Abandon the Heels for a Heath Retreat

Cynthia Dial Alpine Lake

Cynthia Dial shares her health retreat vacation experience at Mountain Trek

Full disclosure:  I was a daily walker, not a hiker.


Give me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s with 4 ½ inch heels and the directive to cross Manhattan’s Midtown and consider it done.  But put me in a pair of hiking boots and I’m out of my element… would I be able to keep up, or would I be the “one” out of her league?

The bottom line is I needed a tune-up and was ready to graduate from morning walker to all-day hiker.  However, a statement on the spa’s site sealed the deal: “If you can climb four flights of stairs without stopping and walk on undulating ground for a minimum of two hours, you can do this program.” Sold.

Here, my friends, are the details…

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Mountain Trek: The Transformation Vacation

Ready to hike into a whole new you?

Kokanee Trail “Got the Nordic poles? Check. First-Aid kit? Check. Bear spray? Yup….And we’re ready to go!” our hiking guide proclaims. “Do you mean ‘bug spray’?” I ask, with slight trepidation in my voice. “No, I meant ‘bear spray’….But don’t worry – it’s usually just a precaution”. And so, another group of urban professionals vacationing at Mountain Trek – a high-octane fitness resort nestled in southeastern B.C. – realize that we’re not in proverbial Kansas anymore. As we depart for a four-hour hike up an altitude heretofore seen only from the tops of office skyscrapers, we feel secure under the supervision of our fearless leader. Read more of Lynn Burshstein’s Mountain Trek experience.

Sleep Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

Sleep better and peacefully

Nothing could impact our health, mood, and vitality more than a good night’s sleep. Without it, we simply can’t function our best.  Less sleep directly compromises our immune system, lowers our stamina, and promotes the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”).

Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the “drowsiness” hormone melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin levels are higher in the winter due to decreased sunlight, and without bright morning sunlight, it lingers longer in the morning. This makes it difficult to wake up.

Tips for Regulating Melatonin and the Sleep-Wake Cycle

Keeping your batteries replenished through the darker winter months is achieved by keeping your sleep-wake cycle similar to other times of the year.  Here’s how:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends.
  • Try to get as much natural light as possible in the morning hours before 8 am, to help lower melatonin levels.  Sit by the window or go for a morning walk.
  • Use a lightbox for phototherapy to help balance your circadian rhythm and combat SAD. This full-spectrum light can be placed next to your bed and programmed on a timer to get brighter in the mornings, to mimic sunrise. This helps shut off the production of melatonin. However, it’s important to use lightboxes according to the natural pattern of summer sunlight, because too much bright light at the wrong times can result in insomnia. So use them to stimulate dawn (6 am – 8 am) every morning for the duration of the winter.
  • If you take melatonin supplements, do so in consultation with your physician, and take it around 8 pm to avoid staying up too late, and sleeping in too late.
  • Keep active with exercise!  Not only does it release endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine hormones to lift your mood, but tiring your body with healthy exertion will naturally contribute to a restful sleep, and keep your energy levels higher during the day.

Although melatonin is the hormone that regulates hibernation in animals, we don’t have to spend the winter months drowsy and holed up in our houses. You can maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle through the winter, and get out and enjoy the season!

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, sleep deeply, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Why Snowshoeing is the Ultimate Winter Workout

SnowshoeingWhat better way to see out the old, and ring in the New Year than walking on top of the snow, breathing fresh air in a winter wonderland, while melting off inches from holiday indulgence?

Our popular Winter Snowshoe Program is a fun and adventurous way to burn an average of 450 to 550 calories per hour without even knowing it.  If you can walk, you can snowshoe, and unlike cross country skiing, the skills and coordination required are minimal, along with the risk of injury.

Dating back thousands of years, snowshoes were an invention of necessity for travelling by foot by ancient people in Central Asia and the indigenous people of North America, and were then happily adopted by fur traders and trappers. Today’s modern designs employ light weight, high-tech materials and revolutionary binding systems for better control and stability.

Burn Calories…the Fun Way

Along with ski or hiking poles, snowshoeing generates heat like few other activities, and boosts metabolism into a higher fat burning gear. Snowshoeing builds strength and endurance, and enhances cardiovascular capacity. Most importantly, the soft snow absorbs impact, giving your joints a break and reducing repetitive-motion injury.

As in running and walking, snowshoeing primarily strengthens quadriceps, hip flexors, and extensors; and as if that’s not enough, it also works gluteals, hamstrings, calf muscles, and abdominals. The resistance of the snow builds lower-body strength and forces your body to burn more calories. Your metabolism is also boosted because you work several muscle groups simultaneously. Along with trekking poles, your upper body is engaged (triceps, pecs & deltoids) which contributes to the ultimate full body winter-workout.

Let it Snow

Here in the middle of high peak Canadian mountain ranges, we make the most of our natural surroundings all year! We offer the ultimate winter getaway for guests from all over the world who want to end the year right, and start the New Year rested, pampered, rejuvenated, and several pounds lighter than they were. Snowshoers get a chance to smell the pines, get in touch with nature, and play in the great outdoors while rapidly losing weight. 

Snowshoeing is a great way to keep up a winter fitness program and an excellent alternative to going to the gym. It offers something for everyone by conditioning the body, feeding the soul, and providing a way to experience nature up close. Escape this winter to the snow!

Detox Your Mind

Fed up with the steady onslaught of bad news and anxiety in the world?  With the depressing media stories and global strife which creates worry over things you have no control over, the daily news does not often support a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.

Thanks to technology, bad news is everywhere now, and taking a break from the negativity of it is essential to your health on all levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Feeling clear, balanced and good in your life is not just a fanciful memory of way things used to be, but a state of being that with intention, only you can create for yourself.

Along with the fitness and weight loss benefits of vacationing at a Wellness Retreat, the rising trend of “healthy vacations” is answering the need for allowing people to unplug from their stressful lives, the TV and computer, unhealthy habits, and  cram-packed schedules that leaves little time for self reflection and adequate sleep, let alone feeling full of vitality.

Guests Hiking

Detoxification is any process that removes injurious substances from your body.

If you’re regularly being exposed to unpleasant news, or barely manage to juggle an overloaded schedule of too many obligations and deadlines, have you considered taking a detox break from that lifestyle as well?  The effects of these stressors is far reaching, such as skyrocketing Cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which wreaks havoc on your metabolism, immune system and hormones.  And we won’t mention the bad moods, irritability and depression.

If you’re of an age to remember the days before computers, email and smart phones, than part of you longs to return to that way of being, if only for a short while, and if only to remember what it feels like to be yourself again without gadgets, technology and a long list of to-dos.

If you’re feeling overburdened in your body and mind, you’re certainly not alone.  That’s why more people than ever are turning to Fitness Retreats as their answer to distressing, detoxing, losing weight, and unplugging from their busy lives.

How Long can Rapid Weight Loss be Sustained?

woman exerciseAs people research their options of boot camp-style fitness programs, they often ask; “how long should I go for the most lasting impact?” And “How can I continue rapid weight loss after I’m back home?”

Besides taking a break and unplugging from their busy lives for some adventure and unparalleled hiking terrain, for many people, quick weight loss is their goal.  Along with the activities and lower calories to quickly shed pounds while here, we also educate our guests about healthy habits for the long term.  Learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices will enable people to continue components of our program, in a sustainable, healthy way at home.

Maxing Your Stay at a Fitness Retreat

The ideal duration of our program is 2-week increments. We see maximum weight loss results with the 2-week “The Renewal” program, instead of doing the program continuously for 3 or 4 weeks.  Not only would 4 weeks of continual “boot camp” style activities produce wear and tear, but the body also has a natural response to the prolonged excursion that prevents rapid weight loss from continuing.

Metabolically, the body burns the most fat during the kick-start phase of weeks 1 and 2.  After 2 weeks of the Program, we have historically seen with guests that the rate of weight loss slows down to half after continuing into the 3rd and 4th weeks.  This is due to the body’s reaction to the continual physical rate of excursion, and its “plateau” response of hanging on to calories/fat as a “starvation” response.

Your Body’s Wise to Sustained Excursion

Our bodies are designed to adapt to conditions of feast or famine, athletic activity or sedentary lounging, and will retain calories when it recognizes the need.  Safely “shocking” the system with intense physical excursion and lower calorie intake results in rapid weight loss.  However, the body will ensure it doesn’t burn fat so easily if this continues, and will then hang on to calories for survival.

Benefits of Shorter and Longer Fitness Vacations

For guests that really need to unplug from their busy life, Mountain Trek certainly does accommodate 3 or 4-week stays, with the flexibility of “rest days”.  For some people, a longer break is the ideal combination of rapid weight loss at the outset, and thorough rejuvenating and detoxing.

But for those that are focused on rapid weight loss in less time, it is most effective to kick-start their fat-burning with coming for 1 or 2 weeks in our supportive environment, breaking old habits and learning new ones, and either carrying on components of the Program at home, (which they’ll learn) or coming back for a refresher.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Boot Camp Meets Base Camp – Mountain Trek in Nepal

Everest From Khumjung

For 2012 we’re upping the anté and taking the idea of “fitness vacation” to the next level…to an Everest Base Camp level!

If you’re looking for a unique physical challenge, and want to experience one of the most culturally rich places on the planet, join Kirk and iTrekNepal for the Himalayan Adventure (March 12-20, 2012), or the ultimateEverest Base Camp (March 18-April 1, 2012).

“I’m sure hiking Nepal with Kirk is like 2 weeks at Mountain Trek, except colder and with less oxygen,” commented one alumni member after receiving an e-blast about it. And yes, he signed up!

To join a Nepal trek you need to have a base level of fitness, stamina, and of course, the desire and drive for this kind of outdoor adventure. If this has peaked your interest – you can do it, it is a very reachable goal. Through conversations we’ve learned something really cool from our guests (some who’ve been sedentary for years): the fitness and bodily confidence that they gained through our program, has made tackling an experience like Everest Base Camp a worthy goal, call it a dangling carrot, to continue with their fitness regime. One guest told us that she’s “sticking a picture of Everest on her fridge, so it’s in plain view every day, to motivate her to get her sweat on!”

Click here for more information or contact the MT office at 1-800-661-5161,