Tips to Stay Fit on Your Holiday
For many, the thought of keeping fit on a holiday is like taking a vow of abstinence during Oktoberfest or leaving your credit card at home during New York Fashion Week. Sure, getting all hot and sweaty might seem like a bit too much effort when you’re meant to be relaxing, but there are tons of benefits to working out on vacation: combating jet lag, seeing the local area, feeling energised, checking out tight buns…
Look for hotels with the right gym for your workout
Most big (and an increasing number of small) hotels have gyms for guests but do they have the right facilities for your fitness regime? There’s no use being a swimmer and booking somewhere that has a bank of running machines and nothing else. Fancy a sauna? Want a personal trainer? Hotel gyms are fast becoming a big selling point for hotels and little bit of research ahead of time can help you get a hotel with the workout experience you need.
Why not try? The glass atrium-topped gym on the 47th floor of the Park Hyatt in Tokyo has just about everything a workout junkie needs: Cybex fitness machines, a 20m roof-top pool and daily group activities including aerobics and t’ai chi. And the views ain’t bad either: with the city’s skyscrapers and Mount Fuji as a backdrop, it’s one of the most scenic in the world.
Check out the area around your hotel
A quick glance on Google Maps to put your hotel into geographical context can open up a wealth of workout opportunities. If you like an early morning run, then book somewhere close to a big public park; if you fancy a morning dip then accommodation next to the beach is a no-brainer. Even the most urban of areas can give you a workout to remember. Don’t believe me? Try a 5am jet lag-beating jog through the heart of historic Rome and then get back to me…
Why not try? Rome, Italy. The Italian capital might be known as the ‘City of Lovers’ but it’s also a wonderful place to take a morning run.
Hire a bike
Whether it’s pedalling through the urban high rises on dedicated cycle paths or taking a long ride through the countryside, going for a spin on a bike can be a cheap and fun way to burn off the calories. It’s also an alternative way to experience the local sights and sounds, allowing you to stop and take those all-important coffee and cake breaks along the way. Many hotels have bikes for hire or can point you in the direction of rental services.
Why not try? My favourite place for urban biking is Vancouver, BC with its mix of big city riding and the wonderful Stanley Park cycle paths. The Burrard Hotel has free bike hire for guests, while the nearby Musette Caffe – a shrine to all things cycling – is the perfect place for a post-ride caffeine fix.
Ask a local
There’s no better way to get a workout unique to your destination than speaking to a local. Whether it’s asking the hotel concierge to locate the nearest local gym or stopping a jogging hottie to find out the best running route (I’d recommend the latter), there’s no better way to get some insider knowledge. Not only will you get an experience you won’t find in any travel brochure, but it offers the opportunity to get off the tourist track and meet some of the locals (albeit more sweaty ones).
Why not try? Santa Monica, California. A Mecca for people watching, the beachfront area between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey is always busy with joggers, cyclists and beachfront bodybuilders. My “Ask a local” experience saw me end up in the world famous Gold’s Gym for a grunting session with lots of men with bulging biceps and no necks. I’m still mentally scarred…