Have you ever noticed how the more complicated things get the less useful they become? Obviously this doesn’t apply to everything in life but there are times where we can get bogged down in the details.
Consider the expression ‘paralysis by analysis’. Too many choices to consider and we end up choosing nothing. Sometimes simple is best.
Such is the case when you travel and are looking to do a training session at a hotel gym. You don’t have all the equipment you like to use at your home gym so you must improvise and make do with what’s available.
Why hotel workouts are great
And these can be great workouts as you tend to do something a little different. And because you don’t know anyone in the hotel gym you will train without interruption or distraction. And lastly being on vacation usually means having a more relaxed schedule where you may have more time for the little things in your workout that get trimmed when time is short. Think of things such as a proper warm-up, the extra mobility work, the conditioning work at the end maybe even the corrective exercises prescribed to you at physio.
So it’s with this in mind that I want to show you exactly what I did for a workout in a Swiss hotel room a couple of weeks ago. There was no squat rack or platforms. They didn’t have any kettlebells or a chin up bar. Basically I had a foam roller, dumbbells up to 20 lbs and a ball. Here’s what I did.
Sample gym workout
1. Foam roll – 10 minutes (remember I’m on vacation)
targeting the glutes, piriformis, ab/adductors and t-spine
2. Stretch/Mobilize – 10 minutes
1/2 kneeling hip stretch + 1/2 kneeling hip rocking
1/2 kneeling rear foot elevated hip stretch + rocking in the same position
supine knee knocker + supine internal rotation knee hugs
bad kid in the corner shoulder stretch + t-spine reach backs
Bretzel stretch + DB arm bar
prayer lat stretch + child’s pose reach back
roll-overs – 5 each way
3. Dynamic warm-up – 5 minutes
8 different movements with 6 reps each
4. Glute/core activation – 4 minutes
airplane – 5 each way
bridging (back, side, front) – 10 reps each
At this point I was warmed up. If you add up everything above this is about 30 minutes to warm-up but this sets you up for a safer, more effective workout.
Next I did a metabolic circuit with the following exercises:
8 each – 2 arm l leg DL with 2×20 lbs DBs
17 – bent over lateral raise with 2×20 lbs DBs
4 each – pistol squat with bodyweight
17 – back bridge 1 arm press with 1×20 lbs DB
12 each way – stir the pot with a stability ball
To come up with the numbers I set a timer for 30 seconds and counted how many reps I could do in that time. You’ll notice I was dying on the pistol squats as I had just skied hard for 8 hours. I took 15 seconds to change stations on the first set and started each set on the seven minute mark.
So if I took 5 minutes to complete the circuit I would have two minutes rest.
I did 3 rounds of this circuit which allowed me to complete it under 21 minutes. Add together my comprehensive warm-up at the start and I still have around 10 minutes to stretch out and be done in one hour.
7. Stretch – 10 minutes
calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, pecs, upper back, shoulders
As the Crown Prince of Thailand was staying in our hotel I figured the Thai restaurant in the hotel would have to be on its game so I grabbed the coach for Bobsleigh Canada and one of the drivers of the women’s team for dinner. Definitely a good choice!
The take home message from all this is that you can always get in a great training session wherever you are. Sometimes not having all the best equipment at your disposal can be a blessing as it forces you back to basics and to address what you really need.
I’m always looking for hotels with great training facilities. What have you found? What is good, where is it and why did you like it?