( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Gabi Mazar Takes a Twist on Fitness with Destination Fitcations
ENSPIRE Contributor: Ava Girardi
Gabi Mazar, fitness trainer, travel guide, and founder of Destination Fitcations, is taking a new turn with fitness. Before starting her company, Mazar had an early interest in fitness because of her father, a sports coach. Movement has been a significant part of her life since she was involved in many physical activities such as volleyball and swimming.
While at Arizona State University, Mazar began exploring her interests in fitness. She started as a business major but changed it because it wasn’t suitable for her. She read books about fitness which confirmed her interest in physical activity and nutrition. Mazar graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Small Business and Exercise and Wellness. After graduating, she became certified in NASM, PMA Pilates, and Stretch to Win FST.
When Mazar first interned in 2007, she became an active trainer and opened her first gym, Health Body Works, in 2012. She could build up her client base, which tripped her business. She opened a second gym in 2019, Pilates Tempe, combining her love for fitness and travel. At Destination Fitcations, clients can experience a pampered trip to exotic locations where individuals can recharge before returning to their daily life. Destination Fitcations takes clients to locations with beaches, resorts, and well-crafted meals. Clients will be involved in kayaking, hiking, and paddle boarding.
ENSPIRE spoke with Gabi Mazar about her fitness journey and Destination Fitcations:
What sets Pilates apart from other forms of exercise? What are the benefits?
Pilates is on a whole other level. As much as I love all forms of exercise, I don’t think that any of them compare to Pilates. The six principles of Pilates are centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. Each one of these principles allows you to move and perform to create greater flexibility, strength, and movement. Many people think that Yoga and Pilates are the same, while they have some similar movements, Pilates is a series of movements focusing on strengthening your core. Pilates is known for its emphasis on the core — the center of the body from which all movement stems. It improves posture, decreases back pain, prevents injuries, increases energy, enhances body awareness, decreases stress, and even reduces menstrual pain.
Why did you decide to open your first gym in 2012, and what were some challenges? How was the clientele after opening this gym?
The decision to open my own studio was a fairly easy one. I wanted to open a space where sales and memberships weren’t the sole motivation of the business. I wanted the clients to come first and really be a part of their overall success, not just as a personal trainer but as an owner. There are plenty of challenges with starting and running a business, and I encountered many of them. There are a lot of little nuances of running a business that you don’t really think about and being a sole proprietor, they are all your own to deal with. I opened my first business with two business partners, and we had different opinions and ideas about how to run a business. Ultimately, we learned a lot about how to rent a space, work with the city and state and permitting, and what it takes to open a studio and run a place, which I took into the purchase of Pilates Tempe. It has been challenging because I really started with no clients and built the business and grew it from nothing. The hardest part is getting people in, which is still and will always be a challenge. The fitness industry has so many trends and fads that are exciting, but Pilates is steadfast. Exercise, no matter what type, is always a great idea. My clients have always been amazing, some I had since the very beginning before I even opened my own space. I have been very lucky to attract people who believe in making a consistent change as a lifestyle and making health a priority in their lives.
Can you discuss more about Destination Fitcations and the inspiration behind it?
Destination Fitcations came about while I was traveling. I wanted to combine two of my passions together and show people that you can live healthily, be healthy, be active, and still maintain that while you travel and enjoy yourself on vacation without being super restrictive.
What is the typical length of the trips and what fitness activities are included?
Fitcations are between 5-10 days, depending on the location. The trips do have the option to extend the scheduled fitness vacation before or after or add on. The trips include activities such as yoga, Pilates, boot camps, hiking, and we do active excursions that keep us moving.
How many people have taken part in this vacation program, and what has been their feedback been?
Our first trip had six people, and the feedback was that everyone loved it! They loved that they didn’t have to think about a thing. These trips are fully planned for you and are all-inclusive, so they are totally worry-free and stress-free.
How are you making fitness more fun and enjoyable for people who might not be interested in it but want to incorporate it into their lives?
The key to a successful fitness program is making it something you enjoy and sustainable. That is why I like to add a lot of different types of exercise to make it fun and exciting and something you can carry over to your everyday life. While on a trip, we have limited equipment. It shows people that you really can exercise anywhere, with very little.
Are the locations offered by Destination Fitcations only local venues or do you offer international vacations too?
All of our locations are actually international. We do very few local destinations. I vet and select locations all over the world that are hot, hip, and on the list of the best places to travel to. I do a lot of research to choose the perfect locations for your fitcation.
At a young age, Gabi Mazar knew she had an early passion for fitness she wanted to discover. Her love for fitness has drawn her to make it fun again so individuals can also practice and maintain self-care. After she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, she wanted to show people the importance and benefits of constantly improving our lifestyles. Through Destination Fitcations, she offers her care to each of her clients by allowing them to have a relaxing vacation that will enable them to move their bodies. Mazar cares about all her clients and enjoys watching them grow and flourish beyond their physical health to live their best lives.