New venture for tourists who want to ‘lose weight in paradise’
A businesswoman is starting a new venture aimed at bringing fitness tourism to Bermuda.
Norma Thomson wanted to help people lose weight and eat healthier as part of a regime similar to TV’s “Biggest Loser” .
She launched Fitness Bay Resort, which will be based out of Cambridge Beaches Hotel & Spa and the Sandys 360 community centre to offer retreat-style, all-inclusive weight loss and fitness vacations.
The programme will make regular use of the indoor pool, gym and other facilities at Sandys 360. Fitness instructors from Cambridge Beaches as well as Fitness Bay Resort will teach yoga, spinning, core conditioning and other exercise classes.
Ms Thomson, the mother of two, has decided to follow her lifelong passion for fitness and eating well. She’s always been a fitness enthusiast, and exercises regularly, while following the paleo, or caveman diet, which frowns on grains, dairy, salt, refined sugar and favours lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
After Ms Thomson secured three silent partners she made the decision to resign from Bacardi next month to run Fitness Bay Resorts full-time. She has worked at Bacardi for eight years as events coordinator.
“The results-oriented programme is similar to the network television series, ‘The Biggest Loser’ experience, and focuses on exercise and healthy eating,” Ms Thomson said.
“Participants take energetic hikes, yoga, core-conditioning, spinning and other low-impact exercises and learn how to make simple life-style changes that deliver incredible results. Low calorie, nutritious meals are specially prepared by Cambridge Beaches chefs.”
The motto is “Lose Weight in Paradise”, said Ms Thomson. “And what better place to offer the programme than at Cambridge Beaches, where many of our activities can take place on pristine pink-sand beaches and gorgeous hiking trails. And just a short walk away we’ve got access to the fully-equipped gym, indoor swimming pool and other world-class facilities of Sandys 360.”
Mrs Thomson said participants can come for a week, or long weekend, and residents of Bermuda can take advantage of lower pricing if they don’t stay at the resort for the programme.
She said she hoped to involve the Tourism Department in the venture eventually, pointing out it would be an ideal way to boost business in the off-season months, when the weather is still much warmer than the US East Coast and Midwest.
“Because we’re so close to the East Coast, we’re initially attracting business from major US cities such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Philadelphia,” she said.
She said the programme was designed for people of all ages, she herself being 51.
“Our goal is to help them kick start their metabolism and set them on the right course, so that when they return home they’ll be motivated to stay with the same daily habits they’ve learned here in Bermuda,” she said.
She got the idea for the company after taking part in weight loss and exercise programmes herself at the Fitness Ridge “Biggest Loser” Resorts in Malibu, California and Ivins, Utah.
“For people on the East Coast, Bermuda is a lot closer than California or Utah,” she said. “So I thought why not have a programme like that here.”
Ms Thomson said they approached Biggest Loser about branding a Bermuda programme, but although interested, the company would have wanted to operate the programme itself so it did not work out.
Instead they have partnered with Cambridge Beaches and are actively marketing in the US with the aim of signing up to 10 people a week for the Bermuda programme, which is expected to cost around $2,900 a week inclusive ($1,500 for Bermuda residents).
The first retreat is expeectd to take place in January just in time to capitalise on New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier.