The day before the early-morning workouts on the trade show floor, I decided to try out the hotel's fitness facility. Part of that was for research, and part of that was so I could continue my streak of walking at least once a day.
Walking down the hall leading up to the fitness facility, I could see through the windows that the place was packed, even for a little past 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning. That got me pumped up, as did the pictures hanging in the hallway next to the facility. Who wouldn't get an extra boost of energy seeing framed photos of Jerry Lewis, Bob Newhart and Sid Caesar?
I was pretty surprised when I found out that you had to pay to use the facility. I was later told that is not uncommon for hotels to charge their guests for the use of their fitness facilities. The hotel where we stayed at for the IHRSA show didn't have a fitness fee.
As I was waiting for an elliptical or a treadmill, I ran into Ajay Pant, the general manager of the Midtown Tennis Club back home in Overland Park. He was in Chicago to watch Alan Schwartz receive our Lifetime Achievement Award. Ajay encouraged me to give cardio tennis a try. I think I might.
Despite the heavy traffic, the facility had enough equipment--including some strength equipment-- to accommodate everybody. Some fitness club vets were kind enough to spray and wipe down the treadmills or ellipticals after they were done using them. I followed suit after my workout was over.
Today, with the show about to close, the room was a lot less crowded. On the news, a deer had smashed into a window at a health club in Wisconsin. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. When deer want to do cardio, they really want to do cardio. The other incredible story I saw while working out came two days ago when Chicago Bear legend Dick Butkus was promoting a "play fair" campaign. This from a guy who used to tear the heads off running backs and anyone in his path.
Just for fun, I used the locker room so that I could change into my swimming trunks for a little Jacuzzi time. No one was in the locker room while I was there, and I felt safe using the key the front desk staff gave me in exchange for my room key. Still, with news of locker room thefts all too common, I wouldn't want to put any of my valuables in a health club locker. I don't know what the answer is, but this is a problem health clubs have to correct in a hurry.