The Province

In Varadero, get fit and have fun at the same time


VARADERO, Cuba — “I can’t go to a resort on vacation! I’m afraid that after a week of overindulg­ing, I’ll come back with an extra five pounds of baggage!”

It’s a common lament from health-conscious men and women when it comes to taking a trip to a dreamy oceanside all-inclusive resort.

“That is absolutely not how it has to be,” says Fernando Julio Aranda, a staff member at Iberostar’s Varadero resort in Cuba. “You can come here to eat healthy, feel great, and you’re gonna go home looking better than when you left.”

Muscles bulging, water droplets rolling off his smooth skin as he chats poolside at this little oasis, Aranda insists you can have your holiday of sun and bliss, shed a few pounds, and leave with renewed energy to match your sun-kissed glow.

“I only put good things into my body. Why would I not want to feel great every single day?” he says. “I want the same for everyone here!”

Healthy food options abound here — at the daily buffet, the beachside grills and any of the à la carte restaurant­s featuring Japanese, Mediterran­ean and internatio­nal cuisine.

Visitors will find surf and turf, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the best smoked salmon ever.

With recent relaxed trade rules to Cuba, there is now more produce and food choices with imports from Mexico and Spain.

Whether you are on the Keto diet, the Paleo diet, a vegan diet, a low-carb diet, or a high-vegetable, high-fibre diet, you can do it all at an all-inclusive buffet. Aranda’s advice? Choose lots of chicken, fish, lobster, steak, omelettes and vegetables.

Fresh-squeezed watermelon, pineapple or guava juices are loaded with nutrients, but have higher sugar content, so drink them in the mornings, he says.

Then hydrate your body and skin during the day with a delicious no-sugar cucumber juice containing a squirt of lemon.

“If you want a dessert, go for it — you have to live — but have it earlier in the day,” Aranda says.

“You do not want that in your body at night.”

But it’s not all about food. With your new-found energy from eating well, this is a place you can enjoy a week of exercise in an entertaini­ng and carefree setting.

Aranda is one of dozens of staff assigned to get guests pumped-up and included in activities. They are a fun-loving bunch who exude energy.

Volleyball on the beach, water polo, football, a waterpark where kids exercise without knowing it. For low-impact exercise, there is daily aqua fitness in the pool, and of course, strolls along the incredible white sandy beach that will soothe the soul.

To get the heart pumping, put on your dancing shoes.

After all, Cuba is the home of the sexy salsa dancing.

Every night, there is a different live show, and at the end the performers invite guests up to the front to dance.

“You absolutely can lose weight and get more fit on your holiday,” Aranda says. “It’s all in your mindset. “You don’t have to wait till New Year’s — do it here and take it home with you.”

Of course, a few mojitos made with Cuba’s world famous rum won’t hurt.

In fact, studies suggest rum is good to clear the arteries, thin the blood, ease muscle pain and even cure the common cold.

And it has zero carbs.


To check out more on Varadero Cuba or any of Iberostar’s resorts, go to

 ?? — TRACY McLAUGHLIN ?? Resort entertaine­r Fernando Julio Aranda is full of spirit and energy while poolside at Iberostar’s Varadero Cuba resort.
— TRACY McLAUGHLIN Resort entertaine­r Fernando Julio Aranda is full of spirit and energy while poolside at Iberostar’s Varadero Cuba resort.

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