How I Stay Fit When Travelling: Model Phillipa Steele

When we jet off on holidays most of us are too busy relaxing by the pool, drinking endless strawberry daiquiris and treating ourselves to even have time to think about exercising, right? Only to feel guilty when we get home and can’t do up the zipper on our favourite pair of jeans. So how do models stay so fit and toned when they’re travelling all year round?

I caught up with Phillipa Steele, international model and Fiji Airways Ambassador and asked her to share her “anyone can do” health and fitness tips that will keep you looking and feeling great—regardless of the time zone.

Photos: Nylon magazine
Photos: Nylon magazine

How do you stay motivated to stay fit while travelling?

I always pack my active wear, yoga mat and my skipping rope wherever I go. I also plan out each day and prioritise a time for a work out. This makes it easier to get motivated!

My favourite time of the day to exercise is before sunrise and before my day has even started. There is no better feeling than going for a jog and watching the sun rise over a new city. Not only does it release endorphins to leave you feeling amazing but you then have the rest of the day for sightseeing and exploring.

Eating out in smorgasbord towns such as New York must be usual with your schedule. How do you keep it healthy?

There are plenty of health food shops everywhere you go, you just need to research where to find them. If you step out of Times Square that is surrounded by fast food and visit the Lower East Side you will find Wholefoods, my favourite organic cafe. It’s amazing!

As soon as I arrive in New York I will clear the mini bar fridge in my hotel and fill it with fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy snacks from Wholefoods. This makes it easy to throw a few apples or a nut bar in my handbag before leaving my hotel, which also stops me from any unhealthy food cravings while I’m on the go. You can also buy healthy salads and fresh juices from Wholefoods, which are delicious!

When I am travelling to cities such as New York and Paris I like to discover the city by hiring a bike. Where as when I go back home to Fiji I keep fit by surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, playing golf and hiking. It’s like working out without even knowing it!

When it comes to dining out, I try to steer clear of anything deep-fried or battered. I evaluate the menu and choose meals that are steamed, roasted, grilled or boiled. If the menu doesn’t have any healthy choices, I ask the waitress if I can order grilled chicken instead of crumbed chicken and replace a side of hot chips with a fresh garden salad.


How do you exercise if there is no gym nearby?

Most of the time I make sure that I book accommodation that has a gym, but if not I always make use of the space I have in my hotel room. I have a routine that I do every night before I hop into bed which incudes a mix of lunges, squats, wall sits and a core workout.

However, the best way to exercise when you’re travelling is to simply go exploring! When I am travelling to cities such as New York and Paris I like to discover the city by hiring a bike. Where as when I go back home to Fiji I keep fit by surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, playing golf and hiking. It’s like working out without even knowing it!

How do you ward off jet lag so that you have the energy to work out?


A week before I leave for an overseas trip such as New York where the time difference is so significant, I will sleep according to their time zone so by the time I arrive I am ready to go. Also, when I book flights with Fiji Airways, I always make sure I fly when it is late at night over in New York. This way I can sleep as much as possible on the plane and feel fresh as soon as I step off the plane.

Keep Hydrated

I always make sure I am constantly drinking plenty of water, especially while flying. I find that I feel fatigued and tired when I haven’t consumed enough water pre, during and post flight. I also try to avoid drinking coffee, alcohol and soft drink as they cause dehydration.

Stay Active

This is the best way to fight any symptoms of jet lag! I will wear comfortable active wear on the plane so as soon as I check into my hotel I can drop my bags and go for an hour long power-walk around the block. After sleeping on a plane for a long period of time going for walk is a great way to stretch your legs, get the blood flowing and breathe in fresh air all while checking out your new neighbourhood.

Phillipa Steele, International Model & Fiji Airways Ambassador, is based in Fiji but spends six months of the year travelling to attend castings, photo shoots and fashion shows in New York, Paris, France and Switzerland.

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Written By

Shannon has been a journalist, beauty editor and photographer for two decades, working with some of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. After falling ill in 2010, Shannon immersed herself in holistic healing therapies, natural beauty and plant-based nutrition, while focusing her media work specifically in these areas to help spread awareness.

Today she writes about wellness, self-empowerment and holistic beauty, with her work regularly appearing in Australia’s leading health and lifestyle magazine, WellBeing, holistically-minded food magazine Nourish, wellness magazine Australian Natural Health and various websites. She is also Director at public relations agency, Communeco and a holistic healer, specialising in Reiki, EFT and Psych-K.