One look at Emma Lovewell’s Instagram account and it’s clear to see that the Peloton instructor travels nearly as much as she exercises. Hiking in St. Lucia, riding a motorcycle in Nicaragua, canoeing in Patagonia, wielding a samurai sword in Japan (yes, a sword)—the 35-year-old has seemingly been everywhere and done it all. But for her, traveling the world and having these experiences is about so much more than just the photo opp. “I didn’t travel internationally until I was 18, but once I started I was hooked. My mom is an immigrant, and there’s something about traveling that helped me understand her—and myself—better,” she says. “Growing up in a multicultural environment and comparing myself to my other friends, I always felt ‘other.’ But once I started seeing the world and realizing that there are so many different ways of living, I felt more resolve within myself.”
Lovewell’s social media posts also make it abundantly clear that her travels almost always involve some type of physical activity. Snowboarding, surfing, horseback riding—you name it, she’s done it. Yet despite her career as a fitness instructor (if you haven’t yet taken one of her Intervals & Arms rides, you’re missing out), Lovewell’s attitude towards staying fit while traveling is surprisingly relaxed for someone with a killer six-pack. The goal: Doing things that allow her to move her body, without having to spend time in a hotel gym.
In May, Lovewell released Live Learn Love Well, a memoir that unpacks just how she became the uber-successful Peloton instructor she is today. Here, she talks to STYLECASTER about some of her all-time favorite vacation destinations, how she stays active while traveling, and how to squeeze in a 10-minute workout anytime, anywhere.
SC: Based on your Instagram, it looks like you’ve been all over the world. What have been some of your favorite destinations and travel experiences?
EL: I recently went to Japan and that was the trip of a lifetime. It was incredible. The culture there is so strong and the people are so nice. We were there for 11 days and spent a few days in Tokyo, then the rest in Northern Japan, which isn’t really a common spot for people to go. We went to Niigata, where they’re known for their knives and went to these Japanese knife factories and saw incredible craftsmanship and metalwork. We saw a Maiko performance of apprentice geisha. We stayed in a Buddhist temple and took a cooking class.
It sounds like you really immersed yourself in the local culture. Is that something you prioritize when you travel?
I feel like it’s so important for people to travel and get away from their homes in order to get a better perspective on life. When we can experience another environment and culture it really helps us understand ourselves, and the world, better. So seeking out authentic, cultural experiences when I’m traveling internationally is incredibly important. I’m from Martha’s Vineyard, a super popular tourist destination, and so I know that the locals always know what’s best. Whenever I travel somewhere, I always like to talk to locals and ask what they suggest I do, so that I can really get that local perspective.
Let’s talk about how you’re staying fit during all of these travels. Are you making it a conscious priority to carve out time to exercise?
My boyfriend Dave, whom I travel with a lot, and I are both generally active people. We love to move our bodies. So when we’re traveling, I’m totally a proponent of adding in that movement and physical activity and fitness into things we’re doing and experiences we can have. I’d rather do that than spend an hour in a basement hotel gym. Like in Japan we did this samurai class, where we got to learn martial arts moves and hold a samurai sword. When something like that is a part of my vacation, then I consider that my workout. I’m up and moving.
What kinds of physical experiences have you had at other places you’ve traveled?
We recently went to San Sebastian, Spain and there we rented electric bikes. Everyone was making fun of the fact that I’m a spin instructor and was riding an electric bike, but it’s an amazing way to see a city. I’d also go for runs there. I’d be stopping every five minutes to take pictures so it wasn’t my most intense workout, but I was moving my body and seeing the city at the same time.
On beach vacations, I’m always swimming or wake surfing and staying active in that way. We’ve been to the Galapagos twice, Dave’s sister used to live there, so we really got the local experience. The scuba diving there is incredible, I got to dive with hammerheads all around me. We’ve also done surfing trips to Nicaragua and Mexico. Those were trips planned specifically around the destinations being good surf spots, and surfing is the hardest workout ever.
One of my favorite US trips was Alaska. I went in the middle of winter and had pretty low expectations, but was completely blown away. It completely surpassed my expectations. You see mountains coming straight out of the ocean into the sky and the most incredible sunsets. There I was hiking and snowboarding every day.
So, what happens when you’re on a trip and there isn’t a lot of physical activity built in? Do you still work out?
There have definitely been some vacations where I wasn’t moving that much. And I do start to feel kind of stuck and like I need to do something. So that’s when I’ll literally take just 10 minutes to do something in the hotel room that gets my body moving. Even just some planks, squats or lunges, and push-ups—that’s abs, legs, and upper body. I have to plug the Peloton app, because there are great 10-minute core classes on there. I’ll do those, even if it’s my own. All of the Peloton body weight classes, even the five, 10, or 15-minute ones, are great. You can also put on some music and have a dance party in your room. Most songs are about three minutes long, so cue up three of your favorites, and that totally counts as a 10-minute workout right there.