Some travel destinations can't help but invoke your inner Lance Armstrong.
Staying on the workout wagon while on the open road is not easy, but it should be a minimum requirement for all road warriors (domestic or international). A quick workout can not only relieve stress and heighten endorphins but increases energy and blood flow to the brain. This jolt is a quick and guaranteed way to transform you from an exhausted and lethargic business traveler to a sharp and successful deal closer. And let's face it; moving actively in any way will certainly keep your weight steady despite the frequent flirting with not-so-great-for you airport food.
There's no doubt hotel gyms have stepped things up in recent years, with the addition of sparkly and tempting treadmills, a variety of wellness classes, and sexy HDTV sometimes built right into the equipment; but in truth, hotel gyms are still boring, stifling and overall not very inspiring.
So, for those who are willing to venture off the beaten track and slide past hotel ground boundaries, you may be surprised by what you'll find. Below is a short list of domestic and international cities offering uber cool workout options.
A little side note to single business travelers who hit the same city each month: these off site adventures are also a great way to meet new friends, tap into the local scene and step up your social skills while closing that big deal.
1) San Francisco
Rock Solid Fitness
Outdoor Workout Overlooking Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Marina Green
Rock Solid Fitness offers cross training outdoor group classes every weekday at 6 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. at the Marina Green In San Francisco.
Beautiful views of the San Francisco Gate Bridge and Alcatraz mixed with intense workouts comprised with a unique fitness program makes this the perfect way to get fit while sliding through town on business. The always-outdoor Rock Solid integrates progressive cardiovascular exercise, effective strength training, stretching, and individual coaching in a spectacular setting. Rock Solid operates year-round.
Cost: $20 per class.
2) Shanghai, China
Outdoor Tai Chi and Ballroom Dancing
Zhong Shan Dong
'¨+ 86 (0)10 6601 1122
This stretch of Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu, on the western bank of the Huangpu River, was once home to the Wall Street of Asia. The grand mansions were built as headquarters for British, French, American, Russian, and Japanese banking institutions that had established themselves in the city following the Opium Wars in the 1840s, when Shanghai was opened up to foreign trade. Hundreds of locals gather each morning along the Bund, a rebuilt hump of land overlooking the Huangpu River, to practice the disciplines of tai chi and kung fu. Some even take it one step further by practicing ballroom dancing (an odd sight at dawn) but it's most certainly one of the most interesting workouts you'll ever try. There are "teachers" on site who are more than happy to guide beginners.
Cost: All practices are open to the public and are free.
3) Los Angeles, California
Venice Beach Bike Tour And Training Session
Ritz Carlton Hotel, Marina Del Rey
375 Admiralty Way'¨
Marina del Rey, CA
Wrap up your meetings early and get a splash of Southern California sunshine while getting fit. This very cool cardio workout gives you a guided bike tour through Venice Beach and a focused personal training session. Class is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays; duration is three hours and includes bike rental, Muscle Beach fees and a personal training session. You can also try the Venice Beach challenge'¨, including running, circuit training, abdominal work and sprinting intervals, making this one of the ultimate workouts on Venice Beach.
4) Sydney, Australia
Bridge Climb Sydney
5 Cumberland Street The Rocks
Sydney, NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 - 8274 7777
The Sydney Bridge Climb is without a doubt a worthwhile fitness adventure on one of the world's most modern wonders--The Sydney Harbour Bridge. The exhilaration and personal satisfaction achieved by reaching the top of the Bridge is rewarded by the breathtaking view that lies before you as you scale up the bridge's structure. You can take the free option and walk the length of the bridge on your own or sign up for the climb through the official website. The climb takes you over ladders, catwalks and arches, in all weather conditions during the day, in twilight or at night.
Cost: Starts at $89
5) Dubai, UAE
Wild Wadi Water Park
Jumeirah Beach Road
Tel: +971-4-348 4444
If you're willing to ditch the glitz and glamour of Dubai and really get your feet wet, flowboarding is the latest craze in Dubai. This strange new sport is, to the uninitiated, a little like surfing, except that flowboarders don't have to chase their waves – they're provided by huge machines. With flowboarding, as with so much in this fair city, the waves are engineered by a special, single or duel pump process to guarantee near-perfect waves every time you get out there. If anything, you'll catch a few waves and cool off while getting fit!
Cost: Price of park admission (discounts for corporate events)
The Aviation Club
04 282 4540
Had a less than prefect day? Unload the day's frustrations and sign up for the privilege of slamming some fastballs with an international tennis pro. While so much of Dubai hibernates in their air-conditioned offices, it's good to get out there exercising, while avoiding the stark confines of a gym. A great all over body workout, slowly, you fall into a peaceful world of shoulder movements and weight shifts that make it a whole lot easier to relax and concentrate. Tennis lessons are offered by appointment (beginners to advance). 15-minute introduction assessments are free.
Cost: Day Pass to The Aviation Club