Global Wellness Institute Hosts Roundtable on New Frontiers in Fitness, MindBody and Wellness

The Global Wellness Institute hosted a roundtable & interactive forum on January 24th in New York City. The discussion, New Frontiers in Fitness, Mindbody and Wellness, was moderated by Jared Weiner, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, The Future Hunters, and Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO, Global Wellness Institute. The roundtable convened some of the most influential thought leaders in the wellness space in the U.S. and abroad, including Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States.

Here is our summary of the insights and ideas discussed at the Roundtable. (Click here to read the full transcript.)

From Wellness to Well-Being

“I think the constant quest to have good information about the fundamentals of lifestyle and how to take care of yourself is huge. Getting this group to have the strength to really impact millions of lives is something that brings out the do-gooder in all of us.” - Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News Health Editor

“What excites me is I think that the future, which is actually here right now, is all about the mind. It's time for everybody to really get more mainstream and excited about rewiring the brain and allowing the brain to impact well-being.” – Susie Ellis

“I can't tell you over the past year how many events I've either ran or attended that have talked about from wellness to well-being. Our goal is to provide a framework that empowers employees to start looking for ways to take action because it makes it real and tangible for them.” - James Brewer, Steelcase

Not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

“The main issue is you have to have something that is of value to you. It's not telling people, ‘Walk every day; it's good for your heart.’ It's more about, ‘If you walk every day, you can play with your grandchildren.’ There is an internal motivation that is the key driver…” - Madelyn Fernstrom

“What's great about the fitness industry is that there are so many choices that if you can spend $35 for a class and go to Soul Cycle, great. If you can buy a Peloton bike, great. But if you have a bicycle and you can go out with your family, you can do that too. It takes on many different looks. I think we need to understand that. It's going to be lots of things for lots of people with lots of choices and that's how I think we can expand and bring fitness out to the masses.” - Wendy Bosalavage, President of LIVuLtd.

“I don't think the general population gets it. I think it's up to us to simplify it to change the words, to personalize it. I think the personal thing is the thing. Every individual has different personal needs, whether it is anxiety, mindfulness, resilience, all the things we're all talking about now. Physical, mental, so many things. I really think we've got to take a different approach and we've got to move it on much quicker for it to be effective.” – Sue Harmsworth, founder ESPA’

Meet People Where They Are

“The bar is set too high for so many people. They go, "How do I even get started?" Forget ‘five fruits and vegetables a day.’ Eat one fruit. Do a little more than you're doing now in baby steps. Doing anything is better than doing nothing. But people just can't get started. I think it's our obligation to meet people where they are.” – Madelyn Fernstrom

“At Canyon Ranch, we committed a lot of resources to working with communities around the United States to figure out how to take this great intellectual property we have and bring it to underserved communities and actually measure it and show that we can affect sustainable behavioral change that improves their health, even though they're poor, have less access to food and so on.” Dr. Richard Carmona

“We have recognized that we have a responsibility for the have-nots. Reebok envisions gas stations transforming them into fitness hubs, and they've partnered with Gensler. Think about how brilliant that is. Because of all the electric cars, they’re going to repurpose gas stations. They're calling them the oasis and the network and the community center. Very interesting talking about scaling and reaching the communities in the underserved who really need to understand about taking care of themselves. It's all about community, engagement, meeting people where they are no matter where they are.” – Wendy Bosalavage

Phygital (physical and digital blending together)

“It’s not an either/or thing when we think about digital versus live experiences. A lot of wellness brands that are poised for the most success and growth are combining this really well. Peloton is one example where it's obviously a digital community, but they have something called the home rider invasion. Every year they meet in New York—it brings that virtual community very much to life. Weight Watchers does a fantastic job of this with their meetings, which are obviously really core to their culture. But then on their app they have a really vibrant community of people really supporting each other in really powerful ways, so there's that live experience and connection that's so core to the brand and then the online community.” – Alexia Brue, co-founder Well + Good

“We communicate with women who are middle America mainstream. They are conservative, but they are very hungry for simplicity and honesty. We have a lot of stories of women who share their experiences of how they lost 120 pounds. What was that thing that triggered it? Not one of them has told us it's about technology. Yes, they're very dedicated to their FitBits, but they are walking with their friends. They're not competing. They're sharing. They're finding each other to find the inspiration.” -Jane Weaver, Senior Health Editor,