TRX suspension equipment at the Hershey Hotel's new gym. Travel Update photo by Barb DeLollis.

TRX suspension equipment at the Hershey Hotel’s new gym. Travel Update photo by Barb DeLollis.

HERSHEY, PA. – When we’re on the road often, working out in the hotel gym can get boring so I’m always watching for new distractions – and possible trends.

And now, for the first time in years, I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found something new and interesting.

In addition to the yoga mats and exercise balls that hotels have been adding over the last five or so years, I’m starting to find TRX suspension training equipment that was initially used in the Navy SEALS.

As you can see in the photo above, the TRX equipment looks like a pair of simple belts, but they can be used in numerous ways to leverage your body weight. You can stick your feet in them to hold a very intense plank, for instance.

By no means am I suggesting that you’ll find TRX equipment in your favorite Holiday Inn, Westin or Ritz-Carlton tomorrow, but I’m betting we’ll eventually see more hotels carry them. Why? Consumers are increasingly using TRX and – from the hotel’s perspective – they don’t take up a lot of space or cost much relative to adding a treadmill.

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When I asked Twitter friends if they’d like to see TRX in hotel gyms, trainer, author and former Royal Marines commando captain Sean Lerwill ‏(@SeanLerwill) told me that he gives the concept a big thumbs up.

The TRX equipment is front and center when you walk into the Hershey Hotel's new gym. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

The TRX equipment’s front and center when you enter the Hershey Hotel’s new gym, which also features a separate yoga studio and plenty of natural light. Travel Update photo by Barb DeLollis.

Right now, Lerwill travels with his own.

“I’ve got a door anchor to take it to hotels! Very versatile piece” of workout equipment, he told me via Twitter. A frequent traveler, he last used his TRX equipment at the trendy Saifi Suites Beirut, an upscale boutique hotel in downtown Beirut.

I’m probably late to the game, but I personally had never heard of or tried TRX until I stayed in September at IHG’s newly opened EVEN hotel in Rockville, Md. in Washington D.C.’s suburbs. (Confession: I first tried to climb them and stand on them like a piece of gymnastics equipment!)

The chain is IHG’s attempt to court the fitness-minded road warriors who might work out daily and shop at Whole Foods when at home.

What’s interesting about the chain is that its gyms are extra-large, contain windows and/or frosted glass to reduce that feeling (in tiny hotel “gyms”) of claustrophobia and are prominently located right near the front entrance. Furthermore, the gyms contain high quality treadmills and other typical equipment – in addition to TRX suspension ropes. As IHG grows the chain, TRX will become more common at least in EVEN hotels.

So last week I was surprised when I saw the same TRX ropes at the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, PA, during the annual conference for Historic Hotels of America. The hotel about six months ago completely redid its fitness center, which has a separate yoga studio and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the scenic woods. The fact that TRX figured prominently in the gym revamp proved to me that it’s on hotel owners’ minds as a smart addition.

You may have seen TRX equipment in other hotels, and if you have, I hope you’ll tell us which ones in the comments section below.

Readers: Impressed a little, a lot or not at all by TRX? What other feedback do you have when it comes to hotel gyms?

Disclosure: Expenses for my trip to Hotel Hershey were covered by Historic Hotels of America.