What to expect from the hotel gym

Dumbbell and weightsExercising whilst on a business trip can be tricky. You’re tired, short on time and often in an unfamiliar city. That’s why whether you’re in the UK or overseas making use of the hotel gym or fitness centre can be the best solution to staying in shape.

Like most hotel facilities the standards of gyms and fitness centres vary wildly. On the one hand you’ve got the amazing Talise Fitness at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers with its state of the art equipment and jaw dropping views of the Arabian Gulf. At the other end of the scale you’ve got a basement room with a ripped mat, some mismatched dumbbells and a dodgy running machine.

In reality neither of those options is ideal if your aim is to simply schedule in a hassle free workout before your breakfast meeting each day. The truth is the majority of hotel gyms fall somewhere inbetween and with a little preparation and planning you can easily maintain your fitness on a business trip.

 What should you expect?

 It’s probably easier to tell you what not to expect:

  • Don’t expect there to be a gym!   You’ll be surprised how many well known hotels, particularly in major cities such as London and Paris, don’t have gyms.young woman doing exercises on treadmill, on white background
  • Don’t expect the gym to be equipped with the same machines and gear as your regular home gym. For some hotels, a gym is an afterthought, where aging fitness equipment is squeezed into a small windowless space.
  • Don’t expect full time staff or personal trainers. If the gym is not managed by a qualified fitness instructor, the equipment may be dated and poorly cared for.
  • Don’t expect the gym to be open when you need it to be. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ambled down to the hotel gym at 7am only to find it doesn’t open until 7.30am.
  • Don’t expect there to be a water fountain or even a vending machine.

 So how do you get the best out of the hotel gym?

  • Ensure your travel booker knows how important it is to you that your hotel has a gym. I’d also recommend a visit to Trip Advisor for a review of the fitness facilities.
  • Check out the gym before your first workout. Pop down ahead of your scheduled exercise time so you know what’s available and you can plan your workout accordingly. It’s also a good idea to see if everything is in working order.
  • If you’re a treadmill fan and used to running in kilometres, do the maths so you can workout in miles too. Struggling with mental arithmetic whilst interval training can result in a very stressful workout (although it does pass the time over longer distances)!
  • Check the opening times and immediately schedule your workouts into your diary.
  • Always take a bottle of water and probably a towel too. If you have to make a trip back to rolled up yellow beach towelyour room to get these items you may be temped to ditch the workout in favour of the bar!

Like many things in life to get the best out of your hotel gym you need to plan ahead and be prepared to adapt. As a minimum, hotel gyms will generally have a couple of treadmills, a cross trainer and a range of weights. Of course if the gym proves to be wholly inadequate for your needs you can always go out for a run or get creative and workout in your room.

© Extravitality 2015

Author: Julie Dennis
Julie Dennis is a fitness coach specializing in weight loss and body transformation results. She is a level 4 skilled personal trainer and a qualified member of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). Julie also holds a UK Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness qualification. Prior to training as a fitness coach and establishing herself in the health & fitness industry, Julie spent over 20 years behind a desk in London employed in a variety of roles in the management consultancy, executive search and mining industries. Whilst working as part of a global team at Rio Tinto Julie experienced first hand the challenges of incorporating fitness and wellbeing into an international travel schedule. A keen marathon runner she often found running whilst on a long a haul trip an ideal reliever for jet lag.

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