Five Fitness Faces Series: Matthias Ludwig


Welcome to part 2 of my blog series entitled, "Five Fitness Faces". It is a collection of answers to questions that I asked of five fitness travelers that I have met all over the world from Germany to Sweden to USA, these five people embody what CarryOnTravelFitness is all about! For part 2 of the series, meet Matthias Ludwig. We met while I was living in Berlin, Germany at Berlin Strength. He is an actor and model that frequently appears in German TV shows and movies. Here is what Matthias had to say:  

  1. How do you stay fit? Any sports, lifting, Crossfit...etc?                                           I do all the things that interest me. There’s always strength training involved, since that is a very basic quality which is useful for every movement and also your health (and eating more ice cream;) Right now my upper body strength is around 80% calisthenics stuff while legs are mostly traditional lifting stuff: Squats, Deadlifts etc.I’m really interested in Handbalancing, so that is another big chunk. Since I used to train a lot of acrobatic movements like Capoeira and Parkour I also do some flips and gymnastic things from time to time. Lately I’ve gotten into bouldering and I love it! But you have to factor that into your strength programming. I also wanna get back into Martial Arts and I occasionally do Yoga or Slacklining.

2. How do you stay fit while traveling?

It really depends: Am I traveling alone or with friends, work or holiday, a weekend or a month… In general, when it’s just a couple of days in another city I try to just follow my original program, but I won’t stress about it too much. If I go on vacation, I’ll just see what’s possible. I went surfing last year with three friends and since we all like to stay active, we brought gymnastic rings which are basically all you need for your upper body. Throw in some sprints, pistol squats and natural leg curls and you’re good. On holiday I like to be active anyway, I wake up late, I’ll hike up mountains or try new sports, so I don’t worry about it too much. When traveling for work, I just accept that it’ll maybe cost me extra to go to a gym. I’ll try my best to sync the travel days with my rest days. As long as I get one workout per week I know I’ll keep my current level, so I won’t stress about it. In my opinion stress is the most underrated factor to slow down your process.

3. What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Why?

I love cities with beaches and mountains! You have the upsides of city life with great places to eat and lots of things to explore but you also have so many options to be outdoor and active, so Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and also Los Angeles have been amazing. Especially if you’re into sports and health you’ll enjoy these very much: Amazing food, surfing, gyms, active people…

But I also love Barcelona and Lisboa, they’re great to just enjoy life to the fullest. I also love to be outside of the city in nature, but it’s harder for me to pick a specific place. It depends on my mood and the occasion, a secluded beach might be my favorite one day, another day I crave the mountains.

4. How do you balance healthy eating while sampling the local cuisine while on the road?

I’ve been eating healthy long enough that I don’t need much discipline for it: My main meals will be mostly pretty healthy anyway. Also, I’ll eat what I really feel like. I’m not gonna try fried chocolate bars just because it’s a speciality :D

But I do like to dive into the local cuisine a lot, most of them offer plenty of good stuff and lot’s of new things. Of course I’m also gonna indulge in ice cream or pastries if I feel like it. My rule of thumb in general is “I’ll eat everything I want if it’s worth it”. If I end up at an Italian family’s home and they invite me for dinner I’ll make sure to eat all the pasta they have and if I come across the best ice cream in town even though I just had ice cream I’ll go for it! But I won’t go on an all-inclusive trip and just randomly stuff my face at the buffet.

The great thing about working out a lot is that you get away with it. I went to Paris for 5 days and had lots of croissants and wine and what not and still lost weight because I was below maintenance calories :D

If you’re on holiday, go for it. Fitness is there to support your life and make it better, not to rule it like a dictator.

5. 3 words to describe your fitness regime.

2 is enough: No dogmas.

6. What is your most embarrassing travel story?

Not sure if this is the worst one but way back in school I was on an exchange program in the USA and we all went to one of the students home for one night to have a barbecue with his parents and watch a movie together. They had a huge living room and we all sat down in front of the TV. I started to pet the dog that was sitting next to my couch. Got up to get something to drink, sat back down again and continued petting. After a short while I see the dog lying in the corner of the room and I think “Who or what am I petting?”. Turns out when I got my drink the dog left and the Dad of the kid who lived there had sit down next to the couch…. I stopped and didn’t say a word, neither did he. He probably thought it’s a german tradition….

7. Solo Travel or Partner/ Group Travel?

Really depends…. both is great! You just have to know what you’re getting into and be in the right mood for that.

8. Any advice for someone that wants to stay in shape while they travel

My advice would be to find activities that you like doing, so it doesn’t feel like something you have to do that steals your vacation time. If you go surfing or hiking or do yoga at the beach it’ll still feel like holiday, it doesn’t have to be a gym workout.

But if you want to keep up your gym regime, get up early and do it first thing in the morning. Then you’ll still be free to whatever spontaneous things come up! You don’t want to miss out on going to that amazing secret spot with a bunch of cool people just because it’s chest day and you HAVE to hit the gym now. It’s also good to know a couple of super quick 20 min HIIT workouts (or even 4 min Tabata) that you can just to right next to your bed.

In general, staying in shape is not just about working out, it’s also about stress levels, sleep and food. So sometimes (especially on work trips) sleeping another hour instead of working out could be the better choice!

Catch up on the series!

Part 1