After realizing I traveled to 32 destinations last year for work I took a moment to sigh and wonder how I was ever going to realize my fitness goals in 2017. There’s nothing particularly healthy about loitering in airports, sitting cramped on a plane for hours on end or eating you way through three restaurants, a craft brewery and two cocktail bars in just one day.
As a food writer I’ve always enjoyed humouring hotel PR when they pause to inquire, “would you like a tour of the fitness centre?” Like most travellers I find it challenging to find the time to clear my head and make time for fitness while on the road. More often then not I’m just too busy sipping beer.
This winter I embarked on a three month tour of Asia, which would have me visiting 76 hotels in seven countries. When planning my itinerary in each destination I made a point of cutting back on my day-to-day culinary experiences to focus on fitness fun offered at my home away from home.
Before leaving on a jet plane I popped by the Nike Running store at the Eaton Centre to pick up fresh workout essentials. Since I travel light (nothing but a carry on suitcase) I wanted to ensure my Nike gear was multipurpose: both stylish and functional.
Nike’s Flex Running Short are lightweight, versatile for all workouts and also double as a great swimsuit (which dry super fast FTW). The Breathe Men’s Short-Sleeve Running Top and Dry Knit Men’s Running Top both feature thin and durable fabric that breath nicely especially in hot and humid weather while the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 offers comfortable support for my feet while peddling through rice paddies and marching through Hong Kong’s glitzy streets.
The most obvious place to workout at your hotel is at the fitness centre (duh). If you’re the sort of traveler that likes to hit the gym each morning before exploring on the street it’s best to research a few hotels to see which offers the best gym to suit your needs. Do they have state of the art equipment? Is the fitness centre open 24 hours a day? Is the room wrapped in windows or in a dark basement? In Taiwan’s capital the W Taipei is known around town for having a stellar workout facility, so much so that locals utilize the personal trainers and equipment here on the regular.
If you’re enjoying a beach holiday strap on your snorkel gear and enjoy a salty swim. At the Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa in The Philippines guests have access to two petite beaches where warm turquoise water offers a perfect place to practice your front crawl. You’ll find swimming in the wild is more inspiring than the sterile pool as it’s easy to find entertainment with the local aquatic community while zooming over colourful coral reef. Apple Watch 2 is a perfect companion during open water swims as the built in GPS will map out your route, keep track of your preferred stroke and count your calories burned.
Bali is Asia’s most famous yoga retreat thanks to the paradise islands unique Hindu history. At the spacious St. Regis Resort Bali in Nusa Dua I unrolled a yoga mat each morning in a tranquil garden and enjoyed a moment of meditation before stretching out into doggie down. If you prefer to practice with a group the resort’s fitness centre offers daily complimentary classes a stones throw from the spa.
Each morning guests at the Four Seasons Langkawi in Malaysia hop on mountain bikes and enjoy a two hour tour of the local rural community just moments after sunrise. The early morning wake up call might sound a bit jarring but it’s best to beat Langkawi’s tropical island heatwave. The guided tour allows fitness fans to discover the island’s bucolic beauty which weaves through stilted wooden houses, traditional villages and mud-soaked water buffalo which can be found wallowing in lush paddy fields.
If you’re a romantic like me you’ll regularly jump at the opportunity to enjoy a long walk on the beach. While Thailand teams with dreamy white sandy shores my favourite spot to enjoy a morning jog is on Krabi’s Tubkaak Beach. Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve sits overlooking this stretch of sand which is unique because the tide moves considerably throughout the day, offering a firm and steady path for early risers to prance. Morning jogs here are unforgettable as a cool breeze whispers through the palms, jaw-dropping islands sit perched over the horizon and traditional Thai fishing boats pull up to the shore to wink and wave.