My “Fitness Pro Gets Fit” update this week is actually a recap of my trip to Mountain Trek, a hiking and weight-loss lodge in British Columbia, Canada. I can sum it up in one word: wow!
- The scenery is spectacular
- The level of sweat is spectacular
- I surprised myself with my strength
- I surprised myself by not being as healthy as I thought I was
- I came away with a new mindset
- I finally broke through a weight plateau
- I lost five pounds of just fat! I gained 0.6 pounds of muscle
- I can’t wait for the rest of my life!
The stay is Saturday to Saturday and I arrived around dinnertime and sat down to a fabulous salmon dinner as I gazed out at the lake and mountains beyond. ”This is gonna be good,” I thought. We had a little lesson after dinner on how to use poles for hiking and I thought I did pretty well. I was ready but a bit nervous; these were some pretty serious mountains. Was I going to be able to go up them easily?
The schedule is pretty much the same every day. 6:00 am wake up, yoga, breakfast, load into an SUV and drive to a hiking spot, hike for 4 hours or so, return back to the lodge for a lecture on fitness, nutrition, stress, or sleep, then dinner, followed by interval strength training, sauna or massage or both, bed. You’re lucky if you can still keep your eyes open at 10:00 pm. I only made it once.
Most lunches are served on the trail, the rest in a big communal dining room at the lodge. A camaraderie develops between the guests as we watch each other improve and falter. We encourage each other and commiserate too. By the end of the week it felt a lot like college.
The food itself is delicious. Mouth-watering soups, savory dishes; I’m so glad they give you a cookbook of all their recipes so I can make a bunch at home. The day we had Bliss Balls (these almond butter concoctions) I was in heaven. Women get 1,200 calories per day and men get 1,400 and despite all the activity, I was never hungry.
Every day we’d drive to a new spot with different types of terrain. One day it would be hiking out to a river gorge, the next along an old railroad track to an abandoned mine. Our last hike of the week was up to an Alpine lake and everytime I went around a corner in the trail there was another spectacular view. I must have said “wow” at least 20 times that day. You don’t mind sweating that much if you get to do it in such a great setting.
The yoga was restorative; it’s designed to stretch out sore muscles and get you moving for the day. It’s quite addictive and I’ve kept up a few stretches now that I’m home again. In the evening, there are a bunch of different choices from a Core class to circuit strength/cardio training to a pretty fun Latin cardio class. I got to teach the core class one night and I had a blast challenging my fellow guests who didn’t know I’m a Pilates instructor. It was very fun to see the look on their faces when I started directing them. 😉
How it Works
There is a lot of information given to you about metabolism while you’re there and you do come away with a pretty clear understanding of the mechanics of it. The most important thing is that most of us are in a catabolic or fat-adding phase and we want to be in an anabolic or fat-burning phase. If you are eating healthfully (not a fad diet of some sort), you’ll gradually shift into anabolic metabolism in three to five weeks according to Mountain Trek. They, however, have devised a system that gets you there in 5 to 8 days! Pretty impressive, no?
On top of the heavy workout schedule, you are also expected to do saunas (wet or infrared) and to take regular massages (to help drain the lymphatic system and to help recover from the day’s hike). They also provide you with probiotics to help you with your gut.
There Will Be Pain
OK, so if you’re thinking of going, it’s pretty likely that you’re going to have a day that, frankly, kinda sucks. For me it was Tuesday, which the staff jokingly calls “Toxic Tuesday” because most guests bonk on that day. You might feel nauseous, you might feel really draggy, you might just feel blah. The only good thing I can tell you is as soon as it clears your system (for me it was by dinner time on Tuesday) you’ll feel a whole lot better and will have a lot more energy the next few days. I LOVED how much better I felt.
So that’s Mountain Trek. They invited me to come as their guest so I could blog about the experience. I came away empowered to improve my own life (and waistline) and to help them spread the word, because honestly people, this place is worth every penny.
I’m hoping to work with them some more with social media and look forward to one day going back. I’m waving to Kirk, Jeff, Meagan, Cathy, and Krista; hi guys, thanks for a great trip!