2013 Top Fitness Trends to be Aware of in the Hotel Industry

By Bryan Green Founder & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products | January 20, 2013

The New Year is upon us and your guests are in a heightened state of personal health awareness. Coming off a holiday season filled with extra calories and typically a reduction in exercise, we are all receptive to messages and offerings that will help us regain a healthy focus. Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) publishes its annual survey of fitness trends. Not all of them apply to the Hospitality space. However, maintaining awareness of the growing health and wellness concerns of your guests will help you continue to shape your fitness center over time. Not unlike other offerings or programs on property, the fitness amenity is one that must reviewed annual to insure that the environment you provide your guests is one that remains relevant to their needs and expectations.

The following are the top trends in fitness this year that apply to the Hospitality industry and how you can best keep pace with them:

Strength Training: Strength training remains vital in the overall workout equation. This area has traditionally been minimized in the hotel environment due to perceived concerns about safety and female demand. Well all that has been changing for some time now, and strength training achieved the no. 2 position overall for the second year in a row in the survey. Women today equally participate in strength training based exercise and it's imperative that the fitness center provide solutions that accommodate their needs as well in this regard. This means lighter dumbbells, cable based units that provide easy adjustment for users of all heights and extremity length, and finally an increasingly open area to conduct such movement.

Body Weight Training: Old becomes new again. Body Weight training is resistance training exercise without the use of additional tools or equipment. Guests become their own gym! Today, exercise modalities such as Yoga and mat Pilates are some of the most know examples. However, with the emergence of Crossfit and suspension training systems such as TRX, guests today require less equipment, but more free space to move within. By eliminating antiquated and bulky multi-station or other inefficient units in your fitness center, you will likely find a couple extra square feet to promote an expanded open area for floor based exercise, stretching, and the like. Fitness floor covering systems can now be designed to more specifically and safely designate areas reserved for such "movement" space versus the rest of the equipment in an open room. Making accommodations to support this trend will increase guest satisfaction while reducing equipment expenditures and subsequent upkeep.

Fitness for Older Adults: As Baby Boomers age into retirement (and because they may have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts), smart hotels will capitalize on this exponentially growing market and wellness minded consumer by providing age-appropriate exercise options. Some keys to insuring your fitness center is "active adult" friendly include: ease of adjustments on equipment, cable based machines that promote exercise fluidity first before intensive muscle building, flexibility station for stretching and free movement, and finally a strong cardiovascular equipment offering. The truth is most trends that best accommodate an active adult population are consistent with many of today's most progressive trends for exercisers of all ages.

Core Training: Exercising the core muscles improves the overall stability of the trunk which enables us to not only meet the demands of activities in daily living, but also perform better in various sports. The buzz word "Core" has remained relevant for the last several years, and there appears to be no slowdown in sight. To insure that your fitness center provides tools to accommodate this essential group of exercises, you can simply add a barrage of limited cost accessories to enhance your environment. Items such as rubber medicine balls, foam rollers, and ample stretching mats provide numerous ways for guests to get their core workout! Cable based weight equipment will also provide support for the various twists and turns with resistance required to engage ones core.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.