We’ve seen the 21st-century yoga revival, the CrossFit craze in 2012, and just last year the surge of obstacle races dominating the fitness world. Every year brings a new wellness trend or two, and 2018 is no different. At CompareRetreats.com, we’ve been chatting with our wellness experts to get the scoop on what to watch out for in our fitness studios and healthy holidays in 2018, and which fitness trends we NEED to include on our wellness journeys this year.
Eating ‘patterns’ will replace ‘diets’
In previous years we’ve seen fad diets come and go like… well, fad diets. But forget everything you think you know about counting calories and avoiding carbs because we’re not talking about what to eat anymore, but when to eat. Lindsay Jang, the co-founder of MISSBISH, reveals her dietary habits are all about timing: “Intermittent fasting is the next big thing. I’ve been using James Clear’s easy beginner’s guide.”
This isn’t calorie-cutting or counting, it’s about the time between meals – and it can increase muscle mass, decrease body fat, and according to Clear, improved his fitness performance with less time in the gym. So, if you thought that skipping meals was bad for you, think again if you want to ditch the diets for good.
Use cultural experiences to enlighten the mind, body and soul
Resorts are going to have to work harder at integrating cultural experiences in 2018 as travellers become more conscious about the location of the retreats they choose, says Mary Tilson, Yoga and Wellness Director for Nihiwatu. “Whether you are a resort, wellness centre or retreat, it’s important to consider that guests are arriving from all over the world with a unique set of circumstances affecting their current state of being. Travellers are seeking an experience that they can’t find anywhere else and that is customised to their individual needs.
“At Nihi Sumba, we integrate our signature NihiOka Spa Safari, Yoga and Healing sessions at our Organic Chocolate Factory with adjoining Jungle Spa, and SUP Yoga with awe-inspiring views of the Indian Ocean, which helps guests to relax, slow down, or offer just the boost of inspiration to become active.” So pass on generic resorts and look for something that will open your mind to new possibilities.
Digital detoxes are THE essential retreat holiday this year
There’s little escape from the technology overload of modern life, which is why people are going to be digitally detoxing more than ever in 2018. “People want an antidote to their current lives of sensory overstimulation,” says Sally Halstead of COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali. “Travellers want simple living rather than packed schedules. Natural landscapes and the harmonising colour green, which relaxes muscles and heals the mind. Silence will become more revered as the opportunity for quietude. The sounds of flowing water will comfort and rain will promote stillness during downpours. People will be searching for places which support their restoration. Travel will become an opportunity to distance oneself from everyday life and escape to a location without the stress of normal living and which offers a chance to heal through nature.” Start with turning your phone off for an hour or two, or powering down the laptop before you get into bed.
Fit-tech is going mass
Ok, so we are desperate to digitally detox, but back in the real world, technology is unavoidable – and following the trends of the previous years, 2018 will continue to see a rise in the use of Apple watches, FitBits and heart rate monitors as people seek a more scientific approach to fitness. “It goes beyond the wearable tech, though,” says Antonia da Cruz of GuavaPass Hong Kong. “We’re seeing an increase in the usage of digital apps and online services, like live-streaming of yoga sessions on platforms like Yogaia, or meditation app Headspace which has even been integrated into Cathay Pacifics on-flight entertainment.” Expect to see fit-tech becoming more accessible than ever – and a lot easier to integrate into everyday life.
Wellness travel will be making a social impact as well as a personal one
As we become more aware of the impact of our tourism, travellers want an experience that supports local communities rather than destroys them. Shoshana Weinberg, Spa Director of the Four Seasons, says: “I believe one of the big travel trends in 2018 will be finding connectedness through travel. When people are travelling overseas for retreats, they will be looking beyond just yoga offerings and healthy menus to find retreats that also help bring social impact to protect those that need it.” Consider retreats making contributions to their community, supporting conservation efforts, or helping the environment.
You’re going to find your wellness squad
If you consider yourself more of a lone wolf when it comes to wellness, think again for 2018 – it’s the year to find your pack. Whether it’s your co-CrossFitters, fellow yogis, or your Spartan team, this year is the perfect time to find your zone and the people who are there with you. While everyone has a personal wellness journey to go through, co-founder of Chōsen Experiences John Staunton thinks that wellness communities are on the up.
“It’s about connecting on the basis of your attitude versus geography. We already see successful communities in entrepreneurship such as The Summit, or creativity like The Burning Man. This is what we aim to do at Chōsen – create a community of people who are curious and are motivated by a desire to continue to learn and develop. We believe we will see more micro-communities across more aspects of wellness emerge in 2018.”
‘Personal wellness’ is your 2018 buzzword
While the world might not revolve around you, when it comes to wellness in 2018 you can afford to be a little self-indulgent as the focus on health becomes more internalised. I think we will see more retreats and workshops in line with wellness and self,” explains Karen Merrick, General Manager of Song Saa. “Different age groups will be looking for much more varied travel experiences, so personalisation becomes important.” Whether it’s time to focus on your mental health, or re-evaluating how you connect to the world, this trend is the perfect excuse to take care of number one.
Wellness warriors will be preventing sickness with functional medicine
People are going to start paying a lot more attention to functional medicine, from dietary supplements and superfoods to cleanses. Dr Jason Culp of Chiva-Som Resort says that people are becoming more aware of the benefits of being proactive in their wellbeing – especially when it comes to good gut health.
“The scientific research is uncovering the profound impact of optimal digestive function, an idea that was addressed thousands of years ago through pioneering physicians such as Hippocrates. The gut “microbiome”, the diverse collection of bacteria that resides in our digestive tract, is continuously being explored as a means to improve and cure a wide variety of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders, to name a few.” So start your 2018 health kick from the inside out, and check out a detox retreat this year.
Hybrid workouts are going to be the key to a balanced lifestyle.
While we all like an intensive workout sesh every once in a while, we all know it’s not sustainable for those of us with a family, social engagements or the 9-to-5 office grind – so the good news this year is that it’s out with jamming in ten HIIT classes a day, and in with ‘lifestyle’ wellness. “The rhetoric is shifting from drilling a fitness regimen until you drop, towards creating a well-balanced lifestyle that encompasses fitness, healthy eating, work, play and the odd indulgence,” says Emily Lieginger, pilates instructor and founder of Cueing Theory.
“Workouts will be less a chore to tick off and more a part of the lifestyle people are choosing to live. People will create more of a blend of fitness choices that works for them and steers clear of burnout. People will incorporate exercise into their every day: jog to your favourite brunch spot on the weekend, cycle to a coffee shop to get some work done, vacation somewhere that caters to your body needs, as well as your mental health. The key is moderation.” If you want to jump on the bandwagon, look out for hybrid classes like HIIT Yoga or strength boxing for something more dynamic.
Boutique studios are on the rise
People are looking for a personalised experience when it comes to fitness, which is bad news for big-chain global gyms, and good news for all the boutique studios that continue to pop up year-on-year. “Curated wellness is in demand. Boutique studio numbers are continuing to rise,” reveals Antonia Da Cruz of GuavaPass Hong Kong. “For example, Singapore is seeing 6 new boxing studios open this year, and our STILL Labs – 30 minutes of boxing and 30 minutes of yoga in one class – are proving increasingly popular as well.” Check out the boutique gyms in your area and see what quirky classes they have on offer.