Tip of the day: Exercise gyms inside airports

As you well know, I travel a lot.  And while it’s relatively straight forward to train and travel with short flights up and down the coast in the US, it becomes much more difficult to travel and train when your day starts on a flight at dawn in East Africa, stops in the Middle East for a few hours, and then continues with a 14 hour nonstop flight back to DC.  I use Dubai a fair bit when going to Africa, India or the Middle East due to the nonstop United Airlines flight they have there that fits my normal body clock really well no matter which direction I travel.

Thus my excitement back a number a months ago, well actually late last year I think, when I found out that Dubai airport actually has a gym inside the airport itself.  No, not at a hotel across the street.  And not at a hotel built into/above the airport.  Nor even prior to the security lines.  Nope, it has it actually inside the airport – past security right next to the gates.

This is critical because in most cases you don’t want to be landside (that’s the part of the airport prior to security), you’d much rather be airside (beyond security near the gates) that way if changes in flight times occur, etc… it’s easy to adapt.  It’s also quick because you don’t have to leave security to go in/out – thus it’s literally no different than going through a bathroom door inside the terminal.

But here’s the real kicker – the gym – only cost about $8US to use.  And that also includes access to your own little private shower stall with brand new little mini-bottles of shampoo and towels and other smelly stuffs.


The above is a picture I took there earlier this year on a stopover.  Inside they’ve got a handful of treadmills, a few stationary bikes and a slew of other normal gym weights/equipment.  Oh, and a pool table.  I’m not sure why exactly…but it’s there.

But you know what’s even more important than all of the above?  The gym is centrally located right on top of McDonalds and across the hall from Cold Stone Creamery (yes, they have that in Dubai).  Why McDonalds you ask?  Well, McFlurries…duh. Though last time I was there they didn’t have Recess, just Oreo.  This is critical for post-workout refueling.

So I’d be curious – what other airside gym’s do you know about?  Any other airports internationally with gym’s?  This site has a good listing of domestic ones, but not much overseas.  For me, the international ones are of most use, especially in the major hub airports.

Thanks for reading all!


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  1. Gyms and McFlurries!

  2. There is a small one in Singapore: a couple of treadmills, stationary bikes, rowers and some weights.
    You can get some massage.
    It’s located at the entrance of the duty free shop.

  3. Wish I knew that when I had to wait 9 hours there last time due of a delayed flight.

  4. I only know about the one in Vegas. In theory, you can also pay to use the one at the O’Hare Hilton for a nominal fee, but I’ve never tried. I wish major hub airports had these; my employer will pay $15/day for fitness facility usage and this would be a wonderful way to kill time at a hub

  5. Ignorant American questions: Is this a men-only gym?

  6. Nope, anyone can walk right up and use it. It’s also attached to a hotel as well, also airside, but you can mix and match and use any pieces – no membership required…just $8US. Enjoy!

  7. Terminal A, AA Admiral’s Club airside at DFW has cardio machines along with showers. Hilton at LHR has a gym, you can take the shuttle back from the Hilton to the terminal (rather convoluted to get there).

  8. Cool, thanks Jane! I might use the LHR one here in the semi-near future.

    And neat blog on your recent China trips. Looks like a blast!

  9. TJ

    The Singapore airport Gym is really good, the attached open air swimming pool is even better.

  10. Prashant

    So where do you store your luggage while you work out? Do they have any facility for that included with the gym charge?

  11. I had NO idea some airports had gyms! Thats AWESOME! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Julien

    Hi all – from a fellow Parisian…
    The best one I have been at is in Zurich’s airport.
    Unfortunately it is before security, it is within the airport itself, a 5 minute walk to the checkin area.
    Take care

  13. Scott

    Delhi airport has a gym in the airside transit airport. Given long layovers are common in DEL is not a bad option if you are stuck and don’t want to venture outside the airport. Access to the gym comes with the hotel room (1/2 day or full day rates) link to newdelhiairport.in

    While not in the airport, I have used this route at Frankfurt when I had a longer layover(4 hrs+). Nice woodland trails once you get off the airport area (all on footpaths and pretty simple woodland loop (hard to get lost).

    How to: On arrival, exit the terminal and find the baggage storage service link to frankfurt-airport.com.

    Toilets are nearby so do a quick change into running gear, check-in bag in storage (€4.50 for 2 hours) and off you go link to mapmyrun.com

    On return, pick up bags, proceed to security and go to a LH lounge for a shower (this assumes you have credentials) or to airport shower facility. link to frankfurt-airport.com

    Definitely raised a few eyebrows coming through security in my running gear but it was a good way to shake off the overnight long haul flight.

    Happy travel running in 2015!

  14. Hyunseok Ahn

    Such a nice information which I really needed!! Thanks so much. I have a question.(But I’m not sure if you check comment on old post like this.) Do they provide clothes or shoes for using in the gym?

  15. Blazee

    How much would you all be willing to pay to workout in an airport and take a shower. Also if there were gyms in multiple major airports how much would you be willing to pay for a monthly membership?

  16. Stephen

    Toronto International has a Goodlife fitness.

  17. Adrian Wallace

    I was looking into this to see if there’s anything in Hong Kong where I have a few hours to kill later this year. – and it looks like there’s nothing airside other than lounges with showers.

    Then I figured – ‘hey – its a big building isnt it? Why not run a few laps?’. Not sure on how security would react to an airport jogger – but if this can be believed its a 4km loop of the terminal! (measurements obviously very crude):

    link to mapmyrun.com

    Does that seem right? Has mmr miscalculated somehow?

  18. Peter

    While at Munich they don’t have anything inside, if you are connecting flights inside and outside the EU (or Schengen?) you have to exit in any case. That’s when the gym in the NH hotel between terminals comes in handy. Well-equipped, clean, nice, and saunas inside. Sort of pricey iirc, but what can you do!

  19. Erik Hermansen

    Very cool–I wish there were more gyms like this in airports. Related to this, I figured out a weird way to get exercise in on long layovers. Check all your bags except a light backpack with maybe an extra shirt and some deodorant in it. Wear comfortable shoes. Now run through the airport at a light pace. You look exactly like someone trying to catch a connecting flight, so nobody cares.

  20. Chad Latino

    Oh my, you saved my life! As an aging DC based and United FF Triathlete always traveling for the government I didn’t know about Dubai airport gym. You my friend are worth your weight in goal.

    I love your blog!

    Chad Latino
    Former Head Triathlon coach University of Montana
    Former USAT Regional Coaching Director

  21. Jean-Marie

    Nice blog DCR! Well done!

  22. Devashish Paul

    In Frankfurt I took a shuttle to the Steinberger hotel which is free and they have drop in at the gym with pool and endless running in the trails next door. Multiple times I have done a 2-3 hrs workout on longer layovers. Toronto, godlike fitness outside security o use that often. Good to know about gyms in Dubai and Delhi air side!!! Any recommendations on Heathrow? I think I have 4+ hrs there next week. May need to just take a shuttle to a local hotel and do that option

  23. How much would you all be willing to pay to workout in an airport and take a shower. Also if there were gyms in multiple major airports how much would you be willing to pay for a monthly membership?