Daily fitness is important for enjoying a overall healthy lifestyle.

This Fall – Prevent Physical, Emotional and Mental Stress

ContemplationHow often have you said to yourself, “This summer I’m going to take better care of myself. I’m going to eat healthier, exercise, swim and get outside more!” But then the work piles up, weddings and other celebrations happen complete with beer and barbecues, the kids need your undivided attention, the weather doesn’t cooperate and before you know it, summer’s over and you’re feeling even worse than you did before it started.

Well, the good news is there’s still another season of outdoor activity ahead of us. And the even better news? At Mountain Trek we’re gearing up for Fall and our Preventative Health retreats!

The qualified instructors, guides and program facilitators at Mountain Trek know full well that our current urban lifestyles lead to all sorts of physical, mental and emotional stresses. Most of us have sedentary lifestyles that involve office jobs, daily commuting and forms of entertainment that all require us to sit on our butts…12 to 16 hours a day! No wonder we don’t feel vibrant, curious about life and engaged with it and the people around us!

This sedentarism inevitably leads to a hormonal imbalance where our bodies change from anabolic growth to metabolic decline. Our bodies literally decay. Not a pleasant thought, is it? This metabolic decline then creates chronic inflammation and a sluggish eliminatory system (which accumulates increased bio waste and toxin levels) that contributes to muscle and bone atrophy (osteoporosis), insulin resistance (precursor to type 2 diabetes), hypertension (blood pressure illnesses), thyroid imbalance (metabolic regulation issues), adrenal fatigue, insomnia, and the ensuing aches and pains from minimal body movement (domestication).

That’s a long list of ailments! But the good thing is, there are exciting, challenging and energizing preventative measures that can be taken.

Vitality Plus PlanHelping you to rekindle the desire to move your body (through our vitalizing daily hikes), lower stress, improve sleep, lengthen and strengthen muscles, and balance blood sugars, is all part of Mountain Trek’s Prevention Program to reboot metabolism and balance hormones.

Our program facilitators will be sharing current, cutting-edge, foundational information on how to prevent chronic physical, emotional and mental stresses (and keep them at bay) and reactivate your metabolism during their informative and inspiring lectures. And our experienced fitness and hiking guides will support and motivate you to meet your own personal health goals – all in one of the most beautiful natural settings on Earth.

Contact us now and learn more about how you can transform your life by visiting us at our beautiful lodge and spa retreat in southern British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains.

Join us for the Mountain Trek “Super Reboot” Week

Working togetherAugust is the month for recreation, relaxation and retreat. You’ve worked hard all year and now you deserve to take some time for yourself: it’s time to leave behind the stresses and worries of your job, or whatever it is that occupies too much of your time, if even for a little while. Whether you need to do this on your own, or you’re happy to have your spouse, family or friends join you, it’s time to treat yourself to a Mountain Trek experience! And that experience just got stepped up a notch…

As many of you already know, a week or two at Mountain Trek is a life-changing adventure. Nowhere else offers the unique combination of spa, vacation and boot camp that is the Mountain Trek experience. With our luxurious alpine lodge as your comfortable home base, you’ll experience world-class hiking, and nutrition and lifestyle guidance that will boost your metabolism and shift you into a lasting, healthy state of body and mind for the rest of the year, and beyond!

And now, for the first time ever, Mountain Trek is offering an above-and-beyond experience called the “Super Reboot” week. From August 24-31, 2013, we’ll be offering a unique event, workshop and lecture each day in addition to the regular workouts and massages we provide. And, at no extra cost!

Why are we doing this? Because you deserve it! Here are the additional events you can expect to experience between this coming August 24-31:

Healthy Cosmetics

Did you know there might be lead in your lipstick? In fact there are toxins in many of our everyday body care products and in this evening workshop a beautician expert from Mountain Waters Spa will be discussing the hidden chemicals in shampoos, make-up and other skin and body care products. She will share ways to avoid these products and offer alternate brands that do not pose a risk to our health.

Laurie ChefCooking Re-Mastered with Chef Laurie Hartland

Laurie Hartland is Mountain Trek’s kitchen manager and chef who specializes in creating the healthiest meals possible using seasonal, locally-sourced, organic ingredients. In this workshop she’ll teach you how to make the same quick and healthy meals that she’s mastered for our resort and give you recipes to take home with you to wow your family and friends.

Office Posture Demystified

For the evening Postural Alignment Workshop we take an in-depth look at what postural dysfunction can look like, and what simple and effective things we can do to help correct this. Our instructor, Anna Topf, is a kinesiologist and she’ll spend time with each client looking at their specific spinal curvature and then provide take-home strategies that will help improve your posture so you’ll look and feel better.

Art Therapy with Milli

Art Therapy combines visual art and psychotherapy in a process using a created image as a foundation for self-exploration and understanding. Thoughts and feelings are often easier to express through images rather than in words and this class will allow you to explore your emotions and current state-of-mind through a creative medium. Registered Art Therapist Milli Neufeld-Cummings will have you working with paper and paints to release unconscious feelings and improve your overall well-being.

The Science of Face Reading

Experts say that in China, good doctors can identify 70% of a person’s health problems by examining the patient’s face. The Traditional Chinese Medicine art of face reading can be used as a way of determining the personality and characteristics of a person, and can even be used as a diagnostic tool to help prevent illness. Experts say the health conditions indicated by face readings aren’t set in stone, they’re simply warning signs, but you can heed these signs and make adjustments to protect your long-term health. Join our expert Kendra Starr, Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as she performs face readings and offers tips and tricks about how to do it yourself.

So, whether you’re a returning Mountain Trek client or new to our world-class hiking retreat, tucked away in the southern British Columbia wilderness, we’d love for you to come join us for our one-of-a-kind “Super Reboot” program between August 24-31, 2013. Click here to find out more info.


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



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



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.




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.



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:

Battling the Winter Blues with Exercise

Fight off the winter blues with exercise

Maybe the ground squirrels and the bears and other hibernating animals have the right idea!

When the cold, dark days of winter come upon us they crawl into their dens, their body temperature, heart rate and metabolic rate lower and they wait for spring. Like these animals, some people feel like burrowing, too, and react with the “winter blues” as it is commonly known or professionally as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The winter blues, or SAD, is a disorder that causes people who normally have good mental outlooks to experience some depression symptoms or lethargy among other symptoms come winter time.

Since burrowing in isn’t realistic, and as Mountain Trek advocates…we want to RAISE our metabolism, not lower it to keep our weight and Vitality in check.  One way to help battle this seasonal mood change, whether SAD is confirmed or not, is to EXERCISE.

When you exercise, a number of positive things happen, including the release of chemicals called endorphins.  These chemicals are manufactured in the pituitary gland of your brain, in the spinal cord, and many other parts of your body, and they do a variety of things, from helping reduce pain to inducing a feeling of calm and well-being.

It also triggers a euphoric feeling, which in runners has been known as the “runner’s high”.  This euphoria is thought to help balance the tendency of seasonal low mood states and even depression.

When people are in low mood states, they sometimes use food to try to boost their mood, which can lead to overeating and weight gain, further exacerbating the situation.  This is another reason why exercise is a better strategy to not just boost mood, but to be tangibly pro-active.

Another spin-off effect that exercise has is that it increases the ability of your muscles to store carbohydrate energy in the form of glycogen.  You have no doubt noticed that athletes seem to have boundless energy, and that is in part, due to the reserves of stored energy in their bodies.

Those who exercise more will tend to not be as lethargic, especially in the winter months.

So GO FOR IT, commit to some form of exercise 5 days of the week.  Some suggestions: 

  • Go outside for a brisk walk, rollerblade, snowshoe, or ski (seek the sunlight’).
  • Practice Yoga; this will help move stagnant energy, stimulate the endocrine system and help combat the winter blues.
  • Go for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that will energize you by releasing the endorphins.

The way to keep yourself coming back for more is to realize that exercise makes you feel good!

Happy trails.

Cathy Grierson, Fitness Director, Mountain Trek 


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!

Tabata Training: The 4 Minute Miracle

woman sprinting training on a track

If you’re thinking you’re legs are about to fall off, and sucking wind like crazy, signs are you’re doing a Tabata workout correctly. You may be wondering why anyone would intentionally do that to themselves, but there is a reason that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a go-to workout. 

This Japanese exercise import is super effective and super hard! Tabata is the name of the Japanese researcher who discovered a way to increase both anaerobic and aerobic pathways at the same time. It’s an excellent training program. It fits across all training disciplines, for athletes and beginners looking to increase their VO2max and lose fat quickly. To read the whole study, check out this article published by the National Center for Biotechnology.

How to do a HIIT Workout

It’s simple! After warming up, choose a maximum intensity exercise and perform it in the following manner:

  1. For 20 seconds, do as many reps as possible of your maximum intensity exercise. Or run/bike as hard as you can–with 110% output.
  2. Rest for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat seven more times for a total of 4 minutes.
  4. Cool down and stretch.

Yes, it’s short, but you have to go ALL OUT to get the big benefits.

Getting Started with Tabata/HIIT

Choose the Right Exercise or Movement

Tabata can be done with any exercise, but the best exercise options are those that use a large number of muscles. Examples include bicycle sprints, squats, jumping rope, mountain climbers, push-ups, row machine, or running on a mini-tramp or treadmill. Start with the one you’re comfortable with.

Watch the Clock

Get a timer. Many apps are available for your iPhone, iPod or a gymboss works great.

Be Your Own Cheerleader

Get the right mental attitude; a positive mantra that will get you through it!

Increase your weight or intensity if you are able to complete each round without reaching MMF (momentary muscular failure). 

A ten-second break is a ten-second break! Ten seconds is not watching a video, talking to the cute girl on the bike, talking to a friend, then doing the next set. If you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself out of reaping the rewards of this intense workout.

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:

Exercise Doesn’t Do Depression

ThenExercise to avoid depression

It is no secret – regular exercise is not only a vital contributor to fitness and health but is the key to boosting mental health. The evidence clearly shows that exercise is a magic bullet in combating illness in all areas of our being; physical, mental, and emotional.

At Mountain Trek we know how exercise contributes to fitness and weight loss – we’ve built our program around it. We’ve also been witness to the stress release and mood elevation experienced with every guest that comes through the Mountain Trek program.

Prescriptions vs. An Active Life

There is a growing backlash against looking for a cure to depression in a prescription bottle alone. With new research showing that antidepressants can actually cause depression, many are turning to natural and holistic solutions. Dr. Peter Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist points this out in his article on antidepressants:

It has been apparent for many years that chronic exposure to SSRI antidepressants frequently makes people feel apathetic or less engaged in their lives, and ultimately more depressed.

With antidepressants being the second most prescribed group of drugs in America, there is a pressing need to reclaim our natural birthright of health and vitality another way.

Studies show that exercising, in conjunction with anti-depressants produces better results than medication alone. As a preventive measure, or as a management strategy in conjunction with prescription medication, exercise deserves a closer look as a better solution to combating depression.

So what happens during exercise to shift your mood and outlook on life? Besides obvious benefits to the rest of your body, let’s take a look at what happens in the brain.

The Science Behind Exercise and Happiness

Exercise causes a variety of chemical reactions that help with everything from improving your memory to your mood, and to get better sleep – naturally. Exercise also:

  • Rebuilds and generates new neurons resulting in increased brainpower
  • Enhances mood and resistance due to endorphins
  • Slows aging and improves cognitive ability in seniors

Essentially, depression negates the brain’s ability to adapt by limiting the ability of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and serotonin) to communicate throughout the brain. Then, your brain gets locked into a loop of self-loathing and also loses the flexibility to work its way out of the hole. Exercise counters all that by boosting the production of BDNF (brain-developed neurotrophic factor); which is a protein that helps neurotransmitters perform their function. This, in turn, helps people emerge from their depressed state of mind.

How to Start Curbing Depression Through Exercise

The best part is it doesn’t take much to produce BDNF protein and start curbing those depressed feelings. One simple solution is to go for a walk in nature. When surrounded by fresh air while moving your body has a two-fold effect of clearing the mind and strengthening it. In Japan they call it Shinrin-yoku or “Forest Bathing” and studies have proven 50 minutes in nature helps to lower cortisol and increase dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin levels. (For more about the effects of being outdoors on your psyche, check out a book called Your Brain on Nature by doctors Eva Selhub and Alan Logan.)

There are other exercises you can do anywhere and you don’t even have to think about going to a gym. In fact, here are five full-body exercises you can do right now.

So try on a few easy exercises, like walking up and down one flight of stairs, and treat your brain to some self-esteem and mood enhancement!

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:

Get Moving for Your Health in 2012

A day in the alpineAre you still looking for a bit of inspiration to get moving and stay active?

Again and again, the message is about how vitally important it is to incorporate exercise into your life. Dr. Mike Evans, a physician and health columnist has made a strong case for walking as the best and easiest preventative medicine.

If you already walk as your means of exercise, why not enhance your training? You can walk smarter and burn more calories with Nordic walking poles. Poles can literally turn a 20 minute walk into a calorie torching, full-body workout.

At Mountain Trek we incorporate Nordic walking poles for just this reason, and more people are now catching on to them for use at home. Not only do they enhance cardio and provide stability and balance on the trails, but they help straighten posture and tone muscles in the upper body.

Here are some benefits of walking with poles. They:

  • lessen the impact when hitting the ground by 26%
  • engage over 90% of your major muscles (not just your legs!)
  • increase your cardio by a minimum of 20% and increase your calorie burn by up to 48%
  • give a full body workout for all ages and fitness abilities
  • pack up and go with you anywhere
  • support the walker in slippery winter conditions, great for seniors and those recovering from injury.

“Pole walking” is more than a passing trend. It originated in the 1930’s for cross country skiers in Finland to keep fit during the off season. It soon became popular with non-athletes once the total-body benefits and the overall fun of the activity were discovered. For decades it has been the activity of choice for millions of Northern Europeans.

Exercise is a lifestyle

It doesn’t just stop there with walking and cardio exercise however. As we are increasingly aware, maintaining wellness and vitality is a lifestyle, and healthy balance in all areas of life is the key. But without the vital ingredient of regular exercise, we simply won’t achieve the strength, stamina and weight loss that we desire.

Why are Mountain Trek Programs so successful for kick-starting weight loss and vitality? With men losing an average of 6-8 pounds a week and women, an average loss of 4-6 pounds, we provide the ideal combination of cardio, strength training, nutrition and detoxing that guarantees the pounds drop off.

What’s the best thing you can do for your health in 2012? Get active and get walking!

Take 10 minutes to watch this important and clever VIDEO by Dr. Mike Evans to get you motivated!