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On-the-Road Fitness: Hotel Room Exercises

Hotel gyms run the gamut from sparkling to shoddy, and it’s not always easy to know what you’re getting into. One hotel might define “fitness center” as a muscled Olympian palace, while another interprets it as a humid single-machine cell. One offers a pool and personal trainers, while another won’t even throw in a towel. So how do you cope with the disparities? And what if there’s no gym at all?

Your best bet is to build an exercise routine that doesn’t involve a gym (or a hundred-pound suitcase). Work with the room around you and try these adaptations of standard gym exercises next time you’re on the road. And don’t worry–you don’t need to be an Olympic lifter to pull them off:

(1) Stair Climb: That little stair machine at the gym has a pretty obvious origin, and there’s a 99% chance your hotel has at least one solid flight of stairs. Running up and down these for a while will really get your heart rate up.
(2) Jumping Jacks: Jumping jacks are another alternative for cardio, but not a great one for hotels with thin floors. Do them outside if you can.
(3) Chair Dip: Put your hands on the edge of either a chair or the bed, and face away from the furniture. With your legs straight out in front of you, slowly lower your body using your arms. You should feel this mainly in your triceps.
(4) Push-Ups and Sit-Ups: These at-home fitness classics make excellent travel staples as well. They require no equipment, rely on your body as a weight, and work a number of muscle groups. You can also pair sit-ups with leg lifts to target the lower back.
(5) Squats: Another fitness standard, this exercise targets the legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly lower your body, as though you were sitting in a chair. You can stop when your thighs are about parallel with the ground and then slowly stand back up. Simple!

There are a ton of other exercises to do as well, and many people offer their own unique hotel fitness regimens (like this gymnastics-based routine from Opera singer Nathan Gunn). Got your own gym- and fee-free workout? Post it in the comments!


My name: Kate Beall

How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.

Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.

First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.

View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.

Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.

Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.

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