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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.

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Trekking Poles: How to choose the right poles for you

hiking pools

Days are getting longer, sunnier and warmer, buds are shooting up from the Earth, the smell of Spring is in the air – it’s time to dust off your day pack, get the bikes out of the garage, buy some sunscreen…and get ready for the warm weather activities that spring and summer bring!

As we enter the upcoming hiking season, it’s important to have all the right gear to support you in having the most fun, safe, and effective workout possible. At Mountain Trek, we include trekking poles in necessary hiking gear, as do many avid hikers around the world. But like any good gear, it is so important to find what works best for you. Here, we’ll help you to choose the best hiking pole for you, by covering what features to look for in a good hiking pole. But first; why bother using them?

 

Why use hiking poles?

Why use hiking poles?

Using walking/hiking poles offers several benefits:

  • Poles provide better balance and footing, especially over slippery or uneven terrain, like when crossing streams, over loose rocks, etc.
  • During ascent, poles can add thrust, while taking pressure off the lower body, and onto the shoulders and upper back.
  • During descent, poles can significantly reduce the amount of stress on legs, hips, and joints, and reduce the possibility of injury by adding stability. Although this is particularly beneficial to those with weaker or compromised knees/ankles, reducing stress and impact to the body is certainly beneficial for everyone.
  • Poles can be used to clear away loose hanging vegetation, or can be used to scope out swampy patches or possible holes before venturing forwards.
  • In the unlikely event of an injury, a pole can be used in wilderness first aid as a splint or crutch.
  • And last but not least, using hiking poles not only reduces your perceived exertion rate by taking strain off the legs and into the arms, but increases calories burned. In a study by the Cooper Institute of Dallas, they found that using trekking poles burned up to 20% more calories compared to the same walk or hike without poles.

What to look for in hiking poles?

What features should I look for in a hiking pole?

When shopping for a hiking pole, consider the kind of terrain you will be traversing, how much weight you will have in your pack, as well as the health of your knees, ankles, hips, and joints. With this determined, you can decide if you would like to get ‘regular’ or ‘anti-shock’ poles. Anti-shock poles have a shaft that contains an anti-shock spring mechanism, softening any impact while travelling downhill. Anti-shock technology is particularly beneficial for those with sensitive knees, ankles, joints, etc., and the anti-shock mechanism can be turned off when it is not needed (for example when traveling uphill). Regular or standard poles have a simple shaft, and are a little bit lighter than antishock poles since they do not contain that mechanism. They of course are unable to provide the same level of shock absorption as an anti-shock model, but do provide the same stability.

The parts of a pole include the tip, basket, shaft (which includes or does not include the anti-shock device), locking mechanism, grip, and wrist strap. When choosing a hiking pole, consider each of these components.

The shaft’s make up will likely be either high-grade aluminum or carbon fibre. A pair of high-grade aluminum poles will weigh around 20 ounces, and are very durable and flexible, only breaking very rarely. Carbon fibre poles will weigh less on average, about 15 ounces, and are also very durable, but when under extreme stress, can shatter. Keep in mind that both the length and the circumference of the shaft varies as well.

Pole tips are usually made out of carbide or steel, and additionally, one has the option of getting a rubber tip cover. These protect the life of the tips, as well as protecting your pack when the poles are stowed, and are better for harder surfaces, like pavement.

Locking mechanisms allow you to determine the length of your pole, whether you’re using them out on the trail, or have them stowed in your luggage en route to your hiking destination. Two or three interlocking sections make up your pole, and if you’re very tall or short, it’s important to check the full extension /compression length of the pole. Most poles have a ‘twist and lock’ system, like a form of clamp. Whatever the mechanism, ensure it’s durable and dependable – you’d hate to have this fail on you at a critical moment. Regular maintenance through cleaning and drying of the separate components of your hiking poles can help with your locking mechanism’s life span and reliability.

Both the grip shape and material vary, so this is a very important reason to test drive your poles before buying, and see what angle and density is most comfortable to you. Grips can be angled forward or completely upright, and some can even extend down the shaft, known as an ‘extended grip’, useful for brief uphill portions. Materials for the grip can include but are not limited to: cork (absorbs vibration well, doesn’t slip with sweat, conforms well to hand shape), foam (absorbs sweat, most malleable) and rubber (can chafe hands in warm weather but insulates from cold, good shock absorption).

Now that you’ve chosen your hiking poles, please ensure you have the correct technique to keep you safe and supported (or come to Mountain Trek and we’ll show you how! You’ll also get lots of practice!) Have fun out there on the trail – supported, less prone to injury, and burning more calories – with your new hiking poles!

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Have a ball with Mountain Trek’s top 5 exercise ball routines

women on an exercise ball

If you’re feeling the need to get back in shape, or in better shape for the Fall season, a simple and effective starting point is to try some routines with an exercise ball. Whether you want to improve your cardio for the hiking or biking trails, revitalize your endurance or just feel like you want to tone-up, then strengthening your core muscles is the first essential step.

Core muscles are crucial for stability and good posture but are sadly overlooked when exercising with exercise machines typically found in gyms. The body responds to the instability of a ball on a minute level by trying to remain balanced, thereby engaging many more muscles than if you were to just use fixed equipment.

How to find the right exercise ball for you

The best thing about ball exercises is you don’t need any expensive equipment – just a good quality ball filled with air. However, some ball exercises will require you to equip yourself with a pair of dumbbells or a workout bench, depending on how serious you want to get.

Constructed of soft, elastic material (usually plastic), most balls range in diameter between 14 to 35 inches (35 to 85cm). In order to size an exercise ball to your body correctly stand next to it and it ensure it is even with, or slightly above, your knee level. Alternately, sit on it and ensure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel or even with the floor.

The best exercise ball routines

1. Ball push-up (feet up)

Set your quads on top of the ball far enough forward so that your pelvis is not touching the ball. In this position begin sets of regular push-ups. Using an exercise ball allows you to target the core muscles on top of the usual chest and triceps muscles. Also this lets you concentrate on your upper pectoral muscles since you’re essentially in an incline workout position.

2. Ball Sit-up

From a squat position in front of the ball (back to ball), gently ease back onto the ball. Your bum and lower back should be resting on the ball. In this position (with hands behind your head) begin sets of sit-ups, leaning back and curving over the ball as far as is comfortable, and raising to about a 45-degree angle. This exercise mainly targets the abdominal muscles but it is also very effective at working other core muscles. Specifically, it will allow you to exercise the upper abdominals as well as the hips muscles.

3. Ball squat (one-legged)

Standing about a foot and a half in front of the ball with your back to it, place the top of your foot/shin onto the ball behind you. Lower yourself so that your front thigh comes to a 90 degree angle to the floor. Then raise to standing again. Repeat a number of times and switch legs. The Ball Squat will primarily target your quadriceps as well as your buttocks. Doing the squat using an exercise ball will make sure you develop stabilizing muscles in your thighs as well.

4. Ball arm-leg extension (alternating)

Drape your belly and chest over the top of the ball. Your feet should be touching the ground. Engage your core muscles by gently lifting your head to a level position with the floor. From here keep your core engaged while lifting one leg and opposing arm (e.g. right leg, left arm) to about a 90-degree angle to the floor. Repeat a number of times and switch legs/arms. This is an excellent exercise that will target most of the muscle groups in your body, specifically your upper and lower back muscles as well as your hamstrings and your buttock muscles.

5. Ball jack-knife

Place the tips of your toes on top of the ball. Position your arms (in a push-up position) about two feet in front of the ball. Roll the ball towards your upper body, with your bum jack-knifing up into the air (almost like a starting sprint position). Bend slightly at the elbows during each roll forward of the ball. This exercise is an excellent way to target your abdominal muscles and your hips but it’s important you to maintain good upper body posture (keep your back and arms straight).

Proper technique

It’s very important to maintain proper body posture when doing a routine with an exercise ball. This means keeping your back straight and preventing your knees from locking. Also, remember to breathe properly – being aware of one’s breathing process is essential to obtaining good results when training with exercise balls. And, as always, make sure to warm up before engaging in demanding physical activity.

In order to ensure perfect technique, consider having an experienced trainer help you with your first few exercises. Or, join Mountain Trek for our reboot and prevention program and let our expert fitness instructors guide you through their favourite ball exercises and routines– a perfect compliment to all the beautiful hikes you’ll be going on!

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Mountain Trek Showcased on Revealed Presence Photography Web Site

revealedpresenceRecently professional photographer and public speaker Carla Kimball visited Mountain Trek and documented a few of her days at our spa resort in beautiful southern British Columbia.

Carla posted the photos on her web site www.revealedpresence.com  including images such as the one shown here of our yoga studio, hiking packs lined up along the wall awaiting the day’s adventures, and the beautiful Kootenay lake with the Selkirk mountains in the background.

According to Carla (who is also a public speaking presence coach) the intention of her blog “is to share an image of revealed presence each day.”

We thank Carla for revealing the presence in our retreat.

 

 

 

Metro Recommends Hiking to Health with Mountain Trek

metro storyToronto-based freelance writer Vawn Himmelsbach visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort this June and her story about rebooting her metabolism appeared last week in Metro, a publication that’s distributed in city centres around North America.

Mountain Trek is “a hiking-focused fitness retreat and health spa in the Selkirk and Purcell ranges of B.C.’s Rocky Mountains, set in a luxury alpine lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake. Once you get through the caffeine withdrawal, you might find it’s one of the best vacations you’ve ever taken,” writes the self-described coffee aficionado.

Vawn goes on to describe her experience at Mountain Trek as a “week in a serene, scenic setting, with a high guide-to-participant ratio to provide a personal and supportive environment.”

Click here to read Vawn’s entire story in Metro.

He Said/She Said – A Daily Account of the Mountain Trek Program

jennarob

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 our 7 day Reboot Program 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 they’re 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 who’s lifestyle can get a little “Rock’nRoll” at times.

Below are honest accounts of their experiences, in their own words. The questions they answer each evening at 9pm are the following:

  1. Sum up how you feel right now in 20 words or less.
  2. Where did you hike today and what stood out to you?
  3. What was the highlight of your day?
  4. What was the most challenging part of your day?
  5. What are you craving at this moment?

 SUNDAY, THE 1ST DAY

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JENNA

  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.

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ROB

  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.)
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MONDAY

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JENNA

  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.
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ROB

  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.
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TUESDAY

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JENNA

  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.
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ROB

  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 gruelling 1,400 feet with sore legs and hip muscles.
  5. I want a Skor bar and ice cream, any flavour.
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Jenna and Rob are in the back row of this group shot. Rob’s wearing blue. Jenna is in black.

 

WEDNESDAY

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JENNA

  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.
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ROB

  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.
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THURSDAY

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JENNA

  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.
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ROB

  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.
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FRIDAY

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JENNA

  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!
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ROB

  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!)
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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

 

walkjogrunWalkJogRun

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

 

sixpackapp

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.

 

 

calmCalm

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.

 

 

9 Reasons Why You Need To Book Mountain Trek Now

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 be sure to remind you with delicious, nutritious meals that will revitalize your brain and body activity.

Falafel recipe at mountain trek

6. 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 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 breath-taking 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, put the lean muscle on, put the good food in, keep the bad food out, 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.

Health Spa Lodge

1. We’re Selling Out

Mountain Trek is experiencing its highest enrolment numbers in years. Now’s the time to sign up, confirm a space and join like-minded people at a resort that will change your life forever. Book now by calling 1-800-661-5161 or logging on to Mountain Trek’s booking page.

How to Properly Fit a Pair of Hiking Boots

There are two things you need to know to find the perfect pair of hiking boots:  the different types on the market and how to ensure proper fit. Here is the basic information necessary to find a pair of boots that will carry you through many a hike safely and in comfort.

1. Types of Boots

Hiking boots come in three styles: light hikers (AKA trail runners); light “over ankle” hikers; and full backpacking boots. The latter style is not recommended for guests of Mountain Trek as the trails we’re doing do not require them. Light hikers are the better option for short day hikes on maintained trails and, depending on the strength of your ankles, you can either get the “over ankle” supportive model or the low-rise version. Typically they are made of leather or a fabric combination and most have a durable waterproof finish. (A note about waterproofing: most hiking boots come with a DWR finish, depending on the quality of the boot and frequency of use, this can wear off after a short period of time. If you notice that water does not quickly bead and roll off a boot’s surface, it’s time to add a waterproofing treatment, which is a very simple process. First, clean the boot and then spray on or apply a waterproofing product such as Nikwax or Granger’s. Each company makes products specific to the material of your boot, weather it’s leather, suede, nubuck or a synthetic. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product’s label and once you’ve completed the application let the boot dry naturally – do not use a hair dryer.)

 

Why-use-hiking-poles

 

2. Ensuring Proper Fit

Any reputable outdoor gear store or shoe store will have trained boot fitters on hand to take you through the selection process. They will measure all aspects of your foot (from length to width to arch size) and then suggest a number of different pairs of shoes to try. Try on at least five different pairs of shoes and be sure to lace them while standing up and putting your full weight on your foot. (Your foot changes shape when it’s weighted and on the ground.) The right boot for you should feel comfortable right from the beginning. Here are some other tips to ensure the perfect fit:

  • Take the time you need – Budget the time needed to be fitted and make the proper choice. Don’t show up to buy boots near the store’s closing time and then rush a decision.
  • Wait until the afternoon to shop – Feet swell as the day progresses, and you want the boots to fit well when they’re at their “pudgiest.”
  • Bring or buy good socks – Bring your own merino wool or similar wicking-style socks to wear while trying shoes. (Don’t rely on the “loaners” provided by the store.) We can’t say enough about the necessity of wearing a quality sock whenever you hike. They can make the difference between all day comfort or misery, with the newer “hi-tech” socks offering exceptional padding and wicking capabilities. So many people pay top dollar for good boots, and then skimp when it comes to socks. Expect to pay a minimum of $15-$25 per pair. Merino wool is highly recommended brand, and there are many good synthetics in the market as well. Cotton socks hold moisture and create blisters.
  • Consider your foot’s measurements – Good shop attendants will measure everything about your foot before you even consider putting a shoe one. This includes length, width, volume and arch height.  Regarding length, when the boot is unlaced and the toes are pushed to the front of the boot there should be ¼ inch of space (you can slide a finger in) at the back of the boot. This small amount of space is necessary for some “give” when going up and down hills.
  • Note how they feel – The right boot for you should feel comfortable from the beginning. Do not purchase a boot thinking that the comfort level will rise after a break-in period. If something is “off” in the store, then time and wear could make it worse, not better. Take time in the store to put the boots through their paces, and then wear them for several days indoors to make sure that no trouble areas develop. If, during this trial time, a sore area is noted, return the boots to the store and try again. The perfect boot is out there, and this initial attention to detail will reward you with happy feet on the trail. Plan your first few hikes to be short ones, so that you and your new boots can gradually become acquainted.