How To Stay Fit on the Road as a Location-Independent Solopreneur

It's Location Independence Month on One Woman Shop!

It's Location Independence Month on One Woman Shop!

I am not one of those people who loves working out. You know the type, right? They get off on endorphins and sweating or whatever. They talk about “runner’s highs” and “pushing through the burn” and, honestly, I kind of want to smack them because while I’m not someone who loves working out, I am someone who loves eating. A lot. Like, I would pretty much eat everything all the time if that was a life option.

But, unfortunately, with the onset of my mid-twenties and the perfectly natural slowing down of my metabolism, eating all of the things all of the time without working out is a no-go. Let me be clear: I am all about body positivity. I’m not here to tell anyone what they “should” be doing when it comes to exercise, no matter if they’re a size 2 or 22. If you love your body and are happy with it, that’s all that matters! I, however, was not loving my body anymore and decided to do something about it.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m a digital nomad. That means that I work online and move around a lot. I’ve lived in six different countries on three continents in the past two years and don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. What that means, then, is that building up a workout habit is a bit harder. Joining a gym gets complicated when your location constantly changes.

Not a nomad? Getting into a workout routine can still be really hard. To help you through it, here are a few tips on staying fit and staying healthy, no matter where you are:

1. Don’t rely on gyms.

My boyfriend has a great list of things that help him keep a sense of normalcy when we land in a new country, whether we’re in Ubud or Buenos Aires. On that list is “find a gym,” which he does within two days of us landing.

I, however, am much more of a procrastinator than he is and therefore gyms aren’t a great option for me. Instead, I focus on doing workouts that don’t require me to go anywhere other than the front room of wherever we’re staying. Which leads me to…

2. Pick a routine you can do anywhere.

Not relying on gyms means that I can get in a workout even if we’re somewhere short term, which is exactly what I did on a recent 10-day trip to Japan. I woke up, rolled off the futon, put on my workout gear, and did a slightly modified version of the same routine I’d been doing back in Guatemala. Traveling can easily become an excuse to fall behind on your workouts but it doesn’t have to be, if you don’t let it.

3. Stay away from routines that involve equipment.

For the past year or so, I’ve mostly been doing body-weight exercises. That means that all I need to work out are apps on my phone (7 Minute Workout is a great one if you’re just getting started), sometimes a chair, and the occasional wall. Considering most places have all of those things (except, funny enough, that apartment in Japan: no chair!), I can never use lack of equipment as an excuse to not workout.

Other great “possible anywhere” routines include: going for a run, sprinting, and simply walking around to explore whatever new place you’re in!

Editor's note: Here's a solid roundup of ways to get your sweat on that don't require equipment.

4. Do it at the same time every day, even if you’re in a different timezone.

As any pro freelancer will tell you, routine is the most important thing if you’re trying to stay productive without an office and a boss. It’s also super important when you’re trying to make a habit of working out. Choosing a certain time of day that you always work out makes it easier to transfer your workout from one country to the next.

Personally, I work out first thing in the morning. On my workout days, I immediately put on my workout clothes and head straight into my routine. I know myself well enough to know that it’s too easy to get distracted by other things (read: delicious food and beer) in the afternoon, which means that when I say I’ll “do it later,” what I’m really saying is “I’m not doing it today.” Figure out what time of day works best for you and stick to it.

5. Don’t beat yourself up — too much.

And, finally, if you miss a few days of working out because you’re getting into the routine of a new place or you’re staying, for example, in a traditional tatami-mat room in a tiny, tiny guesthouse in Kyoto, don’t freak out. Yes, not working out will set you back a bit but you know what will set you back even more? Letting it keep you from getting started again. So if you miss a day or two — or even a week or two — count it as water under the bridge and get going again. You got it, girl.

How do you stay fit as a solopreneur, at home or on the road? Let's cheer each other on in the comments below.

Note: I never worked out until a little over a year ago and my boyfriend has been an amazing support/personal trainer throughout all of this. Everything I know (and therefore basically everything in this article) is thanks to his help.

Digital nomad and location independence resources

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Emma McGowan is a full time freelance writer with more than 700 articles on her byline. She's a regular contributor with Bustle, KillerStartups, MiKandi, and she is the Editor in Chief of Kink&Code. She's a startup, sex/tech, and online dating expert. More information at

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