Travel Tips

Hotel Gyms & Working (Out) Around Them

Locations in this article:  Portland, OR

Gym Women TreadmillsReaders have been responding to Annette Lang’s piece on Basic Fitness on the Road, and a trainer writes in with his own advice on staying fit and healthy while you travel.

Dear Peter,

I just read your report on controlling weight as you travel and I have to comment about my experiences with hotel fitness equipment.

I do want to preface this with saying that I work out five days a week when I am at home, so this is important to me.

But, from my experience, fitness “rooms” at many hotels are there for name only. The amount of equipment that they have and the condition of the equipment is pitiful at best. Most of what I have seen (I am in sales and do travel a fair amount) is a normal hotel room that was converted into a gym with a treadmill (or 2), a bike, and maybe a couple of dumbbells.

Even at that, one of the treadmills is usually not working properly, and if you have one other guest attempting to work out, you might as well bag your work out.

Just my thoughts.

Hi Peter,

Good article! As a successful Fitness Coach I get to coach oodles of clients that travel, here there and everywhere. There’s a few more things you may want to add in a follow up article to the article I just read on Travel and Exercise/Nutrition. Please see below…

My strategy for clients isn’t to just use the hotel–gym, which you said people ask for most, but use the least (denial, big time!) — is to carry along a set of specific Exercise Bands that weigh all of 12 ounces or so and take up little room in the suitcase. The brand I recommend is made by Everlast. They come with two removeable handles, and three bands, yellow, blue and black, easiest to hardest in tensile strength, $19.99 at Joe’s here in Portland, formerly, G.I. Joe’s. I translate the strength training movements I coach my clients with, directly to a specific Exercise Band workout – written out in detail.

The exercise band workout can be implemented within the hotel room, since many business meetings preclude the business traveler from utilizing the hotel gym – since those gyms often aren’t the easiest to find in the hotel or the most inviting, for females especially, (or safe feeling).

Then your trainer Annette can translate your strength training workout at your local gym, to your travel workout, using the Exercise Bands…and cardio workout as well.

For cardio I recommend jump rope or the portability of doing a walk/jog/run outdoors (right from the hotel door), or laps around the hotel hallways if weather, lighting, unfamiliar surroundings or safely is an issue.

When I coach clients on nutrition, it’s most certainly more about behavior than simply trying to order healthier, as Yoda says, (“No! There is no try! Do, or do not, there is no try!”)

  • Tell the wait-staff, when ordering dinner (especially), to box one-half of the entree before it is brought to the dinner table. You can’t eat what you don’t have and you eat only one-half of the overly portioned dinner. Either keep the meal for a lunch the next day – or don’t bother and tell the staff to toss it – they don’t need the cals anyway!
  • Have the client keep a food journal when they travel, and check in with someone via email, like a trainer, or a family or friend to increase awareness towards pigging out when no one’s looking! Yeah right!
  • Ask the wait-staff to bake, broil or boil the proteins (versus frying), and request veggies versus an empty starch or white carb. And, you said, drink water versus wine or booze– [they are] a gateway to lowering inhibitions and can bring on the “What the Hell” attitude of eating and/or drinking like there’s no tomorrow…Yikes!

I have good things to say about fitness and nutrition that bring balance, zeal, fun and energy to my clients, that create lasting results for the rest of their lives – – so I thought I’d share it with you! I appreciate your passion for your article on fitness and nutrition!


Coach Dan

Got a question for Peter? Send an email to (please include “Ask Peter” in the subject line).

Want to read more about staying fit while you travel? Check out “Exercise Travel Gadgets” and the Health and Fitness section.

Previously by Annette Lang on

Workout Options for the Hotel Pool

Working Out: Band on the Run

Traveling Pain in the Neck… or Shoulders… or Back

Basic Fitness for Travelers on the Road