At The Ranch Malibu, Co-Founder Sue Glasscok Focuses on Creating Healthy Habits
Malibu, California, has long been synonymous with wellness, hiking in nature, and expansive ocean views. The Ranch Malibu offers people the opportunity to immerse themselves in a health and wellness travel experience that is curated by experts, including The Ranch Malibu Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director Sue Glasscock. Guests can go on vacation and implement habits with long-lasting results. There are reasons why this Wellness Tourism Association Member property has won numerous awards and accolades. We talked to Sue Glasscock about what makes The Ranch unique as well as how she incorporates wellness in her own life.
Q & A with Sue Glasscock, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director at The Ranch Malibu
How long have you been with The Ranch Malibu, and what do you do with this property?
My husband, Alex, and I founded The Ranch in 2010 as a way to change people’s lives by sharing our combined passion for health, wellness, nature and design. Our shared passions led to the creation of The Ranch to offer a destination for people to get healthy, reset their minds and bodies and return to nature in an “off the grid” setting.
I oversee all aspects of the guest experience outside of the program itself, including the interior design of all rooms and common areas of The Ranch, curation of amenities and the landscape design throughout the property including the on-site organic garden. Additionally, I manage the development and design of The Ranch-branded beauty, apparel lines, and two cookbooks along with developing packaging for all branded products.
There are so many hotels, resorts, retreats and tour operators offering wellness programs and packages. Tell us a bit about The Ranch Malibu and what is the main point(s) of distinction?
The Ranch Malibu is a luxury, healthy lifestyle company featuring acclaimed, results-oriented, fitness and wellness programs including, The Ranch Malibu and The Ranch Private, and The Ranch 9.0. We’re also excited for The Ranch Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi to launch this May!
We are not your typical spa resort. Our no-options program is dedicated to improving the quality of our guests’ lives by improving their health. The Ranch experience is designed to recalibrate the mind and body through an intense fitness and wellness regimen paired with a highly-structured, plant-based nutritional diet. Each day consists of six hours of low impact activity – centered around a breathtaking and varied six-hour group hike each morning – afternoon nap time, fitness class, restorative yoga and daily massage, complemented by a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet.
What pandemic-inspired policies and procedures has The Ranch implemented to keep travelers healthy and safe?
The Ranch has implemented several policies and procedures in response to the pandemic. Our top priority is to keep our guests healthy and safe. Ranch Protection Kits are given to each guest and include a travel mask, Ranch bandana and hand sanitizer, plus air purifiers have been positioned throughout the common areas of the property, including massage rooms. We have also introduced more dining spaces for guests to eat at, including the outdoor garden café which overlooks our 3+-acres certified organic garden.
From a programming standpoint, The Ranch introduced The Ranch Private, which is a seven-day sequestered experience for up to four people. Perfect for those who would like to gain the benefits of our program but at a distance from the other guests on the property, The Ranch Private allows guests to experience The Ranch Malibu in a new and unique way. This program also allows for a completely customized experience and has been incredibly popular.
What does The Ranch offer that might attract a customer like the readers of LA Yoga?
During your stay at The Ranch, you are immersed in nature. From our morning mountain hikes to plant-based cuisine, nature serves as an inspiration and is an incredible way to calm the mind and bring awareness to the present moment – much like what one aims to achieve through yoga. We also offer daily restorative yoga classes so that you can maintain your practice during your stay.
Our location also makes it an easy “staycation” option for Californians with lasting benefits. Those who are unable to visit The Ranch in person can now bring The Ranch into their own homes. Our newest programs, The Ranch Integrative Health Plan and The Ranch 360, are led by Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health Practitioner Bridgette Becker, who offers more than 25 years of experience. These programs provide at-home support to optimize one’s health. We are so excited that more people will be able to experience The Ranch, from the comfort of their own homes.
How do you incorporate wellness into your own daily life?
I incorporate wellness and The Ranch values into my life each day! I spend time in nature every day. Nature has incredible abilities to heal and support the mind and body. Additionally, I make movement a priority and make sure to monitor my steps. It is always fun to get active with family and friends. Gratitude is another huge component of The Ranch program, as we start and end each week-long program expressing gratitude. It helps keep our awareness in the present moment and trains the mind to seek the positive in life, rather than focusing on the negative. Each morning I like to write down three things I am grateful for as a way to honor this sentiment.
I like to use the “3-4-5” breathing technique. Basically ,breath in through your nose three seconds, hold for four seconds and breath out for five seconds. This helps reduce activation of stress state and encourages a calm, clear state. I do this throughout the day and notice it really works!
Lastly I take time to shut out all of the extra noise. It’s no secret that we are all bombarded with texts, emails and other notifications all day long. Our minds and bodies need time to “shut off” and relax. Through meditation, prayer, or just plain being aware of your breath for ten minutes a day can help alleviate the overstimulation, exhaustion and irritation so many of us feel from all the surrounding “noise”.
What are the top wellness trends you seeing at The Ranch?
Wellness at home has become more prevalent now than ever before. This trend gave us the opportunity to develop our own at-home programming. We want anyone to be able to experience The Ranch and realize the importance of anyone being able to bring the programs into their own homes.
Additionally, we are excited to be expanding our programs to Italy with The Ranch Italy opening in mid-May. Guests want more from The Ranch Malibu, and we are excited to offer our programs at Palazzo Fiuggi Medical Retreat.
Do you feel technology is important as it pertains to wellness, and if yes, how and why? If no, why not?
Yes, I believe that technology has changed how we live and made us accessible 24/7. I think that many people have lost the skill of relaxing and being engaged in life without their phones constantly in hand. Humans were not built to be constantly “on.” It raises our cortisol levels and effects our adrenals negatively. This can lead to weight gain, mood swings, inflammation and poor sleep; just to name a few adverse affects.
Our programs can help with a reset both mentally and physically and reframe your relationship with technology. By disconnecting for the week, you not only experience the physical and mental benefits of this separation. You can also realize that you might not need to be glued to your devices all of the time. You can then return home with a new mindset that supports a healthier relationship with technology and the intention to create time in your day to disconnect.
Do you and, if yes, how do you incorporate the local community or culture into the programing at The Ranch?
Yes, we do! Our staff regularly maintains local trails by removing litter from state and federal park land, including the local beaches. We additionally donate any food not used during our programs to local food banks. It is extremely important to us to be able to give back to our community.
What is your final note of advice for living your best life?
Practice Small Acts of Kindness. I practice small acts of kindness each day like allowing people to go in front of me in traffic, buying someone a coffee, taking time to call a loved one, or even dropping off some delicious fruits and veggies to a neighbor from our own garden. Being able to help others helps me live my best life each and every day.
Co-Founder and President /CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, Anne Dimon has been a travel writer and industry journalist for close to 25 years, and has traveled the world as a columnist/contributor to a variety of publications. Anne is also Owner/ Editor of TravelToWellness.com launched in 2004 as the first online magazine/resource for the wellness-minded traveler. Prior to her life as a journalist, Anne was president of her own public relations company specializing in hospitality. She has also worked in the hotel industry as a director of public relations. An acknowledged wellness travel expert and industry consultant, Anne is also the co-author of The Travel Institute’s new Wellness Travel Specialist Course.