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Engaging Your Core For Fitness

Engaging your Core

As the name suggests, our core is integral to every movement we make. It's a complex series of muscles that extend well beyond your abs and include everything except for your arms and legs.

In this article, and in the video below, Mountain Trek's fitness director Cathy Grierson talks about how to engage your core for whatever it is you're doing, whether you're walking, working out at the gym or even just sitting at your office desk. This information goes hand-in-hand with our other article called "Cathy's Core Workout," which describes how to strengthen your core muscles. (You can see all of Cathy's videos and more by downloading our Health Guide in Your Pocket app.)

Before we begin, however, let's look at what exactly the core muscles are. Most of us believe they're the six-pack abs you'll find on male underwear models but that's the the case at all. Your core extends far beyond your abdomen and include two types of muscles: stabilizers and movers. To give you a sense of just how important they are: our stablizer and mover core muscles are integral to almost every movement of the human body! Many of the muscles that make up our core are hidden beneath the exterior musculature of our bodies and include the multifidus, transverse abdominals, diaphragm and the pelvic floor among others.

In this video Cathy explains how to engage your core, our stabilizer muscles no matter what activity you're involved in by using a sequence called "The Wave." 

Whether you're an athlete or someone who's interested in getting back in shape and engaging those core muscles again, we recommend you book Mountain Trek and enjoy Cathy's fitness direction in person as well as all the amenities our all-inclusive resort offers: complimentary massages, delicious boutique spa cuisine, natural hot springs, infrared sauna, outdoor hot tub and cold plunge pool, plus a luxurious lodge in a natural setting far away from urban stressors.

You're also guaranteed to reach your fitness goals with our program that's tailored to each individual. You can keep to your own pace but we'll make sure you get results. We hope to see you soon!

Delta Sky Magazine Features Mountain Trek

Delta Sky Magazine

Delta Airline's popular inflight magazine Sky has featured Mountain Trek in its most recent issue. Called "Getting Back on Track," the article describes writer Susan B Barnes's experience attending a one-week fitness program at Mountain Trek's lodge near beautiful Nelson, British Columbia, and how she got the "reset she needs."

The story appears in the September 2016 issue of the monthly Sky magazine that's published by Delta, which flies into Spokane, the closest US airport to Mountain Trek. (A free airport shuttle is provided for guests arriving by air.) In the article Susan mentions why she decided to enroll in the program in the first place: "After months of indulging much to much while traveling, I had made the decision to get my fitness and eating routines back on track and was confident that the Mountain Trek program – the only mountain-based hiking, fitness and weight loss program in North America–would whip me into shape." 

Most of our time during the weeklong stay was spent on the nearby hiking trails, some of which took us into provincial parks and all of which presented challenges over the three- and four-hour-long daily hikes. The scenery was stunning— secluded forests, creeks carving through rock formations hundreds of feet below, glacial-fed lakes—but the hiking was intense and we didn’t linger to admire the sights. After all, we were there to work—hard. " 

Susan goes on to say that "At the end of my week, I felt stronger and healthier than I had in quite a while. My cardio stamina increased. I was happy, well-rested and invigorated. And, as a bonus, I lost eight pounds."

To read Susan's article in its entirety, download the PDF of it here: Delta-Sky-Mountain-Trek-article

Whether you're a resident of BC or a visitor, we recommend you book Mountain Trek and enjoy the amenities that only our all-inclusive resort can offer:

  • complimentary massages
  • delicious boutique spa cuisine
  • natural hot springs
  • infrared sauna, outdoor hot tub and cold plunge pool
  • luxurious lodge in a natural setting far away from urban stressors

You're also guaranteed to reach your fitness goals with our program that's tailored to each individual. You can keep to your own pace but we'll make sure you get results. We hope to see you soon!

Kirkland’s Summer Reading List

Summer Reading ListAs the joys of summer are just around the corner, so too may be your search for the perfect summer read. And if you have ever had the chance to come to Mountain Trek or to hear lead guide and manager, Kirkland Shave speak, most would agree that he is quite inspirational. But where does Kirk get his inspiration? We sat down with Kirk and found out: what’s on the top of his reading list?

 

 


Counter Clockwise- My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-AgingCounter Clockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging

– By Lauren Kessler

Written by a Mountain Trek alumni! Lauren’s third book is delightfully funny and insightful about the anti-aging industry. She looks at how obsessed people can become in trying to remove wrinkles and make themselves look younger, rather than go for long term lifestyle and vitality practices as they age. As an ex-mountain trekker, she certainly understands the success of lifestyle changes over physical changes or invasive medical practices. The difference between feeling younger and looking younger.

 


Your Brain On Nature- The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and VitalityYour Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality

By Eva M. Selhub, MD, and Alan C. Logan, MD

Kirk’s favorite health book, “Your Brain on Nature,” looks at how we’re neurologically wired to release the feel good hormones oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, through natural living, and finding ways to get these hormones without relying on the trifecta of fat, carbs, and salt. Activities like gardening, petting an animal, being in nature, being touched or massaged, doing something creative, are all scientifically proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol and raise the feel good hormones, which all aids to contract the vigilance of life’s constant stressors.

 


Small Move, Big Change- Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life PermanentlySmall Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently

By Caroline L. Arnold

This book stands on the shoulders of previous books in the will power theme. Caroline takes the idea of using will power to create lifestyle habits and gives practical ways of making this happen – by creating micro-resolutions that stick to habits we already have, rather than making giant sweeping lifestyle changes that never stick. Kirk’s example in his everyday habits inspired by the book: he always brushes his teeth before bed, and now in conjunction with this, does yoga for 15 mins before bed, stretching out those hiking muscles. It is now all autopilot, as this lifestyle habit of doing bedtime yoga is anchored to the already in place habit of brushing his teeth.

 


Grain Brain- The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain’s Silent KillersGrain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers

– By David Perlmutter, MD, with Kristin Loberg

Highly scientific, the research in “Grain Brain” is one more book of many that has lead us to the decision of being gluten free this year of Mountain Trek. This book explores the impact of gluten on people’s health; from simple bowel irritation to very serious conditions like alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

 

 

 


The Paleo Manifesto- Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

– By John Durant

Kirk wanted to explore the whole paleo movement from diet to exercise programs. What was the foundation over the movement over the last few years? Why is it so popular? “The Paleo Manifesto” gives good insight from an anthropological perspective and the epochs of lifestyle that we’ve had as a civilization, from gathering and hunting, to farming and herding, to industrial factory work, to urban office work, and the implications of these lifestyles on our health. The research points to a return of the gathering and hunting epoch as being the healthiest, but this doesn’t mean this lifestyle is right for everybody. We could all adopt and benefit from slivers of the hunter-gatherer way of living, but this doesn’t imply we all have to strip down to a loin cloth and head out into the bush with a spear. Ultimately, walking as much as possible and eating as much of a variety of plants as possible is how we can marry our urban, office life with our roots from the Paleo era.

Please be sure to let us know how you liked these books, as well as if you have any recommendations. Happy summer, and happy reading!

7 Reasons to Come to Mountain Trek

1. Beat the heat

-It’s not yet too hot! Spring offers some of the best weather for hitting the trail, since we’ve warmed up from winter, and are still cool before summer. Some of the most comfortable hiking temperatures available.

2. Our new spa

is just waiting for you to come try it out. We’ve been very busy over the winter and are proud to present our brand new, state of the art spa facility including an expanded infrared sauna, a deep, 8 person hot tub and cold plunge pool. Did we mention it overlooks stunning views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell mountains? After a day of hiking, there’s no better way to totally and completely relax then to soak in the heat, and that view.

3. Freshest and greenest landscapes

that our alpine environment has to offer. Creeks and rivers are running their wildest, providing more uplifting negative ions than any other time of year. Nature is revitalized with spring and is literally bubbling over with vitality – and the same will be true for you!

4. Lose weight for bathing suit season

With summer just around the corner, look and feel your best to hit the beach. Not only are you guaranteed to lose weight while with us, but take home valuable strategies for life-long healthy nutritional and fitness habits.

5. Feel your absolute best

According to Scientific American, 75% of all Americans are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. There are also numerous studies that demonstrate the health benefits that being out in nature brings. Up your relaxation quotient and vitamin D with a week hiking in some of nature’s most spectacular landscapes!

6. We’re selling out – weeks are filling up fast!

With recent publicity in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Muscle & Fitness, among others,  Mountain Trek is on everyone lips, and minds. Don’t delay if you have a particular week or two that you’d love to come out. We’d love to have you, but with maximum guest numbers of only 16 per week, spots are filling up as we speak!

7. Save your airfare

Last but not least, the savings! This week only, we are offering our congratulations to all the grads out there, and to the loved ones who supported them on their academic journey, with a graduation week promotion of a $500 discount! This essentially means your airfare is on us. Take advantage of this rare promotion, and book for the week of June 7 today!

Your retreat is waiting for you! Call 1-800-661-5161 for more information, or to book now!

Hypertension: How to beat and manage high blood pressure

hypertension

A condition that plagues approximately 70 million Americans, hypertension is a state that while dangerous, can certainly be prevented and managed. With the sedentary and decadent lifestyles that are so prevalent in everyday society nowadays, it is little wonder that high blood pressure is so very common. Just like many of us, our heart is out of shape, and has to work extra hard to pump that blood, resulting in high blood pressure. The good news is, we can certainly manage the condition, and we can even lower our blood pressure back to health.

What is hypertension?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent condition in today’s society. Blood pressure in the body is measured by way of two measurements; systolic (when the heart muscle contracts), and diastolic (when the heart muscle releases/is relaxed). Blood pressure if therefore measured as your highest and lowest blood pressures, respectively. Normal or healthy blood pressure is in the 100-140 mmHg systolic or top reading, and 60-90 mmHg diastolic or lower reading. Therefore, a blood pressure of higher than 140/90 mmHg is considered to be hypertension.

The effects of high blood pressure on the body are numerous; compromised heart health including heart attack, stroke, with even the possibility of heart failure, damaged organs, aneurysm, and more. The World Health Organization has identified high blood pressure as the leading cause of cardiovascular mortality. Symptoms of hypertension include headaches, fainting, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and irregular heartbeat. However, many people with hypertension feel no symptoms whatsoever – all the more reason to get your blood pressure checked out by your healthcare professional.

What causes hypertension?

Hypertension can be classified into two groups: primary hypertension, meaning there is no obvious underlying root cause to the high blood pressure, and secondary hypertension, meaning the high blood pressure is caused by another condition affecting the heart, endocrine system, etc., such as obesity, hypo or hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, kidney disease, etc.

The causes of hypertension are inconclusive but are thought to include certain conditions and lifestyle choices, including:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • hormonal imbalance
  • sedentary lifestyle/lack of physical activity
  • insufficient vitamin D, lack of magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • high levels of salt/sodium intake, high levels of alcohol consumption
  • genetic predisposition
  • certain medication, for example, birth control pills
  • stress

Although seriously harmful to our health, the good news is, high blood pressure is absolutely manageable, preventable, and even reversible.

Prevention and Management

Although medical intervention through medication can help with managing high blood pressure, adopting a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the prevention and management of hypertension. Practicing healthy life choices can even prove so effective in combating high blood pressure, that often medication can be avoided. According to the American Heart Association, there are a few main ways to prevent high blood pressure:

  1. Enjoy regular physical activity – With a desk job and busy life schedules that finish off the day in front of the couch, it is easy for inactivity to become a way of life. Engaging in exercise can not only help with blood pressure, but can help us lose weight and reduce stress – both key ways to reduce blood pressure in and of themselves. Exercise means aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping! But any physical activity is a good thing.
  2. Enjoy a healthy diet, low in salt and alcohol – Enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fibre and lean protein. In the place of salt/sodium, opt for low or no salt alternatives; such as Spike no salt seasoning, or nutritional yeast (both available at health food stores). Consume little alcohol, if at all, and find alternatives, like all natural sparkling fruit juices, or herbal teas.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight – Those who are overweight are considerably more at risk for developing or having high blood pressure. A benefit to so many aspects of our health, even just a little weight loss can help our blood pressure health.
  4. Don’t smoke – need we say more? These days, it is undisputed that the harsh chemicals and additives present in cigarettes are unhealthy for all aspects of health, including blood pressure.
  5. Manage stress – We’ve all felt our blood pressure go ‘through the roof’ in those stressful moments. Managing stressors is imperative to so many aspects of health, and only you know what truly relaxes you. Meditate, go to a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage, spend some time in the backyard gardening, even engaging in regular deep breathing – whatever works for you.

For most people, implementing these regular lifestyle changes can be challenging. But starting small, with just one or two changes until they become a regular part of the routine can help your overall health, including your blood pressure, immensely. Moreover, thinking of this as a ‘lifestyle prescription’ may help you avoid the doctor’s prescriptions!

Unlike so many health conditions, hypertension is highly controllable by making these lifestyle changes to help prevent or manage hypertension. So get moving, enjoy your fruits and veggies, and destress… your heart health and blood pressure depend on it!

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Mountain Trek: World’s Best Wellness Resort

Mountain Trek on USA TODAYMountain Trek was featured on USA Today as one of the World’s Best Wellness Resorts along side our friends at Rancho La Puerta and ten other world class resorts.

“… these 12 resorts offer unique and rejuvenating experiences for everyone from the dedicated, meditative yogi to the most active of outdoor adventurers.”

For the full story CLICK HERE.

Join us for the Mountain Trek “Super Reboot” Week

Working togetherAugust is the month for recreation, relaxation and retreat. You’ve worked hard all year and now you deserve to take some time for yourself: it’s time to leave behind the stresses and worries of your job, or whatever it is that occupies too much of your time, if even for a little while. Whether you need to do this on your own, or you’re happy to have your spouse, family or friends join you, it’s time to treat yourself to a Mountain Trek experience! And that experience just got stepped up a notch…

As many of you already know, a week or two at Mountain Trek is a life-changing adventure. Nowhere else offers the unique combination of spa, vacation and boot camp that is the Mountain Trek experience. With our luxurious alpine lodge as your comfortable home base, you’ll experience world-class hiking, and nutrition and lifestyle guidance that will boost your metabolism and shift you into a lasting, healthy state of body and mind for the rest of the year, and beyond!

And now, for the first time ever, Mountain Trek is offering an above-and-beyond experience called the “Super Reboot” week. From August 24-31, 2013, we’ll be offering a unique event, workshop and lecture each day in addition to the regular workouts and massages we provide. And, at no extra cost!

Why are we doing this? Because you deserve it! Here are the additional events you can expect to experience between this coming August 24-31:

Healthy Cosmetics

Did you know there might be lead in your lipstick? In fact there are toxins in many of our everyday body care products and in this evening workshop a beautician expert from Mountain Waters Spa will be discussing the hidden chemicals in shampoos, make-up and other skin and body care products. She will share ways to avoid these products and offer alternate brands that do not pose a risk to our health.

Laurie ChefCooking Re-Mastered with Chef Laurie Hartland

Laurie Hartland is Mountain Trek’s kitchen manager and chef who specializes in creating the healthiest meals possible using seasonal, locally-sourced, organic ingredients. In this workshop she’ll teach you how to make the same quick and healthy meals that she’s mastered for our resort and give you recipes to take home with you to wow your family and friends.

Office Posture Demystified

For the evening Postural Alignment Workshop we take an in-depth look at what postural dysfunction can look like, and what simple and effective things we can do to help correct this. Our instructor, Anna Topf, is a kinesiologist and she’ll spend time with each client looking at their specific spinal curvature and then provide take-home strategies that will help improve your posture so you’ll look and feel better.

Art Therapy with Milli

Art Therapy combines visual art and psychotherapy in a process using a created image as a foundation for self-exploration and understanding. Thoughts and feelings are often easier to express through images rather than in words and this class will allow you to explore your emotions and current state-of-mind through a creative medium. Registered Art Therapist Milli Neufeld-Cummings will have you working with paper and paints to release unconscious feelings and improve your overall well-being.

The Science of Face Reading

Experts say that in China, good doctors can identify 70% of a person’s health problems by examining the patient’s face. The Traditional Chinese Medicine art of face reading can be used as a way of determining the personality and characteristics of a person, and can even be used as a diagnostic tool to help prevent illness. Experts say the health conditions indicated by face readings aren’t set in stone, they’re simply warning signs, but you can heed these signs and make adjustments to protect your long-term health. Join our expert Kendra Starr, Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as she performs face readings and offers tips and tricks about how to do it yourself.

So, whether you’re a returning Mountain Trek client or new to our world-class hiking retreat, tucked away in the southern British Columbia wilderness, we’d love for you to come join us for our one-of-a-kind “Super Reboot” program between August 24-31, 2013. Click here to find out more info.

 

14 Hacks To Ensure the Best Travel/Trek Experience Ever

geisha in a yellow field holding a paper craneWhen Mountain Trek visited Peru last Spring, we found the following list in one of the beautiful lodges we stayed at. It includes 14 tips for ensuring you have the best travel and trekking experience ever. We thought there was some good wisdom in it that should be shared, especially now that we’re offering pre-registration for our 2014 Spring Hiking Vacation in Japan. On that trip we’ll be exploring the Tokaido (the traditional path of the Shogun), the Shikoku Temples, the world-famous vine bridges and we’ll be relaxing in Onsens every night. (An Onsen is a traditional hot spring accommodation.) Click here and tick the box at the bottom of the page if you would like more information regarding our Japan adventure in 2014.

In the meantime, enjoy these poignant pieces of advice and think of them when you pack your bags to explore the beauties of your own country or to travel around the world.

Travel lightly

You are not travelling for people to see you

Travel slowly

Jet planes are for getting places, not seeing places: take time to absorb the beauty and inspiration of a mountain or temple.

Travel expectantly

Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened. Untie the strings with an expectation of high adventure.

Travel hopefully

“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

Travel humbly

Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and ways of life.

Travel courteously

Consideration for your fellow travellers and your hosts will smooth the way through the most difficult days

Peru Adventure Trek

Peru Adventure Trek

Travel gratefully

Show appreciation for the many things that are being done by others for your enjoyment and comfort.

Travel with an open mind

Leave your prejudices at home.

Travel with curiosity

It is not how far you go, but how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience. Remember that Thoreau wrote a big book about the very tiny Walden Pond.

Travel with imagination

As the Spanish proverb goes, “He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”

Travel fearlessly

Banish worry and timidity; the world and its people belong to you just as you belong to the world.

Travel relaxed

Make up your mind to have a good time and let go.

Travel patiently

It takes time to understand others, especially when there are barriers of language and custom. Keep flexible and adaptable to all situations.

Travel with the spirit of a world citizen

You’ll discover that people are basically much the same the world around. Be an ambassador of good will to all people.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan+ 6 Bonus Tips:

  • Always pause, at least for 15 seconds and take it all in. The destination is only as beautiful as the journey.
  • Make an effort to associate your feelings of peace and tranquility with a landmark on the trip. This will come in handy when you are back home.
  • Think about your loved ones. If you are with them, share and bond. If they are not with you, lend them your senses.
  • Learn with every footstep, every word, every sense.
  • Look up at the sky at night at least once. Try to understand how ancient civilizations guided themselves by this.
  • Let go, at least once during your trip. Do something you would not normally do.

Your votes are in – we’re going to JAPAN!

Cherry Blossoms in JapanRecently Mountain Trek asked our alumni and Facebook fans to vote on where we should go for our overseas hiking adventure in 2014: Japan or Italy?

The voting was heated at times with people making great cases for both locations. “Japan? Seriously? How could I NOT do that? You got my vote,” wrote Gina. But Penny wasn’t convinced, saying: “Italia…naturalmente!” There were even a few comments, including one by Giorgio that said, “Just do both!” Ultimately, though, the numbers began favouring one destination over the other and, finally, with just a 7% lead in votes, Japan was chosen as the location of our Spring 2014 adventure.

Thank you to everyone who voted. We’ve now started looking into various possibilities for hiking adventures in the “land of the rising sun.” For more information, please visit our Japan 2014 page.

Incidentally, for those who may not know, every Spring Mountain Trek offers off-the-beaten-path adventure treks, rich in cultural and historical significance. These hiking vacations, although not part of our regular fitness and weight loss program, involve hiking every day which will always help to increase your fitness level and boost your metabolism. With three different sessions, suited to three different fitness levels, you’ll always trek at a pace that is comfortable and perfect for your ability. After you kickstart your fitness and weight loss at Mountain Trek, treat yourself to an adventure vacation and explore some of the most celebrated regions in the world: in 2011 we hiked up to Everest Base Camp in Nepal; in 2012 we hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain; and earlier this year we explored The Peruvian Andes. For 2014, join us in the fascinating and beautiful island nation of Japan.