breaking news

Stalked for 31 years, ex-ballerina pins hopes on West Palm jury

A full workout for Baltimore's groundbreaking terminal gym


Of all the reasons to sweat at an airport, Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport now offers a good one. 

Roam Fitness recently opened its first location in BWI's new D/E Connector, which serves domestic and international passengers. The company plans to expand nationwide, likely starting with Charlotte, Pittsburgh and Atlanta; memberships will include access to all locations.  

"The next phase is educating the consumer about how it works and how it fits into their travel schedule," said co-founder Ty Manegold. He noted that BWI already prioritizes health and fitness, offering healthy dining options, a bike path and rentals, and the BWI Cardio Trail.  

Early one Thursday morning, I headed to BWI with a carry-on-sized backpack to simulate a pre-flight workout.  

Roam, located beyond security, is about the size of a typical airport retailer or larger-than-average hotel gym. At the front desk, I signed up for a daily membership on their iPad, which savvy travelers can do ahead of time. Through March, a day pass costs $25, month pass $150 and annual pass $500. Regular pricing begins in April at $40 a day, $175 a month and $600 a year.  

"The time is 6:30," the attendant said. "What time would you like me to book your shower?" He reserved a time and assigned me an overhead compartment-sized locker with USB and electrical chargers.  

The most common question from passersby: "What happens when I get all sweaty?" Roam has an answer for that, and seemingly everything else.  

Loaner clothing and shoes from Lululemon and Brooks come with each membership. You're on your own for socks, which they sell, along with a small selection of clothes if you're squeamish about communal gear.  

When the attendant showed me apparel options on the iPad - as though I were shopping - I was happy to select cropped pants, a tank and sneakers in my size. (You can borrow a sports bra too, but I BYO'd.) Before handing me the rented gear, he scanned electronic chips sewn in each item, linking them to my account in case they ended up in my backpack.  

Roam has enough equipment for a legit workout, whether you're up for hard-core training or physical therapy. Cardio options include two treadmills, recumbent and standard bikes, rowing and elliptical machines, and a human-powered, convex-shaped treadmill called Skillmill. The gym also has dumbbells from five to 50 pounds (embedded with chips so don't attempt to walk off with these either), a TRX system, yoga mats, Bosu balls, medicine balls, plyometric boxes (used in CrossFit), foam rollers and stretchy tubes.  

During my workout, I had the gym to myself, but countless passengers were curious enough to stop by the front desk. Shannon Toback, an Olympic weightlifter who lives in Baltimore, loved the concept. She flies once a month and said she would consider working out before a flight. "I could have trained this morning at 5 a.m., but you don't know what you'll run into with traffic and security," she said. When I told her my day pass included Lululemon clothing, her face lit up. "Offering to dress you if you don't have gear - that's a game-changer."  

After my workout, I found my name on a screen by one of the four private shower rooms. Each has a Kohler toilet with a remote controlled bidet and seat-warmer and an automatically lifting cover.  

Amazon's Alexa keeps track of your 15-minute time slot (and will tell you the weather or just about anything else you ask). I found the one hook insufficient for my coat, clothes and complimentary towel, and I learned the hard way that setting items on the mind-of-its-own toilet cover isn't a solution.  

If you're not careful, you could spend the entire time playing with the toilet and talking to Alexa.  

Roam has deodorant, shaving products, mouthwash and cruelty-free shower products and lotion. In the unisex, shared vanity area, I used the hair dryer while an attendant vacuum-sealed my sweaty sports bra and socks into a Ziploc pouch.  

She handed back something that looked like it belonged in my freezer but would certainly contain any odor on a flight. I tossed it in my backpack and headed out to the terminal, feeling energized from my workout, refreshed from my shower and sad only that I wasn't boarding a flight to a faraway land.  

- - -  

Kaplan is a freelance writer based in the District of Columbia. Her website is melaniedgkaplan.com.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Earth Day 2018: Ways to celebrate, honor the earth in Palm Beach County
Earth Day 2018: Ways to celebrate, honor the earth in Palm Beach County

Earth Day is every year on April 22. The intention is to raise awareness about the planet we live in and to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Want to participate? Here’s a list of Earth Day activities around Palm Beach County.  The Palm Beach Zoo’s party will be filled with educational, engaging and fun activities for...
Disney: Pandora Utility Suit coming to Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is introducing a 10-foot-tall way to get into the details of its World of Avatar. The Pandora Utility Suit, a mechanical apparatus guided by a human pilot, will debut at the theme park on April 22.  The new brand of street entertainment will inform guests about Pandora’s flora — bioluminescent and otherwise...
Retiring travel editor names his top 10 trips
Retiring travel editor names his top 10 trips

Over my 20-year career writing travel stories for The Seattle Times, a question I’ve fielded (happily, I should say) when meeting someone for the first time was almost as predictable as the number of pretzels I got flying Coach: What’s been my favorite trip? I usually fudged. Prettiest place? Nicest people? Most fun? Educational? How does...
In Beijing encounters, a wayward soul stumbles toward self-discovery
In Beijing encounters, a wayward soul stumbles toward self-discovery

I like to watch the beautiful women of Beijing spit on the street. My journey to get to the capital of China was arduous. I got an hour of sleep on the plane. My first 24 hours here came without closing my eyes. That first evening, a friend insisted on giving me a long walking tour of the city. Over the next few days, I visited the Forbidden City and...
In Bangkok, an intimate hotel with an inky past

1 Lan Luang Road; bpresidence.com   Double rooms from 4,800 baht (about $154).  Stop the presses. The fading glories of books and printing receive a retro-chic resurrection at Bangkok Publishing Residence, an intimate eight-room hotel that opened last year in the former offices of Bangkok Weekly magazine. The atriumlike four-story structure...
More Stories