De-Stress and relax through massage, being outdoors and focusing on unmet needs in your life.


Mountain Trek’s Weight Loss Tips Shared With Best Health Magazine

best health mag

Freelance writer Trish Snyder visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort in summer 2013 and her story appeared this week on Best Health Magazine, a health-specific publication launched by Reader’s Digest.

Mountain Trek “has all the trappings of a luxury wellness retreat,” Trish writes. “At the rustic lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake, guests dine on organic cuisine, detox in saunas and enjoy three weekly massages at the only hiking spa in North America…thanks to classes in sleep, diet, exercise and stress, guests learn simple formulas to take their newfound vitality home.”

Trish goes on to describe some of Mountain Trek’s best weight-loss tips including: “Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of rising kick-starts your metabolism and keeps the liver out of starvation mode. When you skip meals, the body responds by slowing down the metabolism and storing fat.”

Click here to read Trish’s entire story on Best Health Magazine.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Q&A with client Markeeta Brown

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

Welcome to the fourth installment of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each person came to our fitness retreat and health spa for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this piece we speak with Markeeta Brown, a resident of Dallas, Texas, who works in real estate. She’s visited Mountain Trek’s BC lodge every year since 2010 as well as joined us for our programs at Rancho La Puerta in California. Markeeta says she’s been making the journey to Mountain Trek the past three years because it’s helped her work around a number of life changes she’s been going through recently. Here is Markeeta’s story.

Hi Markeeta. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I’ve been going to Rancho La Puerta (RLP) off and on for about 30 years. It was kind of my summer camp but after I made the decision to separate from my husband I knew I had to go to the ranch and do some extended hiking. I went for two weeks in November 2010 and did the Mountain Trek program. I loved its structure and since then I’ve returned three times to the BC lodge and three times to Rancho.

Tell us about your expectations?

BC is a different type of hiking than the milder terrain at RLP but Mountain Trek’s overall program at both places is the same. I know I’ll always go home with much more energy and focus. The thing that keeps drawing me back is it’s a challenge but it’s not overwhelming or stressful. The after-effects are much more lasting that anything I can do on my own. I also like that (head guide) Kirkland emphasizes to try and take on only two new habits when we return home to keep things manageable, rather than try and alter everything about our lives. It’s a challenge but it’s doable.

What are some of the highlights of your time at Mountain Trek?

Anybody who attends Mountain Trek will take home about 18 things you can do to supercharge your energy. But the program emphasizes that you only concentrate on two things and overlay those good habits over your bad ones. For me it was about only eating three meals and two snacks max a day and doing cardio a minimum of four times a week.

RLP Group, Nov. 10-17

The Mountain Trek program at Rancho La Puerta last November. Markeeta is on the far right.

What’s a lowlight from your experiences at Mountain Trek?

They seem to be putting a lot more emphasis on using foam rollers in the stretch class and that’s challenging for me. (laughs) But between the yoga and stretching in the morning and the massages in the evening I don’t experience a lot of physical discomfort.

What’s it like every time you return home after visiting Mountain Trek?

People notice. They say, “Wow you look great and you must feel great.” And I do. I think it’s important though to clear the deck a week or two after you return. You need to come home with a plan and have a bit of time when your life isn’t totally crazy so you can incorporate some of the things you’ve learned.

So what draws you back to Mountain Trek every year?

Lately I’ve had one major life challenge after another and Mountain Trek allows me to focus – it gives me a better chance to continue with my momentum. Plus I like being active and I like the feeling I get when my metabolism is running at the rate of someone who is much younger.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek plays a really key role in getting through your life challenges: whether it’s dying parents, caring for elderly relatives, divorce…all that together can be so stressful and Mountain Trek gives you a way to fight some of the physical and emotional damage and helps you keep your head straight. Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how well you do when your life is going swimmingly; it’s how you do when challenges are thrown at you. You have to have a plan to go through those periods of your life and Kirkland and Cathy and the Mountain Trek program definitely helps with that.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about the Mountain Trek experience?

To me there’s no better self-intervention than taking yourself to Mountain Trek. It’s absolutely worth the money, especially when you take to heart what Kirkland says and when you land on the tarmac at home you can incorporate a simple plan to make it all work out.

A Daily Account of the Mountain Trek Program


Jenna and Rob at Fry Creek on a Thursday, the 5th day of the Mountain Trek program, when they were feeling “great,” “light,” and “energized.”

Recently we asked two visitors who attended Mountain Trek Health Retreat in B.C. to document their daily revelations, pains, challenges, and successes. Each was given the same list of questions over the six-day program and their responses are an excellent snapshot of how people change throughout the week.

The reasons we chose to feature Jenna and Rob are they’re relatively close in age, they both lead busy lives in Vancouver (they hadn’t met before), they’re at similar fitness levels and they both came to Mountain Trek to “destress” and “rejuvenate” in a beautiful setting. Jenna is a hard-working partner at a marketing and Web development studio and Rob is a writer and musician whose lifestyle can get a little “Rock’nRoll” at times.

Below are honest accounts of their experiences, in their own words. Sum up how you feel right now in 20 words or less.

  1. Where did you hike today and what stood out to you?
  2. What was the highlight of your day?
  3. What was the most challenging part of your day?
  4. What are you craving at this moment?

Day 1


  1. Today’s been very long but amazing.
  2. We hiked from the lodge to Cedar Creek and then to the old Ainsworth cemetery.
  3. My highlight is how i feel right now! I was anxious to come here but everyone is amazing and there’s a friendly communal feeling.
  4. Facing my reality. The weigh in and body mass composition was definitely the low point in my day.
  5. Food in general.


  1. I feel good but a little hungry and a bit anxious about how my muscles will feel for tomorrow’s hike.
  2. The old cemetery was cool with the tall larch trees growing from within the white fencing.
  3. I loved soaking in the caves at Ainsworth Hot Springs (114°F).
  4. 45 minutes of endurance training at the end of a long day.
  5. I’m craving a burrito, chips and salsa. (Cruel of you to even ask.)

Day 2


  1. I feel really good. Very tired, very sore but good.
  2. I’m in Group #2. We went up the Galena trail today and saw a moose on the way to the hike!
  3. I really like it here. I might not want to go back to work
  4. Getting to the night class is a challenge. But once I’m in it, it’s amazing.
  5. Nothing specific. Just food.


  1. My hips are sore and I’ve developed a blister on my heel.
  2. I’m in Group #1. We hiked along the old K&S railway line near the deserted mining town of Sandon.
  3. A highlight was Payne’s Bluff– a narrow, cliff-side portion of the old railway cut out of a sheer rock face a thousand feet above the valley.
  4. Climbing 1000 ft of steep vertical in about 45 minutes.
  5. I’m craving chocolate and potato chips.

Day 3


  1. I feel tired and very sore but really great! I had a great day today!
  2. We hiked the Height of Land trail in Pilot Bay, which is about 17km. Krista was our guide again today. She’s amazing.
  3. My highlight was finishing the hike. I have NEVER gone that far.
  4. The mosquitos on the trail were annoying.
  5. I’m craving chips, coffee, and sleep. I’m exhausted.


  1. I haven’t felt this exhausted since some friends and I did a 9-hr Grouse Grind/Haynes Valley hike 10 years ago.
  2. We took the free ferry to the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. The mist hanging over the glassy water at sunrise was beautiful.
  3. Spotting secluded bays while we hiked through a mossy, sun-dappled forest.
  4. Climbing up a grueling 1,400 feet with sore legs and hip muscles.
  5. I want a Skor bar and ice cream, any flavor.


MT jenna photo2

Jenna and Rob are in the back row of this group shot. Rob’s wearing blue. Jenna is in black.

Day 4


  1. Today was my low day. I almost cried at breakfast. Twice.
  2. We hiked the fire access on Buchanan Mountain in Kaslo. It was beautiful.
  3. It’s so amazing the care that is put into the menu here. Guests’ dislikes, sensitivities and allergies are all considered. I have not worried once about cross-contamination or if something might have nuts in it. All my meals are either labeled with my name or brought to me directly. I feel very safe.
  4. Getting up the mountain. My legs and arms felt weighted. It was a serious mind-over-matter day for me. I’m glad I had a massage tonight.
  5. I’m not craving anything. We ate really well today.


  1. Today was an easier day than “Toxic Tuesday.” It’s 7pm and I’m feeling good, even energized.
  2. I woke up with a sore hip and hamstring muscles and was told if I pushed any harder it could result in injury. So I missed the hike and instead did two hours of cardio, core and strength training in the gym.
  3. Having the fully-stocked gym and yoga centre, with the stunning view of Kootenay Lake and snow-capped mountains, all to myself.
  4. Staying behind from the rest of the group and finding the willpower to push myself in the gym as hard as I could without further aggravating certain leg muscles.
  5. I can honestly say I’m not craving anything from the “outside” world at this moment.

Day 5


  1. I feel so good. I am never leaving.
  2. We hiked Fry Creek today. It was neat to be on the hike that I have seen so many photos of.
  3. Everything. Absolutely everything. We had an amazing yoga class this morning, all of the food was really good, the hike was beautiful, the drive to the hike was lovely and the evening workout was super fun.
  4. I became anxious when I learned I’d be hiking with Group 1 tomorrow. Nerve racking!
  5. Again, nothing. We ate really well today.


  1. I feel great. Light and energized.
  2. Hiking the narrow, cliff-side trail sections along the powerful and fast-moving Fry Creek.
  3. We saw a foot-long Rubber Boa snake (harmless) on our path that we stopped to examine.
  4. It was a challenge not dropping my iPhone into the water as I tried to snap shots of the beautiful scenery.
  5. An ice-cold beer.

Day 6


  1. I feel really proud of the work I put into this week. I am so happy to have met some really amazing people and to spend a week in the mountains.
  2. We hiked Slocan-Evans Trail and while driving to Slocan City we saw a black bear on the side of the road.
  3. At dinner tonight we all talked about keeping in touch – it’s nice to form such a strong bond in 7 days with strangers.
  4. The hike today was definitely challenging. It was really hard to keep going with Group #1 but everyone supported me and encouraged me and I did it!
  5. The only thing I’m craving at this moment is more Mountain trek!


  1. I feel great but it’s also bittersweet to be leaving. Friends were made, weight was shed, toxins were purged, lessons learned and eyes opened. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine and tackling life in the outside world with an altered perspective.
  2. We did the Slocan-Evans Trail and Jenna moved into Group #1 with us, which was great. I’d look back, and there she’d be, right behind me.
  3. The conversations we had with each other on the trail were a highlight. Humorous, intimate, and insightful stories were shared.
  4. It was challenging keeping up with head guide Kirkland Shave.
  5. I’m craving nothing. (Because I know I’m going for Mexican food and a beer tomorrow in Nelson. Yeehaw!)

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Q&A with client Debra Fordham

Mountain Lodge in Britsh Columbia

Welcome to the first of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this inaugural piece we speak with Debra Fordham, a television writer living in Los Angeles, California, who visited Mountain Trek for a week in May 2012. Since that time she has lost almost 70 pounds and is training to run a half-marathon again. This is Debra’s story.

Q&A with Mountain Trek Alumni Debra

Debra Fordham (second from left) on her visit to Mountain Trek.

Hi Debra. Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with us. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I was feeling low one day and sitting at the computer googling generic topics like “fitness retreats” and “weight loss” when the Mountain Trek link popped up. I checked out the Trip Advisor comments and most of them included the words “life changing.” It struck me as a bit expensive so I called my friend to ask advice. She said, “How much would you spend to change your life?” I booked the next day.

Tell us about your expectations?

Well, I went in 80 pounds overweight and out of shape. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. I knew we’d get good food and go on hikes but I was surprised by the raw physical challenge and the evening lessons regarding healthy living. That said, the experience literally did change my life. After six days of eating healthy foods, exercising and detoxing my entire physiology changed. When I got home I no longer craved soda or Oreos.

What was the highlight of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to buy a house in the Kootenay region. It’s just so beautiful there. I also really enjoyed Kirkland’s lectures in the evening – they gave me not only an understanding of what I was going through in terms of physiology but I was also given tools to use when I returned home.

What was the low-light of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to physically give up at one point. I was thinking of myself as this fat girl who doesn’t exercise and it was all too much but the wonderful thing is the staff wouldn’t let me give up – they just inspired me to keep going. I was amazed at how motivated I was around the guides, most especially Kirkland, Cathy and Krista.

Q&A Success Story

Debra, over 50 pounds lighter

What was it like when you returned home?

When I got home I craved healthy foods. I also craved exercise and I continued hiking around my area. And I acted on Kirk’s lectures – I started cooking for myself. I made bliss balls and Mt Trek soups and I stopped eating processed food.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you returned home?

I was doing really well until the holidays when I got together with my family. We have such a wacked idea of food – we eat like crazy. I had people at my house at Christmas and so we started baking and because of the family dynamics – well, you just don’t want to eat tofu salad while someone you love is eating something unhealthy. It’s kind of a social statement not joining in.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Mountain Trek staff kept stressing “Have more good days than bad” and that really is the key. Sometimes you just have to eat the snacks on the airplane and it’s important you not beat yourself up about it. I don’t let it derail me. I’ll enjoy a “no limits” great meal but the next morning I’m back on the pony eating foods from the local farmer’s market.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Go!!!! With five exclamation points! For some people it may seem expensive but like my friend says, “How much would you pay to change your life?” You have to take it seriously – you’ll be challenged but it really will be the launching pad to changing your life.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about your experience?

I can’t wait to come back! I’m coordinating with someone who I met there last May and we’re going to return together. That was another benefit of the experience – the alumni are an amazing resource and they become your friends.


9 Reasons Why You Need a Mountain Trek Health Retreat

9. Change Your Routine

There’s no better way to boost your vitality and metabolism than by altering your routine and getting more active. When you change your environment, diet, and the people around you, your body responds. And Mountain Trek will ensure that response is entirely positive.

8. We’ll Watch What You Eat

A good rule of thumb is that if it has a label on it, it’s not food. Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, salmon – no food labels. Oreos? Different story. The minute you start putting real food into your system, it responds well but sometimes it’s easy to forget this. We’ll support you with delicious, nutritious meals that will revitalize your brain and body activity.

7. Move It Or Lose It

Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day. Without regular exercise our hips get tight, our core weakens and our mobility lessens. That’s why Mountain Trek offers yoga to help improve mobility and hiking to help strengthen the body’s full range of motion. Join us and keep moving forward the way our bodies were meant to.

6. Disconnect

Do you feel like you’re a slave to your phone, tablet, or laptop? In order to connect with ourselves again, we have to disconnect from the global village, even if it’s just for a little while. We’re not saying you need to go rogue, but the simple experience of hearing the wind, or river, or nothing at all, instead of your text-message notification, can make you feel connected to everything.

5. Reconnect

Are you the type to plug in ear-buds and go lone-wolf style in the gym or on the way to work? Studies have shown that the results of exercising in a group (whether it be weight training, cardio, or hiking) greatly exceed the results of exercising alone. Come to Mountain Trek and make lasting connections with people who aren’t part of your everyday route – we need each other to excite and motivate us. WomenHikingFryeCreek

4. Get Outside And Play

Remember playing outside as a kid? Your body craves that – it wants to be exposed to fresh oxygen and vitamin D from the purest sources. When you’re outside, your body responds in a positive way by burning more calories and releasing endorphins. Add to that clean mountain air and the exhilaration of being in one of the most breathtaking environments in the world, and your body, and spirit, will remember why playing outside is so important.

3. Objects In Motion Stay In Motion

We know that getting started in a fitness program is always the hardest part. This is why Mountain Trek is the ideal place to start: you’ll get away from the stressors and temptations in your life, and replace them with stimulating mental, physical, and spiritual growth. We help you build new patterns that take the weight off, increase lean muscle, eat good food, and most importantly, keep things that way.

2. Change Your Body. Blow Your Mind

One thing that we often forget when considering changing our health is our brain, yet it is the most important organ in the body. These days, our brains can get bogged down in endless stacks of work and chores but one of the best ways to revitalize your mind is to change locations and do something different. Replace the high-rises with peaks and the traffic with trees. Give your brain something to really think about – happiness.

Mountain Trek British Columbia, Canada Lodge porch at Dusk

1. Invest in You

We are so often wrapped up in taking care of others. Whether you are supporting your colleagues, partner, parents, and children, we rarely take time for ourselves. Retreating to the lush mountains of British Columbia will offer you a chance to completely reset your health, and focus on yourself; so that you may return home feeling more balanced and recharged.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Stress Less on Your Business Trip

How to stay health on business travel
Does your career require you to travel?  Whether you love or hate it, it doesn’t have be a dreaded journey of indigestion, poor sleep, stress and anxiety.

Is it possible to adopt a “spa retreat” state of mind along the way, so your cortisol isn’t sky high?  With a bit of planning and intention, there are things you can do to stay more relaxed and calm amidst the hectic pace.

Physical and Psychological Management of Stress on the Road

  • Stretch and/or Massage – release those tight muscles with a stretch. Massage increases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin by 30% and lowers the “stress” hormone cortisol. Hop on the 15 minute chair massage at the airport, or have a quick visit to the local spa.
  • Support your body – maintain your energy levels and immune system with nutritional supplements, especially with B vitamins.
  • Eat well – bring healthy snacks from home, such as protein or super greens powder for smoothies on the run. At restaurants, choose salads and slow burning complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you better than a muffin, and will keep your blood sugar levels normal.
  • Exercise – bring workout or walking clothes; it will burn off stress, raise serotonin and endorphin levels, and help you sleep.
  • Hydrate – drink plenty as dehydration hits quickly on planes and in stuffy offices, leading to fatigue and foggy thinking. Take a water bottle with you everywhere.
  • Sleep – bow out on the 10:00pm cocktail and honor your body’s need to rest.  Have a bath, bring earplugs and a good book to help you doze off.
  • Meditate – calm racing negative thoughts and visualize positive outcomes.
  • Listen – travel with your iPod or MP3 and fill it with relaxing music
  • Breathe – practice mindful, deep belly breathing
  • Go with the flow – don’t worry about circumstances you have no control over
  • Bring astress ball” – squeeze it to release anxiety
  • Practice gratitude – be grateful for all the gifts in your life; it will lift your mood and shift your perspective.

Enjoy your next business trip!


Detox Your Mind

Fed up with the steady onslaught of bad news and anxiety in the world?  With the depressing media stories and global strife which creates worry over things you have no control over, the daily news does not often support a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.

Thanks to technology, bad news is everywhere now, and taking a break from the negativity of it is essential to your health on all levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Feeling clear, balanced and good in your life is not just a fanciful memory of way things used to be, but a state of being that with intention, only you can create for yourself.

Along with the fitness and weight loss benefits of vacationing at a Wellness Retreat, the rising trend of “healthy vacations” is answering the need for allowing people to unplug from their stressful lives, the TV and computer, unhealthy habits, and  cram-packed schedules that leaves little time for self reflection and adequate sleep, let alone feeling full of vitality.

Guests Hiking

Detoxification is any process that removes injurious substances from your body.

If you’re regularly being exposed to unpleasant news, or barely manage to juggle an overloaded schedule of too many obligations and deadlines, have you considered taking a detox break from that lifestyle as well?  The effects of these stressors is far reaching, such as skyrocketing Cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which wreaks havoc on your metabolism, immune system and hormones.  And we won’t mention the bad moods, irritability and depression.

If you’re of an age to remember the days before computers, email and smart phones, than part of you longs to return to that way of being, if only for a short while, and if only to remember what it feels like to be yourself again without gadgets, technology and a long list of to-dos.

If you’re feeling overburdened in your body and mind, you’re certainly not alone.  That’s why more people than ever are turning to Fitness Retreats as their answer to distressing, detoxing, losing weight, and unplugging from their busy lives.

How Long can Rapid Weight Loss be Sustained?

woman exerciseAs people research their options of boot camp-style fitness programs, they often ask; “how long should I go for the most lasting impact?” And “How can I continue rapid weight loss after I’m back home?”

Besides taking a break and unplugging from their busy lives for some adventure and unparalleled hiking terrain, for many people, quick weight loss is their goal.  Along with the activities and lower calories to quickly shed pounds while here, we also educate our guests about healthy habits for the long term.  Learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices will enable people to continue components of our program, in a sustainable, healthy way at home.

Maxing Your Stay at a Fitness Retreat

The ideal duration of our program is 2-week increments. We see maximum weight loss results with the 2-week “The Renewal” program, instead of doing the program continuously for 3 or 4 weeks.  Not only would 4 weeks of continual “boot camp” style activities produce wear and tear, but the body also has a natural response to the prolonged excursion that prevents rapid weight loss from continuing.

Metabolically, the body burns the most fat during the kick-start phase of weeks 1 and 2.  After 2 weeks of the Program, we have historically seen with guests that the rate of weight loss slows down to half after continuing into the 3rd and 4th weeks.  This is due to the body’s reaction to the continual physical rate of excursion, and its “plateau” response of hanging on to calories/fat as a “starvation” response.

Your Body’s Wise to Sustained Excursion

Our bodies are designed to adapt to conditions of feast or famine, athletic activity or sedentary lounging, and will retain calories when it recognizes the need.  Safely “shocking” the system with intense physical excursion and lower calorie intake results in rapid weight loss.  However, the body will ensure it doesn’t burn fat so easily if this continues, and will then hang on to calories for survival.

Benefits of Shorter and Longer Fitness Vacations

For guests that really need to unplug from their busy life, Mountain Trek certainly does accommodate 3 or 4-week stays, with the flexibility of “rest days”.  For some people, a longer break is the ideal combination of rapid weight loss at the outset, and thorough rejuvenating and detoxing.

But for those that are focused on rapid weight loss in less time, it is most effective to kick-start their fat-burning with coming for 1 or 2 weeks in our supportive environment, breaking old habits and learning new ones, and either carrying on components of the Program at home, (which they’ll learn) or coming back for a refresher.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below: