Improving your personal health may mean the need for weight loss. Get advice, program ideas and activities From Mountain Trek to make you a weight loss success story.


Q&A with Client Phil Lanni

Phil Lanni_group in Peru

The group on the trip to Machu Picchu, Peru, last Spring. Phil Lanni is the second from left.

Welcome to the second installment of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each person came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. Last time we spoke with Debra Fordham, who’s visit to Mountain Trek last year was the catalyst for a 70-pound weight loss. In this piece we speak with Philip Lanni, a business owner living near Toronto, Ontario, who is “three-quarters retired” he says. He’s visited Mountain Trek every year since 2002 and he’s also joined us on a few of our global adventures including the hike to Everest base camp and this year’s trek to Macchu Piccu. Phil makes the journey to Mountain Trek every year because, “I like the adrenaline of pushing myself.” Pretty inspiring for a man who’s celebrating his 65th birthday this year. Here is Phil’s story.

Hi Phil. Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with us. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

On the internet. I’d done a lot of hiking before in the States but I wanted to find something in Canada. That was in 2002. And I’ve been coming back every year since. I brought my wife a few times and my kids. I also brought along my brother and my brother-in-law because they were both experiencing some health issues at the time. They all got something out of their visit.

Tell us about your expectations?

When I was 35, I smoked 70 cigarettes a day and was around 275 pounds. I had three small kids then and I knew I had to make some changes. I started eating better, walking and doing more healthy things and eventually got down to 230 pounds on my own. That was 30 years ago and since then I’ve attended many different resorts but they’re not in the same league as Mountain Trek in terms of what you get for you money…it may be a bit more expensive than other retreats but you really do get what you pay for.

What are some of the highlights of your time at Mountain Trek?

I like the adrenaline of pushing myself to the point where I feel I just can’t go any further – and then I do. I love that I’m competing against myself rather than anyone else. I find that really invigorating. To be able to do that in the kind of scenery Mountain Trek is located in, well, you just can’t replace it. Another highlight is the staff. They’re so great because they live the life. They walk the talk, which makes the program a lot easier to accept because they’re living proof that it works. And finally, I never did yoga before and Mountain Trek got me into it, which is great. I find as you get older, yoga definitely helps you to be more flexible.

What’s a “lowlight” from your experiences at Mountain Trek?

I once sprained my foot and wasn’t able to participate in the rest of the hikes that week. But even though I couldn’t go hiking I still managed to lose seven pounds just eating the food!

Phil Lanni 2_ group in Peru

Phil and the crew in Peru

For me Mountain Trek is just a continuation of my routine. I do two hours of exercise a day to stay healthy. Then, I’ll go to the lodge and maybe I’ll lose five or six pounds (the same I lose every time) but it’s just part of my routine now. I probably eat a little more when I come home because of going out to restaurants and things.

So what draws you back to Mountain Trek every year, Phil?

Again, it’s just part of my routine. I use it as a basis to steer my life in the right direction. Going to Mountain Trek helps me maintain a weight of around 200 pounds and 18% body fat. (Ed note: According to the Jackson & Pollock Body Fat Percentage Chart, 20% body fat is “ideal” for someone over 56 years of age. Phil is exceeding that.)

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Be prepared to get rid of your inhibitions. Some people say, “Oh I won’t be able to keep up with the rest” but it’s not about that. You’re not competing against anyone but yourself. It’s all about getting rid of your demons…It’s about your total health, not just weight loss.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about the Mountain Trek experience?

The yoga instructors, coaches and guides, they’re all excellent. And the quality of food is very good. I never get hungry when I’m there!


Why It’s Important to Choose Water Instead of Soda

Clean water pouring into the glass next to the stones on the old wooden table

Concerns of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are on the rise. People are rethinking their nutrition and the types of liquids they consume. It’s no secret that drinking too much soda is not good for your body, but why should you choose water over Coca-Cola and Pepsi? 

The two companies have engaged in many different marketing campaigns, and today they own some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In fact, 1.8 billion bottles of Coke are consumed around the world every day! Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have made efforts by introducing no-sugar, no-calorie beverage options, but these diet versions still have harmful effects.

The fact is, no matter how these products are advertised they will never come close to the health benefits of water. 

Why You Should Choose Water

  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and breast cancer by 79%.
  • One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of those who participated in a University of Washington study.
  • Preliminary research indicates that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • Lack of water is the most common cause of daytime fatigue. Drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies it.
  • Consuming water is the best method to detox and flush impurities from the body.

What’s in Coca-Cola and Pepsi

  • The active ingredient in Coke and Pepsi is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.
  • Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
  • Coke and Pepsi contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. One can of cola has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake. 
  • Citric Acid, while not harmful in small quantities, excessive amounts can be harmful to your stomach and liver.
  • A can of cola has approximately two-thirds of the amount of caffeine that your morning cup of coffee contains. While safe in small amounts, we have a few reasons to keep the caffeine to a minimum

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:

Cheese Pesto Balls

Q&A with client Debra Fordham

Mountain Lodge in Britsh Columbia

Welcome to the first of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this inaugural piece we speak with Debra Fordham, a television writer living in Los Angeles, California, who visited Mountain Trek for a week in May 2012. Since that time she has lost almost 70 pounds and is training to run a half-marathon again. This is Debra’s story.

Q&A with Mountain Trek Alumni Debra

Debra Fordham (second from left) on her visit to Mountain Trek.

Hi Debra. Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with us. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I was feeling low one day and sitting at the computer googling generic topics like “fitness retreats” and “weight loss” when the Mountain Trek link popped up. I checked out the Trip Advisor comments and most of them included the words “life changing.” It struck me as a bit expensive so I called my friend to ask advice. She said, “How much would you spend to change your life?” I booked the next day.

Tell us about your expectations?

Well, I went in 80 pounds overweight and out of shape. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. I knew we’d get good food and go on hikes but I was surprised by the raw physical challenge and the evening lessons regarding healthy living. That said, the experience literally did change my life. After six days of eating healthy foods, exercising and detoxing my entire physiology changed. When I got home I no longer craved soda or Oreos.

What was the highlight of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to buy a house in the Kootenay region. It’s just so beautiful there. I also really enjoyed Kirkland’s lectures in the evening – they gave me not only an understanding of what I was going through in terms of physiology but I was also given tools to use when I returned home.

What was the low-light of your experience at Mountain Trek?

I wanted to physically give up at one point. I was thinking of myself as this fat girl who doesn’t exercise and it was all too much but the wonderful thing is the staff wouldn’t let me give up – they just inspired me to keep going. I was amazed at how motivated I was around the guides, most especially Kirkland, Cathy and Krista.

Q&A Success Story

Debra, over 50 pounds lighter

What was it like when you returned home?

When I got home I craved healthy foods. I also craved exercise and I continued hiking around my area. And I acted on Kirk’s lectures – I started cooking for myself. I made bliss balls and Mt Trek soups and I stopped eating processed food.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you returned home?

I was doing really well until the holidays when I got together with my family. We have such a wacked idea of food – we eat like crazy. I had people at my house at Christmas and so we started baking and because of the family dynamics – well, you just don’t want to eat tofu salad while someone you love is eating something unhealthy. It’s kind of a social statement not joining in.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Mountain Trek staff kept stressing “Have more good days than bad” and that really is the key. Sometimes you just have to eat the snacks on the airplane and it’s important you not beat yourself up about it. I don’t let it derail me. I’ll enjoy a “no limits” great meal but the next morning I’m back on the pony eating foods from the local farmer’s market.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Go!!!! With five exclamation points! For some people it may seem expensive but like my friend says, “How much would you pay to change your life?” You have to take it seriously – you’ll be challenged but it really will be the launching pad to changing your life.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about your experience?

I can’t wait to come back! I’m coordinating with someone who I met there last May and we’re going to return together. That was another benefit of the experience – the alumni are an amazing resource and they become your friends.


How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • fatigue from lack of sleep makes it harder to for you to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly.

Ideas for Reassessing Your Approach to Weightloss

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern that can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts, and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly, and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Perhaps that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High-stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.

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 or reach out below:

8 Ways to Make the Most of your Fitness Vacation


Attending a Health Retreat or Fitness Vacation has far-reaching benefits that can impact a person for years. The idea of investing in a structured, healthy vacation, instead of the well-worn “all-you-can-eat” getaway is steadily growing in popularity; and is meeting the needs of millions of vacationers looking to revitalize their health.

Because, really, who wants to come home from a vacation with a larger waistline than when you left?

The term “Wellness Tourism” is something you’ll see more of in the coming years as active baby boomers and younger generations seek healthy adventurous and educational retreats to learn new areas of growth and self-improvement.

Structured programs, such as the one offered at Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa, go beyond the basics of a morning fruit smoothie and pool volleyball. Savvy guests are looking for services, treatments, and consultations that cater to all areas of health, and they see the advantage of an on-site group of therapists and practitioners with varied skill sets.

8 recommendations to look for in your next Fitness Retreat or Weight Loss vacation

These offerings will help ensure you get the most out of your stay. We at Mountain Trek offer all of these–and more!

  1. Private Yoga Sessions –Frustrated by inflexibility? Feeling lost in the crowd? Enjoy individual support and tailored advice outside the group dynamic.
  2. Kinesiologist Assessment – Suffering from poor posture, a weak core or shoulder, neck or back pain? Get an assessment and a personalized home program to help correct imbalances with stretching, re-training, and revitalizing techniques.
  3. Nutrition Consultation –Meet with a Registered Nutritionist to assess your eating habits, address any symptoms and receive recommendations. Learn new recipes and eating habits to meet your unique nutritional needs.
  4. Life Coaching – Make the most of a credentialed Life Coach to support and mentor you on your journey. With some coaching during and after your program, you can better overcome challenges and set realistic goals that are in alignment with your transformation. (Mountain Trek’s program director, Kirkland Shave, is an accredited Life Coach.)
  5. Spa Treatments – In addition to Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage, take advantage of treatments you’ve never had, and you’ll be amazed at how skilled therapists can heal what ails you.
  6. Reflexology – applied pressure to meridian points on the feet to promote the clearing of energetic pathways and deep relaxation for the whole body.
  7. Personal Counseling – whether you’re working through a life transition, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, grief, addiction, or issues relating to self-image and self-confidence, these client-centered counseling sessions are an opportunity to slow down, become clear, and find ways to resolve current concerns or issues from the past that interfere with living fully in the present.
  8. Private Yoga Session – a personalized session focusing on creating your own take-home routine, or deepening your current practice.

These are just some of the ways to augment your Fitness Vacation program and start your road back to excellent health.

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, 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:

Passport Magazine – The Fitness Vacation

Paul Horne on the Kokanee Hike at Mountain Trek last summer.

Paul Horne on the Kokanee Hike at Mountain Trek last summer.


Passport men’s magazine has featured Mountain Trek as part of its Fitness Vacation article in the February 2013 issue. In visits to 5 of the top fitness retreat spas in North America, Paul Horne joined us for a week long ReBoot; here’s an excerpt from his article:

This assignment is one I had wanted to do for years: visit the hottest fitness “boot camps” and share my experience with Passport readers. I was determined to find out if a single week was enough time to significantly impact one’s overall health.

Over the summer Paul lost a total of 25 lbs, so his mission was a success. Way to go Paul!




Passport Magazine 7-Days-to-a-Better-Body Introduction

7-Days-to-a-Better-Body Introduction

Paul's review of Mountain Trek.

Paul’s review of Mountain Trek.



I did finally reach that cabin on the peak, where the exhilaration of the experience was matched by literally the best 360-degree view I’d ever seen. I believe my exact words were “Who needs Switzerland?”



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!

The Discomfort of too much “Comfort” Food

Getting a Handle on Emotional Eating

During the holiday season, eating healthy can be hard when you are surrounded by temptation. The holidays can also be stressful and trigger psychological reasons to munch, even though we’re not hungry. Whether it’s due to loneliness, or to distract from an issue brewing in our life, it’s tempting to snack or over-eat to fill a void that isn’t in our stomach.

We equate a lot of emotion and nostalgia with food, from associations formed in childhood and clever advertising that equates eating with happiness. But we’re certainly not happy when we gain weight and become burdened by extra pounds, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes.

Recognizing the triggers that compel you to snack is an empowering eye-opener.  Observe yourself to become aware of your eating habits, and with each mouthful, understand exactly why you are eating, and if you’re really hungry or not.

How to break your emotional eating habits

Eating in response to emotions or certain situations can be a habit well ingrained since childhood.

  • Commit to a daily log of everything you eat, and when. Include a column for writing the reason you’re eating at that time. Is it because you’re hungry or something else?
  • Recognize your eating patterns, and become aware of emotional issues that are “eating you” and trigger you to over-eat.
  • Consider therapies such as counseling, life coaching, or hypnotherapy to address unresolved emotional patterns, and meet with a Nutritionist to establish new food choices.
  • Catch your negative food choices (like reaching for the chips) and choose another action.  Distract your mind by replacing the snack with another activity. Fill up with water or a cup of tea, write in your journal, do something physical like a walk, stretch- you get the idea.  Set new habits in motion, which make you feel better about yourself and motivate you to keep at it!
  • Keep only healthy foods in your kitchen, and stop buying junky snack food.  If you find yourself craving something sweet in the evening, try chamomile tea with honey or natural sweetener, or a few dates instead of chocolate to reward yourself.
  • Relieve stress in other ways besides eating.  You know, that e-word (exercise!), meditation, or by doing something creative.
  • Incorporate new routines and activities in your life to reduce boredom, and decrease your “trigger” times. Instead of watching TV, talk to a friend, do housework or a project you’ve put off for too long.

Enjoy the holiday season, knowing your waistline doesn’t have to expand!

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: