Getting over the intimidation of embarking on a fitness or wellness journey can be very challenging! It almost requires a full lifestyle reboot to kick yourself out of habits that may have been cultivated and nurtured for months, maybe even years. There's the physical struggle of getting over the first few days and weeks of pain and then there's the mental, self-sabatoge struggle. Here's the thing:
it's ok to not want to go at it alone.
I'm a believer that it can take a catalyst for a new habit to really take hold. One of my positive lifestyle change triggers is travel. It works for me to jumpstart a new routine and that's exactly what I investigated as I went to experience the new Living Retreats program at the Blue Waters Resort in Antigua. When I first heard retreat I thought maybe I would only be given 4 almonds and get yelled at all weekend. Yea, maybe I would reach my goals but I would have probably come home and binged on bread pudding. This is exactly the opposite of what the founders of Living Retreats, Jo and Luke, stand for in their approach. It's about fast-tracking & sustainability. They can get to you. They will get to you. In three days they completely got to me and I'm a tough Cancer crab to crack.
Here's the thing about my experience here: I had no idea how much I needed support until I met them. This past year was really strange. I felt blessed with an abundance of dream projects but with that, as it usually does because I've been through it before, comes a host of negativity. People who were closest to me in my tribe weren't lifting me up but chipping away at my confidence and it was starting to show up in my habits and then in my progress. Then comes the pressure of social media and the constant reminder by everyone in the world that that number on that app dictates your worth and ultimately, your self worth. I wish I could say that social media has been an amazing experience for me but it's the driver of most of my lost confidence.
Jo and Luke recognize this need for support. When they aren't running their retreats they are getting super mega actors and actresses for movie roles alongside anyone looking to seriously retreat, rebalance and recharge. They take on clients in a London studio, or on a more intense level, to their country retreat center in Surrey, England. They feel it's necessary to literally LIVE with someone for some time to analyze every aspect of wellness. Their knowledge and energy is infectious.
Here's a bit about what I learned. I'm also going to do some breakdowns of some of the moves they showed me in a different post!
Rebalance & Assessment
The first thing we did at the Retreat was a DAS assessment. DAS stands for Depression/Anxiety/Stress. This test helps them assess the mental aspect of our approach to life and how this can affect meeting goals. My score was pretty bad to be honest and I think it even surprised Jo and Luke mostly because from the outside it all looks so perfect. You can take this test online.
The second thing we did was measure my body with a fat caliper. It basically pinches the skin in different areas of the body and takes a measurement, which gets recorded at the beginning and at the end of the trip. It's a mixture of tape measuring and the caliper so we can really track progress even in just a few days.
If you want to really get serious about tracking changes then any type of progress measuring will help keep things on track and identify triggers.
Spice it Up.
Jo is a recipe wizard. No, really, she is ah-mazing at putting tasty healthy food together. I've made this zucchini dish THREE times since I've been home because it's so, so delish. Her approach to food is all about flavor. Her Indian background plays a really big role in seasoning and spicing cooking and that's something I really need to get better at. Just from this serving above I was FULL. It' amazing what good, simple ingredients can do. This recipe is actually up on her blog if you want to make it and highly recommend you do! I hadn't even heard of Rose Harissa before this trip.
Nutrients Play a Huge Role
A huge takeaway for me was learning that I was slightly Zinc deficient. Why does this matter? Zinc helps metabolize protein which of course helps build muscle. So if I'm struggling in my 30s to keep muscle tone on then Zinc is my new best friend! They also prescribed a list of supplements to help my sugar cravings which were very much linked to my poor DAS score. Here's a look at what they figured out just from a few days together.
Repetition vs Variety
I talked about this recently and Luke had a lot to say to me on this topic. My yoga routine is wonderful and adds a lot of benefits BUT my body is getting complacent. The body needs to be continuously shocked and surprised. Well, ya, it was a bit of a surprise to grab a hammer and slam it down on a tire! Seriously effective circuits along with yoga make for a great routine.
This is so, so passed over nowadays with so many online programs promising fitness and wellness results fast. I strongly believe that my positive progress since this trip is largely due to the pep talks that they both gave me. It was as simple as:
What you're doing has value. You are valuable.
Maybe all of my struggles literally boiled down to needing support. It's ok to ask for help and it's important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and lift you up. If you can identify parasitic people in your life, it's time to let that shit go. Self-sabatoge is real and it can be masked by other excuses. Be strong in your own belief in yourself and you will shine.
- The program runs at the Blue Waters Resort from May 1 through October 31 2017 and repeats the same in 2018
- The restaurants have a special menu dedicated to the Living Retreats program. You don't have to eat off of it which is cool. If you want steak and butter and fries, go for it. It's your experience!
- The cost of the retreat is only $85 per day and can be booked ahead or once you arrive. There's more info here if you're interested. The retreat adds an amazing wellness element to a vacation. It's not a forced schedule like most destination retreats. I love this about it because I love flexibility and I also love alcohol :-)
- The hotel is absolutely stunning. They have a gorgeous yoga pavilion, paddle boarding, sailing, a spa covered in tropical flowers, etc. It's very Mediteranean meets the Caribbean.
The numbers speak volumes and I even had alcohol on the trip which triggers inflammation. It's amazing what can happen in just a few days.
Hope this little bit of insight helps jumpstart your wellness goals! And while I was given this trip for no cost, I was not compensated to write a review. I truly love these guys and the hotel is absolutely stunning. I'm hoping to pop over to England to spend more time with them at their recharge home in Surrey so stay tuned!