surfing weight loss retreat

How Surfing Inspired Me To Create A Weight Loss Camp In Canada

In this article, I'll share the 3 core elements that I took from a surf trip in 2007, to create one of Canada's best weight loss retreat programs today.

Top 5 benefits of choosing a wellness retreat in the mountains

Creating the best possible weight loss retreat for my clients was something I became obsessed with many years ago. From right back at the beginning, I wanted to create a health retreat that gave a truly results-focused environment. One where you could work hard in your fitness goals while ‘losing yourself’ in superb surroundings.

I’d been working as a nutritionist and personal trainer for 7 wonderful years already. Yet one of the greatest frustrations that my clients had, was that one hour workouts just weren’t enough. As a Whistler local of many years, we often spent our days exercising in the mountains – at a steady moderate pace. This makes you feel so great, and so healthy!

Yet many people don’t ever have the opportunity to experience that level of daily activity. That’s where weight loss camps and wellness retreats (like the ones we offer at West Coast Fitness Vacations) really create a unique adventure.

But backing up a little… this blog is about how our wellness retreats in Canada got started – in 2008.

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN LIVE AT A WEIGHT LOSS RESORT FOR 2-6 MONTHS?

best weight loss retreat

How I got started in the luxury wellness travel industry

The year prior, in 2007, I’d been to a fabulous surfing academy in Costa Rica for six wonderful weeks. There, I did 4 hours a day of surfing with a coach, in a small group environment. Other participants in the group were just like me! I made some fabulous friends and we all motivated each other to success and progress. They lived in non-surfing towns, and knew that to really pick up the sport, they’d need to immerse themselves in it.

As a lifetime traveler, this solo trip that I’d given to myself was a game changer and I didn’t want it to be a ‘one off’ memory. But it wasn’t the surfing itself that I loved the most. It was the all-day activity, being with others of the same purpose and of course, having a daily purpose. We were all there for the same common goal – to try to surf the next wave a little better than the last. It sounds simple, but these key elements became my ‘why’ to start a wellness retreat business.

HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT WEIGHT LOSS CAMP IN CANADA (ASK THESE 10 QUESTIONS)

best weight loss retreat hikingMy light bulb moment

I felt so strong and empowered when I returned home to Whistler, refreshed and HAPPY. When I returned to my personal training clients in Whistler, it suddenly hit me! I needed to start a destination fitness retreat of my own – somewhere that gave similar environment to what I had in Costa Rica. I loved that I came back from vacation in better shape than I left. So often when I traveled it was a battle to stay fit and eat well (and my personal training clients had the same challenge).

I wanted to work either one-to-one on a customized weight loss boot camp, or in very small groups. Results were always highest on the list of priorities as to what I wanted my clients to achieve.

To get the ball rolling, I contacted several contacts that I’d made in the film and entertainment industry. I’d worked with celebrities in the earlier stages of my personal training career, from 2003-2005 especially when I was working in Vancouver. “Did any of your talent need a body transformation within a deadline?” I asked.

Yep… turns out they did. One person booked me for a one-month residential weight loss camp, then another. Soon the bookings overlapped and I couldn’t run one-to-one programs anymore. I developed wellness retreats with different paces and abilities. It was easy to find staff in the outdoor town of Whistler, therefore scaling the company.

NO GYM REQUIRED! CAT SMILEY’S WEIGHT LOSS BOOT CAMP IS 100% OUTSIDE (EVEN IN WINTER)

We hiked together in Whistler for a week (and this is what we thought)

Top 5 benefits of choosing a wellness retreat in the mountains

West Coast Fitness Vacations is 100% outside – British Columbia is such a gorgeous province with mountains, oceans and lakes. It’s easy to love where we are, and a joy to share it with others. Wellness retreat guests find a sense of peacefulness and positivity with our outdoor workouts.

  1. Reduced anxiety and stress – few would argue that the mountains hold a sense of calm! It’s easier to tap into a more peaceful mindset. As a result, people with stress and anxiety often feel better in views of nature, and sounds of alpine terrain.
  2. Improved heart health that comes from being at higher altitude. Living at higher altitude may have a protective effect on the heart, and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. In this 2010 study, they describe the link between the production of new blood vessels allowing more blood to travel to the heart.
  3. Increased calorie burn & decreased appetite – definitely a bonus when you sign up for a weight loss retreat! But before thinking you can burn your cake off faster, it’s more of a benefit that visitors to higher mountains such as Colorado will see. Whistler is below 5000 meters which doesn’t really count as high altitude.
  4. Forces you to slow down – mountain life is definitely a place to disconnect. While most resort towns like Whistler have excellent wifi everywhere, it’s a bit hard to check your phone when walking over rocks on a trail! Often cell range cuts off as soon as you hit the mountain passes.
  5. Better sleep quality – while high-altitude environments have adverse effects on sleep quality, Whistler is not high enough to have this impact. Whistler village is only 675 meters (2215 feet) above sea level. 

Being surrounded by gorgeous peaks is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with both the people around you, and yourself. There’s something about the majestic land masses that rise up from the ground that makes it special.

WHISTLER FITNESS VACATIONS LUXURY WEIGHT LOSS RETREAT, MULTI-SPORT ADVENTURE – 4 WEEKS

best weight loss retreatWorkouts designed for you

At our weight loss camps in Whistler, you’ll have daily custom adventure workouts on the schedule; hiking, biking and kayaking with gorgeous sunsets that you can watch from the top of the mountain! Everyday you’ll be outside in the breathtaking forest, mountain and lakeside trails. We’ll get you up close and personal with Canada’s most famous resort.

You deserve to feel amazing and our integrative fitness programming will get you there. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, or how beginner you are. Show up with the mindset to be coached, we’ll take you from there with an amazing day.

The fitness classes can be really hard, so the guided cardio adventures are a nice way to break up the day. They’re like the light happy moments of the day where you just switch your mind off and let your body move. It sure is a beautiful place to move. There’s a reason why Whistler is so famous. – Jordie Thorneycroft.

This study revealed that forest environments are advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially chronic stress. Accordingly, forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes. Whistler weight loss retreats and health spa vacations include a lot of hiking!

20 SMALL TIPS FROM OUR BEST WELLNESS RETREATS – TO MAKE TODAY MORE MEANINGFUL

best weight loss retreat lodginGorgeous lodging, in the heart of town

Centrally located in the heart of town, guests stay at the upscale Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler; amazing health club and outside swimming pool on-site and spacious rooms with a full kitchen. Dog, spouses and children stay free!

This was a great hotel close to everything right in the village. They have a fridge and kitchenette so if you have room with this, bring your own snacks and drinks! There were also dishes there which is also useful. We had a cute but very small balcony and separate bedroom area. There was a great tub in the bathroom, a fireplace and the rooms were fairly up to date. Would stay here again.

Who knew that a surf trip would inspire the foundations to create one of Canada’s best weight loss retreat programs today!

TAKE A LOOK AT WFV’S WELLNESS RETREATS IN B.C.

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