Be Well: Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Woodstock, Vermont has been my home for just a few months now. It wasn’t a carefully researched, planned move, and honestly I had no idea whether it was the right decision. One thing that has made this move a positive one for me is the sense of community I’ve experienced in this town, and a huge part of that has been due to my job working at the Woodstock Athletic Club, part of the Woodstock Inn. I’ve been in the fitness industry for nearly ten years now, but the past few years since having children I’ve been working independently, and for a while until recently, staying at home. While I love the one-on-one relationships I formed with my private clients, something I’ve always loved about health and fitness is the group dynamic, whether in fitness classes, gyms, or by the shared experience of events like races – something I’ve appreciated anew since beginning this job.

That’s why I was so excited when I first found out about the Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn being planned for this summer. You may have heard of hotels and resorts catering more to the health and fitness oriented clientele, by offering in-room video fitness classes, yoga onsite, healthy menu choices, and even some hotel rooms with gym equipment already in the room. The Woodstock Inn, while not offering spin bikes in their suites (it doesn’t really go with that old-school Vermont charm..), already has a natural lean toward health and wellness. There is a full-service spa onsite, bikes are available for all guests to use to explore the village, trail maps are readily available, mountain biking, and we have a ski field, golf course, extensive gym with tennis, a pool, Pilates studio, and even a mountain on which yours truly takes members and guests trail running! The Inn even boasts its own organic garden which grows and harvests most of the produce for its restaurants, as well as the flowers for its arrangements.

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Photo courtesy of The Woodstock Inn

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Photo courtesy of The Woodstock Inn

So, what is a Wellness Weekend? In keeping with the holistic idea of wellness, the weekend had a mix of fitness classes, inspiring lectures, amazing food, nutrition classes (held in the resort’s beautiful Kelly Way Gardens where all that food is grown), guided hikes with discussion of change and growth and goals, a silent auction benefitting the Jeff Robinson Fund, and even jewelry making with crystals.

One of the highlights for me was the Spartan Strong fitness class at 6:30am on Saturday (you know I love to sweat!). My colleague Andrew teaches this class, new to the Athletic Club, and this one he co-taught with one of the keynote speakers, Aimee Nicotera, who has a long resume in the fitness industry (and is so inspiring and dynamic, both as an instructor and as a speaker). This class ROCKS. It is as hard as you want to make it – each exercise has three different options to cater for different fitness levels – and you use these sand-filled Spartan ‘pancakes’ that are just so much fun. It’s creative, challenging, inspiring, and best of all it is not usually held at 6:30 in the morning on a weekend, but at 5:30pm on a Wednesday. Lol. I am definitely going to make it to this class as often as I can. 

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

As well as being a great instructor while we were all sweating and (possibly) cursing her under our breath during Spartan Strong, Aimee gave two presentations, one on nutrition, and one on using SMART goals to make positive changes. I am always slightly nervous going into a nutrition talk with someone who is not an RD or a certified nutritionist, but I was impressed by the simple, sensible info Aimee gave. There were no fads, no gimmicks, no “bad” versus “good”, just information it would be easy to use for yourself (for the Be Well guests in attendance), or to share with clients.

Her talk on goals was so helpful for all the participants. The SMART goal outline is something pretty well known – to be successful, a goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Oriented. What I think all the guests appreciated most, though, was how much focus she put on actually working to maintain a goal once you’ve achieved it. It’s something fitness professionals see so often – sometimes a client’s goal is SO time oriented (like losing weight for an event, for example), that once that deadline has passed, the impetus to continue working is not as strong. We discussed ideas on how to continually modify goals to make them relevant for our lifestyle and needs, and practical ways of keeping that motivation going. 

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

One of those ideas was having positive mantras, affirmations, visuals and quotes to inspire ourselves. You know I’m on board with motivating quotes (if I’m not sharing them, I’m wearing them!), and one Aimee highlighted that has been meaningful for her in her work as a trainer, as well as in her own life, was, “What do you want? What are you doing? Do they match?” Simple, yet powerful in its message.

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Aimee also offered an indoor cycling class, a stretch class, and a great class of short, simple, at-home workouts with a DVD included so the guests could take what they learned in the fitness classes, and feel comfortable working out anywhere.

The other speaker was Jon Aronoff, who spoke in a keynote about the power of change – what it can do for us physically, mentally, and spiritually. Jon is a doctor of psychology and a psychoanalyst, as well as a fitness coach, so he brings a total holistic approach to fitness to his coaching practice. There is a real link between physical fitness and healthy emotions and well-being, and after his keynote lecture, Jon put that into practice by taking us all on guided hikes in the beautiful national park steps outside the resort, to walk and discuss aspects of change and physical growth as we did. 

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

So let’s talk about the food. It was so, so good. The executive chef at the Inn created a special menu for the Wellness Weekend guests, with a focus on healthy eating using fresh, in-season produce. I wish I had a private chef so I could eat like this every single day. The breakfast spread (which I didn’t even photograph because I was so busy eating it all and chatting to the other guests), was a mix of omelettes, berry parfaits, fresh fruit, and pastries made in-house, and it was all delicious.

The lunches were even better. Look at all that green goodness! And that salmon was cooked perfectly.

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

And yes, there were desserts, and no, they were not healthy. šŸ˜‰ Because life’s too short to not have the cherry chocolate mousse cake once in a while, right? All about moderation, people.

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

All the Be Well guests left with these gorgeous gift bags filled with spa and fitness goodies. A lot of the participants staying at the Inn for the Wellness Weekend booked services at the resort spa, so it was lovely that they also received some of the products used and available for sale in the spa as a gift.

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

 

Be Well - Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn

I knew I would love the weekend’s activities and talks, because fitness is my passion. But it was so gratifying to talk to some of the guests who had traveled to the Woodstock Inn for the Be Well weekend, and hear about why it was important to them, what they were getting out of it, and how much they were learning, both about wellness and about themselves. This kind of special event programming in hospitality with an emphasis on health and fitness is something I hope will continue to grow – in scope, availability, and popularity. This was the inaugural Wellness Weekend at the Woodstock Inn, and it was such a success. 

Have you ever stayed somewhere that had an emphasis on health and fitness?

Would you attend a wellness retreat?

PS: I was not compensated or sponsored for this post, although I do work at the Athletic Club of the Woodstock Inn. šŸ™‚

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