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Six Weeks to Summer Series: Days 15-17 – How a Hotel Can Impact Our Health and Fitness Goals

It is Days 15-17 of this 42-day series on Six Weeks to Summer: A Traveler’s Fitness Plan.

I am combining a few days into one post since I have virtually done the same-same each of the past few days in my goal towards fitness. I am now in Kristiansand, Norway at Rica Hotel’s Hotel Norge (pronounced ‘Nor-ga’) and will be here much of the next two weeks.

There are three health-friendly traits of the Hotel Norge that are helping me achieve my goals:

(1) The hotel’s restaurant makes fresh veggie/fruit juice each morning with their juicer. Celery, ginger and apple is common, though they have juiced beets and carrots. A surprise thick, cold fruit smoothie was served the other day – a new offering. My preference is the vegetable-based juices so as to not have the sugar-rush of too many fruits, though the smoothie was delicious! The juice is included in the breakfast buffet in a shotglass-sized serving. If it’s a veggie juice, I’ll ask for two! I wish more hotels had a juicer and offered fresh vegetable juice in the morning.

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My daily breakfast is smoked salmon and whitefish with red/yellow/green pepper, tomato and cucumber slices, with a mug of hot lemon water, along with my shot glasses of juice.

(2) The servers and chefs are very happy to prepare my meals according to my specifications and, because I have stayed at this hotel so much in the past year, they can recite my criteria for me: “Salmon steamed, no sauce, no potatoes, extra steamed broccoli, no bread, salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.” The only thing that changes is the protein as I’ll switch it out for a lean steak or other fish, and often they’ll add steamed carrots or asparagus. This trait isn’t unique to this restaurant, obviously, though I really appreciate how easy they accept my requests. I have at times asked the chef to just surprise me – make a healthy dinner in any way he’d like to. I have always gotten a meal I love and I think he likes the chance to go rogue from the normal menu.

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(3) They have an in-house fitness center (most hotels in this city do not). It’s not much. In fact, colleagues have nicknamed it a “fitness closet,” but it does the trick when the weather is bad or when I don’t have time to get to the fitness center in town. Their cardio machines work great and I’ve been using the ball for ab exercises. There is a full-scale fitness center in Kristiansand that has all the cardio and weight offerings you could want, as well as a full schedule of classes. They offer a 50 NOK (about $10 USD) daily rate to use their facility and I get there when my hours allow. The Hotel Norge also has a dry sauna (one in each of the ladies’ and mens’ facilities) so I relax in here at times. This is a treat!

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Tips for Travelers:

Always ask for the meal preparation you would like. If you’re not sure if certain ingredients are in an item, ask. Sometimes servers will give you an answer that leaves you wondering. Tell the server you will die if there is flour, peanuts, dairy, etc. in the food. This may be literally true for you, and even if it’s not, it is true in that you will die a slow death if you eat what you’re trying to avoid! When they hear this, expect them to double-check with the chef to be sure.

Ask if a hotel has fitness offerings other than their fitness room. Many have arrangements with nearby fitness centers for a daily rate available to guests and some hotels offer in-room equipment or television channels that offer yoga, for example. Another offering I see from hotels are maps if you want to do a run and some even offer guided walks or runs. These posts offer more: Working Out in Hotels and 12 Ideas for Working Out on the Road.

Talk with hotel management on what you’d like to see the hotel offer (fresh veggie juice from a juicer, for example). Even though chances are high you won’t see the wish list item during your current stay, management is more apt to consider amenities when they hear them repeatedly by several guests.

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