The Scoop: People may get so busy that they don’t take the time to eat well or exercise regularly, but that stress and lack of self-care can exacerbate mental and physical health concerns. Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa strives to help individuals and couples alleviate those problems with a rejuvenating getaway. The lodge is located in the mountains of British Columbia and provides guests with scenic views and hiking trails, while promoting better eating and mindful living. After spending some time at the lodge, couples often have the tools to reset their hectic lives at home.
Two years ago, Alex Timmons and his wife, Hannah, were feeling overwhelmed with their lives. At the time, Alex was running a tech startup in the San Francisco Bay Area, but his work didn’t feel rewarding, and was deteriorating his health.
“My work wasn’t helping people; it was just helping influencers get rich, and the stress I put on myself to succeed led to countless sleepless nights and even a trip to the hospital,” he told us.
Hannah, who was working a high-end marketing job, was dealing with chronic anxiety and struggling to quiet her negative self-talk.
They decided to reset their lives by attending a weeklong retreat at the Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa in Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia. Alex said he and Hannah thought that the mountain setting would help them unwind, while the healthy eating and exercise components would help them find the balance they sought.
They weren’t just pleased with the experience — they were amazed by it. That retreat changed their lives profoundly.
“That week helped us recognize that extremes don’t get us where we want to go,” Alex said.
When they returned to their lives in San Francisco, Alex and Hannah implemented the habits they learned at Mountain Trek. They felt like they could not only eat cleaner and sleep better but also keep their stresses and anxieties under control.
But Alex still wasn’t satisfied with his job, as he didn’t think his work helped anyone.
“My job had no reason or value,” he told us.
So, Alex and Hannah decided to drastically change their lives by becoming Co-Owners of Mountain Trek — the place where their transformation started. They wanted to help others make the same health and lifestyle improvements.
As Alex knows from experience, a trip to Mountain Trek can make a lasting impact on guests.
“When you come to our welness retreat, you go through a profound health reset,” he said.
Daily Hikes and Yoga Sessions Can Lower Stress
Guests come to Mountain Trek for a variety of reasons. Some want to disconnect from their lives at home, but many others have health concerns or anxiety.
Most guests (70%) are from the United States, while the other 30% come from Canada.
“Our guests are mostly in their late 30s to their early 60s. They’re usually well ahead in their careers, but that often comes at the cost of their health and well-being,” Alex said.
The Mountain Trek program has five fundamental tenets: fitness, nutrition, stress management, sleep, and detoxification.
The fitness part of the experience includes daily mountain hikes of three to four hours. Guests can choose their level of difficulty, as well, so some guests might take part in a challenging hike one day and a less strenuous one the next.
Each day, four levels of hikes depart from the lodge. They are led by trained guides who know the area and who make the experience enjoyable. And guests are treated to views of some of the most scenic vistas in the world.
Hiking is such a critical part of the process because time in nature is proven to lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone that causes stress. Further, along with the healthy eating habits promoted at the retreat, guests see their muscle mass increase, and their weight decrease.
“We’re not a place for couples to come to sit by the lake and drink wine. It’s for couples who understand a little hard work goes a long way. In addition to the daily hikes, sunrise yoga and evening fitness classes are on the schedule.” Alex said.
Promoting Wellness by Altering Eating Habits
In addition to adopting a fitness routine, Mountain Trek teaches guests how to change their eating habits. According to Alex, many people don’t eat properly, consuming the wrong foods at the wrong times in the wrong proportions. Instead, they eat too much starchy, sugary, and processed foods, resulting in lower energy levels and expanding waistlines.
“Our program follows a 12-hour cycle. We eat six meals from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. They are lower-carb, higher-protein meals that sustain and balance energy. We teach our guests to eat for fuel, not for fun,” Alex said.
The retreat also doesn’t allow guests to drink alcohol or caffeine. That can be a significant change in many people’s lives.
“People really do go through a metabolic reset while at the retreat,” said Alex.
But that doesn’t mean the retreat deprives guests of anything tasty. For example, Chef Simon Vine recently cooked a delicious meal of rutabaga spaghetti with tempeh-almond “meatballs” and a tomato-cashew sauce as a healthier substitute to the traditional pasta dish. The chef also prepares snacks that help kickstart the metabolism of guests.
Eating healthy for a week or two is one thing, but Mountain Trek also provides guests with the skills to be mindful about cooking and eating at home. That is one of the key reasons that many guests decide to come to Mountain Trek with their spouses or partners; they want to have someone who can help them stick to these healthy-eating guidelines.
“We educate you on how to implement a healthy lifestyle. So, if you come with a spouse or partner, you get to be each other’s support system when you return home,” Alex said.
Mountain Trek: Helping People Change their Lives
Though fitness and healthy eating are important parts of the Mountain Trek experience, they aren’t the only components. The retreat also focuses on ensuring that guests find a balance in each of the retreat’s other key elements; stress management, sleep, and detoxification.
For example, if you’re not eating well, but you’re sleeping enough, you still may not feel great. If you’re eating and exercising regularly, but you never take a break from alcohol or caffeine, you likewise may not reach your full potential.
“When you balance the five elements, they compound upon each other,” Alex said.
During the program, guests see significant changes in themselves over a short time. Many people are overwhelmed by the lifestyle changes the retreat asks them to make, but, if they make those sacrifices, they’re satisfied with the results.
“It takes effort to make it through the program, but people leave feeling like they’re 10 years younger. They’re lighter and happier,” Alex told us.
Mountain Trek offers such a life-changing experience for guests that they can often completely reset their lives at home, too. When guests incorporate those elements into their daily lives, they see dramatic changes. Alex said that the staff regularly receives calls from people who have maintained their lifestyle changes for years after the retreat.
Couples who complete Mountain Trek together can also forge new bonds on their journeys to healthier, happier futures, and the challenges required as part of the growth during the retreat often make them stronger.
“When couples have these shared experiences, they deepen their relationship. They’ll push their limits and learn about themselves in those moments. They will strengthen their bond,” Alex said.