of exercise at 100% with short bursts of recovery is a good option as it takes a lot less time to complete and doesn’t necessarily need any equipment.”

Hotel room exercises, ftw!

When you are short on time, its good to do exercises which combine muscle groups or are high intensity. Here is his pick of exercises that can be done in the comfort of your hotel room or BnB or even in the great outdoors!


Surya Namaskar: Surya Namaskar is a comprehensive cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your core and stretches the entire skeletal system. It’s an excellent exercise for warming up at the gym too.

Lower-Body: For the quadriceps, squats can be combined with an overhead press to get more out of it. You can also do lunges with free weights and close the lunge with a torso rotation. To work the hamstrings try deadlifts with free weights. The bridge will activate the glutes, hamstrings and core.

Upper Body: Chest presses or push-ups are great choices for working the upper body. There are many variations possible using gym equipment depending on the level of fitness you are at. You can also do an upright row or vertical pull if you have access to cable machines

Core: There are so many ways to work your core! From crunches to planks there are endless variations you can work on. But always remember to stretch and cool down to avoid soreness and lactic acid build-up.