motivation · running · training

Finding my inner Arnold in Peterborough


This weekend, at the Canadian Society for Women in philosophy conference, at Trent University, Tracy was the tough one.

Faced with cold, just above freezing temperatures, and rain, I decided to take refuge in the hotel gym. She had a lovely outdoor run along the river. Jealous. She made the better choice.

But it gave me a chance to channel my inner Arnold. I love the video he posted to Instagram about working out in crappy hotel gyms.

Arnold talked about it with CNN here.

“Someone on Reddit asked what it was like for me to train in hotel gyms or other unfamiliar gyms on the road,” Schwarzenegger posted. “The answer is: just like it is for you. There is no waiting to train until you have perfect circumstances. I improvise with whatever is available.”I walk in and my only rule is to keep moving, for a pump and cardio at the same time. Rest as little as possible. After an hour, you will feel fantastic and your muscles won’t know what hit them.”

I have a theory about hotel gyms, or fitness centres, as they’re called. They know they have to have them. People like me check to see before I make reservations. But they don’t have to be good. They usually aren’t. And almost no one uses them.

But I like the idea of finding challenges in adverse circumstances. I know, I know. Arnold is not a very good man. He’s a Republican. He cheated on his wife.

Yeah, yeah.

But I’ve always had a soft spot for Arnold the actor and the body builder.

So what did I do in this crappy Holiday Inn gym?

I can’t do slow steady runs on treadmills. That would be my usual weekend outdoor thing. With dogs. But on the treadmill I’d fall asleep.

Instead, I did my favorite heart rate interval workout. The ability to easily measure heart rate and ramp up the speed for controlled periods of time is one of the things I do like about treadmills.

My plan: walk at a speedy pace for five minutes, and then start adding speed intervals.

I start slow. I add 1 minute at a jogging pace (in my case 5 miles per hour), walk, check heart rate and when heart rate returns to zone 1, start running again.

The next one minute running interval is faster, 5.5 miles per hour. Then recover. Then one minute at 6, 6.5, 7 and so on. Eventually the recovery intervals get too long, longer than a couple of minutes. And soon I can’t run for a minute at the speedy pace. If I’m feeling tough, I turn the intervals down to 30 seconds and keep going. When I’m fit at running I can run slowly for my recovery. Not now, now I’m walking.

When time allows I’ll get to the speediest interval and then count back down, 7, 6.5, 6, and so on. Today I just walked five minutes to cool down and get heart rate back down before I hit the weight room.

Burpees, push ups, lat pull downs, dumbbell presses, sit ups, lunges…

I was there for about an hour. Pretty good workout, I think.

Thanks Arnold.

3 thoughts on “Finding my inner Arnold in Peterborough

  1. The gyms in some hotels aren’t half-bad. I could definitely get a good 1 to 2 hour workout at all of the hotel gyms I’ve attended in the last few years, so to be honest, I’m just grateful that they exist! True, you have to improvise as you often can’t replicate your normal workout routine, but really, so what?

    1. Things I find annoying: wrong temperature (too warm usually), lot so of mirrors, large loud TVs, oddball weights or machines only…

      But yes, I always use them, as bad as they are. My favourite one was a hotel in DC that for $10 an extra day but a treadmill in your room. That was nice.

      1. I hear you. For me though, I’ve never really cared about temperature, noise or mirrors or anything like that, so I suppose I’m lucky that way. Weird machines and oddball weights – ya, I care about that – but as long as I can get a workout in, I don’t really care that much. Regarding old and oddball machines, about 30 years ago now I was with someone at a hotel gym where there was a head-high quite small adjustable belt connected to a pulley. A friend asked me what it was for. I told her it was for neck exercises. She took another look at it and exclaimed: “But you’d strangle yourself!”

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