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March 21, 2012

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Kerry Sports keeps MICE goers healthy

MICE events are so packed with lectures, workshops, receptions, wining and dining that there isn't much time to stay healthy. Kerry Sports launches special MICE fitness programs. Victoria Fei reports.

Attending MICE events can pack on the pounds, with all that sitting around, listening to speeches and presentations, eating and drinking. Gyms often go unused. But Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai makes a point of integrating fitness into the MICE schedule, if organizers request it.

Tailor-made workouts are offered as an option, with a wide range of practices including spinning, yoga, TRX and body combat.

"It is a unique selling point for us. Most MICE people don't have time to come because they are brain-dead," says Andrew West, director of Kerry Sports.

"But as people become more conscious of their health, the ballroom is no longer the major attraction and many are trying our workouts," he says.

MICE participants can choose their workouts and time, each workout lasting for approximately one hour.

"MICE participants prefer something that challenges them and can surprise them," says the Australian who has been in Shanghai for six months. "It's unlike traditional team building, which people are assigned tasks and complete them, with only one or two people taking control."

In fitness classes, everyone gets involved. They practice together, talk, build confidence and, of course, feel healthier.

West has extensive experience in Europe and Asia, including two years as manager of Kerry Sports in Beijing. He has been with the Shangri-La Group since 2005.

Fitness programs in the United States will show up in Shanghai only a few months after they are launched. The city never falls behind, he says.

The most popular MICE classes are high-energy workouts such as spinning and body combat.

The five-star hotel has a spacious five-star gym, Kerry Sports, around 6,000 square meters, 10 or 15 times larger than most of the hotel based fitness clubs. The gym overlooks Century Park and villas and has views of the financial district skyline in the distance.

Aside from the 24/7 gym, Kerry Sports also offers an Adventure Zone and Spa. The gym contains more than 80 pieces of state-of-the-art equipment for Iron Man weight and endurance training, personal training and strength circuit training.

Aimed at building endurance, the Iron Man Zone provides training space for prospective triathletes - the first for a sports club in Shanghai. In addition to treadmills and spinning bicycles with personal TV screens and iPod charging docks, the gym introduces a first in Asia: the Vasa kayak and swim trainer bench, which simulates swimming while providing resistance usually provided by water.

The Cardio Zone features more than 40 Star Trac cardio machines, including the latest-model treadmills, bicycles, rowers and cross-trainers; the Strength Circuit Training provides a full body workout in 30 minutes with weight resistance machines and 10 TRX suspension fitness trainers.

The Personal Training Zone, including a body combat zone, is ideal for one-on-one customized training with Kerry Sports' certified personal trainers.

Four exercise studios, measuring from 50 to 140 square meters, are used for aerobics, yoga, hot yoga, spinning (19 bikes) and Pilates, with eight Reformer beds.

Kerry Sports includes a 25-meter, indoor heated swimming pool, a vitality pool with massage jets and a children's splash pool, all in a glass-walled enclosure overlooking a 700-square-meter outdoor rooftop garden, with a jogging track. A tennis court, basketball court and a children's playground with a mini-climbing wall round out the Kerry Sports' recreation facilities.

The Adventure Zone is a 700-square-meter indoor playground and recreation center for children. Three slides - the Hyperglide Astra slide, the Double Drop slide and the tri-level Demon Drop slide - are the main attractions. The long and steep slides, one of which even looks like vertical, also challenge adults.

Sometimes, MICE participants go down the slide and receive a certificate for their efforts.

For relaxation, heated loungers with personal television screens are available in the wellness lounge. Jacuzzis, scented steam rooms and saunas are located in the locker room areas.

Prince Wang, head of group fitness at Kerry Sports, enjoys tutoring his MICE clients.

"Working at Kerry Sports is much different from normal fitness clubs," Wang says.

"The clients are well-educated and informed about their own health."

Rather than pursue a career utilizing his university economics degree, Wang chose the world of dance and fitness. He has more than six years' teaching experience in personal training, dance, polestar, Pilates and physiotherapy. He is also a certified National Senior Nutritionist.

MICE classes are offered in either English or Chinese.

The gymnasium at Kerry Sports is open 24 hours; the swimming pool, tennis courts and basketball courts are open daily from 6am-11pm.

As the second upscale brand of Shangri-La hotels, Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai offers the largest portfolio of hotel-based meetings and banqueting facilities in Shanghai with more than 7,300 square meters of space across 26 multi-purpose function rooms, including the 2,230-square-meter Shanghai Ballroom and 1,018-square-meter Pudong Ballroom. The 574-room hotel is directly connected to the Shanghai New International Expo Center.


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