Mr. Green

Spas, Health & Fitness

2012 Trends in Fitness - How They will apply to the Hospitality Industry

By Bryan Green, President & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products

As your guest's fitness resolutions for the New Year have firmly begun to settle in, what trends might you expect to encounter demand for this year? For 2012, in many cases fitness trends continue to build upon recent exercise focus as the emergence of participants of all ages increase their demand and interest in staying fit. Baby Boomers and young adults alike increasingly intend to exercise during business travel and while on vacation. Anticipating your guest's endeavors to stay in shape while traveling will remain an important way to outpace the competition.

For the past five years, the trend toward educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals remains at the top of the list. As Americans and our global counterparts alike only continue to get more overweight and unhealthy; an increased demand for health guidance remains on the rise. In recent years, the hospitality industry has certainly begun to answer the bell as it relates to healthy menus and increased exercise space. In short, there will be no need to deviate from continuing to extend the guest experience further into the realm of heath and wellness.

The key for those who operate an amenity in hospitality based fitness is to strive to provide exercise balance and a representative offering in wellness against the reality that such will never be everything to everyone. The hotel fitness center is not a replacement for one's commercial health club. Rather, it should establish a sufficient amenity that makes an effective effort to address the trends and the needs of the active traveler. Help your guests stay on track with their lifestyle commitments, and you will provide an important check off their list the next time they are considering a stay at your property.

The American College of Sports Medicine recently published its sixth Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends predicting and ranking the top 10 trends for 2012. The following is an outline of these trends and how your property might consider integrating them into the guest experience:

1. Education

The most important aspect here is to understand that travelers are increasingly more knowledgeable than ever before about the type of foods and exercise that are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, appealing to these trends will remain fundamental. You might find that providing in-house newsletters with tips and suggestions on "how to stay fit while on the road" or "Cardio in-between your meetings" might further demonstrate your awareness of what's on their mind.

2. Strength training

Several of the trends on the top 10 list incorporate some aspect of strength training. A well appointed amenity will provide the guest both cable based resistance training as well as a reasonable offering of free weights. Generally a set of dumbbells ranging from 5-50 lbs. and one or more adjustable benches is today's free-weight norm. Selecting cable equipment that will allow the exerciser to define their motion vs. increasingly outdated machine defined paths of resistance is also quickly becoming standard fare.

3. Fitness offerings for older adults

The great thing about exercise is that in most cases, what works for a 20 something generally remains the same for those in their later years. The difference is typically the intensity and resistance levels associate with the various movements themselves. Therefore, incorporating equipment that has the flexibility in adjustment as well as sufficient appeal to beginner and advanced users alike is key. One way to insure a wider appeal to exercisers of all types is to provide a sufficient enough stretching and movement space. This will allow for the freedom of those that wish to do mat based exercises or incorporate a variety of commonly used tools today such as foam rollers, stability balls, and exercise tubing.

4. Exercise and weight loss

These two categories remain joined at the hip. To offer a wonderfully appointed fitness facility, but find that your restaurant and room service choices do not easily identify healthy fare would be inconsistent. This is not to say that you're fine dining or quick choice restaurants must now be converted into healthy themed experiences. Rather, in both cases offering diversity in menu options with easily decipherable healthy selection notations are absolutely important.

5. Children and obesity

This is unfortunately an area of increasing concern and with little leveling off in site. For families traveling together on vacation, it's important to insure that children too are provided an offering in exercise. Outdoor fitness areas, obstacles courses, and family oriented walking or bike paths are low cost and highly effective ways to support children's needs as well for space to be active while traveling. Although much of youth fitness cannot be supported via the fitness amenity itself, providing an extension outside of such spaces are a great way not only to provide activities for children, but creating play time for families to be together in a healthy and fun way.

6. Personal training

Whether your hotel in an urban oasis or a full scale resort, certified personal trainers can provide guests with an extended experience that should not be limited to only the 5-star property. There are several widely recognized certifying agencies for personal trainers. Each of these agencies typically provides an online directory that makes it easy to identify local professionals that you can make arrangements with on an on-call basis. Having 3 or more prequalified professionals can make it easy for the front desk or concierge to round up a trainer for that guest seeking a more focused workout.

7. Core training

This exercise focus simply refers to the trend in building strength in the deep and superficial muscles that stabilize and move the trunk of the body. The primary focuses here are the abdominals and muscles of the back. To facility core training in the hospitality environment it's easy to provide a few additional items for your stretching and movement area such as medicine balls and balance pads. Additionally, your equipment provider can recommend a variety of cable based handle attachments that will further accentuate the exercise offering of the equipment you likely already have in place. Most of these core training solutions are relatively minimal in terms of cost, but will help provide a progressive environment for today's training methods.

8. Group personal training

This one is a bit more difficult for the average hotel property to embrace. As the cost of personal training is not always an affordable option for all, instruction in semi-private or smaller yet coordinated groups has become increasingly popular in today's health clubs. You may wish to review these options with those fitness professionals working as outside contractors for the facility or as part of the management team for properties that are large enough to be staffed.

9. Zumba and other dance workouts

The worlds of dance and group exercise have increasingly fused together with some very popular platforms in recent times. For properties that have sufficient space to provide a group exercise studio, it's likely that your instructors are already reshuffling the deck to further incorporate these energetic new trends.

10. Functional fitness

A great example of a trend that is not new, but continues to grow exponentially. Functional fitness movements refer to the performance of tasks in exercise training that replicate how we move in life. Lifting, throwing, catching and pushing are activities that we all encounter at some point in the day and our training to support these movements need be both intuitive and effective. To sufficiently support the demand for this contemporary method of training, it will be critical to provide adjustable cable based equipment that will again allow for the user to define their path of resistance vs. more traditional single station equipment. Most major equipment manufacturers have been steadfast in addressing such demand. Consequently you will find it relatively easy to select these important components for your facility.

For properties that have updated their offering in fitness and altered restaurant menus alike in recent times, it will be relatively easy and inexpensive to insure that you have the necessary nuances in place to continue to address the growing demand for health and wellness. For those facilities that have yet to make the requisite investment reflective of guest demand in this regard, perhaps the New Year is a perfect time to solidify a resolution to get on track.

Bryan Green is a fitness expert and advisor to core & non-traditional businesses alike in industries including hospitality, multi-family housing, corporations, and Academic institutions. Mr. Green serves as President and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products (AFP), a leading provider of innovative fitness and wellness-based solutions for commercial facilities worldwide and specialized residential environments. AFP offers expertise across multiple facets of the health & fitness industry, including facility design, equipment supply, and ongoing support. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with additional offices in Miami, New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, & Las Vegas. Mr. Green also serves on the Editorial Board for Fitness On-Site Magazine, and advisory boards for leading industry equipment and content providers TechnoGym, Star Trac, & Netpulse. Mr. Green can be contacted at 310-559-9949 Ext: 110 or bgreen@afproducts.com Extended Bio...

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