Ibiza wellness: Cotton Fitness Club – A healthy attitude to fitness
Cast your mind back to the not-so-distant past and our perception of fitness and personal training was on an entirely different plane – images of uninitiated novices struggling on treadmills often spring to mind, or military-esque trainers barking orders at frightened students. These days however, thanks to people like Christian and Merete Marstrander, owners of the brand-new Cotton Fitness Club in San Antonio, fitness has become more accessible for everyone; it’s now considered an everyday essential rather than a luxury – and that’s all year round.
“Personal trainers were only for the rich and famous around ten years ago,” explains Christian. “But now it’s more common than ever to invest money to get in shape.” This ethos is stamped all over Cotton Fitness Club, the island’s most stunning new workout hotspot. Hugging the shores of Calo des Moro with incredible panoramic views of the iconic Ibiza sunset, it’s a place to train, tan and take lunch – somewhere you can feel comfortable in undertaking a new fitness regime with the support of a talented team of trainers and a collection of some of the most exemplary gym equipment anywhere on the island. Fitness is a lifestyle choice here and leading the charge with a healthy attitude towards health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and indeed, life, is fitness manager Michelle Robertson.
“It’s realistic here,” explains Michelle. “Cotton Fitness Club is a place where nice people, who are not extreme about training but are health-conscious and want to keep in shape, can come to a gym and be well looked after. They can get help when it’s needed, then go downstairs to the restaurant for a juice, coffee or lunch. It’s a one-stop destination.” As fitness manager, this easy-going spirit is something she prides herself on. “If people want to train hard, then we’re all for it,” she admits. “But we know the key is balance. My fitness philosophy is to eat good food, exercise and never be too extreme about anything.” An ode she resolutely practices herself as well as preaches.
Michelle is an advocate of balanced workouts, as is seen in her own training regime in addition to those she devises for her personal training clients at Cotton Fitness Club. “I split my training schedule up so one day I do weights, the next I do cardio and the next, flexibility,” she explains. “It’s super important to ensure any program includes all three.” Michelle doles out this kind of advice freely to Cotton Fitness Club clients, always supporting it with knowledge based on her extensive training, knowledge and experience. “If you just do strength training, you won’t be able to move; if you just do cardio, you won’t have the muscle mass. You need to have all three – that’s the key to all round fitness.” Keeping her clients motivated and engaged is another of Michelle’s strong points, along with listening to each person’s unique reasons for seeking professional training. “When someone puts their health in your hands, you also end up being a bit of a psychiatrist,” she laughs.
Michelle’s own journey to fitness came after a burnout that saw her spending 12 hours a day working at a computer here in Ibiza. She had discovered her love for training after participating in Body Pump and other classes at a local gym – not just the physical benefits she was seeing but also the mental benefits she was feeling – however the time constraints placed on her by her job made it almost impossible to train frequently. “I realised that I really came alive when I was in the studio,” she says, “I decided I wanted to make my health and feeling good number one. It had been a lot of pressure working on a laptop for so many hours a day and not being able to train was making me feel terrible. I just needed a change of direction.”
A career change was in order, and so Michelle left the island she loved and returned to the UK seeking a healthy new outlook. After receiving her professional qualifications (with the acclaimed Les Mills brand and a personal training degree among others), Michelle worked with renowned UK fitness clubs David Lloyd before the allure of Ibiza began to beckon once more. Today she finds herself in a position she’s more passionate about than ever – helping others on their quest for physical and mental improvement. “We want our clients to know that we’ll do whatever we can to help them achieve what they want,” she explains, and this extends to a running a schedule of diverse daily fitness programs including yoga, Pilates, spinning and more.
Cotton Fitness Club is fully-equipped with the latest and greatest high technology TechnoGym equipment, much of it facing out to sea meaning you get to work out with million dollar views. Free weights too, have their own dedicated training space while an outdoor cardio area and yoga platform are offset by an open-air massage terrace ideal for sunny winter days. “There’s nothing else like it in Ibiza,” states Michelle firmly. Her day to day role with Cotton Fitness Club sees her keeping her eye on clients, managing the team of fitness instructors, yoga teachers and personal trainers, ensuring all the equipment is functioning and that all systems are flowing. That, and guaranteeing clients are always welcomed with a smile.
The most recent addition to the club’s facilities since its inception in May 2017 is the all-new Fitbox, a concept Michelle is particularly excited by. “Our Fitbox is a room based entirely on functional training,” she explains. “A traditional gym isolates certain muscle groups, whereas with functional training the idea is to work the body as one – because it’s naturally designed to work as one unit.” Cotton Fitness Club is the only venue on the island with this style of training room and you can expect to be flipping tyres, practicing deadlifts, TRX, and swinging kettle bells round your head during a session here – sound like fun? Michelle and her team of qualified fitness instructors are there to guide you each step of the way and help you get the most out of your Cotton Fitness Club experience – in the Fitbox and out.
Cotton Fitness Club is open to everyone, meaning you can experience this unique approach to fitness whether you’re an islander or you’re here on holiday. Day passes are available, giving you access to the gym, classes and swimming pool (with an additional cost to use the sun loungers), or you can sign up for a week, a month or a year. VIP membership offers an additional upgrade in the form of branded bathrobes and towels, complimentary shampoo and water, plus discount at the Cotton Fitness Club boutique and restaurant; unbeatable if you’re planning to spend an entire day working out and then lounging at the Club. The final pieces of the puzzle are the recently launched Cotton Fitness Retreats – weeklong experiences focusing on a healthy lifestyle, fitness and wellness balance (read more here).
As Ibiza gets ready to shift seasons, now is the perfect time to embark on that new fitness regime. Rather than settle in and hibernate this winter, workers can use their newfound downtime to focus on their health and wellbeing. Starting to work on your fitness levels now means that by the time next season arrives, you’ll be in much better shape to cope with the stresses and excesses of the summer, plus… you’ll look better in a bikini than if you’d been munching on pizza and watching Netflix all winter.
“I love seeing people be proud of themselves,” Michelle says. “Knowing you’ve put the work in, got results, and that everything is working better – body and brain – is an unbeatable feeling.” She says the biggest challenge clients face is finding something they like, however with the plethora of equipment, classes and training techniques available, there’s something for everyone at Cotton Fitness Club. “Believe me, we’ll find something that motivates you!” Michelle enthuses. And if all else fails, just jump on an exercise bike at the magical sunset hour, and that should do the trick. “That moment when you’re training in front of the sunset…” Michelle reflects. “It can be life changing.”