You shake your head at the photography tricks (darn fisheye lens!). The health club in this hotel looked a lot bigger and nicer on the website than it does in real life. No fluffy towels to be seen and that mat is looking a little questionable to lie down on.
The four treadmills? Actually only two as they shot with the mirror’s reflection. And look, here’s a small rack of weights and an exercise ball. Welcome to the typical hotel health club.
When you’re on the road, getting in your workout can be tricky. Here are some ideas to stay healthy while traveling, even if you’re exercising in less than ideal conditions.
Stay in your room. I double up towels, lie down on the floor, and do a Pilates workout. I happen to be an instructor so I can just do my thing, but you can always download a workout and follow along on your laptop. Simple calisthenics and weight-bearing moves can keep you strong and be done in a compressed timeframe. You don’t need your usual hour-long workout; a “placeholder” workout will do for most people.
Sweat during lunch or dinner. A lot of people tend to flock to the gym just before dinner time or early in the morning. Consider going during meal time when travelers tend to be in restaurants. You’ll likely get the place to yourself.
Work for intensity, not for time. Don’t flip through a magazine while you loll along on the treadmill. Get on, assume that someone is going to come in and glare at you because you’re taking too long, and work at a faster, more intense pace.
Think compound exercises. Maybe a deep squat combined with a shoulder press, or a combo ab and arm move. Try to combine body parts to make your time more efficient and effective.
Have a trainer design a road warrior workout. I love this idea. Before you even leave, work with someone at home to develop a “can do it anywhere” routine, maybe even one that doesn’t need props. If you want to go all out, record yourself doing the workout so you can still hear your trainer’s cues as he catches your particular variety of cheats.
Bands go everywhere. A light, medium, and heavy set of resistance bands can do anything, take up no room, and are available at a moment’s notice. Maybe your schedule is so jam-packed that you only have five minutes here or there. A few reps with your bands and you can be on your way.
You can probably skip cardio. It’s quite likely that you’ll be walking a lot, and also likely that you’ll be late (at least I usually am), which means you’ll be chugging at a good clip up and down sidewalks and conference halls. You can probably skip cardio for a week and be fine, but if you use it as a stress release, then make sure you get it in. After all, showing up late and sweaty for your next appointment is definitely not a stress release!
The pool alternative. If your hotel’s got a pool, use that as a cross-training option. Most of us aren’t regular swimmers, so a pool workout can be a great way to challenge your muscles in new ways. My husband and I hate laps, but we’ll go buy a kid’s ball for a dollar at a local pharmacy and bump it back and forth like a volleyball. We get the resistance of the water, a lot of jumping, and a great arm workout.
Use your concierge. All hotels have someone at the front desk who knows their way around town. The concierge can give you a map of local running routes or a guest pass to a local health club with everything that you need. Talk to them to see what options are available.
What do you do when you travel? What are you quick tricks for staying in shape? I’d especially like to hear from the road warriors out there who travel a lot for business.