A year into my quest to improve my travel, fitness, and freelance business

Last July, I set an ambitious goal for myself – to get into the best shape of my life while running a successful business and traveling the world.

None of those things are “supposed” to go together. Traveling the world is amazing (hence, this blog!), but it’s harder to eat right and exercise while on the road, which is something I’ve discussed in previous posts. Also, running a successful business is tough enough on its own, but when coupled with working out and visiting amazing countries regularly, it can seem impossible.

But, a year later, I am happy to share that I’ve achieved my goal! My law practice has never been better, my travel in the last year has taken me all over the world (including Chile, Turks & Caicos, Colombia, the Philippines, Belize, Greece, Turkey, London, Hong Kong, and Portugal), and, below, you can see my fitness progress.

First, here’s a picture from almost exactly a year apart:

Fitness comparison.jpg
August 2016                                                                          July 2017

Though I was opposed to “progress pictures” when I started working out (hence none from July, when I first began), I’ve found these to be great motivators. There are times when I think my diet and exercise aren’t paying off, but when I look side-by-side, I can see that it really is making a difference.

Next, the numbers:

Fitness Chart

While I try not to let the numbers go to my head, taking measurements ~monthly helps me stay accountable. Some of these numbers might not be dead on (fairly certain my waist was closer to a 32 when I started, for example), but it’s accurate enough for my purposes.

The changes I’m happiest about from these numbers are:

  • Body fat down from 16.4% to 10.6%
  • Arms up from 11.9 inches to 14 inches
  • Weight is up from 150.6lbs to 160lbs

I’ve also had positive changes to my mood and self-confidence, have saved money on food by cooking most meals at home, and have only gotten sick once in the last year (and a short cold at that).

It’s challenging, though. Before starting this quest, I loved to eat cheeseburgers and cheese fries with a side of cheese pizza, and I still love that. I’m also addicted to Diet Pepsi/Diet Coke (I’m agnostic to brand, which is another one of my many flaws). I also love my bed more than life itself and consider myself to be pretty lazy.

But the results have been so good that I am going to make the same goal for myself this year, and hope I’ll be writing in July 2018 with an even cooler update.

Chasing Fitness Goals While Traveling

In mid-July 2016, I started focusing on my health and fitness like never before. As a kid, I participated in sports, but past high school, I largely relied on my metabolism and genetics for making me look somehow different than how I should, considering the food I was eating and my lack of exercise.

My day job is as a freelance attorney, and, while working remotely in Medellin, Colombia, I met a client who was forming a private personal training gym right next to my apartment in San Francisco. When I got back to California, I decided to stop in, and I was convinced to sign up for 3 free sessions; since then, I’ve been hooked.

Whenever I’m in San Francisco, I work out with my trainer 2-3 times per week. But when I’m traveling, which can be over 2 weeks per month, my workout schedule suffers. Unfortunately, I am not very self-motivated when it comes to working out. That said, to help stay on my game, I take my measurements once per month, looking at my muscle growth, body fat percentage loss, and other metrics. This gives me motivation to make sure that when I travel, I , at the very least, will not lose the progress I have made.

Another fitness issue I’m finding when traveling is food. At home, I can guarantee that I will eat 150 grams of protein and 2,800 calories, and still stay under my carbohydrates goals. I can also make protein shakes every day if it looks like I might not make my protein goal. It’s much harder to do this abroad, especially when you aren’t sure what’s in the food, when you don’t have protein powder or a blender, when you’re in a rush, or when you’re drinking because you’re stressed (it happens).

I am still trying to find how I can fit my fitness journey in with my travel obsession, and to maximize my results.  If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!