Allow me to preface this post with some information that, now typing this, I never had a chance to share with the gang here at Insiders. In addition to keeping y’all minding your P’s and Q’s in the forum (which isn’t too hard because you’re all so wonderful ) I am a fitness junkie and part-time fitness instructor.
Me and a fellow instructor at our whole-cycling studio, Burncycle PDX, and the iron paradise. One of my happy places.
That being said, something that has always intrigued me is the degree to which folks maintain active lifestyles while on the road. It’s an undoubtedly tough thing to do consistently when traveling on a regular basis. I don’t travel terribly often, but have experienced the struggle.
Lack of motivation while on the road, lack of access to facilities, lack of local business that offer fitness classes, lack of gyms? The barriers to keeping that heart rate up are many when traveling. So, the question then becomes, how do you all engage in physical activity when traveling? As for me, one of the first things I do when I check into a hotel is I bolt for the fitness center to evaluate my options. Not all fitness centers are created equal, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Additionally, some places have wildly awesome gyms for a hotel.
So, the question remains: How do you exercise when traveling? There’s a recent poll that may be a fun thing to resurrect from the depths of the forum: https://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/polls/1179
Have a cool workout or series that you take part in when on the road? Share it. I personally, would like to know what folks do to keep the heart pumping and the blood flowing!
I'm glad you raised this issue. As someone with more 'willpower' than 'won'tpower', I always try to exercise while traveling for business and vacation so I can enjoy good food and beverages. My preferred exercise program involves weight training and it is difficult to find hotels and resorts with good weigh training equipment.
My 'Utopia' Marriott property is the Renaissance ClubSport in Walnut Creek, CA because guests have full access to a world class gym and spa. Most MVC resorts have adequate equipment, although I was very disappointed with the MVC Grand Oceane in Hilton Head which has a very small fitness room with limited equipment.
I actually preferred the old Universal equipment to the Marriott cable machine that is prevalent in most properties today. The Universal included a lat bar which could be used for various exercises. The newer machine has various uses, but is awkward to use and doesn't work well for anything.
I fall into the same boat when traveling. Because it's usually for work, we're eating out a lot and usually on-the-go, so having access to exercise is an important component to any trip I take. Lots of places have fairly limited workout facilities, but usually have the basic pieces that contribute to a workout; I mean, if we're really trying to get some exercise in, we don't necessarily need gyms to do it. I'll look around the area for workout classes or sessions as well.
The cable machine details are intriguing. I'd be curious to know the kinds of things folks look for in a fitness facility when traveling.
I try to do weight training every other day, and cardio on the alternate day. Hotels typically have good cardio options, including treadmills, EFX, and sometimes step machines (my preference). I envy those who jog because they can usually do that anywhere. Unfortunately, I have never been a distance runner due to back and knee issues.
I think the following equipment is essential for hotel fitness facilities:
I can get a pretty good workout with this equipment, assuming the gym isn't too crowded. I've been doing weight training for over 30 yr. and I've noticed a recent increase in its popularity. Hopefully, hotels will improve their equipment options in order to accommodate this important need.
Like superchief1 says, some hotels do give you complementary access to an actual gym/fitness center which is great. I've also noticed that some properties are adjacent to a very good gym, and hotel guests can use that gym for a nominal fee such as $10. An example would be the Ritz-Carlton Denver which has an actual full-service gym/fitness center next door which can be used by hotel guests. The downside is that these types of gyms often have limited hours, whereas hotel gyms are usually open 24/7. The Grand Hotel in downtown Minneapolis gives guests access to a Lifetime Fitness branch right on site, and that gym has a pool, fitness classes, and excellent machines/weights. Westin also has an emphasis on fitness and will loan you workout clothes. Those hotels also have local running routes on little cards that they hand out at the front desk. Marriott properties seem to be hit or miss when it comes to fitness. A lot of times, I skip the gym and just go out for a walk or swim on the beach. MVC properties do tend to have decent gyms, too.
Hahah! Can we get a shout-out for joshm's workout outfit? Also, as some who has taken one of his workout classes, I can say - They ain't easy! That's for sure.
But getting down to the point... I also try to workout while traveling, for a few reasons. 1) I have a hard time sleeping when I'm traveling for work (which is a lot) and getting a good work out in helps me sleep. 2) It enhances my "feel good" mood 3) It boosts my immune system after a long flight (I'm flying from Hawaii, after all)
I take red eye flights a lot. Usually when I get off a red eye, I love to find a place to go for a run outside. It helps kick off the day and get my blood pumping after a long flight. It also helps me see a bit of whatever city I am visiting in a more intimate way.
Here are a couple photos from recent "work trip runs" in New Orleans, New York and Boston this year:
Great discussion topic! I don't travel for business, and it is the rare occasion when I travel for pleasure and am not stepping out for at least 12-14 hours. I usually get in a good 25K steps/day when on vacation, so I don't usually concern myself with a gym workout. On the rare occasions when I'm not moving a lot, a gym is important to me, and if it happens to be one that has cardio machines positioned in front of a panoramic window with a nice view (as it is at the The Buttes Marriott in Phoenix, where you can watch a continuous stream of planes landing and taking off throughout the entire workout), so much the better! I've also recently discovered the fabulousness of water workouts, and now keep a bathing suit in my suitcase at all times. I love getting up early and having the pool all to myself. This strategy works especially well at family oriented resorts where (most) parents and kids don't usually head to the pool area until after about 10am.
I've taken Josh's cycling class as well, and it was probably one of the hardest workouts of my life! Josh doesn't mess around!
Yoga is my main form of exercising, and the great thing about it is that you can do it anywhere! This includes hotel rooms, planes (yes, planes) parks, or if you're driving, you can pull over at any time and do it. I was recently driving through Northern California and was feeling tired, so I stopped and had a lovely yoga session under some Redwood Trees. It was great!
Great thread Josh! It really depends on what kind of vacation I'm taking for me to think about fitness and incorporating it into my days. If I am somewhere tropical and in total relaxation mode for the week, I am OK with not hitting up a gym during my stay. It gets so hot out and I'd rather just hang poolside and go the other direction of being healthy / active and drink my calories in frozen beverages!
If I am on a more active sight-seeing trip, I enjoy tracking my steps on my fitness band, and like going on hikes or walking around cities so that is usually the extent of my activity. I do not really travel for business so my routine of going to the gym 3-4x/week doesn't get affected. A vacation is just that to me, vacation, so I don't beat myself up when I forego my typical gym routine. If I were to travel for several days on business, I would definitely pack my sneakers and gym clothes and check out the gym while staying at a hotel. Maybe I'll be able to report back on this if there's more business travel in my future!
Update: I went on my first business trip last week and am proud to say that I hit up the gym at the hotel!
I stretched on the mat, lifted with some free weights, and ran on the treadmill. I'm so happyy that I took advantage of the gym, and something that helped me get motivated was knowing that I packed my gym clothes so I felt like I had to make the effort to go. I do the same thing at home - I have my gym bag & 2 sets of sneakers in my trunk, so I have no excuse not to go to the gym, even when I''m feeling lazy, I have all the tools so I just have to find the motivation!
Having a packed gym bag always helps provide an incentive as well as eliminate an excuse not to work out. I also always choose a fitness facility that is located between my work and my home. This way I have no excuse to skip after work, and would feel guilty if I drove by without stopping.
Yes! melissaerb joined me at the barre for an early morning workout in Bethesda!
Like pluto77, I'm not a business traveler, and our vacations are usually centered around some combination of outdoor recreation: hiking, biking, kayaking, and/or canoeing. So getting exercise on the road isn't the problem -- it's the other 50 weeks a year as a desk jockey fighting the battle of the bulge that present the problem. But now that autumn is finally beginning to make outdoor temps tolerable, the bikes will be put to use once again on a fairly regular basis. Love the fall in North Georgia!
I always feel inspired when packing for business trips, and my workout clothes/sneakers are the first things to go in my suitcase. However, once I get to the hotel I typically do not make it to the gym.
Traveling with joshm is a different story...I went with him to a SoulCycle class on our last trip together. It was early in the morning and completely energized me for the day. I almost collapsed trying to keep up with him, but I don't regret it!
A travel buddy who motivates you is a great way to stay active.
I envy you people who can exercise early in the morning, especially when traveling. My brain works early, but my body isn't ready for a strenuous workout until at least 9am. I don't think I could keep up with joshm, but am glad to see that fitness is important to the Marriott team members. Hopefully you can influence management to upgrade many of the fitness facilities. I think the facility at MVC Newport Coast villas is a good example of a well equipped fitness facility that is the right size for the property.
I agree. A 6 mile walk on the beach at Crystal Cove is always preferable to the treadmill, but if it gets too hot before I'm ready to pound sand (in August), it's nice to have a well equipped facility available (with something of a view even as a bonus).
Being over 50 and having recently injured my shoulder (and presently doing rehab), I've had to come to the stark realization that cardio is no longer enough. I need to also find a way to incorporate a strength and flexibility regime into my regular and - forever - fitness routine. Which speaks back to foxglove's point about the other 50 weeks/year. And yes, being a desk jockey s***ks. I walk 1.5 hours/day. Now I have to do strength and flexibility too? This fitness thing can seemingly get to be almost a full time job!
When on vacation near the mountains or beach, I also prefer walking on the beach or hiking over cardio in the gym. Crystal Cove is a great place to walk, in addition to the climb up the hill afterward to NCV. I try to do my weight training every other day even when traveling, so the weight equipment is particularly important to me. I think you will find great benefits from strength and flexibility routines, and may actually enjoy them.Good luck with your rehab.
You can't beat enjoying a good glass of wine on the balcony overlooking Newport Coast at sunset, and it is even better after a good workout.
I hope the PT does the job. It did not work for me and I ended up having rotator cuff surgery back in May. After sewing up a "massive tear" and sending me home, I learned an important lesson: talk with your doctor about pain management before the surgery, not after. It was a painful lesson. I also learned that the rotator cuff does not have much blood flow, so the recover is very slow.
Thanks, curiousone. It is indeed a slow, painful (and some days even discouraging) process. Nothing is torn, so hopefully no surgery in my future. I appreciate your words of caution.
I traditionally look at the gym/fitness facilities when booking a hotel I haven't stayed at before. Don't generally use the swimming pools. My preference for a workout gym is some cardio (cross-trainer, treadmill) with free weights. I find most full service Marriott's have very good facilities. The water stations with a fruit collection of apples, oranges & banana's are quite common and the cleanliness is important.
Some of my favourites gym's in this last year have been:
Houston Airport Marriott, AC Hotel Paris, Edmonton Marriott, Miami Airport Marriott, Grand Cayman Marriott.
I usually try and hit the gym first thing in the AM then hit the breakfast buffett...Lol!! but Im not adverse to an afternoon workout before I hit the lounge for a few brown pops, but mornings are much better for me anyway.
Like many of you, I typically don't opt for the hotel gym. I'd rather spend the time doing some sort of outdoor recreational activity and experience the destination I'm in. Most likely because my travels are not for business.
If I'm near the water, I have to be out on it! Paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, etc. And when close to the Mountains, you can bet I'll be on a trail, exploring. Though, I don't get much time to travel these days, I still try to find new places to explore and be active. It is a commitment, but its all worth it in the end.
it"s interesting as I have found some Marriott's taking the swimming pool out. It took up a lot of space and wasn't heavily used and brought with it some extra liability. those that have taken them out have expanded the rec area and have used the balance for conference space
So i'm a distance runner, think marathons and some ultras. I run outside, in the AM from tons of different marriotts, in all weather. Some better than others...So a few comments...
I sure appreciate it when the concierge or desk clerk has some idea of a place to run. Sometimes they have maps, this is great. last week in richmond, VA the clerk sent me on a great 9 mile trail run thru civil water fields. it was very cool.
If an area is particularly unsafe, i'd love that same concierge or clerk to warn me about that.
Treadmills are always nice as an option. When staying near the airport or at the backside of a timezone (thus its very dark), they are even better. please try and service them though. often they are pretty beaten up. turn the heat down though in those rooms, its always way too hot. you can put more on, i (literally) cant' take more off.
Finally, i will mention the Marriott Zurich. i was there over summer with the family. I went out early, like 5am or so. i asked the desk clerk for a recommendation where to run. They had perfect, pre-printed, SMALL (the right size) cards with courses and distances. Then, to really shine, as i left the hotel i noticed a table, with a sign "for runners only" with water bottles, more of these cards, and small packs of gummy bears. I was floored. I have never seen that in the states and was really impressed. I thanked the manager myself for that one, above and beyond.
When I travelled a ton for business and ended up in different places I found that going out for a jog every day was a great way to discover what the city was like. More important the area in the city that wasn't all asphalt and concrete. Finding a park, for instance. In Houston there is a park (I guess you'd call it that) that runs along the river for miles. Each jog was a slightly difference journey of discovery.
Favorite place was Muanda in DRC. Each jog was down a different dirt road or jungle path. Felt like Tarzan (looked like Cheetah).
I was raised in a farming community (my Dad was an engineer so no farming for me, but that was the community). As a result, I grew with the mindset that if the sun is up, I am up. And active. I've slowed down as my age started exceeding the national speed limit, but I still like to get my workout in early. When I traveled a ton that meant a 5 mile jog at 6:00 AM. When I was on job site where that wasn't possible I would do my workout during lunch.
Now I think real hard about a 5 mile jog while I walk on the treadmill and eat cookies to keep up my strength. But I still do it in the morning.