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Staff Picks – Best Workout Music

Mountain Trek's Staff Workout Songs

It's no secret that music has a massive effect on our mood. If you're feeling low, an upbeat song can lift you right up. Or if you're feeling stressed, a relaxing tune can help soothe the soul. By coordinating the music you’re listening to with the mood you’d like to be in, you can train your brain to engage in positive vibes.

To that end, we asked the staff at Mountain Trek what kind of music they like to listen to when exercising. We all know it can be challenging to get up off the couch sometimes and what can help the process is cranking some tunes to get you motivated.

Here are our staff's picks for best workout music:

Jennifer Keirstead – Nutritionist and Guide Jennifer Keirstead, Nutritionist at Mountain Trek

"These are the songs I like to play when I wanted to get pumped up! LOL. That said, I know everyone's taste in music is different but I think a lot of people will agree these songs definitely inspire you to move around."

  1. "Sinnerman" – Felix da Housecat Mix feat. Nina Simone
  2. "A Song for Our Grandfathers" – Future Islands
  3. "Every Other Freckle" – Alt-J
  4. "Is This It" – Asaf Avidan **Kulkid Remix
  5. "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" – Scissor Sisters

Cathy Grierson – Head Guide & Fitness Director Guides, Chefs & Staff

"I like listening to music when I work out in the gym but it's a good idea to remind everyone to take the headphones off when hiking in nature so as to enjoy the sounds around you. Here are the songs I love best to workout to when indoors:"

  1. "In2ition and misirlou" – 2 Cellos 
  2. "Jai ho" – Mumbai Dolls
  3. "Running down a dream" – Tom Petty
  4. "Runaway" – Ed Sheehan

Kirkland Shave – Program Director & Lead Guide Guides, Chefs & Staff

"These are the songs that pump me up!"

  1. "Pump It Up" – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  2. "Chuis Bo" – PZK (feat. Dogg Soso)
  3. "Jump In the Line" – Harry Belafonte
  4. "Pipeline" – The Piperiders
  5. "Eternal (Jusqu'au matin)" – Le Weekend
  6. "Gumboots" – Paul Simon (with The Boyoyo Boys)
  7. "Mr. Saxobeat" – Alexandra Stan
  8. "Whip It" – Devo
  9. "Mambo Con Dancehall" – Brooklyn Funk Essentials
  10. "Sweet and Dandy" – Toots & The Maytals

Krista Van Ee – Hiking Guide Guides, Chefs & Staff

"These are the songs I like to listen to when running or working out":

  1. "I've Got Your Fire" – Jenn Grant
  2. "Happy" – Pharrell Williams
  3. "Disperate Youth" – Santigold
  4. "Beings" – Madeon
  5. "Kamikaze" – MO
  6. "Famous" – Charli xcx

Simon Shave – Sleep Specialist & Hiking Guide Guides, Chefs & Staff

"There are so many songs out there that get me moving but these are definitely my top five favourites right now."

  1. "Move On Up" – Curtis Mayfield
  2. "Behind the Mask" – Micheal Jackson 
  3. "Lose Yourself to Dance" – Daft Punk
  4. "Runnin' (Bit Funk Remix)" – The Pharcyde 
  5. "Todd Terje" – Inspector Norse

And in case you want to have a listen for yourself. We put all these great songs into one easy playlist to help fuel your next workout.

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Easy Ways to Digital Detox

Easy Tips for Digital Detox

"Digital detox" is a buzz phrase we're hearing more of lately but what exactly is it and why should we do it? After all, isn't technology meant to improve our lives, helping us keep more connected and freeing up time so we can concentrate on other things?

It's true technology has vastly improved certain aspects or our day-to-day but our relationship to digital devices is changing at a rapid pace and it's important to notice the specific impacts on your life. And to do this, we need to take a step back and discuss toxins, detoxifying and the role of digital media and devices in all of this.

What is Toxic Load? 

A toxin isn't just a form of poison that enters your body. Toxic load can also be mental or emotional. It is the result of stagnation through repetition. When there is a build-up of patterns that block energy, we become inflamed and constricted – we lose the natural flow state of expansion and contraction. This could be the increasing pattern of attention span interruption or multi-tasking at work, due to the constant repetitive information signals to our brain from our digital devices. It could be the build up of bio-waste and chemical compounds in our body due to the repetitive sitting we do, which limits circulation and elimination. Even our social world can become stagnant if we are not going deeper than social media for our heartfelt interactions.

Why is Detoxifying Important?

Detoxifying is the process of supporting a flow state in our whole being. When we take a break from ongoing patterns and habits, we recalibrate and become "lighter of being." Our mind, body and emotional states are interconnected. By taking a break from incessant incoming info bites, not only does our mind get a break from vigilance, but our stress hormone Cortisol gets a chance to lower, which in turn supports sleep, appetite and energy levels. When we move our body (ideally 10,000 steps a day), our circulation, lymph drainage and elimination organs (liver, kidney's, intestines, lungs and sweat glands) release waste and unhealthy chemicals. And on an emotional level, having an intimate conversation with someone we trust allows the weight of our concerns to be released.

What's the Best Way to Digital Detox?

Digital detox goes beyond just spending less time in front of your iPad, phone or computer. There are other aspects that can be incorporated to ensure a full detox experience. Here are three easy ways to do it: 

  1. Electronic Devices: Shut all electronics down one hour before bed. This will allow your Cortisol to drop and will support better sleep. Take that hour to do some restorative yoga, have an Epsom salt bath, or give and receive a massage, all of which aid in toxin release and deep regenerative sleep.
  2. Move More: It's not enough to be away from your devices for awhile and then just sit there waiting for the chance to check them again. Get up! Dance, walk, skate, swim. Keep the blood pumping, Breath deep. All of this will help your elimination system, decrease inflammation and increase a flow state.
  3. Eat Veggies: It may seem odd to mention food when discussing digital detox but the fact is by eating more vegetables, which contain more fiber and antioxidants, you're helping your elimination system and supporting a lean and clean body. In other words, the more veggies you eat, the more you'll want to move around, meet friends in person, get outside, and generally enjoy a fuller life.

Of course, the best way to digital detox is to take a break from your day-to-day life and immerse yourself in nature. Click here to learn more about how Mountain Trek supports digital detox through its program. 

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Why You Need To Stop Calorie Counting Right Now

Calorie Counting

Recently Mountain Trek's nutrition expert Jennifer Keirstead was asked whether calorie counting is beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight and improve their fitness. Below is her response but before we jump into it, let's first define the subject at hand. 

What Is Calorie Counting?

Calorie counting is the act of adding together the caloric value of food(s) that one eats. The history of this practice dates back to 1900 when Wilbur Olin Atwater and his associates at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station determined the caloric values of a number of food components (i.e., the protein, fat, and carbohydrate isolated from various foods) by multiplying the heat of combustion of the food with correction factors that take into consideration incomplete digestion or oxidation of the food in the body. The conversion factors determined by Atwater and his associates remain in use today.

Why The Calorie Calculation Formula Is Skewed

Despite the fact Atwater built in various correction factors for caloric values, they do not account for:

  • variation of individual absorption
  • the influences of an individual's intestinal bacteria and that's affect on absorption (these change depending on history of travel, antibiotics and present diet)
  • variation in nutrient density of today’s foods compared to foods from those used in the Atwater research of 1900, which were less processed, more organic and more local
  • and they exclude many nutrients that were unknown in 1900 (the number of known nutrients to science in 1900 was fewer than 16 whereas now it's exponentially higher than that. 

Moreover, both meal timings and meal composition also have an impact on how calories are absorbed by the body.

Why A Calorie Isn't Just A Calorie

Now that we've looked at the history of calorie counting and why it can be considered inaccurate, here is Jennifer's further response to why calorie counting isn't worth it:

"Not all calories are created equal. Take the example of an ice cream cone versus an avocado: both are calorie-rich foods but the calories in the ice cream cone are considered "empty" because they don't offer the body any nutritional value. They simply spike our blood sugar and leave us feeling lower in energy after we eat them. However, the calories from real foods, like the avocado, offer the body nutrient-dense calories that are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Your body gains energy, antioxidants, and digestive support from the calories in real foods. But it's important to remember you can still overeat the good calories too. It's great to be mindful of how much we're eating, regardless of where the calories are coming from!"

It can be argued that Mountain Trek stresses specific (and different) caloric intake for women and men but this is a rough guideline and it's important to remember the entire nutrition tenant of the program includes many proven elements such as only eating real foods, abstaining from cortisol-raising foods such as sugar and caffeine and stressing the importance of meal timings and composition.

To fully appreciate the Mountain Trek nutrition program we suggest you book a stay with us. Contact Michelle or Mia by phone or email to learn more. Alternatively, book online now.

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Mountain Trek Is The Perfect Bachelorette Destination Say 2 Writers

Friends-hiking-together

Mountain Trek has been featured in two articles recently that describe our health program as the perfect fitness-focused destination for brides-to-be. In her recent JetSetHerBlog.com article, Jamie Gaul writes that you’ll leave your bachelorette party at Mountain Trek “feeling like a new woman” and Alison Lewis writes in her HealthyTravelMag.com article that Mountain Trek is “the perfect retreat just before the big day!” Both place a spotlight on the hiking and how brides and their bachelorette parties can get fit before the big day, rather than derail all their hard work.

In her article Gaul writes, “Every time I get a wedding invite, I know a bachelorette party is in store and that means too much wine, too much food and a week-long hangover. Bachelorette parties don’t have to derail all the hard work you’ve done to get your wedding day bod. These locations are fun, relaxing and have your wellness in mind. So long, Vegas!”

Gaul then goes on to describe Mountain Trek saying, “A true backcountry experience, Mountain Trek offers the bride-to-be and her bridal party a dynamic ‘boot camp’ vacation. Yes, I know bootcamp and vakay aren’t exactly synonymous but trust me, you’ll emerge from this bachelorette party feeling like a new woman. Set in spectacular natural landscapes, guests spend time hiking, practicing yoga, indulging massage therapy and have access to a variety of fitness, detox and nutrition classes Average weight loss for a one week program ranges from 4.5 – 6.5 lbs per week for women. You may even need your wedding dress taken in after this trip!”

In her article entitled “Health Inspired Bachelorette Destinations” Alison Lewis writes, “Set in the most spectacular natural landscapes, (Mountain Trek) guests are treated to an ultra personalized program and spend time focusing on activities including hiking, yoga, massage therapty, detox treatments and a variety of fitness and nutrition classes.”

Mountain Trek has hosted many groups of women throughout the years and we even wrote our own article about “Why Mountain Trek is the Perfect Girls Getaway.” Here are just a few of the reasons why a healthy bachelorette party at Mountain Trek is such a good idea:

  • Spend some much-needed time with your friends away from all the distractions of your daily lives
  • Enjoy the world-famous hotsprings five minutes from our lodge
  • Lose weight before putting on that wedding dress and look beautiful on your big day
  • Learn healthy habits that will stay with you long after you leave our luxurious lodge
  • Have a guaranteed support network when you get home

To see Jamie’s story in its entirety, please click this link: Bachelorette Destinations Inspired by Health, Not Hangovers. And to see Alison’s story, please click here: Health Inspired Bachelorette Destinations.

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6 Types of Yoga – Which One’s Perfect for You?

Which type of yoga is right for you?

This November join Mountain Trek at Rancho la Puerta in Baja, Mexico and try different types of yoga every day. The resort boasts world-class teachers and each adobe studio is sun-filled and beautiful. To help you decide which type of yoga is perfect for you, we’ve put together this list of six different kinds along with insider tips that further explain each.

Hatha

Ideal for: Beginners

What it is: Hatha refers to any yoga practice that combines breathing techniques with poses. With each class your goal is to develop balance and flexibility and to continue breathing with every pose and movement, so it tends to be very relaxing and restorative. Many guests at Mountain Trek love the last few series of poses during the morning session, which involves lying on the floor in a relaxed position called “shavasana” for 5 minutes.

Insider Tip: At Mountain Trek we tend to concentrate on slower movements between poses. However, other instructors might move (or “flow”) at faster rates. Be sure to check with them in advance to ensure you’re comfortable with the speed.

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar

Ideal for: Those suffering from neck or back problems

What it is: Iyengar is a style of yoga that emphasizes proper alignment and the strengthening of joints and muscles. Props are often used such as straps and blocks to help you get into poses. Participants will stand, sit, and twist and if the injury isn’t too limiting, poses might also include backbends.

Insider Tip: According to the Clinical Journal of Pain this style of yoga helps improve chronic neck pain.

Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa

Ideal for: Weight loss

What it is: This style of yoga tends to be fairly fast-paced and is occasionally called “power yoga.” With each class you’re expected to move continuously throughout the class doing a series of lunging, bending, and stretching poses. (The most famous sequences of moves is called the sun salutation.) In more advanced classes you can expect to do headstands or shoulder stands, in which the feet are raised above the head. However, we typically avoid these positions at Mountain Trek, preferring instead the more gentle movements of Hatha.

Insider Tip: Of all the different types of yoga, Vinyasa is the best for weight loss as practitioners can burn up to seven calories a minute.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram

Ideal for: Building flexibility (and detoxing via sweat)

What it is: This style is often referred as “hot yoga” because studios are typically heated to 40°C (105°F) with a 40 percent humidity level. Each class includes various rapid breathing exercises as well as a series of 26 poses.

Insider Tip: Don’t forget your water bottle and towel! And it’s best not to eat 2 hours before a class so as to avoid nausea.

Khudalini Yoga

Kundalini

Ideal for: A more spiritual experience

What it is: The average session of this form of yoga is made up of exercise, breath work, meditation, and relaxation. The goal is to release the energy that devotees believe is stored at the base of the spine and by doing so, you calm the mind and energize the body.

Insider Tip: This style can be considered a bit out there so if you’re not keen chanting, perhaps try another discipline.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga

Ideal for: Seasoned yoga practitioners

What it is: This style of yoga is one of the most physically challenging. Practitioners can execute up to 70 poses in one session including upwards of 10 sun salutations, inversions and backbends.

Insider Tip: This style of yoga is excellent for developing strength and endurance but it’s also for veterans who are comfortable with many of the more difficult poses.

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Why Athletes Visit Mountain Trek Too

kootenay SUP mountain trek

Mountain Trek is renowned for helping urbanites and business professionals reboot their vitality and get back on track in terms of their health and wellness. What people may not know, though, is we’re also a vacation destination for athletes – people who exercise regularly but who need to take their fitness or wellness to a new level or who need to train for an upcoming event.

In her recent article entitled “Vitality Found”, Dianna Ducs, the Executive Director of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, writes about how her stay at Mountain Trek helped her prepare for an epic, seven-day Stand Up Paddleboard adventure. Dianna, who’s a fit bicyclist, writes in her story: “I can say without a doubt that I was successful in achieving my goals. Even better, all the guests who were with me at Mountain Trek achieved their goals as well! After only one week I now stand and sit much taller and stronger. I gained four pounds of muscle, lost 3 pounds of body fat, and I addressed some dietary needs to improve my metabolism and energy levels.”

To read more about Dianna’s experience at Mountain Trek, log onto her story ““Vitality Found” on the Nelson Kootenay Lake Association website.

Nelson-Kootenay-Lake-tourism-logo

How to Know if Energy Healing is Right For You

Brunette-woman-having-Cranial-Sacral-TherapyDid you know that at Mountain Trek not only do we have massage therapists on site but we also offer sessions with energy work practitioners?

“Energy work” or “energy healing” are terms used to describe different forms of therapies that manipulate the energy circuits in our bodies to regain balance and facilitate healing. Some people swear by their effectiveness, while others believe it to be pseudoscience. We encourage you to decide for yourself. At Mountain Trek we offer:

  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Reflexology

Here we explain how each of the above works and whether they might be right for you.

CRANIAL SACRAL THERAPY

This type of therapy concentrates on the connections between the cranium and the sacrum, in other words the skull and the bone at the bottom of the spine between the two hipbones. This is an incredibly gentle and non-invasive form of healing touch during which a practitioner applies light pressure to a patient’s skull, face, spine and/or pelvis. As we’ve mentioned on the Mountain Trek blog and during the program, human touch is incredibly powerful and can help stimulate endorphins but in the case of Cranial Sacral Therapy, the intent is to also gently manipulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the body. This form of therapy is typically used to relieve symptoms of tension or stress and patients usually report feeling deeply relaxed during and after a treatment.

Acupuncture-Puppet

ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture is the key component in traditional Chinese medicine, which has been in practice for over 2,000 years. The treatment involves inserting tiny needles into various meridian points of the body in order to relieve blockages of energy. (If needles make you squeamish, there are other forms of the therapy that involve the application of heat, finger pressure or laser light.) A patient will usually lie on a massage table and might feel the tiniest of pricks from the needle but mostly the therapy is relaxing and can be effective for pain relief.

Reflexology

REFLEXOLOGY

Reflexology involves the application of pressure to the feet and hands using specific techniques and without the need for lotions or oils. It’s similar to massage therapy but, as with acupuncture, the intent is to remove blockages in a patient’s energy meridian. The idea is that certain areas of the feet and hands correspond to organs and zones within the body and that by using gentle finger manipulation on these areas, positive impacts can be experienced in other areas of the body. As with massage, this is a very gentle healing technique and is used to relieve stress among other ailments.

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Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Eco Travel Tips from Mountain Trek

We at Mountain Trek are very conscious of the fact our guests are required to travel, sometimes great distances, in order to benefit from our program. Whether they’re joining us during one of our adventure treks around the globe, or at Rancho La Puerta in Baja, Mexico, or our beautiful lodge in British Columbia, inevitably they will have to pack a suitcase.

In honour of Earth Day this year (April 22nd) we wanted to share with you some super easy tips that will not only have a positive impact on your environment, they will also help make your travelling experience easier and healthier.

1. Pack Less and Be More Fuel Efficient – The fewer items you put in your suitcase, the easier it will be to get around and it will involve less energy and fuel to get where you’re going.

2. Minimize Your Use of Air Conditioning and Heat – Follow the same rules you do at home: if you’re cold, put on a sweater, and if you’re hot, open some windows, take a quick, cool shower and put on lighter clothes.

3. Opt Out of Daily Housekeeping – By reusing your towels and sheets, rather than having the housekeeping staff launder them everyday, you’ll help conserve water and energy during your trip.

4. Bring Your Own Toiletries – At Mountain Trek we offer locally-made, hypoallergenic and natural soap in reusable dispensers to all our guests. But in many hotels, toiletries come pre-wrapped or in tiny bottles. You may use them once or twice and then discard them, at which point they’ll end up in landfill. Instead, bring your own soaps and shampoos and leave the pre-packaged cleansers for others.

5. Eat Local & Organic Food – Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should veer away from the local markets. In fact, some of our best travel experiences are had when shopping for fresh food. While eating McDonald’s in Russia may seem novel, you’re actually doing harm to your body and the planet.

6. Bring Your Own Mug – According to a study done by Simon Fraser University, over 58 billion paper cups are thrown away every year, the equivalent of 20 million trees. Do the planet a favour and reuse your own mug or ask the kitchen staff to get one for you.

Happy Earth Day from all of us here at Mountain Trek! Be sure to enjoy the beautiful outdoors wherever you may be.

Mountain Trek Eco Travel Tips

9 Ways to Get Beach Ready & Cure the “Muffin Top”

Beach-Body

Now is the time of year when many of us look in the mirror and wonder where our beach bodies went over the course of the winter. The fact is a number of factors combined with a more sedentary lifestyle during the winter months can lead to the dreaded “muffin top” in which our body spills out over our bathing suits. Thankfully there are some easy steps to follow that will help you lose weight, keep fit and look great in that swim suit. Below are a nine tips for curing the muffin top.

Walk-10,000-steps-a-day

Walk 10,000 steps a day, take the stairs or join a gym.

Take-Breaks

Take two 1-minute breaks in the work day to close eyes and breathe deeply.

Test-your-food-sensitivities-

Test for food sensitivities.

Power-Down-Electronics

Power down electronics 1 hour before bed and remove all electronics from bedroom.

Avoid-Alcohol

Reduce alcohol consumption to 1-2 days per week.

Avoid-Plastics-and-Soy

Minimize use of Soy, plastic food wrappers, pesticides, and petrochemical cosmetics.

Infrared-Sauna

Infrared Sauna 1-2 times per week at Day Spa or Health Club to release toxins.

Chew-your-food

Chew food to liquid state and add Probiotics to build intestinal flora.

Fibre-rich-diet

Switch to low Carb/high Protein and Fibre rich diet.

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