Survival of the Fittest

I’m only semi-fit. I can’t run 3 miles straight — it’s more like I have a mix of jog-walking. I’ve never really been that good at sports or coordinated choreography. Basically, I’m not an athlete, nor do I have the desire to be one. But, I do think there is some value to being fit enough to survive on your own.

As my year-long study abroad trip approaches, it has become more and more apparent to me that I am on my own. I will have to take public transportation alone, carry my own bags and possibly deal with encountering shady characters solo. Being alone doesn’t scare me; I actually really like being alone, but I’d hardly say I’m used to being entirely self-sufficient. So, here are somethings I think are important to work on now to prepare for traveling alone.

1. Having a bit of arm strength.

I am not a big fan of lifting weights and have no interest in being a gym rat, but I do however believe that I need to have enough arm strength to carry all my bags without having my arms metaphorically fall off. My compromise is to incorporate some arm/back strengthening exercises into my routine (or there lack of).


2 sets of 20 girl push-ups

3 reps of 10 tricep push-ups (keep your arms in close to your body, instead of wide)

1-2 1 min. planks (depends on how I am feeling)

30 sec. side plank (on each side)

Here’s a great video for reference and/or more ideas on arm exercises from the Tone It Up girls, Karena and Katrina

2. Being able to hold a squat over a gross toilet.

This doesn’t really apply to guys, but girls this is ESSENTIAL. Gross toilets exist all over the world; which means you need to be strong enough to squat over them. Let’s face it toilet seat-covers are a luxury that don’t exist in most public restrooms. So, it is vital that your legs are strong enough to hold a 30 second squat, so you can go about your business without fear of catching disease from some shady toilet.


FIRST: make sure you are doing a proper squat and that your knees aren’t going over your toes. (Watch gif)


4 -30 second wall sits (this is when you prop your back against a wall and squat. Spoiler: this burns like a mo-fo, but it’s extremely effective. You’re going to want to take 10-15 sec rests in between sets)

Lunges (I lunge across the length of the hallway of my apartment a couple times and call it even, instead of counting.)

Jump Squats (Pretty self explanatory: Squat and then jump up)

Sumo Squat with Calf Raise (Watch the Gif)


3. Out-run the bad guys.

Imagine a chase scene in a movie, the hero(ine) is running for their life — this could be you. What if this happens? Will you be prepared? Realistically, I probably wouldn’t. The bad guys would get me, because I’m kind of slow and am easily winded going up several flights of stairs. To me, this seems like kind of a safety hazard. I need to have more stamina and/or be able to run fast enough to escape the bad guys.


1 min. Intervals on the elliptical/treadmill (run for a minute at hyper speed, then walk for 3o seconds. Do it for like 10-15 min then just jog)

Speed walking/Jogging (just enough to get your heart rate going)

Running up and down stairs (Pretend like elevators were never invented; take the stairs all the time. And run up and down them when you have the time)

Here's a guide for the treadmill from

Here’s a guide for the treadmill from

4. Have enough core strength to not fall over when the subway/bus comes to an abrupt stop.

If you’ve ever stood up on the subway or bus, you know that you need to brace yourself for landing. It can actually be quite embarassing when you bump into other people, because you can’t hold your own and it totally makes you stand out as a novice. An easy solution is to work on your core strength.


Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to ab workouts, but I feel like the Tone It Up Girls Ab Circuit is really great and totally doable.

5. Know how to give a good bitch-stare.

This isn’t really work-out related at all, but it’s nonetheless important. If you look like you don’t want to be messed with, people probably won’t mess with you. Draw inspiration from Aubrey Plaza, the queen of bitch-stares (FYI- i’m obsessed with her; she’s awesome).

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There you go, my definitive guide to surviving the wild. Thanks for reading ❤