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Fitness and Nutrition Trends in the Spa

By Michelle Kleist, RD February 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

“Welcome to the real world.”
       No doubt, you have heard this phrase a few times. Usually, it is used to ground someone from their grandiose ideas or fairy tale expectations.
       When it comes to nutrition and fitness, today’s consumers are asking for real-world options. Gone are the days of simply burning as many calories as possible and tallying every morsel that goes in the mouth.
 
Fitness
       When it comes to fitness, real-world means gentle, efficient, personalized and fun. 

      Gentle. The aches and pains of hardcore fitness classes are anything but desirable, especially when one considers the long-term effects.
       “Guests definitely want a fitness program that will provide results,” says Betty Loiacono, spa director at The Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Connecticut. “In our setting, they are not interested in leaving with pain.”
       Enter mind-body exercises, such as yoga and Pilates.

       Efficient. Time is very precious. There never seems to be enough of it to do everything, including a 90-minute workout. Shorter classes are emerging, and integration of classes for those who struggle to find the time to work out is becoming more common.
      
       Personalized. What is right for one may be ineffective for another; thus, a fitness program that is tailor-made has great appeal.

       Fun. If you enjoy something, chances are you will do it again. This is why fitness experts encourage you to find activities that you like and to do them often. Hiking, ballet, volleyball, weight lifting, hula hooping—whatever it is that makes you happy. Spas are following suit by offering these fun classes.

               Dance. And not just any kind of dance—belly dancing, ballet for beginners and live DJ dance parties. This goes way beyond salsa aerobics.
              Outdoor activities. Mother Nature offers a great playground for all ages. There are no gym memberships or equipment required; exercise can be done alone or with a group just outside the front door. The fresh air and scenery make exercising outdoors much more enjoyable than working out at the local gym.

Nutrition
       As with fitness, consumers want real-world nutrition. Similarly, a spa’s nutritional options should be natural, efficient, personalized and fun.

       Natural. There are many reasons—safety, nutrition, taste, environment—to buy organic, shop local markets or grow your own garden. More and more people are doing so.
      

      Efficient. Most people don’t have the time to tend to their own gardens or prepare a week’s worth of healthy dinners for the family. Or do they? They simply may not be sure how to go about it.
 
       Personalized. Consumers need help figuring out what nutrition recommendations mean to them personally. Some spas employ registered dietitians—the experts in translating nutritional recommendations into practical advice—for consultations, grocery and market tours, cooking demonstrations and fireside chats. All are popular among guests, especially the private sessions.

      Fun. Wine and chocolate at spas? Yes! Finally, trends are moving away from analytical eating, and that means that everything—including wine and chocolate—is OK in moderation.
 
       Consumer demands drive trends, and what consumers want when it comes to nutrition and fitness is real-world solutions. The more closely you align your spa’s program with practical and personalized approaches, the more successful your program will be.     

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