15Jan 2021
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Written By
Michel, HotelGyms.com Staff

What cardio machine should I buy?

If you are looking to spend some money on cardio equipment, you are probably excited. You get to train in the comfort of your home, and you do not have to worry about transitioning to gym training or wearing a face mask. The problem is, people usually think about three primary options to pick from treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes. Choosing one over the other three can be challenging. To that end, we have put together this post to help you make the right choice. Before we start, we need to make this a bit more complicated. There is a fourth option to include rowing machines. Pros and cons of each Let us dive into the topic of the top four cardio machines that are good for your home workout: - Treadmill - Stationary bike - Elliptical - Rowing machine Not only will these cardio machines give you heart-pumping and sweat-including workout, but they will also help you burn more calories. Treadmill An all-time classic of the cardio machines is the treadmill. It is typically used to walk, jog or run forwards. The device is excellent for those who want to go for a run without having to battle outdoor elements. Because there are so many different options for using a treadmill, the calorie burn can be as intense or minimal as you see fit. Great for: weight loss, cardiovascular endurance Low impact? No Example Equipment Providers: Life Fitness, Technogym Pros - You can walk or run indoors - You get to exercise upright and work on your posture - It’s easy to get started - It’s great for burning lots of calories Cons - It’s more expensive - It takes up more space and is more difficult to move - It’s loud - It’s higher impact, which means that it can lead to wear and tear on the joints of the lower body Stationary Bike The stationary bike is a trendy choice and an efficient way to become fitter and healthier. It is very convenient, as you can use it anytime you like, no matter the weather, and they are great for weight loss and because they get you moving and burning calories. Great for: weight loss, full-body workout, low-impact Low impact? Yes Example Equipment Providers: Life Fitness, Technogym Pros - There is no learning curve - It’s low-impact, making it great for beginners and overweight folks - It burns a modest number of calories - You can train with a variety of intensities Cons - It mostly works your lower body - You have to exercise seated - It can get a bit monotonous Elliptical The elliptical machine is anoter very common one seen in most of the gyms. It is a great weight loss cardio machine that is also low-impact and places less stress on your joints. This is also an excellent option for those who need to ease back into exercise after injury or surgery. Great for: weight loss, balance, and coordination Low impact? Yes Example Equipment Providers: Life Fitness, Technogym  Pros - It trains your whole body - It burns a lot of calories - You get many features and training programs - It’s low-impact, similar to stationary bikes Cons - It can be relatively loud - It’s heavier and takes up more space - Good models are costly Rowing Machine And here we are with the rowing machine, the wild card. It is actually one of the best cardio machines that are good for weight loss. It works in multiple muscle groups and ensures minimal stress on the body due to the seated position. It is also a great option to use the entire body in a workout as it targets more muscles than just the lower body. Great for: weight loss, full-body workout Low impact? Yes Example Equipment Providers: Life Fitness, Technogym Pros - It trains your entire body - It’s fun and engaging - It doesn’t take much to learn the basic technique and get started - It’s affordable and takes up less space Cons - Poor technique can lead to back pain - They can be noisy - It can get monotonous to row for long periods Which of the four wins? Picking one of the four equipment pieces can be challenging, especially if you plan on using it often. After all, you would not want to pick one piece of equipment only to regret it later. Perhaps a better way to pick one over the other is to look at yourself: What goals do you have? How much money can you spend? What are your primary fitness goals? Even more importantly, which piece of equipment do you enjoy using most? While overlooked, the factor of enjoyability plays a massive role in our overall investment, how much we push ourselves, and how consistent we are with our training. For example, if ratings suggest that it is best to buy a treadmill, but you find it dull and uninspiring, do you believe it to be the right choice for you? Or what if you have knee issues? Here are some recommendations to keep in mind: 1. Go for the rowing machine if your primary goals are to develop your upper body and get stronger. A rowing machine is also a budget-friendly option that offers more diverse training. 2. Go for the elliptical if you want to train your entire body and enjoy doing high-intensity training. The elliptical is also low-impact, making it an excellent option for overweight folks and those with previous injuries. 3. Go for the treadmill if you love walking and running as a means of getting fit and burn calories. Also, keep in mind that the treadmill tends to put a bit more stress on your knees and ankles. 4. Go for the bike if you are looking for a budget option, and you do not mind doing rather dull training. You can also do HIIT-style workouts on it or sign-up for a Peloton. I find it very hard to enjoy a treadmill. I instead go for a run outside. The same applies to the bike, where I find myself focusing more on the TV than my workout. However, I like the treadmill and rowing machines and even consider getting one for my home.
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11Jan 2021
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Written By
HotelGyms Crew

How to travel during the Pandemic – COVID-19 Testing

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hitting the world for just about a year now, with many regions still struggling to deal with the disease. Like New Zealand, some regions have gotten it under control and completely rid themselves of it, while some, like the United States, look nowhere near overcoming it. Partially because of this divide and partly due to the outbreak's sheer infectiousness, COVID tests have become mandatory for many aspects of life, with travel being perhaps the most prominent. However, one of the issues with this is that there are so many COVID tests available that it can be hard to pick out reliable and safe ones. That is what we are here to do today. We will look at some of the major COVID-19 testing methods and explain what they do, what they are used for, and judge whether or not it is safe to consider them as preparation for your next travel. We are going to look at these different types of Coronavirus Test: - Molecular Test (PCR) - Antigen Test (IgM) - Antibody Test (IgG) While PCR-Tests are checking for the infection with the virus, the antibody test checks for the virus-specific antibodies in the blood. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your situation, where you are on the timescale before, in the middle, or post-infection with COVID. Little disclaimer here, we are no doctors nor are we COVID-19 health experts. This article has been created based on our own research consulting the various national health websites. PCR Tests Let us have a look at the most common test, the PCR tests. These tests take the molecules from a nasal or throat swab (or even saliva in a few cases) and seek to figure out whether or not you have traces of COVID located in your genetic makeup.  How long the results take can vary massively based on location. Labs could be ready within hours, but more often take a day or two. If the labs are overwhelmed (as they have been so often in many locations), it could take a week to get back. According to the FDA, this test is usually highly accurate and does not need to be replicated. A similar report comes from the Harvard Medical School, where the false positive rate is nearly zero and mostly due to contamination in the lab or some other error. These tests can be received at a hospital or medical office. When should I take the PCR (Molecular) Test? This test is needed to identify the current presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. As a result, this is one of the best tests you can get for traveling, as it is accurate and can be received back in a day or two. This is also the type of test required when entering countries like Dubai or the Maldives. Antigen Tests (IgM) Up next is the Antigen (IgM) test, which is also known as a diagnostic test and also taken via nasal or throat swab. When a virus attacks, IgM is usually the first antibody produced by the immune system. A positive test indicates that you may have been infected and that your immune system has started responding to the virus. These tests can be taken at a hospital, doctor's office, or for some, even at home. The antigen test is looking for protein fragments (or "antigens", hence the name) from the virus to identify if you have currently got it. Depending on the test, the results for these tests can come back extremely quickly. It is usually judged to be anywhere between 15-30 minutes. The biggest problem with antigen tests is that they tend to give out more false positives than molecular tests. While the results do come back quicker and the tests themselves are generally less expensive, the FDA recommends taking multiple of them regardless of your result. That way, you can double or even triple check your results.  When should I take the Antigen (IgM) Test? This test often is the first check if you have been in close contact with an individual suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19; or you traveled to a place where transmission of COVID-19 is known to occur. Because these tests are so quick and cheap, it makes them quite ideal for this first analysis and a good travel companion. However, they do have less accuracy than the molecular tests can mean that you should not take the first answer at face value every time. Antibody Tests (IgG) Finally, there are antibody tests. These tests are also called serological tests, blood tests, or serology tests. For these tests, nasal and throat swabs are not involved, but rather a finger stick or blood draw is taken. The biggest issue with using antibody tests is that they do not tell you if you have the disease now. It can tell you if you've had it in the past, as it accurately identifies any antibodies that the body has produced in response to the virus. Most patients develop IgG antibodies within 7 to 10 days after symptoms of COVID-19 begin. IgG antibodies also remain in the blood after an infection has passed. These tests are only available at doctor's offices, hospitals, and blood testing labs, and results usually are available between 1 and 3 days. When should I take the Antibody (IgG) Test? Antibody tests are not recommended for travel, as they do not tell you whether you have the virus at the time of travel. However, if you know or suspect that you have had the disease in the past and combine it with one of the previous tests to prove that you do not have it currently, that could be a better decision. Testing for Travel Where you are going dictates what sorts of testing you need to get done. Because of the PCR test's accuracy, it tends to be the most accepted form of these tests. As a quick recap, the summary of the previously described COVID-tests: As an example, those arriving in Dubai (from an extensive list of countries) are required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate taken no more than 96 hours before departure. Be aware that no hand-written, SMS, or digital certificates will be accepted. You may also be required to take another test at Dubai airports upon arrival. For more requirements for tourists arriving in Dubai check this website. Other countries like the Dominican Republic have removed all requirements for proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. However, visitors are still tested randomly upon arrival, and if they are positive, they must quarantine in a hotel until symptoms are gone. When can you travel after having COVID? This is probably the most challenging question. You have tested positive but isolated/quarantined yourself, and now all symptoms are gone. Does this now mean that you can travel? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still strongly recommends "no". People who had the coronavirus can still develop antibodies that neutralize the pathogens, but there are still big questions around how effective that is. Antibodies may persist for three months. However, a recovered coronavirus patient may still get reinfected. As of now, questions around immunity still linger. plan. travel. workout. Unfortunately, until this pandemic is under control worldwide, travel should not be undertaken, as it will only lengthen how long it will take. Even if you caught it at the beginning and feel fantastic now, it is simply safer to delay those travel plans for another, safer time. To bear in mind, we still do not know how long antibodies stay in the body after infection with the COVID-19 virus. You might still be tested positive months after the recovery of the illness.
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07Jan 2021
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Written By
HotelGyms Crew

The best Hotel Gyms in Swiss Ski Resorts

When in a Swiss ski resort, there are a few reasons why you may want to use a gym. For example, keeping on top of your fitness regime, the mountain could be closed due to bad weather, or you may be the non-skier of the group. Hotel health and fitness facilities can range from a simple workout room to a beautiful spa. We are here to help you find the perfect hotel gym for you. Here you will learn about some great options for hotel gyms in the Swiss ski resorts of: - Zermatt - Flims-Laax - Davos-Klosters Ski resorts are operating in strict compliance with the COVID-19 safety concepts. While all national regulations are listed on the website of MySwitzerland.com, other measures may apply at cantonal level. For further information, please contact the individual destinations and providers. Zermatt Zermatt is Europe’s highest ski resort, and its snow-sure slopes attract skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. Featuring 360 kilometers (223 miles) of blue, red, black, and yellow runs, you can be assured that you will experience some of the best skiing Europe has to offer. The modern lifts and cable cars make ascending the mountain stress-free and effortless, while the town provides guests with numerous events, gourmet restaurants, fantastic shopping, and lively aprés ski. All of this is in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn. Hotel Phoenix The gym at the Hotel Pheonix is exceptional and ideal for people serious about their fitness. Its large space has a wide range of strength equipment, including a massive collection of free weights. You will find a fantastic selection of Cybex machines, including a cable machine. You can also take advantage of the various massage treatments on offer. For the full information about the gym including pictures, go to our Hotel Phoenix detail page. Some words about the Hotel Hotel Phoenix is popular with its guests, thanks to its blend of value, comfort, and convenience. It is a family and dog-friendly hotel that gives you easy access to the sights and sounds of Zermatt. The hotel’s restaurant produces fantastic food and regularly hosts gourmet evenings. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof Set in the Vita Borni spa, the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof’s gym is modern and features a range of strength and cardio equipment from TechnoGym. The spa itself has a sauna and a large swimming pool with a tranquil ambiance. There is also a range of treatments to help you relax and rejuvenate. Go to the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof detail page to check the details about the gym. Some words about the Hotel The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is a period 5-star hotel in a central location, giving you easy access to Zermatt’s bars, restaurants, and ski lifts. Guests arrive at the hotel from the train station via electric car or horse-drawn carriage. The hotel’s three restaurants offer guests local specialties and Michelin star food. Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt The spa in the Hotel Schweizerhof specializes in de-stressing, sports recovery, and preparing the body for a day on the mountain. The spa features a heated swimming pool, saunas, a steam room, whirlpools, and a relaxation room, perfect for soothing tired muscles. However, the gym, overlooking the hotel gardens, has cardio and strength equipment, including a TechnoGym Kenisis cable machine. Find some pictures and more details about the gym on our Hotel Schweizerhof detail page.  Some words about the Hotel This recently refurbished hotel has a beautiful contemporary design, offering a luxury mountain experience. There is a range of room choices to suit your budget and a fantastic concierge service. The excellent restaurant and bar are perfect for enjoying local delicacies during your evenings. Flims-Laax The ski resort itself sits above the villages of Laax, Flims, and Falera in Surselva (Bündner Oberland). Skiiers and snowboarders come to the area year after year, thanks to the variety it provides. The modern lift system gives you quick and easy access to slopes suitable for all levels. The area is popular with freestylers due to the abundance of snow parks, a superpipe, and the Freestyle Academy. Off the mountain, Laax-Flims has plenty to offer its guests. Lively après ski, gastronomic delights, and many family-friendly activities make it an excellent destination for groups and families. Riders Hotel The Rider’s Hotel gym has everything you need to keep your workouts varied. The range of free weights and cardio equipment is exceptional. But, what makes this gym stand out is the bodyweight and coordination equipment. This stuff allows you to cross-train like pro freestylers. For more details, check-out the detail page of the Riders Hotel.  Some words about the Hotel The hotel itself has several different room choices to suit your needs and budget. The contemporary minimalist style continues throughout the hotel, creating a relaxed atmosphere. You are treated to a huge buffet breakfast with everything you need to fuel yourself for a day on the mountain in the mornings. Waldhaus Flims Wellness Resort The gym at the Waldhaus Wellness Resort is more than just a hotel gym. Its instructors are on hand to demonstrate the state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment, and there is also a range of daily fitness and relaxation classes. The indoor and outdoor heated pools are gorgeous and have panoramic views of the mountains. The outdoor pool has a series of jets and bubble loungers to ensure total relaxation. Of course, the wellness center also provides a range of treatments in the private spa. Find out more about the Waldhaus Flims Wellness Resort on our detail page.  Some words about the Hotel This large hotel is designed to give its guests the ultimate experience in Flims-Laax. The gorgeous rooms have balconies or floor to ceiling windows, giving you fantastic views of the Waldhaus Park or the Swiss Alps. It also has four gourmet restaurants serving food made from locally sourced ingredients. The Hide Hotel The Hide Hotel’s gym is part of the 1’000m2 wellness spa. It has a selection of state of the art Life Fitness equipment in an enjoyable setting. There is plenty of opportunities to rejuvenate and relax, thanks to the Finnish Panorama Sauna with a direct mountain view, steam-room, Sanarium (click here in case you are not aware of this term), rain showers and relaxation room. Couples love the private SPA area, built for two. Go to The Hide Flims Hotel detail page for more information and pictures about their gym. Some words about the Hotel With its contemporary design with warm tones and creative decor, the Hide Hotel offers a unique alpine experience. Its location gives you easy access to fantastic shopping and a modern cinema, as soon as you step out the door. The hotel is an ideal place to enjoy a family holiday, too, thanks to the kid’s paradise. Davos-Klosters  At a maximum altitude of 2'844 meters, skiers and snowboarders can use 58 ski lifts and 300 kilometers of slopes (186 miles). There is also 100 kilometers of cross-country ski tracks, over 150 kilometers of snowshoe and winter hiking trails. The two ice rinks are popular for people that enjoy ice hockey, ice skating, and curling off the mountain. The Davos-Klosters ski area consists of six resorts, Parsenn/Gotschna, Jakobshorn, Pischa, Madrisa, Rinerhorn, and Schatzalp/Strela. The Parsenn connects up Davos with the neighboring resort of Klosters. This area is famous for downhill skiers. But if you spend your mountain time hitting jumps and freestyle riding, the Jakobshorn site is the best place for you. Grischa Hotel Hotel Grischa does not actually have a gym. It works in partnership with the fantastic fitness center at Davos Postplatz, which is just a four-minute walk away. This facility has everything you need to keep you moving. The gym features the newest TechnoGym equipment, group fitness classes, personal training, and a free weights area. Grischa guests get all of this for free of charge. Go to the Grischa - das Hotel Davos detail page to check the details about the gym cooperation. Some words about the Hotel Hotel Grischa has a wide range of rooms and suites to choose from. No matter which option you go for, you will not be disappointed. They are all tastefully decorated and extremely comfortable. Dining in the hotel is a superb and diverse experience, thanks to its five different restaurants. Evenings are enjoyed in the trendy bar and lounge and an authentic cigar lounge. Hard Rock Davos The Gym at the Hard Rock Hotel is known as the Body Rock Gym. It is small, but it has a selection of free weights, a TechnoGym cable machine, and some cardio equipment. The spa has a calming atmosphere in which to relax and treat yourself. You can expect a vitality pool, whirlpool, steam room, and yoga studio other than the gym. In addition to all this, there is an experience & Ice shower and a selection of saunas. Check-out the Hard Rock Hotel Davos detail page for more details about their Body Rock Gym. Some words about the Hotel Staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Davos is a very alternative experience to the traditional hotels and chalets. You can expect to be satisfied whether you want a romantic weekend, spa break, corporate retreat or an extravagant alpine wedding. The rooftop bar gives 360-degree views of Davos, while the restaurants serve classic dishes with a Swiss influence. The selection of rooms and suites feature music inspired amenities while providing comfort and mountain views. AMERON Davos Swiss Mountain Resort The gym is a small part of the large 4 Elements Spa Centre. Here you can enjoy your workout in a pleasant environment, using the strength and cardio equipment and the cable machine. The rest of the spa is a haven for relaxation after a day on the mountain. Here, you can experience a range of different massage and beauty treatments. Some of the spa’s many features include a heated pool, saunas, a steam bath, a Kneipp foot bath, and an ice fountain. Have a look at the Ameron Davos Swiss Mountain Resort detail page . Some words about the Hotel The Ameron is a beautiful four-star hotel featuring modern and cozy rooms. There are a few options to choose from, and some have stunning alpine views. The hotel’s restaurants provide gastronomic delights made from local and seasonal ingredients. Davos Intercontinental And last but not least, the Davos Intercontinental. The gym at the Davos Intercontinental hotel is part of the 1’200m2 Alpine Spa. The gym itself has a good selection of strength and cardio equipment. Hotel guests have access to a heated indoor and outdoor pool. The outdoor pool has bubble massage loungers and incredible views of the valley. There are two separate wellness centers for men and women that each has its own sauna and steam bath. However, there is a shared sauna and a sanarium.  The spa also has a range of treatments available to enjoy in any of the fourteen different treatment rooms. Go to the Davos Intercontinental detail page to check the latest information about their hotel gym. Some words about the Hotel Placed high on a hill overlooking Davos, you cannot miss the unusual shape and golden hue of the Davos Intercontinental hotel. Its contemporary rooms and suites are high end and extremely comfortable. Rooms at the front of the building give you stunning views of the valley below. There are five choices of bars and restaurants in the hotel. For a relaxed drink, the Nuts & Co bar is a great place to hang out. Service throughout the hotel is exceptional, but this is especially the case in the Studio Grigio restaurant on the top floor, where you are greeted as soon as you step out of the lift before being served fantastic food. plan. travel. workout. Winter sports, and winter vacations might not be everyones favorite - and you might prefer some warmer climate. Dubai has some of the best hotels of the world and has a very nice climate during the European winter. Whatever location is your favorite spot to visit next, we are here to help you find your hotel with a perfect fitness facility.
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01Jan 2021
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HotelGyms Crew

The Most Important Fitness Trends For 2021

To say that 2020 was an impactful year would be an understatement. With the global pandemic, many sectors and markets changed forever, and we saw rapid innovation in numerous fields. For example, online education became standard in many schools and universities worldwide, and countless people had to move from the office to their homes. The fitness industry also saw many large changes - some good; others not so much.  But, with 2020 now in the rear-view mirror, it is essential to look ahead. To that end, we have outlined the five most crucial fitness trends to keep in mind for 2021. Let's see what they are. 1. Home Training is growing ever more present Home training used to be among the less popular options for working out before the global pandemic. But as gyms worldwide closed their doors, fitness enthusiasts had to find another way to stay active and maintain their fitness. So, home training became a popular alternative, and many trainers and fitness experts out there began to share their knowledge on the topic. A more interesting aspect of this trend is that we saw a large-scale shift in people's mindset toward working out. Before 2020, many people believed that home training was inadequate and only suitable for beginners who wanted to get started with fitness. These days, many people realize that home training is a fantastic alternative to the gym, and we can have amazing workouts, even if we don't have access to much equipment. Thus, we have become more resourceful and better able to have effective workouts with minimal to no equipment. This is a fantastic skill that expands our perspective and helps us stay in shape no matter the situation. 2. The Health Benefits of Fitness are becoming more popular than ever Let's face it: Before 2020, many people only cared about the fitness benefits of working out. And who could blame them? Many of the fitness outlets rarely shed light on the health effects of exercise. But, as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world and health became a mainstream topic again, many people became more conscious of their health. This change of mind is a fantastic trend that will go into 2021, as millions of people worldwide look for ways to strengthen their immunity and improve their well-being. 3. Digital Training is growing, and will likely continue to develop in 2021 COVID-19 damaged many sectors this past year, but it also blessed others. One of the blessed sectors is digital training. Before the pandemic, most people preferred to do their training face to face with a coach. But with the newfound love for home training and thanks to the fact that people now understand how beneficial it is, digital training is here to stay. It is safe to assume that digital workouts will slowly become the norm in 2021 as more companies and organizations embrace the change and digitize their content. Specifically, we should see a bump in online classes, on-demand libraries, and everything else the average person needs to have a fun and effective workout at home. Peloton is one company that is flourishing right now. They offer bikes and treadmills, as well as a rich online library that allows members to do countless workouts and keep things fresh; you might remember the Peloton blog post we published the other day. 4. Outdoor Training is becoming a solid Alternative to the Gym Outdoor training has always been a fantastic option for people who prefer fresh air and ca not stand traditional gym settings' confines. For example, running and calisthenics are two popular ways of training for people interested in optimizing their aerobic ability and physical strength. Outdoor training has gained even more popularity during the last months because it is much safer. Compared to indoor training, having your workouts outside is much safer because it is easier to keep your distance from others, and you do not have to work with the same pieces of equipment. We should see more and more training facilities move out some of their equipment outside for those interested in safe and refreshing training. 5. Corporate Wellness will become even more important Many top performers worldwide claim that fitness has played a massive role in their mood, energy levels, motivation, and overall productivity. For example, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, once reportedly said: I wouldn't be able to achieve all the things I was trying to achieve in my life if I wasn't at the peak of fitness. Perhaps one good thing that has come out of the coronavirus pandemic is that many people realized how important it is to establish and maintain a fitness routine. As workplaces closed down and folks transitioned to home offices, many began some form of exercise as a way to remain sane, keep their productivity high, and have a solid work-from-home routine. With the gradual transition back into an office setting, many will continue to keep fitness as part of their lives because they realize how vital it is. It serves as an anchor and allows us to shape our lives around it. More importantly, people will look to their companies to help them maintain this rhythm. Many companies are beginning to jump on the bandwagon and are moving away from the idea that 'wellness is good to have' to 'wellness is integral.' What is more, as more employers realize how wellness plays a role in employee productivity, we should see massive growth in corporate wellness programs worldwide. plan. travel. workout. 2021 will be a very interesting year for the fitness (and travel) industry. The closure of the gym studios during the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the debate rather going to the gym or jog outside. During the last months, many equipment fans move to alternative indoor and outdoor offers, apps included. This disruption of the fitness industry by new business models will become very interesting, and of course we from HotelGyms.com try to provide our input as well.
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30Dec 2020
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Written By
Michel, HotelGyms.com Staff

The End of 2020 - Finally!

We have finally reached the end of the year. It certainly has not been the year that we wanted, but we have come through at the end of it. That is why we are going to use this post today to look at some of the best parts of this year here at HotelGyms.com and some of the best parts of next year that are coming up. So let us hop right in! Release of a new platform!  So last week… wait, no. Way back in April (time flies in a pandemic, doesn’t it?) we released our new platform to help streamline our overall site. We got a fresh design, a new code basis, and we now leverage cloud technologies to make it all more fluid and accessible to users worldwide! The new platform is a big step forward to enable our vision: To ensure every person on the planet stays fit and healthy – even while traveling.  Working from home is the new normal. While not everyone gets to work in their pajamas, the fact is that many people are now adapting to working from home. Ourselves are included in that mix, as we have had to abandon any in-person meetings favoring the Teams, Zoom and Google calls that have become so common. It has taken some getting used to but has not been one of the negatives that it might have looked like initially. Think about it - you could, for example, work with your dog (big or small) in your lap, do a quick home-workout during the breaks, and use the saved commute time to cook your favorite meal for lunch. Suddenly, no more travel. For sure, one of the biggest disappointments of this year was the fact that there was no more travel. For our business, but also to me personally, we had totally different plans. There is an upside to that fact - it has given us more time to focus on the platform's development. New ideas and scenarios have been developed during the crisis, partnerships established, and lots of interesting collaborations. But the time spent at home has increased the desire to travel - we hear our user. Locations like Paris, Dubai, Berlin, or Amsterdam are regularly top searches on HotelGyms.com. But also Mexica, Bali or the Maldives are in the dreams of our community. Well, 2020 has given us all more time to plan out our future trips. And more time to plan means more time for things to go right, which is always appreciated. Just think of it as extra time to practice that French, Spanish, or Arabic that you stopped after 3 days on Duolingo. Most importantly. 2020 was a year to forget. It sucked. But that does not mean we should mope about and be miserable about it for all time. While I sit in my comfortable home and can complain about many things like not traveling and having a vacation, I choose to remind myself of the blessed life I have been given and feel grateful about it. We hope that anyone reading this will join us at HotelGyms.com and look forward to 2021 and beyond with new optimism and a strong feeling that just know it will all come back together somehow! But most importantly - HotelGyms would not be possible without the hard work and passion our team puts into it every single day, even or especially during 2020. A big thanks to our team designing and developing the platform Armend, Blerim, Ymer, and Vinod, our social media team Cezar and Manuel, and of also to the team working behind the scenes, Chris, Roli, and Ronny. This team is doing such an amazing job, they rock! Wish you guys all the best for 2021 & Happy New Year 🥂🎅🎁 Best, Michel and the HotelGyms.com team! PS: Some of our most significant updates will arrive in January. Many of you are on Christmas holidays, so we decided to keep it for this time! Stay tuned 🎊
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21Dec 2020
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Written By
Michel, HotelGyms.com Staff

The Problems with Guest Registration Forms in Hotel Gyms

Picture this: You are on vacation with your family. The hotel you are staying at seems excellent: the staff is friendly, the atmosphere is warm, and the scenery is gorgeous. There is a lot to see and do. You head to the hotel gym one morning for a quick workout before you take off to explore the town. At the gym reception, you are greeted by a friendly face, and they ask you to sign in on a small piece of paper. Nothing much, just your name, the room you are staying at, and your date of birth.  After a fantastic day out, you return to your room, only to discover that you had been robbed while you were out. Does not sound like a lot of fun, and of course this is a made-up story for this article. Or is it not? Let us have a deeper look...  The old way of doing Things As you have probably noticed, you must sign or register on a piece of paper before you can use most hotel gyms (especially in the United States). Typically, you have to sign in with your name and write down what room you are staying at. In some cases, you also have to fill in more sensitive information such as your phone number and birth date. In most cases, we have to sign in for liability reasons and agree with the facility's rules before using it – and that's fair. Plus, with the growing COVID-19 pandemic, these sign-ins can help track people in case of a positive tested hotel guest or staff. So, what is the problem? Why Signing into a piece of paper might not be the best Idea. The most apparent problem with this type of sign-in is that information is typically not protected in any way and is visible to all gym visitors. Even if you are signing in with your names and room number, that can still be an issue. A few decades ago, if someone knew your names, they could not do much with the information. Thanks to our world's rapid digitalization, we now need to become more vigilant and protect our personal information. Here is a scenario: You write your name and room number on the piece of paper. Later that day, one of your kids posts numerous pictures of your whole family doing something in town. Those photos are public, and you are tagged. Thanks to the gym sign-in form, two stalkers learn what room you are staying at. Thanks to the social media post, they see that you are out, and your room is empty. This is a perfect opportunity to use information against you and rob your place while they know that you are out. Sadly, such scenarios are much more common than most people imagine. Aside from that, having to put sensitive information on a piece of paper is not GDPR compliant. What if the list is taken or gets lost? This is not troublesome just for you as a guest. It can also lead to problems for gym and hotel owners. Out with the old, in with the new… The objective is clear: move away from the old and unreliable methods and find a better alternative. A fantastic solution to this potential problem is to move sign-in forms into a digital format. For example, it can be as simple as scanning a QR code and then registering online. That way, any information you write in is safe and protected from prying eyes.  What is even better about such a solution is that it can also work during the COVID-19 pandemic to collect more data and keep track of gym visitors much better. We at HotelGyms.com, are providing a different approach and help hotels to digitally transform their hotel gyms. As a first, we are releasing such an online solution to address this problem: All of this can help create an online solution that allows you to focus on what really matters - the workout. Are you interested? Get in touch with us, and we are more than happy to share more details.
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14Dec 2020
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HotelGyms Crew

Peloton Bikes – Everything you need and want to know in 2020

Every once in a while, a new trend comes seemingly out of nowhere and sweeps across the fitness world. At first glance, we cannot be sure just how useful something is until we hear what the market has to say. Sometimes, we see the “birth” of a great thing. In other cases, we witness nothing more than a fad that quickly fades out of existence. Today, we will go over a company that took the fitness world by storm and grew incredibly fast from year to year, Peloton. But first, let’s investigate their product being a stationary bike. The stationary Bike Let’s face it, stationary bikes are hardly exciting. Every gym has at least five of them, and no matter the make, they typically look, feel, and ride the same. Use one, and you might as well have used them all. They are effective and useful, sure. But these stationary bikes are far from awe-inspiring. Interestingly enough, the company we will be looking at today has managed to transform this once-boring piece of fitness equipment into one that grabs attention and commands respect. What is Peloton? In 2012, a company was brought to life. Their idea was simple: create premium fitness products. One of these products was a stationary bike – the Peloton bike. In 2014, they realized their first sale of the bike, and the company has seen rapid growth ever since.  These days, Peloton offers premium-priced stationary bikes. The bike+ basic package costs a little under EUR 2'690 (USD 2’500) or EUR 69 (USD 64) per month for 39 months. But here is what really sets Peloton apart from its competition: Aside from the bike, the company also offers a subscription-based membership that offers classes. With a subscription, folks receive: - Live weekly classes. - Different workouts that last from 5 to 90 minutes. - Instructors that tell you exactly what to do and how. - Exciting and interactive workout classes. What benefits does Peloton offer, and is it worth it? If you decide to lease the bike+ package and get a full-access membership for another EUR 39 (USD 39) per month / bike. This means you will have to spend EUR 108 (USD 103) every month. Is the cost justified? As always, it depends! To answer this, you first need to ask yourself: - How much money do you currently spend on fitness (e.g., gym membership, commuting, etc.)? - How convenient is it for you to maintain your current fitness program? - And most importantly, what are your fitness goals? If you currently pay more than EUR 108 (USD 103) per month for your training, then Peloton might be a better alternative. Of course, this also depends on your primary fitness goals and the type of equipment you typically use when you go to the gym. If you usually go to a gym purely for the cardio equipment, then investing in a bike can be better. Plus, once it is paid off, the bike is yours indefinitely and you only need to pay the monthly membership. And we also need to keep in mind the time and money you invest in commuting. With a Peloton bike, you have everything you need at home, which can help make you a lot more consistent with your training and save you time. Now, if you also enjoy strength training and use a wide range of gym equipment, then the Peloton bike might not be the best choice (or only choice). Sure, the bike+ package offers some extra gear, and there are various workouts you can do, but that may not be enough. For example, if you enjoy doing classic gym exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift, Peloton might not be enough for you. Conclusion The thing that sets Peloton apart from the rest is the sense of community they have created for their customers. Feeling like we belong to something greater than ourselves can serve as a huge motivator. It can also bring deep fulfillment and make us push ourselves much harder in our training. But whether the bike suits you is more complicated, and you need to look at things from all angles. plan. travel. workout. If you are a fan of Peloton, you are probably also interested in hotels providing a Peloton stationary bike. The good news, new hotels are adding Peloton bikes every day. Also, Peloton recently partnered with Westin, and commercial bikes are now available at many of their hotel fitness centers or privately in your room. We are also exploring if we can integrate this information on HotelGyms.com, stay tuned for more details. For now, the Hotel Finder on the Peloton Website will be of a great help.
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02Dec 2020
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Michel, HotelGyms.com Staff

The Pros and Cons of training while wearing a Face Mask

If someone had ever told you that you would have to one day learn how to train with a mask on your face, you would have scoffed. Sadly, with the COVID-19 pandemic growing, masks have become the rule everywhere we go: to the mall, park, work, gyms worldwide, and many more places. If you have tried to train with a mask on your face, you have probably noticed something: it is not the most pleasant experience. As the glass is always also half-full (and not only half-empty), we will today go over the pros and cons of wearing a mask during a workout. We will also explore some face mask models that might contribute to a more pleasant training experience. But first, what happens when you have a Mask on? The most apparent effect of wearing a mask is that breathing becomes a bit more challenging. The airflow to your lungs is decreased, which means less oxygen enters your body. Less oxygen means that your body’s ability to produce energy in the form of ATP molecules is reduced. This leads to reduced training performance, and you become more likely to find yourself exhausted much sooner. In essence, training with a mask on resembles altitude training to a degree because the result in both scenarios is identical: your body has less oxygen to work with. With that said, let us take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of training with a mask. The pros and cons of training with a face mask Pros 1. It is safer. The most obvious benefit of wearing a face mask is that you get to keep yourself safe and minimize the risk of catching germs. Ensure you use new or cleaned masks for every workout. 2. Your body will adapt. While training with a mask might seem almost impossible at first, you will get used to it after a while. The human body is incredible and is capable of adapting to many outside stressors. It might could have a positive impact over time, but it will not replace an altitude training. 3. You will not spread germs around. Even if you are not worried about germs and viruses, wearing a mask in these trying times is an incredibly selfless act. By wearing a mask, you drastically reduce the risk of spreading germs that might get others sick. Think about it, how heavy and much do you breathe when you perform your workout? Pictures often say more than words – I found this illustration quite simple and easy to understand: Cons 1. Your performance will suffer to a degree. The first drawback you are likely to experience is that you will not be able to train as hard and as long as you usually would. This is mostly because of the decreased airflow to your lungs. 2. You probably will not be able to do your regular workouts. If you are used to a given type of training, you might have to lower your intensity and volume for a while. For example, if you typically do around 20 working sets per workout, you might have to do no more than 15 and slowly work up back to 20 over the weeks. 3. You might sweat more. An unfortunate effect of wearing a mask is that your facial area retains more heat. This is fantastic if you are out and about in the cold winter but will not be so great if you are in a gym and are work up a sweat. Training Masks that make the Workout Experience much better It sounds weird when you think about it, but we need to train with a mask on for the foreseeable future. Luckily, you have got options when it comes to breathable, fitness-adjacent face masks that allow you to stay cool and comfortable while doing your workout. It is not a surprise that the top fitness brands like Adidas, Asics, and Under Armour have been leading the charge with coverings made with athletes and workout enthusiasts in mind.   To make the experience more pleasant, here are seven great masks on the market: 1. Reebok Face Cover 2. Asics Runners Face Cover 3. Buff Filter Mask 4. Under Armour Sportsmask 5. Adidas Face Mask 6. Koral Athletic Face Masks 7. Masksup Reusable Face Mask You might want to buy different masks and test the best one for your face and type of workout. And always have a spare face mask with you to use after you completed your workout. plan. travel. workout. 2020 soon is coming to an end, and with the start of a new year, hopefully, we will also be able to leave the COVID-19 experience soon behind us. There is still some way to go, and wearing a mask is a profoundly important pillar of pandemic control. Masks do work, but they are not infallible – we still need to keep the physical distance. Btw. there is an interesting paper about the minimal physical distance required for walking and running during COVID-19 times. For now, I personally ordered the Under Armour Sportsmask, and I am curious to test the Asics soon when I found a shop to collect it from.
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26Nov 2020
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HotelGyms Crew

The Freeletics Fitness App Review 2020

It is no secret that the market is saturated with all kinds of fitness and health apps - some good, some bad, some mediocre. If you want to get in shape and do not know where to start, an app is typically the go-to choice because it offers a quick and convenient way to start. Among the many apps on the market, Freeletics stands out precisely because it offers many benefits and a unique training experience for the user. One program specifically gained our interest, bodyweight - which becomes very handy during these COVID-19 (lockdown) days. To help you make the most informed decision, we have put together this quick review. Without further ado, let’s get started. What is Freeletics and how does it work? Freeletics is an all-in-one fitness app that asks questions, tracks your performance, and creates programs that suit your needs, wants, and goals. Once you download and install the app, you are prompted to answer some basic questions about yourself. In doing that, you provide the app with actionable data to custom-tailor a plan for you. Typically, the items are along the lines of: - What is your current fitness level on a scale of "not fit at all" to "really fit"? - What are your top three fitness goals? - What is your preferred training style - using your own body weight, running, or with a barbell and weights? The questionnaire takes less than a minute to complete. By extension, the app also gathers data for the type of equipment you have available, if any. Once you go through the questionnaire, Freeletics provides you with different journeys to embark on. Each journey represents another training program you can start. Each typically takes between six and twelve weeks to complete. You can learn more about each journey by clicking on them before choosing. If you later find that a program does not work well, you can change course and start over. Alternatively, if you enjoy a given journey a lot, you can repeat it once it’s done. Freeletics Quality and choice of Workouts The app is very well-built and intuitive – no surprise, it was also awarded the “Editors’ Choice” and “App of the Day” in both the Apple and Google Play Store. Also, the ratings are very positive, with 4.6 out of 5.0. But let’s have a look at the app itself. Back to the app – as you first start using it, you feel that it tailors training programs to you and not the other way around. There are many workouts to choose from. There are over 900 workout variations, and they cover all your major muscle groups. The quality of workouts is good, and they are typically a mixture of strength and conditioning work. Activities also come with built-in warm-up sequences, an active cooldown portion, and progression. You will be able to try different options until you find what you enjoy best. The interface of Freeletics is clean and straightforward to use, and all you need to do is tap the screen. You are then presented with a video demo of each movement and have the option to follow along for the recommended number of reps. And their video tutorials become very handy to help you with exercises you do not know yet and get the instruction on the right form.  How to get started with Freeletics Getting started with either of the apps is relatively simple. Go to their site or download it from your app store of choice. Answer some necessary inquiries (sex, fitness level, etc.) and complete your registration. After that, answer a few extra questions and allow the app to formulate different journeys for you. Then, read about each and pick the one you think would suit you best. In essence, the Freeletics app is straightforward to use, and you can get started with it in just a few minutes. Most of the plans are well-suited for people with little experience and do not have access to much training equipment. You might want to pay extra attention to the execution to avoid injuries. Is Freeletics free? You can download the app and register your account. You can also answer questions about yourself and access a list of exercises with short video demos for free. But, if you want to move forward with a training journey, you need to pay for a subscription. The annual cost is EUR 79.99. There is also a nutritional version of the Freeletics app that offers meal plans, recipes, tips, and more. You can register for free, but it also offers a paid subscription model if you want full access. This version also costs EUR 79.99 annually. A hybrid training and nutrition plan comes out to be about EUR 120 per year, basically a 20% saving. You can choose a subscription period for three (3) months, six (6) months, or a year. Beware, it automatically renews. Our thoughts on the App So, how effective is Freeletics? If you take the plan seriously and follow the app’s instructions, it will help you get in shape. It is highly customizable and really is almost like having a virtual personal trainer. The app is also relatively flexible. You can adjust your training from week to week (or day to day), depending on your schedule and life stressors. Freeletics might be better for endurance than strength, though. Is Freeletics something for you? If you mostly care about general fitness, working out at home or while traveling, this might be something you want to test. Also, Fitbod could be an exciting app to check-out - we will post our review shortly.
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16Nov 2020
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Written By
Michel, HotelGyms.com Staff

Should you use a Smartwatch for your next Workout?

Most fitness products on the market are either liked or disliked by the majority. Smartwatches, on the other hand, divide the market like no other product. On one end, you have got the camp of people who adore them. But many people also see them as nothing more than a waste of money. So, which one to believe? Is there any value and benefits of using smartwatches for our training? Let's find out. What Are Smartwatches? Despite their name, smartwatches are not really just watches. I personally would rather call this a smart gadget as watches are to me something emotional. However, smartwatches are rather computers that do a lot more than tell us what the time is. The modern smartwatch offers a touchscreen display, a wide range of options, and an ability to be paired to your phone. Some of these watches also offer many apps and 'watch phone' capabilities, allowing us even to make and receive phone calls from them. What Benefits Do Smartwatches Offer? The most apparent benefit of smartwatches is versatility. Rather than just seeing the time, you have access to numerous functions that can make your everyday life easier. Often a smartwatch includes also a set of sensors to track some additional information, steps, heart rate, blood pressure, you name it. Another benefit (that can also turn into a drawback though) is that you can customize it to show notifications instantly being it e-mails, texts, calls, or a push notification from any app on your phone. If attending to such notifications as quickly as possible is a priority, then a smartwatch can be valuable. When it comes to training, a smartwatch can reveal some more benefits. For example: - Keep count of daily steps, calories burned, and heart rate. - Use a watch to map a run without carrying a (heavy) phone. - Time a full workout or time recovery periods to prevent slacking off. Some more expensive models are also waterproof, making them an excellent pick for swimmers to time laps and such. Also, if you typically use a note-taking app (such as Evernote, OneNote, etc.) to log your workouts, there are more sophisticated solutions when using a smartwatch. Workout apps, such as the Strong App I am using, would allow you to do it all from your wrist. Are There Any Downsides to Using a Smartwatch? As with most things, smartwatches also offer a few downsides. Yes, having a smartwatch can be beneficial, and they offer versatility. We can use them for our everyday tasks, and we can also track our fitness with them. The problem is, a smartwatch can turn into a massive distraction for many people, and that can hinder their training. For example, if you find yourself always having to answer e-mails, text messages, and calls while exercising, you can see why a watch might be a problem. Also, if you tend to use your watch every time you glance at it, that can break up your workouts and make you waste time. Another drawback of smartwatches is that they might not be as accurate when tracking fitness parameters such as step count, heart rate, and calories burned. Granted, smartwatch manufacturers are working hard to improve their algorithms and make their products more valuable. But, for the moment, you should not rely too much on these metrics. Just as an example, the heart rate. A smartwatch collects data from your wrist. According to recent research, however, this method might not be useful for some people and certain activities, resulting in inaccurate heart monitoring. Smartwatches also have a short battery life, and some you even need to charge at least once every two days. If you use your watch more often, you might have to charge it every night. And finally, as a relatively new technology, smartwatches are also pricey - a decent model will be in the $300-500 range. Which one is the best Smartwatch? That is a great question - as always with technology, this changes almost on a monthly basis. According to Men'sHealth, these are the five best smartwatches for fitness in 2020: - Apple Watch Series 6 - Garmin fēnix 6 - Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 - Fitbit Sense - Garmin Forerunner 745 Similar to smartphones, there are a lot of personal preferences when it becomes to brands, operating systems used, ecosystem, etc. You might want to check which one works best with your phone and provides the functionality needed for your fitness activity. Many friends of mine use Garmin products for running and cycling. I personally use the Apple Watch to track my runs with Adidas Runtastic, or workouts using Strong App. Conclusion Smartwatches are a promising technology. They do a lot more than tell us what the time is, and they will probably become a huge part of our lives in the future. You might want to follow Ray Maker (dcrainmaker.com) who is regularly testing the latest gadgets he is using for all kinds of sports. If you're interested in smartwatches' benefits and can live with the current cons, investing in one could be beneficial. But, be mindful and recognize that just as it can be a cool and valuable gadget, a smartwatch can also distract you, reduce your productivity, and even hinder your training.
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