Neglect and Travel

As I gear up for my combination honeymoon and exploratory trip to Austria, I must apologize for neglecting my blog. Writing the last two posts on protein required a considerable amount of time to research, time I didn’t have. I could have blasted off some crap, the same crap you hear in the gym and read in the magazines, published my own opinion on the debate and left it at that. But I don’t play that way. I like to be right–as right as I can be–because it’s the only way this blog will be of true value to anyone.

Looking at my wife’s body, I guess she could afford a to take a few days off.

Even though I may not be writing often over the next two weeks (it is a vacation after all), my wife naturally assumed that since we’re going on holiday, we would forgo working out as well. We’re on holiday from work, not life, I reminded her and she quickly rescinded her comment, realizing she experienced a moment of dementia. So, as I begin packing, exchanging currency, planning and making arrangements, I want to give a few travel tips, having just discussed these with my wife, to assure her of how easy it is.

I’ve traveled more than I care to remember around the United States and at the top of the priority list when I land is checking out the local gym scene, which, with the advent of the Internet, I have already virtually explored. Working out is important and comes third in the list of basic necessities: food, water, lifting, then shelter. Many of you feel the same way, I’m sure.

The goal: find a place to lift without paying, or without paying too much. In the U.S., the task is easy if you belong to a big-box gym like Gold’s or 24hr Fitness. If you have a membership to one of these two, you’re set and there is no cost, if you happen to land where one exists. I’m usually not so lucky and this time, traveling abroad, my gym memberships are useless. All is not lost…

First, try the smaller, independent gyms. There are often local chains with a dozen or so gyms in the area and they have procedures, policies and pricing in place that is designed to discourage day-walkers (people in walk into the gym for a single-day use or maybe only a single week). I’ve walked into financially struggling gym chains that had the audacity to tell me the day-rate was 30 dollars. That’s more than my two gym memberships together cost per month. I left their gym barren and bereft of users, the way it stayed as they filed bankruptcy and still continue to rebuild (but they did drop the day rate to 25 dollars after the bankruptcy…how nice).

Independent gyms bend over backwards to get your business, often to enliven the atmosphere and make it more appealing for current and perspective members. At the independent gyms, I’ll get a week pass for 10 dollars.

Gold’s Gym in St. George, Utah: one of the best gyms I’ve ever lifted at while traveling.

Sometimes, this still doesn’t work, or there are no independent gyms worthy of consideration (I’m not often welcome at a Curves). Use your image and the promise–or threat–of publicity. For me, it’s easy because I have business cards, a blog, readers and most of the time, I’m sporting a superhero’s physique and I wear clothes tight enough to show it when I go in. I can talk with the manager, tell them I’ll review their gym on my site (which, to be honest I forget to do) and recommend them to my readers. They seldom check and I can normally get a week for 20 bucks, or a couple of days free. The cost of a blog on or zero. Multiple online printers offer free business cards, such as and, and business cards with your name, number and email address are always useful. And, I assume that if you’re this serious about your lifting, you look like it.

Sometimes, even this is not enough. Suck it up, consolidate your workout and pay the damn 25 dollar rate for the day-walkers. Be sure to ask how long the pass lasts before purchasing. Respectable gyms offer a 24 hour pass, which means you can get in two workouts in a day with one pass: a custom volume-discount solution.

Now you’re in the gym, and, of course, it sucks. They don’t have the machines you like or the right equipment or a deadlift platform, chains, bands, Hammer Strength or bosu balls (and if you ever go to the gym to use a bosu ball, please stop reading this blog). Man up and return to basics. I’ll bet anything that they have three things: a bench, a barbell and a squat rack–it’s all you need. This makes life easy because now you have four good choices: deadlifts, bench press, squats and bent-over rows. You may not hit any PR’s while traveling, but at least you can get it done.

Planning my own travels, I’ll probably end up paying for a day pass each time I go, as I doubt any of my normal techniques will work in Vienna. I do have three gyms scoped out that I want to take for a test spin: Top Gym, City Fitness and Club Danube. None I would label as hardcore, but they should get the job done; rather, I’ll get the job done with whatever I have. And if anyone has a suggestion for a gym in Sussex, England or Vienna Austria, let me know.