Where to even begin. Writing this post has brought back so many amazing memories of one of the most relaxing, beautiful trips I have ever been on! I don’t think I have ever gone on a vacation where I was able to 100% detach from “real life” and nourish my body with love of all kinds.
Last week I spent 7 full days at the beautiful Mountain Trek Resort in Ainsworth, British Columbia and I am so excited to share my experience with you!
So here is the down low on what exactly Mountain Trek is-
Mountain Trek is a boutique luxury fitness retreat and health spa program offering men and women of all fitness levels in a dynamic boot-camp-style. Guests take part in Mountain Trek programs to reclaim their physical and mental health and vitality, allowing corporate, urban professionals the opportunity to “retreat” from their normal high-intensity lifestyles.
Check out The Lodge below- my home for the 7 days I was at Mountain Trek!
Amazing right? It’s nestled on a mountain side overlooking the Kootenay Lake in Ainsworth, British Columbia right outside Nelson. I’m not sure how else to put this, but it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. And that’s what makes it so majestical. You are able to escape from reality and enjoy the land for 7 whole days.
Mountain Trek hosts up to 16 people each week, providing a focused and personalized experience, with plenty of time and space each day to enjoy time alone. Guests benefit from a balance of daily exercise including extensive hiking, cardio and yoga, delicious cuisine, massages, hot tubs, saunas, spa and detox treatments.
The holistic-based program includes educational health talks to help guests maintain a healthy lifestyle in their everyday lives. Sessions include overviews on nutrition, sleep health, detoxification, a balanced diet and stress relief. Guests will find fresh, healthy, calorie-controlled spa cuisine with a variety of beef, fish, poultry and vegetarian meals (catering to all dietary restrictions and food preferences), helping to instill healthy eating habits into a permanent part of their lifestyles.
Check out what my week looked like below!
I really am at a loss of words to describe how delicious and healthful the food served at Mountain Trek is. First and foremost- they have the most amazing kitchen staff who have magical hands. At MT, all 3 meals plus snacks are prepped to suit your personal needs. Don’t like tomatoes or shrimp. No problemo! At the beginning of your stay, you fill out of form of your dislikes at the beginning and alternatives are provided throughout the week. Each meal is portioned controlled, filled with color, and delicious flavor.
For 7 days I had no….
- dairy (mostly)
Can you say headache?! I didn’t realize how reliant I was on coffee until about day #3, I had a bit of a headache. #mustdrinkcoffee My body adapted pretty well (minus a little tummy issues — caffeine keeps me regular, okay!).
Honestly- I felt the best I have in a while. I had no bloating what so ever and eating multiple times per day does wonders for your metabolism. At home I have sort of a random eating schedule, but getting your body on a clock with your meals and snacks is great to keep that metabolism up.
Instead of stressing a certain “diet,” MT preaches whole foods as well as lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and ALL SORTS of vegetables. All of the meals and snacks are portioned controlled for everyone’s specific needs (weight loss, weight maintenance, etc.).
AT MT, breakfast is the most carb-filled meal, lunch is usually a stew/soup, and dinner is a lean protein + a million vegetables (not even an exaggeration!). I can say that I have never eaten so many amazing vegetables in my entire life. It was a nice reminder that 1/2 my plate at (pretty much) every meal needs to be veggies!
What I loved most about the food was that it was prepared right there at the lodge. Everything is made fresh and with local ingredients…even down to the meat! The chefs were so amazing. I stopped in every once in a while to chat about where they had sourced the night’s dinner from. SO COOL!
British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. MT is about 5 hours north of Spokane, WA. Like I said, the resort really is in the middle of nowhere and that’s what makes it so amazing. The Nelson community is extremely active and outdoorsy. Everywhere you look there’s hiking, literally.
Get this- back in the day, The Nelson, Canada area was a big mining district, so most of the hiking trails were actually formed by miners over a hundred years ago. We’re talking thousands of miles of trails. Amazing right?
Mountain Trek does a great job catering to all fitness levels during the hikes. Over the course of the 7 days, we went on 6 different hikes all ranging from 2 to 5 hours and 5k to 19k. The group is split up into 3 or 4 different groups based on fitness levels. Group 1 goes the fastest and furthest and it goes down from there. The whole point of the hike is to be able to get exercise in while exploring the beautiful country side. Getting your heart rate to 60% – 80% = golden. Now that’s my kind of vacation.
The first couple of days I stayed with group 1 (Hi Heri and Helaine!). I got my butt KICKED. Our guide paced us fast, making sure we got our heart rate to the fat burning zone. AKA I felt like we sprinted up a mountain, literally. By the end of the day I was drenched in sweat and ready for a nap. The last couple of days I stayed back in group 2 and 3. It was still an amazing workout, but I was able to stop and enjoy the scenery, snap some photos, and carry on a conversation.
Check out some of the photos I took on our hikes…
I’d say the hiking was the best part of the whole trip! We got to explore so much beautiful country and we really lucked out with weather. My favorite hikes were up in the Alpine, meaning that the hike started at about 2,000 ft. above sea level. You can see for miles and miles and it is just breathtaking. So many streams. lakes, and wildlife.
I was hoping to see a bear or cougar (yes, cougar!!!), but it was a no go! I saw a deer, turkey, lots of birds, and almost stepped on a rabbit while hiking!
If I could chose one thing that fascinated me the most, it would be Kokanee Lake in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, which is located in the Selkirk Mountains in the West Kootenays region of BC. The water in this lake is fed directly from the Kokanee Glacier itself and it’s a crystal clear blue, just like you’d see in the Caribbean. When one of my favorite guides, Kirkland, told me that this lake is > 400 ft. deep I almost lost it. Turns out this lake sits on a tectonic plate making it extremely deep. Geology amazes me.
I did want to note that I took 2 days off from hiking to stay back, relax, and really enjoy some alone time. At the beginning of the week, we set goals for ourselves, and mine was to focus on de-stressing and enjoying myself. I had a little bit of a back issue after the 3rd day of hiking due to my pack, so taking a few days off was just perfect! I was able to sit in the hot tub, enjoy the view, and even clear my inbox, which is a major de-stressor!
The fitness aspect of MT is one of the coolest attributes of the entire resort and I really think it sets it apart from any other. On top of the beautiful hiking, yoga and daily fitness classes are offered.
6:30AM yoga was definitely a highlight of my day (I didn’t miss a class all week!). After an intense day of hiking and working out, nothing feels better than waking up, reconnecting with your body, and getting a good stretch in. It was more of a gentle yoga stretch and of course my favorite part was the savasana :D.
Post dinner fitness classes were offered daily. The science behind it was to eat dinner and then right away metabolize those calories. Loved these classes! They were a mixture of cardio and strength training and of course, were optional. My favorite class other than the yoga, was the crossfit class! I’ll be sharing the exact workout we did within the next couple of weeks, but circuit based workouts are my BFF!
Check out the bottom left photo. The yoga studio over looks the lake and it’s so serene I wanted to spend all day on my mat 😀
Education is a large part of the Mountain Trek curriculum. Over the course of the week, 8 different seminars on healthy living were offered. They ranged from nutrition, to sleep health, to metabolism.
Each seminar was given by an expert. MT has kinesiologists, RD’s, and anthropologists on staff and these people know their stuff! I loved learning about proper sleep patterns, how to increase your metabolism, and how to create healthy and happy habits for life in general. What I found most valuable was the face time with the experts. You could literally ask them anything #invaluableinformation
Want to meet 12 of my new BFFs?
Hi…Jim, Louna, Dennis, Ann, Helaine, Derek, Laura, Heri, Christine, Ann, Suki, and Diane!
I don’t have one negative thing to say about this happy bunch. Each and every person in this group is amazing in their own way and we all had different goals set for why we came to Mountain Trek. Some were there to lose weight, some were there to de-stress, and some were there to enjoy the hiking.
I didn’t really know what to expect and to be honest I was a little bit nervous at the beginning because I was the young cat of the bunch. Turns out, I was the first to bed every night and that I pretty much want to live viciously through every one of these guys because their lives are all so amazing.
Lee + Helaine
I am used to traveling with family and friends, but I am so glad I went into this experience alone because I was able to develop some incredible friendships during my experience. Helaine and Heri were my group 1 mates. You can call us Moe, Larry, and Curly 😀 Helaine was actually the first Mountain Treker I met on the way from Spokane to Ainsworth. Instant BFFs. Suki and Ann are sisters from AZ and remind me a lot of my sister and I. So much laughter and love between those two! I sort of wish I could throw a big party and reunite everyone!
I wanted to end the post by thanking Mountain Trek for such an amazing experience! A week away in paradise is exactly what I needed to alleviate stress and reconnect me with my mind body and soul.
If you are ever thinking about going on a weight loss retreat, doing any sort of metabolism reboot, or want to go on a fitness vacation I 100% HIGHLY RECOMMEND Mountain Trek. The guides are amazing, the facilities are 5 star, the hiking is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the experience really is priceless.
Have you ever been on a fitness retreat?