First thing I’m going to do for you is explain what a health spa is and then I’ll tell you how I landed in one. According to Dictionary.com, a health spa is a resort or a special building or room where a person may exercise, swim, or otherwise condition the body. Now that you know that, let me explain how this all unfolded.
My amiga Yolanda of SassyMamainLA.com, text me asking if I wanted to head to a resort in Ojai with her. I had just told my husband that I needed a massage and some “me” time badly. Without asking for details, I screamed “YES” into the phone. Then I remembered we were texting. I replied and she sent me another text saying, here’s the resort info and you get to pick a spa service. I clicked ever so quickly on the link and discovered The Oaks at Ojai.
Now, my first thought was…healthy? Fitness? Workouts? I just want massages and wine in Ojai. Then I read that they followed a meal plan. My second thought went something like this…”Wait, what did I get myself into?” Yes, I’m vegan and I love me some yoga, but this was not what I was expecting. I have NEVER been to a health spa ever. Of course I had a million questions, like were they going to starve us? Would they march us out and up at 6 A.M. for workouts? Will aerobic instructors yell me into shape? Are we going to be the only chubby chicks there?
The only thing getting me through the anxiety was the Kia K900 that arrived at my door. Hellooooo…I had to get to Ojai somehow. Why not do it in style and luxury with my girl?
Despite my anxiety, crazy questions, and assumptions—I knew I had to go into this with an open mind. I tried my best to let it all go. Besides, I’m just a naturally curious person. At this point, I wanted to experience it and share with you guys. So, I scheduled a body scrub and packed my suitcase to the brim with activewear. As we made our way up to The Oaks at Ojai, only about an hour-and-a-half drive from Los Angeles, Yolanda and I joked about not knowing what to expect. Turns out we kind of assumed all of the wrong things. It was not what we expected. Here are five things this health spa virgin learned.
#1 Not All Health Spas are Created Equal
Just like any travel destination, make sure you do your online research. What are you specifically looking for? Do you have any specific health and wellness goals? And make sure you read up on reviews of the location you are interested in. I did end up researching The Oaks at Ojai and found out they are an all-inclusive destination spa. They offer guests everything from guided hikes into the mountains, to aquatic workouts, and restorative yoga. I even visited their FAQ page, which was filled with so much useful information like who their typical guest was, what their daily menu looks like, what I should bring, and so much more.
#2 Leave Your Assumptions at the Door
From the minute we arrived and checked-in, I knew this place was going to smash all of the assumptions I made. The staff was super friendly, informative, warm, and thorough. Never once giving me that side-eye look you sometimes get when you ask a million and one questions. Which I always do. During our tour of the resort, I noticed and appreciated that the guests came in all sizes and shapes. And they had a range of of fitness classes and activities for all athletic abilities—which can be taken at your leisure…thank goodness.
#3 Food is not an Afterthought
When we checked in, they made sure to ask me about my vegan diet. They have a set caloric daily menu, but will alter it if you have dietary restrictions. I had to see their dietician about the specifics of my meal. They serve three healthy meals daily, with light snacks in-between. These are included with your stay. But, be warned the meals are prepared without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar. This is not your comfort meal kind of place. Yet, the food was good, light, and pretty fresh. I did love that water, tea, coffee, and fresh fruit are available to the guests 24 hours a day. If you’re not down with the set meals, feel free to wander off site to any of the surrounding restaurants.
#4 Getting Physical can be Fun
On the first full day Yolanda and I were eager to get our work out on. We woke up too late for one of the three early morning hikes they offered. We were both suffering from sinus issues. So, instead we attended a 45-minute morning stretching class after breakfast. And it was pretty amazing. After, we jumped in the pool for a group aqua aerobics class. The instructor was great, never pushed us beyond our physical ability, and we actually had fun. There are more intense workout options, but we didn’t want to overdo it. We ended the day with a much-needed yoga class and a visit to the spa for a massage. Let’s just say we slept like babies that night. Yolanda said I was snoring, but I don’t believe her.
#5 No Judgment Zones are Kinda Awesome
I think we all worry about being judged at a place where health and wellness are the main focus—regardless of age or size. I know I did for a second. Then I remembered I don’t care what others think of me. Besides, never once did I feel judged here. Even when I laid on a table getting a body scrub naked. OK, I was wearing a mesh thong. But still…that’s how comfortable I felt here. Remind me to get nekkid body scrubs more often.
Some people may have reservations about attending a spa or resort focused on losing weight. I know I was when I first visited their web site. But, when it comes to your body, you have every right to make the decision to attend a health spa like this. If it can motivate you to live a healthier and happier lifestyle, then more power to you. And if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. That’s OK too!
Have you ever been to a health spa? Share your experience with me below!
Disclosure: We were guests of the resort and received complimentary stay and services. Any and all opinions are true and my own.