Diet in terms of the food combinations we eat is a focus at Mountain Trek. Dieting as a short term solution to health and wellness is not something Mountain Trek promotes.


Electrolytes: Myth-busted!

IMG_8791This past week one of our alumni, Mary, wrote on Mountain Trek Facebook’s wall, “Can you post info on when to use electrolytes? I wish I had taken better notes during that lecture!”

Mary is refering to one of the many different lectures our guides deliver during the Mountain Trek program. Topics include “Nutrition,” “Sleep,” and “Stress,” among others. Also, during the morning meal Kirkland or Cathy usually discuss various subjects, including electrolytes.

Because of the fact guests work out approximately 6 to 8 hours a day, and relax in saunas and on massage tables in the evenings while at Mountain Trek, staff are always conscience of people’s energy levels and hydration. Here are five quick myths that guests learn about electrolytes and ones that every active person should know.

1. Gatorade is a great source for electrolytes – FALSE

Advertisers market Powerade and Gatorade as essential for hard-working, professional athletes but the fact is drinks such as these are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners and are more harmful than anything. At Mountain Trek we prefer to use Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator – a natural, alkaline-forming drink mix that is free from sugar and sweeteners. It has 11% potassium per 400g and 4% sodium per 100g.

2. I should consume electrolytes before and/or during every workout – FALSE

Electrolyte needs vary from person to person and depend on a variety of factors including body size and fitness level. At Mountain Trek, the guides may consume electrolytes once every two weeks but guests usually get them twice a week or more because of all the sweating and detoxing that’s done during workouts and sauna sessions. However, consuming too many electrolyte supplements overloads the body with sodium and does more harm than good.

3. I should only consume electrolytes when my muscles cramp – FALSE

Although there are some different thoughts about what causes cramping, most scientists agree it’s a body’s warning sign that you’re getting dangerously low on fluids and electrolytes. By then it’s too late to doing anything immediate, however, because cramping means the damage is already done and it’ll take time for the electrolytes to be absorbed again. Each body is different so you’ll have to be aware of your energy levels at all times and react accordingly but a general rule of thumb is if you start to experience ringing in your ears or are mild heart palpitations immediately stop what you’re doing and consume a serving of electrolyte. (In those cases your body requires sodium.) if you feel your muscles may start to cramp or your energy is starting to flat-line then you also need an electrolyte (because your potassium stores are depleted.) In each case, consume a glass of water with an electrolyte supplement dissolved in it and continue to hydrate. And remember that next time you perform a similar workout you will need to prepare accordingly.

4. Salt pills are sufficient right? – FALSE

Salt tablets are an unacceptable choice for electrolyte replenishment because they only supply two of the electrolytes your body requires (sodium and chloride) and they can oversupply sodium, thereby causing further damage. Again, stick to a natural, sugar-free electrolyte supplement such as Vega Sport.

5. It will require time and practice to dial in my electrolyte requirements – TRUE

There isn’t an easy answer when it comes to electrolyte consumption. To use a metaphor, electrolytes are like the oil in a car: they’re not the fuel that makes you go, but they’re essential in keeping the engine working properly. And, similar to the oil tank in your car, you don’t want it to ever be empty, nor do you want it over full. The key is to always have electrolytes on hand and to monitor your pre-, during, and post-workout habits. If you have a long sauna session one night and then work out for two hours the next day and start to feel a leg cramp coming on, then you’ll know the next time you do something similar to include an electrolyte supplement at breakfast, a few hours before your workout.


Summer Salad Dressings

It’s time to put more life into your salads. Spruce them up with these two delicious Mountain Trek dressings.

Q&A with Client Phil Lanni

Phil Lanni_group in Peru

The group on the trip to Machu Picchu, Peru, last Spring. Phil Lanni is the second from left.

Welcome to the second installment of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each person came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. Last time we spoke with Debra Fordham, who’s visit to Mountain Trek last year was the catalyst for a 70-pound weight loss. In this piece we speak with Philip Lanni, a business owner living near Toronto, Ontario, who is “three-quarters retired” he says. He’s visited Mountain Trek every year since 2002 and he’s also joined us on a few of our global adventures including the hike to Everest base camp and this year’s trek to Macchu Piccu. Phil makes the journey to Mountain Trek every year because, “I like the adrenaline of pushing myself.” Pretty inspiring for a man who’s celebrating his 65th birthday this year. Here is Phil’s story.

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

On the internet. I’d done a lot of hiking before in the States but I wanted to find something in Canada. That was in 2002. And I’ve been coming back every year since. I brought my wife a few times and my kids. I also brought along my brother and my brother-in-law because they were both experiencing some health issues at the time. They all got something out of their visit.

Tell us about your expectations?

When I was 35, I smoked 70 cigarettes a day and was around 275 pounds. I had three small kids then and I knew I had to make some changes. I started eating better, walking and doing more healthy things and eventually got down to 230 pounds on my own. That was 30 years ago and since then I’ve attended many different resorts but they’re not in the same league as Mountain Trek in terms of what you get for you money…it may be a bit more expensive than other retreats but you really do get what you pay for.

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

I like the adrenaline of pushing myself to the point where I feel I just can’t go any further – and then I do. I love that I’m competing against myself rather than anyone else. I find that really invigorating. To be able to do that in the kind of scenery Mountain Trek is located in, well, you just can’t replace it. Another highlight is the staff. They’re so great because they live the life. They walk the talk, which makes the program a lot easier to accept because they’re living proof that it works. And finally, I never did yoga before and Mountain Trek got me into it, which is great. I find as you get older, yoga definitely helps you to be more flexible.

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

I once sprained my foot and wasn’t able to participate in the rest of the hikes that week. But even though I couldn’t go hiking I still managed to lose seven pounds just eating the food!

Phil Lanni 2_ group in Peru

Phil and the crew in Peru

For me Mountain Trek is just a continuation of my routine. I do two hours of exercise a day to stay healthy. Then, I’ll go to the lodge and maybe I’ll lose five or six pounds (the same I lose every time) but it’s just part of my routine now. I probably eat a little more when I come home because of going out to restaurants and things.

So what draws you back to Mountain Trek every year, Phil?

Again, it’s just part of my routine. I use it as a basis to steer my life in the right direction. Going to Mountain Trek helps me maintain a weight of around 200 pounds and 18% body fat. (Ed note: According to the Jackson & Pollock Body Fat Percentage Chart, 20% body fat is “ideal” for someone over 56 years of age. Phil is exceeding that.)

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

Be prepared to get rid of your inhibitions. Some people say, “Oh I won’t be able to keep up with the rest” but it’s not about that. You’re not competing against anyone but yourself. It’s all about getting rid of your demons…It’s about your total health, not just weight loss.

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

The yoga instructors, coaches and guides, they’re all excellent. And the quality of food is very good. I never get hungry when I’m there!


Why It’s Important to Choose Water Instead of Soda

Clean water pouring into the glass next to the stones on the old wooden table

Concerns of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are on the rise. People are rethinking their nutrition and the types of liquids they consume. It’s no secret that drinking too much soda is not good for your body, but why should you choose water over Coca-Cola and Pepsi? 

The two companies have engaged in many different marketing campaigns, and today they own some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In fact, 1.8 billion bottles of Coke are consumed around the world every day! Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have made efforts by introducing no-sugar, no-calorie beverage options, but these diet versions still have harmful effects.

The fact is, no matter how these products are advertised they will never come close to the health benefits of water. 

Why You Should Choose Water

  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and breast cancer by 79%.
  • One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of those who participated in a University of Washington study.
  • Preliminary research indicates that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • Lack of water is the most common cause of daytime fatigue. Drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies it.
  • Consuming water is the best method to detox and flush impurities from the body.

What’s in Coca-Cola and Pepsi

  • The active ingredient in Coke and Pepsi is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.
  • Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
  • Coke and Pepsi contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. One can of cola has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake. 
  • Citric Acid, while not harmful in small quantities, excessive amounts can be harmful to your stomach and liver.
  • A can of cola has approximately two-thirds of the amount of caffeine that your morning cup of coffee contains. While safe in small amounts, we have a few reasons to keep the caffeine to a minimum

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:

Top 5 Fitness Apps

At Mountain Trek we know how important it is to have help staying on track during our hectic lives. We regularly hear from our alumni that they love staying in touch with the other guests they met while at the resort and that this support network is key to integrating healthy habits in their day-t0-day.

But sometimes we need more than just a friendly phone call to help us with our health or weight-loss goals. This is when new technology comes in handy. Below are five of the best health-related mobile apps that we’ve come across. Do you have other suggestions for us? If so, please comment below.

fitpalFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

FitPal is one of the most popular apps on the market, and not just because it’s free. Users can set a daily calorie goal, then record food intake and exercise to help stay on track. The app records your meals and workouts, then automatically calculates the number of calories consumed. And it’s food database is extensive with caloric and nutritional details of over 425,000 foods. It includes:

  • Calorie Counter
  • Nutrient Summary
  • Food Search
  • Food Diary
  • Food Database
  • Personalized Diet Profile



WalkJogRun is an online community of runners, walkers and hikers sharing routes and encouragement with one another. It uses your smart phone’s GPS technology to pinpoint your current location and then suggests routes that have been uploaded by other users. From there you can plot a course, record your own route and at the end of your run you can check distance, pace, time, etc. The $4.99 version includes:

  • accurate mapping
  • ability to log training sessions
  • record your heart rate, weight, cadence, ascent, distance, pace, time, etc
  • download other people’s favourite walking/running/hiking routes (there are over a million of them)
  • training plans and diary
  • community interaction with like-minded people



Six Pack App

This app is a little more hardcore than what we’d normally suggest but we really like the yoga and stretches component. Six Pack App offers multiple exercises and routines for the chest, shoulders, back, legs and, of course, abs. One of the best parts of the app is the “Don’t” section which shows you things not to do while performing the exercise, thus ensuring you maintain good form and avoid injury. Get the $0.99 version to avoid all the pop-up ads. Features include:

  • Step-by-step tips
  • Photos
  • Muscle Diagrams
  • Advice about how to use equipment properly
  • Suitable exercise routines for when you travel


ntcNike Training Club

Nike’s most popular training app is called NTC  and it’s billed as “your personal trainer, anytime, anywhere.” While it lacks the personality of say, someone like Mountain Trek’s head guide Kirkland Shave, it does have more than 100 custom-built workouts as well as those used by celebrities Serena Williams and Paula Radcliffe. For a free app, NTC is very robust and it does a lot including:

  • Full-body workouts for 30 or 45 minutes.
  • Targeted and professional athlete workouts for 15 minutes.
  • Set your workout to your own music.
  • Audio guidance to keep you on track and motivated
  • Step-by-step instructions and video demonstrations for every drill
  • Track details of your workout history and training progress.
  • Share your workout and reward status on Facebook and Twitter.




Health isn’t always about movement or watching what to eat. We at Mountain Trek are true believers in the idea that a certain amount of serenity needs to be injected into our daily lives in order to have a well-rounded, healthy existence. The Calm app helps remind us of that. It offers multiple programs to help users find calm during their busy days in addition to guided relaxation sessions. There’s even a two-minute option so no-one has an excuse not to partake. The price is also very calming – free. Here are some more features:
  •  7-step program designed to give users the tools they need to become calmer
  • 7 guided relaxation sessions (ranging from two to 30 minutes)
  • 10 nature scenes from which users can choose a calming background for their phone.



Cinco de Mayo Sangria

Feeling in the mood for mexican but want to skip all those heavy burritos and cheese dishes. Try our non-alcoholic Sangria.

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.


How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • you may have reached a new set point, so what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • you might be fatigued from lack of sleep making it harder to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism.

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly. Here are some ideas for addressing that last hurdle.

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal, and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern which can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Well, maybe that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.

Mountain Trek Reviewed on “Lisa Johnson Fitness”

lisajohnsonFitness expert Lisa Johnson visited Mountain Trek and summed up her experience in one word, “Wow.”

Lisa is a popular pilates and fitness icon in the United States and she’s been featured in The New York TimesGlamourFamily CircleThe Boston GlobeEntrepreneur, and on CBS News.

In her article, Lisa comments:

“(the food is) delicious. Mouth-watering soups, savory dishes; I’m so glad they give you a cookbook of all their recipes so I can make a bunch at home.  The day we had Bliss Balls (these almond butter concoctions) I was in heaven.”

She goes on to list the benefits of her stay:

  • The scenery is spectacular
  • The level of sweat is spectacular
  • I surprised myself with my strength
  • I surprised myself by not being as healthy as I thought I was
  • I came away with a new mindset
  • I finally broke through a weight plateau
  • I lost five pounds of just fat! I gained 0.6 pounds of muscle
  • I can’t wait for the rest of my life!

Click here To read Lisa’s entire article entitled, “Mountain Trek: A Posh Bootcamp.

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: