7 ways you can motivate yourself to workout and keep fit while studying abroad, even while traveling and between study abroad classes.

7 Ways to Get Yourself to Exercise While Studying Abroad


We’ve talked about the Study Abroad 15 and how to avoid it, and surprise, surprise– exercising helps! Sure, I’m all about enjoying yourself and embracing your time abroad, but that doesn’t mean your health has to suffer and your workout routine has to go by the wayside. With all of the fun stuff that your surrounded by when you’re studying abroad, it’s hard to keep yourself motivated to exercise, so I’ve put together this list of 7 ways to get yourself to work out while studying abroad.

7 ways you can motivate yourself to workout and keep fit while studying abroad, even while traveling and between study abroad classes.

1. Join a Gym

For some people, if they spend the money on a gym membership, they use it. If you’re a gym rat and you can see yourself squeezing a good workout in after class a few days a week, the investment will surely be worth it. Ask about student memberships so you don’t have to pay for the whole year. If they don’t currently offer them, see if you can get together a group of students who want to sign up and do a little negotiating.

2. Use workout videos

If joining a gym is isn’t an option, workout videos are the next best one. Lots of study abroad students put their favorite workout DVDS onto their portable hard drives so they can use them while abroad. If some of your friends are going abroad with you, see if they want to split the cost and just share a set.

There are also tons of free workout videos available on Youtube. Using these videos are a way to make sure you keep changing up your workout routine without breaking the bank. Of course, if you don’t have internet in your apartment, these videos won’t be of much use to you, so go with the DVDs.

Some good workout DVD sets:
Jillian Michael’s line

3. Find a workout buddy

Having someone to work out with makes the process so much easier. You can walk to the gym with each other, go for a run together without worrying about being alone in a foreign city, and you’ll have someone to motivate you. If none of the students in your program are that interested, try branching out– interact with other gym goers, join a fitness class, or participate in an activity that will help you meet other active people around town.

How to motivate yourself to work out and lose weight while studying abroad

4. Bike everywhere

If you have to take public transport to class, why not just get a bike? You’ll save money, be more green, and get lots of exercise. If you use it at least a couple of times a day, you’ll be getting a nice little bit of cardio in your daily routine. Easy!

5. Exercise whenever, wherever

When you’re always either in class, sightseeing, or traveling on the weekends, lots of study abroad students don’t have a ton of time to work out. So squeeze it in whenever you can. Waiting in line to get into a museum? Do some lunges. Cooking dinner for your roommates? Do some pushups while you’re waiting for the water to boil. These little efforts can add up in the end!

6. Make yourself accountable

Sometimes the best way to make sure you workout is to make yourself accountable. If you really want to stick to a workout routine, tell everyone that you do. Let your flatmates know that it’s really important to you that you exercise and that you may need some help with motivation. You’d be surprised how a little bit of a push from a friend can get you out of a slump. And who knows– one of your friends may end up wanting to join in with you.

Also try this trick– at the beginning of each week, schedule your workouts and write it down on your calendar or in your planner. On days that you complete your workouts, highlight them. This will not only help you find the time to exercise but to also have a visual representation of when you’re actually sticking to your plan and when you’ve been skipping out. If you have a week that goes by with no highlights, you know that next week you’ve got to kick it up a notch.

7. Have printouts ready

Do you find yourself often pinning workout plans on Pinterest but never actually using them? Then take your semester abroad as a chance to actually print those graphics out and actually use them! When you’re still home, find as many as you can, print them out, and put them in a folder. Then when you’re abroad, you can pick out a new one each time you work out– no printer or internet needed. Your roommates will appreciate them too!

Check out our Keeping Fit and Healthy Pinterest board for some print-worthy ones– and they are all doable in a small apartment and with no equipment.

What do you plan on doing to motivate yourself to work out while studying abroad? We love suggestions, so put them in the comments!

Photo Sources: Tulane Public Relations via Flickr, mpellegr via Flickr

Jess is the Editor-in-Chief of The Abroad Guide. After studying abroad in Belgium during her junior year of college, she caught the travel bug. Her experiences include volunteering in Nicaragua, backpacking through Europe, and a year-long adventure in Italy, and she's now settled in London.