Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The hotel gym. Yeah.

A big part of my new job is traveling, which sounds cooler than it is, because generally this is what I see: Airport. Hotel. Windowless conference room. Darkness. Hotel. Airport.

I am currently in Denver, but all I see is a big road with traffic. I am definitely not in Podunk anymore. My (very good) tomato caprese salad cost $9! There was a guy outside rummaging through dumpsters. Yes, the glamorous side of travel.

Because I'm obsessed, I always try to find a hotel with a gym. (When I asked if there were nearby trails, the response was, "Um. No, not really.") The problem is, you never know what kind of gym you're going to get. They run the gamut from one rickety "exercise bike" that threatens to fall over to ones with an actual Olympic sized pool, free workout clothes and towels (Love you, Captain Cook hotel in Anchorage). One I use often in a hotel I won't name but which starts with Holiday, has the gym located, with windowed walls, right next to a pool and hot tub, which means that the people smarter more into relaxation than me get to stare in at my weightlifting technique.

But usually they are like this one, with a couple of treadmills, a bike and an elliptical, a weight machine and a couple of kettleballs. Not great but enough to do the job. Because I'm obsessed, I set the alarm early and creep in before the posted hours to get a workout in before sitting all day in a windowless conference room. This one even has a TV, and since I banned all television from my premises after the AnyKindOfSportsObsessed ex left the said premises, I get to reacquaint myself with Say Yes to the Dress Important Educational Programming. This breaks up the boredom of riding or running to nowhere. Usually nobody else comes in which means I can waft from machine to machine with no waiting.

When I stayed in DC for a whole month, the hotel had no gym. I was forced to get a membership at a chain gym, which was overwhelming with three floors of stuff. My gym at home would fit into one corner. It was great except that other people liked it too. Beady-eyed staff members prowled the aisles, timing everyone and making them get off the machines after thirty minutes. Worse yet, people stood by the machines waiting for you to get off them, so you couldn't even fudge it. I retreated to the National Mall and ran laps with all the other people who didn't like gyms and went there at eight in the evening instead.

The problem with paying for memberships at gyms, though, like the one I went to in Juneau, where my hotel didn't have a gym either, is that after you fork over the $15 per day you feel like you have to spend a lot of time there to "make it worth it." This can take an immense effort of will when all you want to do is go back to the hotel and eat the free cookies.

So it's better to have a hotel with a gym. As much as I don't like gyms, if I don't get some exercise on these trips I won't be a pleasant person. In many locations, just heading out the door for a run isn't an option. (See "busy road" and "guy in dumpster" above.) When it is an option, I ditch the gym and go explore the town. I've found beautiful trails and cute little houses that way. Unfortunately, this is pretty rare, so the gym it is.

Well, got to go. There's a cookie  elliptical with my name on it.


  1. Hotel gyms right next to the pools are so humid too. I can't handle them. I hope you can find more running spots outside soon. :)

  2. And in the corner a chocolate chip oh-so-good cookie is whispering, "Mary, Mary, I'm right here waiting for you. I love you." How could you resist?

    Fun reading about your travels and your gym-searches.

  3. I'm laughing so hard right now!

    Random thought of insanity...Eat the cookie while on the elliptical!

  4. Hope you get back home soon.
    I myself don't like hotels. No matter how luxurious, there is nothing that appeals in them to me. For our vacation travels when we need to stay in cities we rent an apartment which, surprisingly, often comes out cheaper than a hotel room. But that's vacations, not business.


Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!