Travel and Exercise (Guest Post)

From time to time I need to travel for work. When I choose my hotel I always try to get a place with a full restaurant for breakfast and a decent gym. I have a few hotels that are my standard go-to chains that are guaranteed to work, but don’t always have that luxury as I’m not always in big cities that even have multiple hotels. My plan when I can’t use a gym is to just do some kind of hotel workout, sometimes it’s pushups and body weight squats, sometimes I’ll more closely follow the hotel workout posted a few years ago at Nerd Fitness . When there are weights, I’ll use them, when there are not, I’ll do cardio.

This week I was at a conference in Vegas, in a hotel with a couple of fitness centers that were quite exceptional. Day 1 I was pretty tired, so decided just to do cardio so I wouldn’t have to think too hard about choices. The gym was sparse as it often is with just a few of the types you’d expect to see, the dedicated runners who spend hours on the treadmill and a few bodybuilders in the weights corner. I did 40 minutes of fast walking on the treadmill, testing my feet on a short run to see how my toes would hold up. All was well.

Monday I hit the gym in the late afternoon and expected the same, but was surprised to see several people in the gym who didn’t meet the stereotypes that I expected to see in Vegas gyms. There was the runner on the treadmill beside me, who looked the part, there was a very attractive, thin blond woman on a bike, wearing her sports bra and with her hair perfectly coifed. There were a few older gentlemen who were doing some light medicine ball and treadmill work, focused primarily on the blond and a couple of men spending time around the weight machines.

40 minutes on the treadmill to warm up, working in intervals to start increasing my running time, then I moved to the weights. The blond had a circuit that she was following: very slowly biking for 5 minutes, holding 5 lb weights on her shoulders for a minute at a time, chatting with the older gentlemen, then walking out of the gym to chat on her phone. She completed this full circuit a few times. The experienced runner left, the older gentlemen left and it was just me, the blond and the vague workout routine guys (VWRG) that were left.

I started on the weights with bicep curls and triceps exercises, with 15lb dumbbells. Normally, I’ll increase by 5 lbs at a time, but when I reached for the 20lb weights, VWRG#1 rushed to the rack, picked up the 20s and carried them to the spot where he stored his cell phone, and set them down. He then moved to a machine to do other work. Clearly he’s never been schooled on gym etiquette. So, I skipped to 25s and carried on.

Because this gym had EVERYTHING, I went to the rack and decided to do some deadlifts. Normally I do partials at home, so wasn’t sure where to start with the full lifts. I started at 75lbs and started to increase pretty quickly from there. I didn’t have my weight belt so was careful to not overdo it. I ended at 225lbs x 3 (which was better than I expected) and when I looked up in the mirror, I saw VWRG#2 staring at me with his jaw dropped. He then put away his 12lb weights. I finished off with 30 x 30lb kettlebell swings, stretched out, then did some sit ups. When I was done, I was drenched. (Pretty blond was still beautifully coifed and not even glowing from exertion.) I grabbed my towel, lifted my shirt and wiped off my boob sweat. I looked up and VWRG#1 had stopped in front of me and was staring, slack jawed. Seriously dude…boob sweat…it’s a thing.

It’s weird working out in a space where other people are just going through some vague motions. Makes me really glad for my training partners who have helped me get into a routine, practice good technique and make me lift hard every week.

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