Conde Nast Traveller has published an article on why you should skip the hotel gym on your next vacation. Makes for an interesting read and got us thinking here at Short Motivation about what we like to do when away from home and what we’d recommend.
There are two sets of camps over whether you should train when you’re on vacation. There are the people who think that a vacation is downtime from your usual schedule. Having a lie-in, taking it easy by the pool, a few drinks on an evening. That’s fine if it’s a long weekend away. But there are others who think you need to earn your breakfast, are up early for a run and feels inspired by their surroundings.
As you’d expect, we fall into the second camp and like to keep active whilst away from home. We’ve seen every hotel gym combination, from equipment which is years out of date (think mechanical bikes or rower) to state-of-the-art equipment, such as at the 1 Hotel South Beach ‘Spartan’ gym, which is a staggering 14,000 square feet and would rival even the best gym experience.
The other problem with the hotel gym is that it can get busy really quickly. Everyone likes to get in there early and there’s often only one weights rack, one bike and even a single yoga mat, making the entire experience unpleasant. However, there’s one huge advantage of your hotel having a gym: free water and often bottled water, too. We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve popped into the hotel gym to grab a bottle of water before heading out for the day.
Of course, another option is to find an external gym. Another top tip of ours is that most gyms will offer you at least a 1-day free trial, sometimes longer. Others will enable you to sign up for a day pass. We look for the best local gym closest to our hotel and make use of their facilities, where possible.
There are also outdoor gyms, too. Across Stockholm (see article headline image), there are wooden gyms scattered across the city. We’ve seen similar, but less impressive, gyms across US cities such as Miami.
What Conde Nast argue is ditch the gym entirely and we’d champion this idea. What we liked to do is explore our new destination. There’s nothing better than getting out and seeing your environment. Why not get down the local park and perform add a few HIIT sessions to a workout? Or, if you want to work your core, take a look at our Beginner Gym-Free Abs article, which you can perform at the local park. Every park has steps, so why not take a copy of our Simple Steps Workout which requires no equipment to keep fit.
Alternatively, if you only bring a single device with you on your vacation, make it the TRX. We’re huge fans of the TRX and have written various workout articles covering every body part from your legs, core and, coming soon, upper body. You can easily take a TRX away for a weekend with your hand luggage and connect it to a tree at the local park or various other locations.
There plenty of workouts you can utilise from your iPhone, too. Our friends at Get Fit in Bath released a programme of 12 bodyweight exercises you can follow on your smartphone, from any location, anywhere. Take a look at their GFIB 7 app for inspiration.
Last but not least, why not try something different? Buy a cheap volleyball and find a local court (in the US, for example, they are everywhere and free to use)? Alternatively, hire a paddleboard on the local river or look for local treks and hike your way to fitness.
Let us know what you like to do when you’re on vacation. Do you use the hotel gym, try a local gym, go for a run in the park or something completely different?