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!
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!