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How I kept my New Year’s resolution to complete 365 days of fitness – by working out all over the world

How I kept my New Year’s resolution to complete 365 days of fitness – by working out all over the world

Hiking miles through the snow-covered Norwegian forest, I finally reached my cabin in the woods. Piling timber into the open fireplace, I lit a match and watched the frost begin to thaw. But even with limbs tight from the icy outdoors, I wasn’t finished moving and stretching for the day. It was going to be a challenge to get a routine going here, but I was committed to my New Year’s resolution: to work out every day for a whole year.

My Norwegian Airbnb listing had suggested that there was some exercise equipment here for guests – but after searching the cabin from top to bottom, all I could find was a pair of olympic rings. Thinking, “Why not?”, I hung them from a sturdy ceiling beam and managed an hour of pull ups before heading to relax in the cabin’s woodfired sauna.

Prior to 2022, I never imagined that I’d be constructing makeshift gyms during a weekend away, but having committed to the challenge on New Year’s Day, I quickly found an immense joy and satisfaction in finding creative ways to break a sweat – no matter where in the world I was.

An outdoor gym Calum found in Mexico City

(Calum McSwiggan)

Working as a travel writer and content creator, I spend most of my time on the road. Like anyone who travels a lot for work, for me constantly being on the move meant constant excuses not to work out. Early morning flights, deadlines, poorly stocked hotel gyms – I’d pluck any reason from the air, but last year and post-resolution, I realised that there’s quite literally always a way. Whether you’re in Prague for a conference or Barbados for a beach holiday, exercise doesn’t have to be a chore to squeeze in. In fact, it can massively enrich the experience.

The rules of my fitness-and-travel resolution were simple: as long as I did a workout of at least 45 minutes, it didn’t matter what that was. I could take a hotel instructor’s class, go climbing, do gymnastics or lift weights. Of course I factored in “rest days”, too – on these, I could do yoga, run, cycle or go for a swim. It was the variety and destination-specific activities that made it fun, not a faff.

Naturally, there was the occasional morning where I had to wake up stupidly early to do squats and push ups at 4am before leaving for the airport; but for the most part it meant I tried dozens of new things. I lifted weights in outdoor…

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