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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

Travel Tips To Ensure a Healthy Spring Break

Every Spring hordes of North Americans escape the cold, wet weather and flock to sunny destinations to relax by a beach or a pool. In most cases, they get too much sun, eat and drink a little too much and come home feeling more tired and unhealthy than when they left. By now many of the staff at Mountain Trek are experts at Spring Break travel given the fact that this time of year we’re always guiding an adventure trek somewhere in the world.  Aside from the list we compiled called  14 Travel Hacks to Ensure the Best Trek Experience Ever we also wanted to share with you five ways to ensure you enjoy a healthy Spring Break vacation and return from your trip more relaxed and fit than when you left!

1. Keep Moving

Staying-Active-on-Spring-Break

For many, a vacation can involve a lot of lounging by the pool or on a beach. But as with your regular day-to-day life, it’s important to walk at least 10,000 steps a day to ensure your muscles don’t begin to atrophy. Something like this is easy when you’re walking around the historic sites of Europe or hiking in a national park but for more sedentary-style trips, be sure to go for a walk along the beach or stroll in the woods. This also applies to your plane journey to your destination: if you have a long flight, be sure to periodically raise and lower your heels while seated and walk up and down the aisle occasionally.

2. Sleep Soundly

towel-elephants-on-a-bed

You may be looking forward to some good-quality shut-eye after you’re stressful day-to-day regimen but it’s important to acclimatize to the time zone you find yourself in first. At the outset of your trip avoid alcohol as that will disrupt your sleep patterns even further. Nor should you fall asleep in your hotel room or condo right after you’ve checked in (unless you arrive at night of course). Try your best to get on local time but if you do feel like you need a nap, keep it under 45 minutes.

3. Drink Water

woman-on-the-beach-drinking-water-in-a-white-robe

No matter what we’re discussing, whether it’s detoxing, nutrition or travelling, we always stress how important it is to drink water. It’s just so imperative to help your body function better, especially when travelling. Eight eight-ounce glasses a day is a rough guide for most people but a better indicator to ensure you’re drinking enough water is to gauge the colour of your urine: it should be clear with a small tinge of colour to it. If it’s too yellow you’re not drinking enough and if it’s crystal clear, you’re drinking too much. Consuming water can be tricky in some countries where bacteria such as giardia is a concern. In those cases drink bottled water or carry a water filter with you: Steripen makes different models that are just a little larger than a magic marker and use ultraviolet light to make water safe to drink.

4. Eat Like a Local

eat-like-a-local

One of the best parts of travelling is enjoying the amazing array of food each country specializes in. This doesn’t mean you have to eat out at restaurants for every meal, though. Eat like the locals and buy fresh produce at colourful local markets. (If water-born bacteria is a concern where you are, only buy produce that have peels.) Snack often and remember to stick to the habit of eating two-thirds of your daily food within nine hours of waking up. When you are at a restaurant, remember they’re there to serve you: ask that your meal be prepared to your specifications, order sauces and dressings on the side, and in the evenings, request a “to-go” box for half your meal. Oh, and if you’re going to drink, make sure it’s with food and you have some water in between glasses.

5. Relax

Couple-relaxing-on-the-beach

Vacations are all about getting away from our stressful daily lives, but it can be nerve-racking travelling to a foreign place. To avoid undue drama and stress, be sure to research where it is you’re going first and plan out the itinerary of your first few days including where it is you’re going to stay. Once you’ve acclimatized, then you can fully explore your surroundings. Alternatively, let others take care of all the details for you. When you join Mountain Trek at our beautiful lodge in British Columbia, for example, the price is all-inclusive meaning we take care of absolutely everything. All you need to do is ensure you show up!


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 and featuring daily sunrise yoga and night-time restorative yoga, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

10 “Non-Diet” Weight Loss Tips and Simple Holiday Detox Ideas

a woman in a red coat in a winter wonderland

The “Non-Diet” Approach to Weight Loss

Mountain Trek does not subscribe to any diet plan. In fact, we don’t believe in the concept of dieting at all; yet we guarantee those who participate in our program will lose weight. And they always do. Why is that?  It starts with the food we eat. So what’s the secret?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why there are so many fad diets out there? The fact is, none of them work, certainly not for any length of time anyway. So many of us binge and then starve our bodies, only to repeat the cycle, that it’s no wonder we have trouble maintaining a healthy consistent weight. Problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all a result of improper eating practices combined with lack of physical activity for which our bodies were designed for.

At Mountain Trek, we’re not interested in short-term efforts for losing weight but rather we want to encourage a long-term lifestyle change for lasting health. A large part of it rests on the nutritional pillar of our program, which isn’t so much based on counting calories as it is about encouraging healthy eating patterns. We focus on balancing blood sugars, and the hormones Insulin, Glucagon, Leptin, and Grehlin, in order to raise and maintain an Anabolic metabolism. Which is just one way of saying, we teach you about healthy eating habits that transform your health. Our guests learn how to “diet” without actually going on a diet; along with the support-structure and strategies for turning them into long-term habits.

10 Weight Loss Tips

1. Eat Breakfast within 30 minutes of getting out of bed

a bowl of yogurt granola and blueberries on a wooden table

2. Eat two-thirds of your food in the first 9 hours of the day

Steaming Bowl of Soup

3. Eat multiple food groups every 3 hours during the day

a wooden box of apples grapes walnuts and almonds

4. Eat slower and chew more

a person eating an apple in a kitchen

5. Eat out at restaurants less

a couple cooking a meal together

6. Lower your intake of alcohol

three clear glass tea pots of tea

7. Eliminate or minimize artificial sweeteners

a jar of honey

8. Detoxify your body regularly (see below)

a woman in an infrared sauna detoxing

9. Eat less processed food and more organic produce

Fresh, local and organic produce

10. Drink more water

a person drinking water from a water bottle


Detox

Detox Your Body This Month

If you read our tips for relieving holiday stress, chances are you’re feeling fit, healthy, and happy. However, if you’re like most of us, you indulged a bit during the holiday season and are now looking to get back on track. Well, aside from the weight-loss pointers mentioned above, there’s one other key thing you can do in order to encourage wellness and lose a few of those extra pounds that might have crept on what with all the holiday chocolates lying around. And the good news is that one thing is relatively easy to do.

Related Article: Hot Springs Benefits

Detoxification has been a tradition among most cultures on earth for centuries. From Scandinavian saunas to American sweat lodges, mankind has understood the value of purging toxins through the skin. Essentially, the term refers to the process of removing injurious substances from our bodies, which can be biological (such as bacteria and viruses) or harmful chemicals like heavy metals, food processing compounds, and cosmetics. (Nowadays processed foods contain more than 3,000 chemicals whereas at the turn of the century, the only preservative found in food was salt.) These toxins are continuously being flushed from our body through breath, sweat, urine, etc but problems arise if we can’t detoxify fast enough. What happens when we don’t purge these toxins quickly, our fat cells will get larger so the body can store the excess toxins and keep them safely away from sensitive tissue.  When the toxins are more concentrated, our fat cells will also increase in size to keep them diluted.

In other words, detoxing is not only good for riding the body of bad biology and chemicals, it’s also a good way to ensure your body doesn’t start harboring fat cells.

Here are just a few easy actions you can take to support your body in detoxifying

  • Drink enough water throughout the day so that your urine is almost clear. This will help support your kidney’s removal of water-soluble toxins.
  • Utilize exercise, saunas, and steams to aid the release of stored toxins.
  • Dry brushing your skin is another good way to encourage blood circulation, cell regeneration and toxin removal.
  • Eat fibre-rich foods to aid your intestines in moving toxins out of the body.  Constipation leads to toxin re-absorption.
  • Eat organic, pesticide-free produce, and less processed food.

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 info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Kirkland’s Gift Guide + Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

Wellness Stocking Gifts Guide

Mountain Trek’s Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide for Wellness

There’s nothing more enjoyable than giving a gift to someone who absolutely loves it. However, this can be tough if we’re looking for smaller items for stocking stuffers or are limited to a “Secret Santa” budget at the office or have dozens of friends we want to surprise. Especially in this day and age when we’re surrounded by so many consumables that it’s difficult to get a gift that is not only thoughtful but also promotes vitality and wellness. (In other words, the opposite of a box of Turtles.) We sat down with Mountain Trek manager and head guide Kirkland Shave to ask him what stocking stuffers he plans on giving this holiday season and what he is hoping to receive.

#1. Homemade gift certificates

These are by far some of the most popular (and least expensive) gifts of all time. Present your friends with a coupon for a “free night of babysitting” so they can get away and enjoy each other’s company. Or offer your spouse a booklet filled with different certificates for such things as a foot massage, homemade dinner and back rub. Or your elderly neighbour a free driveway shovelling session. Anything is possible with some paper, pens and a lot of empathy and imagination.

#2. F.lux Software

Just download the free F.lux software to your partner’s phone, tablet and computer and it will make the colour of their screen adapt to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. No more eerie, bright blue light stimulating cortisol levels at 9:30 pm! Their sleep patterns will improve and their eyes will thank them (and you) for it.

#3. Spa voucher

Everyone loves a trip to the local spa for a relaxing massage or detoxifying Infra red sauna. Even if the voucher isn’t for the entire cost of the treatment, it will still be greatly appreciated and will help go towards the receiver’s stress relief and well-being.

#4. Home-cooked food

And by food we don’t mean cookies filled with butter, sugar and chocolate. Instead we’re talking about items that a person can store away and then bring out when they’re strapped for time to make something of their own. (Or they could always eat them on the spot, too.) For example: frozen soups, dips and dressings (like our Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing), or beautiful tins filled with mixed nuts and fruit you dehydrated yourself. Remember to keep the food offerings healthy and convenient and the receiver will be grateful the next time they’re hungry and go to the cupboard and fridge and find your healthy food gift there for them.

#5. Aromatherapy and healing salts

One of the best ways to wind down after a hard day is an a bathtub full of relaxing lavender oil and Himalayan healing salts. Or sitting in a comfortable chair, eyes closed and breathing deeply the aroma of sandalwood or mandarin. By gifting these essential oils and salts, you help the receiver  de-stress from their day and get ready for a restful night’s sleep.

#6. Schedule a day outside just for them

This is similar to the homemade gift certificates idea but in this case, you’re setting aside at least one full day during the holidays to spend with your loved ones doing something fun outside. Perhaps it will be going skiing with the kids or snowshoeing with friends or a sleigh ride with entire family. The best gift is the gift of our time and by spending it outdoors, everyone wins.

#7. A good book

There are so many fantastic novels out there that are both entertaining and inspirational. Take Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist” for example or “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. Or even “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss for the children in your life. So called “self-help books” don’t have to be boring dialogues about what to do when; they can be uplifting tales of characters who experience challenges and in so doing, change their lives for the better.

#8. Socks

This may seem an odd gift for this type of list but we’re not talking about black dress socks or bundles of cheap tube socks from a big box store. Rather, we’re suggesting you gift one pair (or a few pairs) of excellent quality athletic socks that breathe, support and just might encourage the receiver to go out for a walk with you. In our experience, Darn Tough in Vermont make some of the best socks on earth. (They’re guaranteed for life!)

#9. A One-Week Permission Slip

One of the things we hear most from our clients is that it’s so hard for them to take a week or two away from their busy lives in order to reboot their vitality. This is where you can come in: you can either hand-write a coupon or just tell your loved one that it’s okay for them to take time away in order to take care of their own health – you offer to look after things while they’re away and not to worry and they, in turn, can come and join us at Mountain Trek where they’ll reignite their vitality and return back to you a reenergized person. Really, it’s a gift for you both!

For more gift ideas, check our Mountain Trek’s holiday gift guide for yourself and six gifts to support a healthy lifestyle.

Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

This time of year can be difficult for people’s stress levels, given the number of potential stressors out there: planning family dinners, buying the right gifts and attending numerous parties all contribute to a busy and stressful time. However, there are easy ways to relieve that stress as outlined below.

#1. Digital Detox

Make a plan to detox from your digital devices for a set time each day. Even if it’s just a matter of turning off your TV, phone and computer at 9pm each night the result will be less distraction, better sleep and less stress.

#2. Massage

Enjoy an evening massage regularly. It will help relieve sore muscles, release toxins and, ultimately, relax you. Plus it’s something to look forward to after your busy days.

#3. Exercise

Even just a little. Follow these tips to help beat sedentarism and remember that in order to keep your metabolism up, your weight down, and your stress levels low, your body has to move for at least 40 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.

#4. Go for a soak

Whether it’s a hot spring, hot tub, or your tub at home, a good, long soak in warm water invigorates circulation and, ultimately relaxes you.

#5. Eat Well

We know this can be difficult around the holidays what with the plethora of sweets, alcohol and processed food available, but eating healthy foods puts your body in a better state of equilibrium. That’s not to say we don’t encourage the occasional treat, but remember to do so in moderation. At the very least remember to drink lots of water a day. That will help flush toxins from your body.

#6. Be With Friends

Spend time with friends and loved ones who are relaxing to be with. Often we hear from our clients that the holidays are stressful because they’re obligated to hang out with family members who cause them stress. If this sounds familiar, then be sure to book equal amounts of time with individuals who help you to feel the opposite of stressed. Have to do dinner with the in-laws who are regularly argumentative? Then book a breakfast date with a friend who will listen and laugh as you debrief about it all.

#7. Don’t be so hard on yourself

So what if the turkey burned or the place settings aren’t perfect or you didn’t have time to get all the gifts on your list? Your family and friends love you and the most important thing for them is to know that you’re happy. They do not want you to feel overwhelmed at their expense. Breathe deep. Think of the ones you love. Remember how lucky you are. Breathe some more. Relax.

#8. Book a stay with Mountain Trek

Our Winter Retreat program from Dec 27-Jan 3 exists to allow people a chance to escape their busy lives and stay in a beautiful mountain lodge with every amenity from hot tub to infrared sauna, and to enjoy having a professional chef do all the cooking. Imagine escaping everything this holiday and curling up beside a warm fire with a good book while the snow falls gently outside. Talk about stress relieving!

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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 info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

10+ Tips to Keep Well and Active as the Cold Weather Approaches

Autumn Hiking at Mountain Trek

When winter sets in, the days get shorter, the thermometer drops, and our bodies enter into what was, traditionally, a time of dormancy. Before the industrial revolution, we humans would spend the winter months in a state of quiescence – there was very little farming, hunting, or gathering to be done so we’d slow down and conserve our fat stores. These days, our bodies are still programmed to a certain amount of inaction during the colder months but, unlike the past, we now have plenty of fatty and processed foods to snack on during that time.

Tips to avoid unhealthy snacking and remain well and active during winter

1. Avoid Drinking More Coffee

Morning Ginger Tea

With cooler temperatures comes the desire to drink hot drinks and the most prevalent, especially in the Western world, is coffee. However comforting that cup of Joe is on a cool day, however, one must remember the harmful effects of caffeine. There is a proven relationship between caffeine and weight gain. Continuous consumption of it leads to prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, which has a negative effect on metabolism, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Instead of drinking more coffee, consider other hot drink alternatives such as a detoxifying and energizing morning ginger tea.

2. Avoid More Alcohol

Avoid Alcohol

As we enter months where the nights are longer, we as a species are driven to socialize more in the evenings. And in our modern world, that typically means there is more alcohol on offer. We at Mountain Trek are not abolitionists by any stretch but we think it’s important to stress alcohol’s relationship to weight gain. All alcohol has calories (even the ones marketed as being free of carbs) and so by consuming more, you’re adding to your fat stores. In the case of alcohol, this is doubly taxing because it stresses your liver and impairs its ability to flush toxins. Imbibe in the occasional drink but considering capping of the evening with a nightcap of #3.

3. Drink More Water

Drink More Water

Last year we wrote a post about water versus soda pop and one of the most interesting facts about the lack of water was that it is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. As we enter the longer, colder months, our bodies tend to want to slow down and lethargy is more prevalent – drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies that. Plus it helps you flush toxins and curb hunger pangs.

4. Get a Good Nights Sleep

Get a Good Night's Sleep

As the nights get longer our bodies respond by desiring a bit more shut-eye. Although our bodies require between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, there are many sleep problems that are preventing some of us from getting that. The good news is there are easy things you can do to ensure a good night’s rest. In this post, we list seven tricks but the most important is to make your bedroom a work-free and gadget-free zone. Leave all electronic devices outside the bedroom and enjoy some shut-eye unhampered by bells, lights, and agendas.

5. Go For a Soak

Go for a Soak

This one is easy, especially as the colder months set in: find yourself a bathtub, hot tub or hot spring and just lie there. That’s it. There are many therapeutic benefits to a good soak but the main one is relaxation; the power of de-stressing is not to be underestimated, especially because balanced hormones lead to balanced health.

6. Get Massaged

Massage

As with #5, this one isn’t that difficult either. There are reasons most cultures on earth have offered some form of massage for thousands of years: not only is it relaxing, it’s also good for your health. In fact, an evening massage is one of the best ways to relax after the day’s activities. It will help prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.

7. Enlist the Help of a Friend

Enlist the help of a friend

In another blog post we listed seven reasons why you should work out with a friend and these apply that much more in the cooler months when it’s easy for us to justify sitting in front of the TV under a blanket instead of getting up and moving. A friend will help keep you accountable but will also make fitness that much more fun.

8. Exercise – Even Just a Little

Exercise

It goes without saying that we here at Mountain Trek are big fans of exercise, no matter what time of year it is. We also appreciate, however, that when the cooler weather sets in, it can be harder to get motivated. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to help beat sedentarism some of which are as easy as doing stretches in your office doorway. Remember, though, that to keep your metabolism up and your weight down, your body has to move for at least 40 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.

9. Show Yourself Some Love

Show Yourself Some Love

There are many ways to pamper yourself but the best is to do something you enjoy. It seems like such a simple thing and yet many of us work so hard, by the end of the day we only have energy to sit in front of the TV. Take time in the coming months to do something that recharges your batteries: read a good book by the fire, indulge in a hobby or attend a class. You’ll find you’ll be happier and have more energy to face the cooler weather and shorter days.

10. Book a Stay with Mountain Trek

Book your stay at Mountain Trek

The best way to pamper yourself is to dedicate a vacation to you and your health. Join us in autumn at our gorgeous lodge in British Columbia where you’ll enjoy the pristine mountains and hang out with like-minded friends by the fire, in the natural hot springs, or in our spa.

Related Article: Beating the Winter Blues

Where Do I get my Vitamin D?

When UV rays from sunlight touch the skin, this triggers Vitamin D synthesis. But when sun exposure is at a minimum during the winter months, we can turn to diet to help with our vitamin D intake. Unfortunately, very few foods are high in Vitamin D naturally, and so it is not possible to get all the Vitamin D you need from diet alone. In conjunction with a high-quality multi-vitamin, here are some of the best food sources of Vitamin D:

  • Fatty fish: So very nutritious for you for so many reasons, fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and even seafood such as oysters, contain some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin D in food.
  • Eggs: Not only high in protein and so many other nutrients (Vitamin B12), the sunshine yellow of egg yolks do contain a hearty helping of Vitamin D.
  • Beef liver: Not everyone’s favorite, but when mom said ‘eat up!’ to those liver and onions, she knew what she was talking about as far as Vitamin D’s concerned.
  • Mushrooms: Certain varieties of mushrooms, like white button, can provide Vitamin D among other nutrients (Vitamin B5) when lightly cooked.

Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D for the simple reason that we don’t get enough in our diet, or in general. Almost all milk (and baby formula) in the U.S. and Canada is fortified with Vitamin D as are some orange juices, soy products, and cereals. But please use caution and check labels, as many of these products can contain refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, and other undesirables.

What About Sunny Vacations?

Sunny Vacations

Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing trip to a more sunny clime during the cooler fall and winter months? It’s important, though, to moderate your solar intake while on vacation. So many of us rush to the beach and neglect proper sun care in the quest for the perfect tan. This is definitely more harmful than not having any sun at all. Instead, stay out of the sun when it’s at its peak or cover up with loose-fitting, SPF-rated clothing, hat, and sunglasses.


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 info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Mountain Trek featured in Canada’s Largest Newspaper

globeandmail mt image

Mountain Trek  was featured on the front cover of the Travel section of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, this month:

“7 hours a day of exercise…Welcome to your vacation.”

The Globe feature was written by Amy Rosen who found “bliss in a boot camp getaway.” She chronicled her experience in a diary-format and spoke of each day and what she ate, experienced, and witnessed from “halibut fish steaks with pineapple mango salsa” to “vibrant green old-growth forests.” This is an excerpt:

“Mountain Trek’s spa and fitness studio have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the 100-kilometer Kootenay Lake. There are gardens and wildflowers, mountains and blue skies. Meals are local, organic, plated – and most delicious, enjoyed by guests around family-style tables. So that’s the good news. Back at my weigh-in, the excuses fly: “I’ve been traveling a lot, no time for exercise. It’s summertime … and those gin and tonics aren’t going to drink themselves!” Until, finally, acceptance: I’ve gained a few on the rump. Let’s. Do. This.”

Click here to read Amy’s entire article, and to experience a similar personal transformation to what she did, contact Mountain Trek and we’ll let you know about what program would best suit your needs.


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 info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

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!

Q&A with Kirkland Shave, Program Director at Mountain Trek – Part II

Kirkland ShaveIn this sixth installment of our Q&A series we bring you part two of our interview with Kirkland Shave, Mountain Trek’s intrepid Program Director, hiking guide, and esteemed lecturer. In our last post, we left off with Kirkland discussing the reasons behind Mountain Trek’s high guest return rate (30-40%).

Kirkland: I had this expectation that once they (guests) come, they’ll get it and they’ll go home and they’ll change. I was so naïve. And then I realized we’re more like a trainer for an Olympic athlete, they still need tweaking and adjusting.

MT: And the tweaking and adjusting is better or easier done back at Mountain Trek?

It’s just so hard out there in a dominant work culture for people to be able to adjust their life to keep a regimen of fitness, nutrition and overall healthy living going all the time. People need to start by incorporating one thing and turn that one thing into a healthy habit. Through my research on will power and habit making I’ve come to realize that habits are formed and work better incrementally. Very few people are at that threshold where they’re ready to just grab onto new information, or habits, or lifestyle changes, and go.

The majority of guests will go home from Mountain Trek and change an eating habit – they’ll start eating breakfast every morning, for instance. And then they’ll return, maybe a year later and when they get back home they’ll start walking after dinner or join a yoga studio. And it’s these incremental habits that they weave into their lifestyle that then become a tipping point that changes their life.

It’s really easy for us to slip into old and sometimes unhealthy habits isn’t it?

It totally is. Up until the 1970s most of us still worked with our bodies. It’s only been a very short time that we’re not able to get our movement needs through work. And with expanded work hours and commute times, it’s almost impossible to find the time to exercise. In the meantime, Mountain Trek is here for people to come in, gain some insights learn about healthy choices.

And rebuild or reboot a healthy lifestyle from there?

Absolutely. Some returning guests come for a reboot and some come for a deeper immersion – a couple of weeks where they can really anchor certain patterns and help set up new habits.

Would you say most guests come to Mountain Trek for weight loss?

Hmm…you could say consciously most are but underneath that many guests are coming because they know that something in the big picture is not working. Weight gain is often a symptom of stress or chronic lack of movement and exercise. Everybody that’s come here has gained weight and lost weight at different times in their lives. People don’t come here and think, okay I’ve got to lose ten pounds just to fit into a wedding dress next week. It’s more to start to create a new, healthy direction for themselves, with the bonus or motivator of some significant change in their weight.

Is there an overall Mountain Trek experience, some special thing that sets you apart from other fitness and weight loss programs?

What I think sets us apart from all the other choices out there around health and weight loss retreats or spas, is our significant immersion in a complex natural world.

Kirkland Shave, Program DirectorWhat exactly do you mean by complex nature?

There’s a lot of research out there about what’s being coined, “the green brain.” This research states that when someone is out in nature there is a drop in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in the feel-good hormones oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. They bathe the brain and help fight that edgy, depressive, vigilant state that cortisol puts us in. This happens by being in, or even just seeing nature. Even having a picture on your office wall of jungle or complex nature creates a sense of fascination, lowers cortisol and increases oxytocin.

Would you say complex nature is Mountain Trek’s secret ingredient?

Yes! At Mountain Trek we’re outside four hours a day in a complex, ever-changing natural environment. And then our gym and yoga studio and even the drives to the trailheads, all look out at beautiful, green, abundant nature. This is definitely our secret ingredient. Other retreats have gyms, they do yoga, they offer detox, calorie control or sleep health, but they don’t have as complex a natural environment that creates a high level of fascination and hormone adjustment as we do.

How many staff work at Mountain Trek and would you consider them top in their field?

We have about 30 staff and I’m definitely prejudiced when I say they’re top in their field for where we live. But the unique thing about our staff is that they’re not in their 20s or 30s and fresh out of a university health and fitness program. Our staff are mature mountain people.

What do you mean by ‘mountain people’?

People that have chosen to live in the Nelson area for long periods of time because of lifestyle. They ski, mountain bike, hike and climb. They live and breathe being in nature and living a healthy lifestyle. We all eat more plant foods than meat. Some of us are vegetarians. Some have their own yoga practices. So the staff that I’m able to pool here are all highly trained in their disciplines, they all have wilderness first aid certificates, and they all live the type of lifestyle that we try to infuse our guests with.

I know you’re a busy guy, Kirkland, so one last question. Are some guests unable to make it through the program and if so why?

No. There isn’t anybody who can’t make it through. I’ll be honest, there have been one or two that have left prematurely because they didn’t feel that they could make it through, as much as we tried. And they usually leave after the first day because it’s too much of a shock or they’re coming to stop smoking or something that they just weren’t ready to do. Why we have two staff to every one guest is to ensure that each individual person’s needs are met. Even if someone hasn’t exercised in eight years and they’re carrying an extra eighty pounds, we accommodate them.

Okay, great. Thanks for your time Kirkland and good luck with the rest of the season at Mountain Trek.

My pleasure. Thank you.

Q&A with Kirkland Shave, Program Director of Mountain Trek – Part I

Kirkland Shave Program Director Mountain TrekIn the fifth instalment of our Q&A series we veer slightly from the path and, instead of interviewing a Mountain Trek guest, we thought we’d give you a peek behind the curtain and sit down for a chat with our very own Kirkland Shave.

Kirkland is a Nelson, BC, resident and has been Program Director and Manager of Mountain Trek since 2004. Not only is he a hiker extraordinaire he also plays bass guitar in his son’s band and he’s one of Mountain Trek’s most popular, poignant and engaging lecturers.

Hi Kirkland. Thanks for taking time out of your busy Mountain Trek schedule to talk with us. Let’s start with your professional and personal background and what led you to Mountain Trek?

A culmination of a variety of work and life experiences led me here. Let me back up a bit though. As a teen I started looking at alternative ways of living. I started meditating, I became a vegetarian, and I started shifting away from team sports to outdoor recreation activities. I did martial arts, yoga, and later I became a yoga instructor. I have a teaching degree and a degree in Anthropology, and for a long time I was a local British Columbia Park Ranger. Following that I started running my own wilderness and primitive skills school. Then, about 11 years ago, the original owner at Mountain Trek hired me to come out and teach these wilderness skills one day a week for a few summers. From there, because of my ranger and yoga experience, I became a hiking guide and yoga instructor at Mountain Trek.

Soon thereafter, the owner asked a dietician, kinesiologist and myself to build a weight loss program. Back around 2000 the obesity epidemic was in the news a lot so we got rid of our recreation program at Mountain Trek and started this weight loss program. But through our own knowledge base we basically turned it into a metabolism-raising program with weight loss being a by-product. It became popular very quickly and just took off from there.

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Would you say that your job with Mountain Trek has been your most fulfilling one?

Absolutely because I’ve always loved nature and working outside and now I get to take people into nature… and I get to introduce people to a healthy consciousness about their body and what it means to possess emotional well-being. I’m also trained as a life coach so this is where I can focus in on what’s stressing people and how this affects their well being.

You love working with people in the outdoors, and the Mountain Trek lodge is certainly surrounded by breath-taking nature. What would you say is the profile of the average Mountain Trek guest?

They are all primarily urban, corporate North Americans. About 75% women and 25% men. The average age for a woman would be 42 and for men about 50. Men tend to be a little bit slower in paying attention to their body or health concerns, whereas women are a bit more finely attuned that way.

Are the guests already familiar with the great outdoors?

Most of them have not hiked before. I would consider them hard working professionals and traditionalists. And by traditionalist I mean they don’t regularly eat tofu, for example, or practice yoga. In fact 90% of our guests have never done yoga before. So we’re taking these professionals and opening the door, so-to-speak, so they can see other ways of living that promote more health and longevity for them…ways of living that they can weave into their lifestyle.

Does this mean that relatively fit young men and women need not go to Mountain Trek?

Not necessarily. What happens is that through sendentarism, sitting at work, commuting in a car, etc, our bodies move into a catabolic state – we become slower and suffer chronic inflammation that affects our hormones. This domino effect on all aspects of our health starts to build as we age so that people in their 40s and 50s start to feel the cumulative effects of this sedentary work life more so.

People in their 20s and 30s still have an anabolic metabolism. But even with this age group we’re noticing that the catabolic shift is happening at a younger and younger age. People come out of university and get right into a job where they tend to sit all day. We gain weight, have chronic sleep issues, less energy and vitality and on and on to worse things like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid problems.

So, to answer your question, we could target younger people but they don’t quite see the need as acutely as someone who’s a little bit older. Nor do they typically have the money. You know, it’s a health investment and a lot of 20 or 30 year olds would rather go on a trip to Paris for a week or two…

Or Thailand…

Yeah, or Thailand.

A one or two week program at Mountain Trek is rewarding but it takes dedication. People seek out the program not only to lose weight and change their metabolism but also to kickstart an entire lifestyle makeover. That can be emotionally challenging. Do your guests ever come back, or is once enough for them?

Actually, we get a big return rate – 30% to 40% are returnees in any given week. Going back about six years though, I thought something about the program was failing. I wondered why our guests kept coming back. I had this expectation that once they came, they’ll get it and they’ll go home and they’ll change. But now I realize it’s important that people “check in” with us regularly, and get back on track. They need what I call “Mountain Trek’s magic ingredient.”

In part 2 of our Q&A with Kirkland Shave, we find out the reason for Mountain Trek’s high return rate, discover whether guests have ever left the retreat without completing the program and learn more about the retreat’s “magic ingredient.”