Whether your Spa Girls getaway lasts one day or one week, remember, this is simply the beginning. The payoffs come later.
The Group
  • You can start with as few as three members, but six or seven is ideal.
  • This is your support system, so select members who have serious intentions to lose weight, get healthy. You want people who will be there when you fall.
  • Make sure everyone is truly committed. If one member drops out, the whole group dynamic changes.
  • Give each member a job that suits her personality or lifestyle. For example, have the person with the best house be the host. Choose the high-energy Spa Girl to lead the exercises, the serene one to lead a 15-minute morning meditation. Put the music diva in charge of tunes.

The Routine
Set up a schedule to give the days a familiar rhythm, but keep it flexible so you don't stress out.

Example Spa Girls Routine
7:30 a.m.
7:45 a.m.  15-minute meditation
8:10 a.m.  20-minute brisk walk
8:30 a.m.  Breakfast
9:30 a.m.  Morning exercise program
11:30 a.m.  Leisure bike ride
12:30 p.m.  Lunch
1:30 p.m.  Beauty treatment
3:30 p.m.  Iced-tea break
4:30 p.m.  30-minute exercise program
5:30 p.m.  Dinner (want to be done by 7 p.m.)
7:30 p.m.  Group discussion

The Exercises
Choose workouts that will make the transition from special weekend to everyday habit.

Walking: Great because everyone can do it anywhere, it's aerobic and it puts the least stress on your muscles and joints. Bob Greene suggests measuring y our walks by time, not distance. Start with 30 minutes, slowly building your pace and going farther. Drink plenty of water throughout.

Crunches: At some point every morning, gather everyone for crunches, the most important exercise you can do because it enhances all your other activities by strengthening your torso, which helps stabilize your body. Bob suggests a daily 5-minute routine of four to five sets of 15 repetitions. Mix basic crunches with variations—twisting your trunk from left to right; raising your bent legs in the air.

60 Minutes of Hard Exercise: Rotate among cardiovascular equipment and aerobic stations like jumping rope or boxing. If you don't have a cardio machine, rentals are available at gym-supply stores. Keep costs down and head to a nearby track or find some real stairs to climb.

Basic equipment you'll need:

  • Mats
  • Jumping ropes
  • Boxing gloves
  • Training pads

The Food
Let's face it, when you're working out hard all day, meals become a huge focus. Let the Spa Girl who's passionate about cooking act as head chef. Create menus based on a healthy, balanced eating plan. Make a grid of the weekend's menus and post it where everyone can savor it.

Chef Art Smith suggests:
  • Add flavor and texture to dishes with condiments like a dash of hot pepper or a generous sprinkling of Eden Foods' Seaweed Gomasio (a mix of roasted sesame seeds and minced seaweed)
  • Cook with kosher salt—larger grains let you see how much you're adding.
  • Never put salt shakers on the table.
  •  Presentation is key—hand that role over to the artistic Spa Girl. Put out fresh flowers, special tablecloths, candles, beautiful china. Decorate plates with flower petals, sprigs of herbs.
  • Art often uses food as a centerpiece, creating little piles of fresh, juicy fruit (cherries, strawberries) and tiny bunches of flowering herbs at each place setting.

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