LUXURY SPAS ARE MAKING IT EASIER FOR EVERYONE, from the dedicated fitness guru to the newbie exerciser, to enjoy a workout away from home by delivering the latest personal entertainment technology and easy-to-navigate equipment within an aesthetically pleasing environment. This trio—entertainment, approachability, and aesthetics—makes up the primary factors spas should consider to ensure they're providing guests with the most up-to-date fitness facilities. Each factor appeals to the variety of people working out while on vacation or visiting a destination spa; whether they want to maintain a fitness regimen while away, take advantage of the total wellness experience, or simply have a desire to try something new.
The spacious fitness area at the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples (FL) features a number of treadmills and elliptical machines.
Provide the Entertainment
Offering personal entertainment with fitness equipment is a growing trend across the fitness industry and makes particular sense for the high-end spa market. Rather than providing a limited selection of television screens shared by everyone in the room, facilities are delivering entertainment that the individual controls, making it possible to shift from TV to radio at the push of a button. Today, there are a variety of options, from a stand or attachable screen to the latest integrated touch-screen solutions, to meet this demand and your budget. Many manufacturers have used integrated touch-screen technology to build in more motivational elements, such as a pace goal setting for runners or landscape perspectives that show a user's progress along a nature trail, mountain course, or track. Users can easily switch back and forth from watching TV to watching their workout or doing both simultaneously with the help of a mini display. Offering this highly personalized and visually appealing environment helps exercisers at all levels finish that last mile or extra five minutes on a machine.
A variety of cardiovascular, strength-training, and Pilates equipment is available at the Palm Springs Yacht Club.
Keep it Simple
While entertainment is a buzzword in the fitness industry, approachability also plays an essential role when considering products to update your facility. Investing in equipment that's easy to use for both a first-timer as well as a fitness regular should be a primary consideration when mapping out plans for new cardio and strength-training areas. After all, people go to the spa to unwind and "switch off" the stresses and demands of everyday life. As a result, your fitness facility should reflect that same attitude. For example, look for equipment that's ergonomically designed to follow the body's natural path of motion so it's easy for the user to get on and go. Machines should also be user friendly. Look for cardiovascular fitness equipment that features similar controls so that buttons and programs for every piece of equipment are familiar when a guest moves from one machine to another.
The use of equipment is also popular in class settings, such as those at Miraval Life in Balance (Catalina, AZ).
Delivering approachable, easy-to-use equipment is especially important in terms of strength training, as more people from all fitness levels realize the benefits. Look to equipment manufacturers who can deliver a cross section of machines, benches, and racks to match the needs and skill sets of all your guests. In addition, seek out products that have easy-to-understand placards that provide clear instructions on how to perform the featured exercise.
Fitness equipment at Lake Austin Spa Resort Austin, TX) is strategically placed to overlook the lake.
Make it Look Appealing
Updating your facility with cardio and strength equipment from the same manufacturer will not only help guests get the most out of their workout time but can also be a starting point to build a great-looking space. Strength-training equipment with a consistent, low profile appears welcoming and makes the area look more spacious. Sleek oval tubing and contoured cushions provide a modern look along with full shrouds that cover mechanisms like plates and pulleys. Platinum has become the finish of choice for strength machines because the sleek metallic look complements almost any decor. Manufacturers also are designing cardio machines with metallic-looking finishes to help create a cohesive appearance.
The fitness areas at Adolf Biecker in Philadelphia feature cardiovascular equipment with individual entertainment options.
Work with an equipment manufacturer that provides design assistance as part of its overall service to create a solution that works for your particular facility. These experts will structure optimal equipment groupings, creating natural progression from one machine to another. They'll also consult with you on proper equipment spacing, how to maximize entertainment offerings, or ways to create equipment groupings for special classes or circuit training.
Facilities often carry the spa's theme into the health center. Color and decor, together with artwork and creative lighting, can deliver a look of cohesiveness. Bringing these elements together with great looking fitness equipment in a well-thought-out design will create the aesthetically pleasing environment discerning spa-goers expect.
Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, CA, also feature cardiovascular equipment with individual entertainment options.
The demands to maintain an engaging, user-friendly, and appealing fitness environment are often amplified within a spa, resort, or cruise ship. But updating your spa fitness facility doesn't happen in a vacuum; pressures to remain current are coupled with pressures to operate within a budget. Some improvements will be more effective or essential than others, depending on the specific needs of your facility and user, but investing in high-quality equipment will save you money and frustration in the long run. Not only are these products more likely to reflect all the industry hot points—entertainment, approachability, and aesthetics—they're also more durable and able to weather daily wear and tear with grace. Weigh these factors as you consider updating your fitness facility to create an area that all your guests and clients can enjoy.
Lisa Packheiser is a regional trainer with Life Fitness Academy, the training and education arm of Life Fitness as well as corporate fitness director for Spare Time Clubs in Sacramento, CA. For more information about Life Fitness, log on to www.lifefitness.com