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August 2005 Newsletter

The Healthy Hotel


Dear Fellow Business Traveler,


Major hotel chains have launched a flurry of fitness-related programs, making it easier than ever to get a good workout on the road. This month's newsletter includes a review of their various programs and equipment.

As always, there's plenty of new activity in the Travel Fitness Blog, including Travel Fit Tips and news releases from your favorite hotels and airlines.

To Your Health,
Customer Service, Healthy Travel Network and Chief Fitness Officer



squareHotels Serve Up Fitness


Hilton, Hilton Garden, Marriott, Omni, and Westin have all launched in-room fitness programs. Their free or low-cost ammenities include everything from fitness kits, specialized equipment, pay-per-view programming, and healthy snacks.

All of the programs are good and offer a welcome change from the hotel gym. Overall, we liked the Hilton Garden program the best because it had the widest array of options and at a reasonable price. The Omni, however, was the only hotel chain to combine fitness with healthy eating by swapping the traditional mini-bar snacks for more nuitritious options.



squareHilton


When you stay at a Hilton, you can check out the Travel Well Fit Kit at the front desk. This complimentary package includes:
  • Yoga mat
  • Elastic exercise bands
  • Resistance tubing
  • Two sets of hand weights
  • Basic conditioning instructions
Developed in partnership with Bally Total Fitness, the exercise booklet is accurate and complete. It includes three different training routines, each of which includes nine exercises. Just a few of the exercises included are:
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  • Lunges
  • Chest flys
  • Row
  • Lateral raises
  • Leg Kickbacks
  • Hammer curls
  • Squats
  • Dead lifts
  • Leg kickbacks
The booklet is packaged nicely, with easy-to-follow instructions and pictures. Our only suggestion for improvement would be to show the exercises being performed in a Hilton hotel room, rather than in a gym. We especially liked the fact that the booklet included three different exercise programs, so that if you are staying for multiple days, you can do a different program each day.

If resistance bands and hand weights aren't your thing, you can take advantage of several more expensive options at Hiltons:
  • In-Room treadmills--Most Hilton locations will deliver a treadmill to your room for a nominal nightly fee.
  • Bally's personal trainer--If you're used to working out with a trainer, you can schedule an hour with a Bally's certified trainer. You can schedule your session by calling the hotel's Personal Performance Leader, and your session can take place at the hotel or at a Bally's location nearby.

squareHilton Garden


We really liked the workout options at Hilton Garden because of the diversity of equipment and exercises. You can get a general workout, or you can do a yoga or Pilates workout. Their complimentary Stay Fit Kit includes:Travel Fitness :: Hilton Garden Stay Fit Kit
  • Pilates band
  • Yoga mat, strap and bricks
  • 8 lb abs ball
  • 3 lb hand weights
  • Resistance rope
For about $3.00, you can combine this equipment with their in-room pay-per-view fitness programming. Each video is 25 to 30 minutes in length and titles include: Yoga, Pilates, Core Body, and General Fitness. Programming is available at most, but not all Hilton Gardens.


squareMarriottTravel Fitness :: BodyWedge21


Marriott's Great Health - Fit for You program offers three different complimentary workout options. The Marriott features the foam version of the BodyWedge, which includes 21 different exercises to target abs, buttocks, thighs, chest and lower back.

In addition, you can check out the BodyRev, which allows you to combine aerobics with strength training, for a total-body workout. Developed by former Navy Seal, Alden Mills, the BodyRev facilitates the latest fitness craze--Functional Fitness.

If you don't like either of those two choices, you can grab a Traveling Trainer kit from fitness guru Michael Sena. The kit includes three resistance bands of varying levels, door attachment, and instructional card.



squareOmni


The best thing we liked about Omni's Ideal Living program was the food! Combining fitness with healthy eating, Omni has introduced new menu options and new in-room snacks to compliment your fitness efforts. Their menu options meet a diverse set of dietary needs and include:
  • Heart Healthy Entree - Cardamom Encrusted Atlantic Salmon with Red Apple and Fennel Slaw and Vegetable Nage
  • Low Sodium Entree - Rosemary Lamb Chops
  • Vegetarian Entree - Black Bean Enchilada, Vegetarian Grits and Vegetables
  • High Protein/Low Carbohydrate Entree - Colorado Pheasant Breast with Cracked Black Pepper
  • Sugar Free Dessert - Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Most of the other hotel chains have also developed health-conscious menu items, but Omni is the only one to specifically target the dreaded hotel mini-bar. In their Get Fit guest rooms, your mini-bar is stocked with energy bars and sports drinks, rather than peanuts and booze. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach their guest services people to find out what specific items they stock. Be sure to check out our March 2005 article on how to pick the best snack bar, before you dive into the Omni mini-bar.

Your $14.99 per night upcharge also gets you an in-room treadmill and  a Get Fit Kit. The kit includes a handy canvas bag, complete with a mini radio headset, a floor mat, two dumbbells, an elastic exercise band and an informative booklet of exercises. You'll also receive a refreshing bottle of chilled water and a hand towel. It's a perfect stress reliever between meetings or if you want to work out in the privacy of your own guest room.

Can't expense the extra $15 for the Get Fit guest room? Ask at the desk for the complimentary Get Fit Kit anyway!



squareWestinTravel Fitness :: WestinWORKOUT


Last but not least, Westin continues to be a fitness leader. Having spent millions to renovate their on-site fitness facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, Westin has gone even further and introduced WestinWORKOUT Rooms. Available at all North American facilities, these specialized rooms feature
  • Either a Reebok Tomahawk XL Indoor Cycle or Life Fitness Treadmill
  • Reebok Pilates/Yoga and Spinning DVDs
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Resistance tubing
  • Stability ball
  • Yoga mat
  • Additional Reebok workout equipment.
This convenient, private exercise environment also features a fitness library by Rodale Press, the leading publisher of information on healthy, active lifestyles, which includes several books and magazines including Runner's World, Bicycling Magazine and a customized local running map. We love the variety of equipment, but of course, WestinWORKOUT Rooms aren't free.

If you're a runner, you'll love RunWESTIN, which is free. Working with the staff at Runner's World magazine, Westin has developed maps for three and five-mile jogging or walking routes in the hotel's vicinity in every city. These handy pocket-sized maps contain suggested routes, level of difficulty and local points of interest. Also available at select hotels is RunWESTIN, a complimentary program offering guided, scenic three-mile morning runs three days a week. Led by Westin's Running Concierge trained by the experts at Runner's World, the run includes a warm up session with Reebok training tips and can be customized into a fun individual or group run. Wow!


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