Andrew Connor, Personal Trainer at the Crowne Plaza® Marlow gym, knows a thing or two about the challenges facing the modern business traveller.
He sees them coming through the doors of his fitness centre every day. “During the week, about 90% of the people I’m dealing with are business travellers,” he says.
And according to a recent Crowne Plaza® survey, 65% of them see such trips as an opportunity to focus on personal goals, as well as work. For many, that means either maintaining their exercise regimen or kick-starting a new one.
Coping with jetlag
One issue common to many guests travelling for business is jetlag. “We have people flying in from all over the world, from as far away as America and Australia,” says Andrew. “Understandably after a long-haul flight, they’re often quite lethargic on arrival at the hotel, and when they come to the gym it’s almost about trying to wake them up again.”
When it comes to getting over jetlag, Andrew has a couple of suggestions.
Its all in the routine: “One thing is to try to stick to your usual routine. If you’re used to exercising first thing in the morning, mirror that in your new environment too”
Goodbye to the on-board Bloody Marys: “On long-haul flights, I always make sure I’m well hydrated. And don’t indulge in alcohol, as that will affect your sleep cycle and have an effect on whether or not you are motivated to exercise.”
Exercise: It’s quality not quantity
One of the issues common to business travellers is time management – how they combine their professional obligations with their downtime. “People could be in meetings all day, which involves sitting for a very long time. This tends to mean that after the lunchtime period productivity drops because everyone’s getting tired.” In such circumstances, even a brief walk for a bit of fresh air helps. “It’s just about raising your heart rate that little bit,” says Andrew.
If you find you’ve got a free hour for lunch, then think about heading to the gym. “I’ve always been a big believer that it’s the quality of a session rather than the quantity that’s important,” says Andrew. “You could spend 20-30 minutes and get a very good workout in that time, which will leave you more tuned in and alert for the afternoon meeting.”
Different strokes for different folks
There is no average business traveller. Some people regularly use gyms, some play sports, some prefer to go for a run. Levels of fitness vary enormously. “One of the most important aspects when you are meeting new people all the time is being able to assess their fitness level and ability very quickly,” says Andrew. “I get them to do a warm up process in the gym, and from that warm up I can gauge their standard of fitness.”
The fitness suite at Crowne Plaza Marlow* gives guests lots of options. “In the gym we have cardio equipment like running machines, rowing machines and steppers, but we’ve also got free weights. We have classes too, and one of the benefits of this is you’ve got someone telling you what to do, which makes it that bit easier to get motivated, especially if you’re jetlagged.”
Not everyone is a fan of the gym, though, in which case Andrew can point them in other directions. “The good thing with the hotel here in Marlow is we have the spa and the swimming pool as well. So it can be something as simple as power-walking in the pool using the resistance of the water. Then there are classes like aqua aerobics, or pilates or yoga,” he confirms.
There’s a world of difference between something like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and yoga. The key for Andrew is to know whether someone is more tuned to a hardcore workout, or more suited to something low impact like yoga, which exercises the body in a more subtle way. “Some people are more productive after being in a relaxation state,” he says, “so it may even be that for them a massage works best.”
As for those who like to pound the streets, the Fitness Centre includes a Run Station, which is equipped with jogging, walking and cycling maps, as well as complimentary water, fruit and towels, all of which gives guests a chance to enjoy Marlow and the River Thames, on whose banks the Hotel sits.
Nutrition as another key issue with the business traveller. “When we’re away from our home comforts and routines, our eating habits aren’t always the best. There might be a business meal in the evening, and people might also be going to bed later because of that. These factors can make it a challenge when it comes to exercise.”
All Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts offer a Fast and Fresh menu that caters to business travellers at all times of the day, and which provides healthy food that energises guests without the usual recourse to sugary pick-me-ups. “We do find that 80% comes down to what you eat,” says Andrew. “I might spend an hour with a guest doing a workout, but it’s what they’re doing with those other 23 hours outside the gym that is ultimately going to dictate their wellbeing.”
Exercise to socialise
One of the things Andrew likes most about being a Personal Trainer is its social nature. “It’s really satisfying to meet people from all walks of life and build a rapport with them,” he says. “Sometimes we get regular business travellers and, prior to travel, they might arrange to reconnect with the Personal Trainer they’ve had before.”
There’s another advantage for Andrew in meeting people from all over the world. “Many business travellers use personal trainers back home,” he says, “so they’re teaching me things they’ve learned from their own trainer, which I can then pass on to other guests, so there’s a lot of useful feedback going on!”
To find out more about how Crowne Plaza is changing the face of modern business travel, or to book a room, visit crowneplaza.com/businessmostly.
* Personal Trainers are available at selected Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts