September 27, 2011

Getting treated like a health queen

Last night I walked into my room to discover an awesome surprise. My hotel, the Omni, left me a bevy of incredible treats to make me feel like a rockstar!

-A yoga mat, towel, and water.
-A gym bag filled with more towels, another bottle of water, some 3 pound dumbbells (okay, so those are kind of worthless to super strong me, but it was the thought that counted!), and some resistance bands.
-A card from my concierge welcoming me back to the hotel, and listing out the bootcamp class schedule at the nearest gym
-A pack of “Hail Merry” spiced vanilla almonds (really well-portion controlled: only 130 calories for the whole pack)
-And finally: a plate with three chocolate covered strawberries (okay, so maybe this wasn’t quite as healthy as the other stuff, but a chocolate covered strawberry is still way better than the usual chocolate covered chocolates most hotels give).
Seriously, how awesome is my hotel?!

Well, for all my complaints about being staying fit while being on the road, it seems that I’ve finally hit on a place that’s getting it right. Not only did the Omni provide me all that stuff to help me, but I also found out today that they recently released a “wellness report.” Omni conducted a study of business travelers to find out what their challenges are when it comes to staying healthy on the road. Looks like I’m not alone in this one! Check out some of the results:

DIET – More than a half (56%) of participants admit to indulging in various food or beverages when traveling for business and slightly regretting it – particularly women (71%) more than men (50%). More than half would like more low-fat options on hotel restaurant menus (also 56%), and about one in ten are looking for specialized dietary needs such as dairy (12%) or gluten-free (13%) choices.

IN-ROOM CHOICES – The basics matter. Results found business travelers wishing for healthier in-room options, with seven in ten respondents wanting healthy snacks or fresh fruit to eat on-the-go (73%) and free bottled water (70%) in their room. Again, women were more likely than men to emphasize health with healthy snacks or fresh fruit to their in-room “wish list” (83% versus 70%).

FITNESS – Omni’s Wellness Report also found that travelers have good intentions when it comes to workouts – and many follow through. While nearly one-third (32%) embark on a trip with workout gear but never find the time or energy, 39% find themselves fitting in extra workouts because they have extra time. While more than two in five (45%) describe their on-the-road workout at the hotel fitness center as sufficient, 26% wished their hotel could help with nearby yoga or spinning studios. Eight percent said their on-the-road fitness centered on a “thumb workout” with their Smartphone.

Pretty much my list exactly!

Diet: When I’m traveling, unhealthy food is everywhere, and in general I find it really hard to control myself when there is delicious food right in front of me (ahem, chocolate covered strawberries). I do find it interesting that 71% of women say they regret these indulgences but only 50% of men do… I would bet that’s more of a function of women’s guilt complexes kicking in than that they’re actually indulging more.

Choices: As I’ve posted in the past about dealing with restaurant menus, a little planning goes a long way. But on the flip side, that only works if there are some healthy options on the menu anyway. Props to the Omni for trying to make sure there are some good things to choose from, though I do wish they wouldn’t cite the outdated low-fat craze (even if that is what respondents asked for). I want low-calorie all natural whole foods, please!

Fitness: I think the hardest thing about traveling is that you can’t really get into a routine. At home, I love taking group fitness classes, but that’s not possible on the road. Instead, I rely on various solo workouts, but those are only effective if I have the right equipment at my disposal. (Otherwise, I have to improvise with MacGyvered workouts lifting the lamps and coffee tables in my room).

Luckily, when it comes to getting healthy on the road, it seems like Omni is on the right track! This week and last, I’ve been getting in some killer Rachel Cosgrove weight lifting workouts with the set of free weights in the Omni gym, and I’ve also been doing a pretty good job ordering healthy food for dinner. While I was at first mourning the fact that I’m usually a Starwood girl when I got assigned to this project, Omni has really stepped up to the plate, and I now think it’s a blessing in disguise.

My new goal? From my friend Brittny’s weight loss pledge that I signed today: “I pledge to never see my highest weight on a scale ever again.”

Now, to make it happen…


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