Get Tips and Advice from the guides at Mountain Trek. Nutrition, Hiking, Sleep, Detox and Fitness are just some of the topics we cover.

Meet Chef Simon Vine & His New Recipes

Let’s be real, a large reason you’re coming and/or have come to Mountain Trek is for the food, more appropriately referenced as ridiculously-delicious, organic spa cuisine, that just so happens to be calorie-controlled to reset your metabolism. But who’s the mastermind behind our nourishing meals and snacks? Who is this menu-Einstein we all want to take home with us?

This year, we’re excited to introduce Simon Vine, Mountain Trek’s very much invaluable Head Chef. Through a rigorous vetting process, we hired Simon to take the reins of Mountain Trek’s meal-creation not just because he’s a wizard in the kitchen, but because he has journeyed through life in a way that closely aligns with our program’s ethos.     

Mountain Trek Head Chef Simon Vine

Mountain Trek Head Chef Simon Vine

In 2016, Simon Vine had worked his way up from being Executive Chef at a renowned fishing resort to catering for up to 300 people in the film industry. He was on top of the world. Behind the scenes, however, the 80-hour weeks were causing him to physically and mentally deteriorate. Depleted, Simon moved from Vancouver, Canada, to a remote island. There, he spent six weeks letting go of a stressful, hustle-bustle routine devoid of sleep and healthful food. He recommitted to himself, promising to return to his roots. He yearned for the plant-based, outdoor-oriented lifestyle of his childhood.

Simon and his wife never returned to the rat race; instead, they moved to the Kootenay Mountains. At Mountain Trek, Chef Simon is able to balance work with camping, biking, hiking and skiing, and he has rekindled his appreciation of a wide range of ethnic cuisines and ingredients.

Simon’s meticulously-crafted spa cuisine is both balanced and bold, light and intensely flavorful, and it’s created with the intention of helping others positively change their lives. While he’ll be bringing back many guest favorites this season, he’s also excited to be rolling out a few new dishes; he is, after all, dedicated to elevating our meals, while ensuring they stay within the program’s framework.

He says, “I’ve been busy counting calories and ensuring that we are able to deliver the results people want, without compromising on flavor and quality. We’ve also brought in some new cooking techniques with the addition of a “sous-vide” circulator to our kitchen.”      

Regarding what’s new on the menu, Simon says, “One new dish I’m really excited about is the seared steelhead salmon with parsnip puree, grilled fennel and radicchio salad, and tomato-caper relish. The steelhead we feature is an amazing local British Columbia fish, which is produced sustainably. The beautiful mild flavor of the fish is complemented by the rich sweetness of parsnips, as well as the fresh and bright flavors of the fennel and radicchio salad.” Rounded out with the sweet and tangy bite of the tomato caper-relish, Simon says, “This dish is a winner in my books!”

To whet your whistle just a little more, Simon says, “I’m also really excited about the rutabaga spaghetti with tempeh-almond ‘meatballs’ and a tomato-cashew rosee sauce, which will be accompanied with a kale caesar salad.” He says, “It’s a really healthy and interesting twist on the ultimate comfort food: spaghetti and meatballs.”

Eating isn’t just about curbing hunger pangs–it’s about nourishing a healthy and active body. The Mountain Trek program doesn’t offer a “diet”; instead, we eat seasonal, local, wild and organic foods six times over the course of the day to properly absorb all nutrients and avoid energy crashes. Each meal and snack is individually prepared for your body and your goals for the week, and are free of processed foods, stimulants or toxins, allowing your body to heal and strengthen.  If you feel in need of a health reset, join us for a week of exercising in nature, de-stressing in the spa, and clean eating.

The Amalfi Coast’s 4 Best Hikes

First things first, when you’re hiking the Amalfi Coast, you’re not just putting one foot in front of the other on some variety of unpaved flooring. Rather, you’re hiking historic trails, some of which connect charming villages, a large number of which cling to the mountains above the deep blue Mediterranean, and all of which make you want to high-five every passerby.

Hiking the Amalfi Coast epitomizes living “la dolce vita,” and while we’ve got it going on here in British Columbia with our dramatic mountains and clear lakes, there’s something truly magical about exploring Italy by foot. With a few trips under our belt, and many exuberant Adventure Trekkers who attest to the Amalfi Coast’s spellbinding quality, we’re ready, nay incredibly excited, to share our favorite local hikes.

How does one even begin to whittle down the list of best hikes on the Amalfi Coast? The process was not easy–each trail deserves an honorable mention–but we managed to select just four stand-out hikes based on their views, starting and ending points, history, technicality and duration. We considered the whole gamut. Our list has strong legs.  

Straight from the mouths of those who have walked the walk, here are Mountain Trek’s 4 best hikes on the Amalfi Coast.         


Path of the Gods

In particular, hiking from Praiano to Nocelle, above Positano.  

Why Best Hike on Amalfi Coast: Outstanding views of the Mediterranean and the two Amalfi Coast towns. The Path of the Gods is a hike that recalls the incredible landscapes of Greek mythology.

Note: Because of its popularity, it can be packed with tourists, at times making it seem somewhat dangerous. It’s technical, and has lots of exposure on cliffs.

Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation gain/loss: -400m/-1200ft

Distance: 8 km/5 mi.

Path of the Gods is one of the best hiking trails on the Amalfi Coast, according to Mountain Trek


Il Vallone delle Ferriere

Also known as: Iron Foundry Valley or Paper Mills Valley hike.

Why Best Hike on Amalfi Coast: It starts in the quaint seaside town of Ravello, which was founded in the 5th century, and runs back into the mountains, descending to the coastal town of Amalfi. The hike follows a cascading creek, and is dotted with 12-14th century remains of iron factories and paper mills.

Note: Beautiful, tall chestnut trees and rare, long leaved ferns.

Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation gain/loss: -400m/-1,200ft

Distance: 6 km/3.7 mi.

Valle delle Ferriere Papermill Iron Foundry Hike is one of the best hiking trails on the Amalfi Coast, according to Mountain Trek


The Path of the Two Provinces

Also known as: Santa Maria del Castello

Why Best Hike on Amalfi Coast: It’s the longest and steepest climb, but a favorite because it’s barely used, and has epic views of the azure blue sea far below the limestone cliffs it sits on. The trail climbs straight up the mountain above Positano for 1800’, and descends to the village of Arolla, above Sorrento.

The first section of this trail has an elevation gain of about 800 meters to get to the Hamlet of Santa Maria del Castello.

Note: Allow for 5-6 hours of walking, as the path is steep and rocky in places.

Hike Difficulty: Challenging

Elevation gain/loss: +900m/2,900ft

Distance: 13.5 km/8.4 mi.

The Path of the Two Provinces or Santa Maria del Castello hike above Positano Amalfi Coast is one of the best hikes on the Amalfi Coast as voted by Mountain Trek


The Path of the Sirens

Why Best Hike on Amalfi Coast: It climbs through traditional garden farms growing artichokes, broccolini and olives, to a peak that gives the area’s best vantage point of the Sirens, the Greek mythological islands that housed singing divas dangerous to sailors. It is a unique walk surrounded by the Mediterranean nature, rich of historical and mythological references and breathtaking views of the two gulfs (Gulf of Naples and Gulf of Salerno).

Note: The trail is a 4-hour hike that tops out in a pine forest before descending to the village of Torca.

Hike Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: 300m/900ft

Distance: 8.5 km/5.2 mi.

Path of the Sirenuse / Path of the Sirens is one of the best hiking trails on the Amalfi Coast, according to Mountain Trek


Our final vote for “Bests of the Amalfi Coast” is for Lucy, the hiking guide who showed us the ropes. She is energetic, friendly, and eager to impart her knowledge of the Amalfi Coast. To add depth to your hiking experience, we recommend bringing her along for at least one of your hiking adventures.

 

Mountain Trek offers all-inclusive, culture-rich, luxury hiking vacations to some of the most exotic locations in the world. Be sure to join us on our next adventure as we hike to places like New Zealand, Bhutan, Japan, Patagonia, Spain, and more.

Contact us to learn more.

A Saturday in Nelson, British Columbia

While you’ve travelled to beautiful British Columbia to experience our award-winning program and otherworldly hiking trails, Nelson, a little bohemian town located just 45 minutes away from the Mountain Trek lodge, is well worth a visit before, or after, your stay with us.

Also known as “The Queen City,” Nelson boasts an impressive collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days in a regional silver rush. The downtown area is packed with good restaurants, coffee houses, one-of-a-kind shops, and small art galleries.

Should you take the opportunity to explore our lumber-town-turned-thriving-arts-and-mountain-sports-hotbed, here are some suggestions:

  • Drop your bags off at the Best Western Plus hotel on Baker Street
  • Walk up one side of Baker Street and down the other, popping into the unique boutiques and eateries
  • Head uphill from Baker Street into neighborhoods showcasing a mixture of classic Craftsman houses to quaint Victorians
  • Keep heading uphill to The Great Northern Rail Trail for wonderful views of the city and BOB, our Big Orange Bridge that crosses the lake

To fuel your adventure, may we suggest:

  • Oso Negro for locally-roasted coffee, enjoyed in their perennial garden
  • Pitchfork, a farmer-owned restaurant that forages its ingredients from the surrounding wild Kootenay mountains
  • Cantina del Centro for seasonal tacos, tortas, soups, market fresh salads and desserts made in-house and from scratch
  • Red Light Ramen, for, you guessed it, ramen, and house-made kombucha
  • Full Circle Café for a hearty brunch, featuring gluten-free and vegan options
  • Kootenay Co-op for their salad bar and snack selection
  • Sprout for flavorful plant-based foods, including burgers and grain bowls
  • Rel-ish for locally-sourced, organic dishes prepared in their open kitchen

To boot, Saturday hosts Nelson’s Farmers’ Market at Cottonwood Falls Park. From 9:30 to 3:00PM, browse the 40+ vendors selling produce, eggs, honey, local natural meats, home-brewed root beer, a great selection of prepared savory and sweet foods, jewelry, artwork,  body wear products, hats, scarves, and so much more. There, treat yourself to some fresh juice while listening to live music–the perfect way to start or end your Mountain Trek trip.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out for more suggestions; the list of things to do and see in Nelson is endless.

Farmer's Market in Nelson British Columbia

Nelson’s Saturday Farmer’s Market.

 

Kirk’s 40-Year-Old Morning Routine

Call me nosy, but one of my pastimes is picking others’ brains about their morning routines. I’m a creature of habit whose diet, exercise and sleep don’t vary much from day to day, and while I’ve found the regimen that currently works for me, I’m keen to learn what other people do to keep their lives humming along. You know what they say about knowledge, after all—it’s power.  

Kirkland Shave, Mountain Trek’s Program Director, is the latest victim of my brain-picking, and in the spirit of imparting wisdom, here’s what I learned he does on the daily to set the context for why he’s living.

Thanks for making the time to give me the ins and outs of your morning routine, Kirk. To set the tone of transparency, the first thing I do upon waking—besides, admittedly, restraining myself from picking up my phone—is spend two minutes looking out the window from the comfort of my bed, asking myself what I’m excited for that day. Clearly, this can’t always be something like, “I’m excited to go swimming with dolphins,” and it’s often more along the lines of, “I’m excited to take a lunchtime walk with my dogs.” Regardless, this ritual gets me pumped for the day, and sets me up for success. What’s your morning routine?

I start the day by drinking 12oz of filtered water. Next, I take a shower, ending it with cold-water immersion. Once I’ve kickstarted my system in those two ways, I do a Chi Kung energy cycling mediation, while still dripping wet, and make three to four thanks for all that I have in my life. Finally, I set intentions to find peace from preference, joy in presence, and compassion through forgiveness, and make my breakfast and coffee. Yes, that’s coffee with my breakfast, not instead of it!

I have breakfast within 30 minutes of waking to kickstart my metabolism. I’ve really taken to heart what Mountain Trek’s nutritionist, Jenn Keirstead, says about the importance of eating breakfast to stop you from picking at sugary things throughout the day, keep your cortisol levels down (that stress hormone that leads to catabolic hormonal responses), and make sure you have sustained energy all day long.  

Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa Healthy Breakfast

Sometimes, by which, in all honesty, I mean pretty frequently, I find myself going to bed late, which compromises my morning routine. What do you do when life gets in the way of your routine?

Unless there isn’t a shower, I never let life get in the way of my pre-breakfast routine.

This may come across as trite, but morning routines help me feel grounded. Why is a morning routine important to you?

Starting the day with these rituals sets the context for why I am living, and what I want to actually accomplish beyond the daily to-do list. A morning routine helps me see the big picture, and it keeps me focused on how I can best be my true self. I’m not sure when my last day will be, but I don’t want it to be while I’m living in a state of sleepwalking. Truth be told, while my morning routine awakens and focuses me, my pre-sleep routine is equally as important—it provides closure to the day, helping me rest soundly.

How has your morning routine evolved?

I’ve been doing cold shower immersion, Chi Kung energy cycling and gratitude prayers for just over two decades. My longest routine—coffee with breakfast, within 30 minutes of waking—started 40 years ago.    

What would you change, if anything, about your routine?

During our Mountain Trek, British Columbia, season (April through October), I wake at 5:15 to fit in my morning routine. That’s the earliest I’d like to have to wake up, and I do it because it’s necessary for my well-being. When I catch myself not being present in my daily life, I know it’s time to drop one of my activities. For now, I really love my routine, but I’m always open to learning new ways to enrich my life and find a lighter sense of being.

Read more about the importance of morning routines here, and if you’re looking for somewhere to kickstart you into one, join us at Mountain Trek for a week of healthful regimens, including sunrise yoga, hiking through the lush forests and glaciers of British Columbia, Canada, eating nutritiously for every meal, and spending time unwinding in our state-of-the-art spa featuring an infrared sauna, steam room, cold plunge hydrotherapy pool, and jacuzzi overlooking the beautiful Kootenay lake and Purcell Mountains.

 

Mountain Trek’s Morning Routine

I see you there, scratching your head as you read, “6:15AM Smoothie + Tonic” on our schedule for every day (!) of the week at Mountain Trek. And I see you scratching even harder when you read, “6:30 AM Gentle Yoga.”

Here’s the deal with why we wake up at 6AM to drink “that stuff” within 30 minutes, and then send our bodies straight into some form of movement beyond scrolling through social media or emails. There’s a science to our program’s fine-tuned morning routine.

Request Mountain Trek White Paper

Break your fast within half an hour of getting out of bed

Mountain Trek doesn’t offer a diet; instead, our award-winning program emphasizes eating patterns. Why? this balances your blood sugar throughout the day, meaning your metabolism will work like a well-oiled machine and you will avoid energy spikes and crashes.

Eating breakfast immediately—which, at Mountain Trek, is broken into two parts, with the first part being a smoothie and tonic upon waking at 6AM—kick-starts your metabolism for the day. Also, eating within 30 minutes of waking supports your circadian rhythm, meaning you’ll sleep soundly, and it stops your liver from going into a famine response that will only hinder your ability to burn calories.

Stretch mindfully after breakfast

If you don’t keep lengthening the muscles you regenerate throughout the night, you’ll end up stiff as a board. Stretching in the morning will improve your brain activity, decrease your aches and pains, and set you up for improved energy throughout the day. If there’s one way to put a pep in your step, it’s through improving the mobility in all of your body’s main joints.   

As you stretch, focus intently on the sensation in your muscles and your breathing. Close your eyes if you need to. Hold each stretch for 5 long breaths, deepening the stretch slightly with every exhale. Start from the ground up, stretching everything from your calves to your neck muscles. If you have more time before work, attending a morning yoga class is a great way to start your day. 


To give you a little personal insight, my husband and I used to never eat breakfast or stretch before heading off to work in San Francisco. We went from bed to desk. That’s it. The bad habit existed because our far-too-late dinners meant our bodies never craved breakfast. Once we got on Mountain Trek’s schedule and started eating the appropriate-sized dinner at the right time, there was no going back.

By eating earlier in the evening, we slept better and woke up without food hangovers, and we couldn’t wait for our nourishing smoothie and tonic. We felt much more energetic and clear-minded. And, paired with the morning mindful stretch, we felt accomplished and confident for the day, before the clock even struck 7:30 AM.

Mountain Trek’s morning routine will help your body regain balance. It’ll kick you back into rhythm, and make you feel like a whole new you.


To experience the Mountain Trek morning routine yourself—to wake up after a night of deep sleep, fuel your body with organic nourishment and do sun-rise yoga overlooking a lake deep in the therapeutic wilderness of British Columbia, Canada—contact us or view program availability.  

What’s so hot about hot springs? 5 Reasons to go for a soak

Hot springs are full-steam ahead on being the #1 luxury that vacationers prioritize when picking their holiday destination. Why? Not only are they great for post-ski socializing, they work wonders for your body, physically and mentally. Japan and Europe have known about the healing powers of hot springs for thousands of years, but Canada is also home to some of the best sources of balneotherapy–the therapeutic use of water for relieving pain, stress, skin woes and more.

Our lodge in British Columbia is fortunate enough to be located in Ainsworth, home of a large healing hot spring pool that was first visited by the Ktunaxa First Nations peoples, who recuperated in the hot water after a long day of hunting, fishing, and gathering roots and berries. Mountain Trek guests have unlimited access to this marvel of nature during their stay, and here’s why it’s important to take advantage of soaking in the hot mineral waters.

What is a hot spring?

A hot spring is an all-natural body of water that is warmed geothermally. One way to classify a hot spring is that it must be well above the temperature of the surrounding earth, and usually hot springs hover around the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark. The temperature of a given hot spring depends on the heat supplied at depth (sometimes from a magma chamber), the rate at which the water flows, and if there is a mixture of cooler groundwater into the flow of hot water.

Where are they found?

Hot springs truly are the world’s original spa – interestingly, the term ‘spa’ originates from the town of Spa, Belgium, made famous for its hot springs. Typically, hot springs are found where there is volcanic activity or magma chambers, or where there are fault lines in the Earth.

Therapeutic Benefits

Hot springs have an especially high mineral content, because heated water can hold more dissolved solids. This means they contain everything from calcium, magnesium, silica, lithium, and even radium. In other words, they’re a multivitamin for the skin. The heat in hot springs envelopes and helps soothe aching muscles, and the minerals present in the water get soaked up by the skin, stimulating certain bodily processes.

Here’s how the combination of these minerals and the hot water help us:

Musculoskeletal problems: Documented in Chinese and Japanese history, hot springs have been used to aid with swollen joints, arthritis, muscle fatigue, ligament damage, and more.

Eczema: Chronically dry, flaky skin, otherwise known as eczema, is a skin condition that affects up to 15% of Americans and Canadians. Regularly soaking in hot springs has been found to reduce eczema itching and redness.

Nasal Congestion: The heat of the water, combined with sulphur, makes for a winning way to combat nasal congestion caused by the common cold, allergies, or even chest congestion.

Circulation: Sodium bicarbonate and calcium found in mineral hot springs help with good circulation in the body. This can have numerous positive impacts, including lowering blood pressure. The weightlessness that comes with floating in the water also helps improve circulation.

Relaxation: Never to be underestimated, is the power of de-stressing and relaxation. A stressed state can lead to all kinds of health complications, such as high blood pressure, depression, and an increase in the output of the stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol is released in stress-induced doses, our hormones are thrown off balance, which affects our mood, immune system and metabolism. Long story short, if you’d like a faster metabolism and the ability to shed those pesky pounds, you’ve got to make sure your hormones are balanced.

In regards to the different minerals in hot springs and how they help our health, here’s the lowdown:

  • Magnesium: aids with clear complexion, and healthy-looking skin
  • Potassium: eliminates toxins and promotes healthy skin
  • Sodium: decreases inflammation in swollen joints, and can help the lymphatic system
  • Sulphur: helps with respiratory problems and skin inflammations

Don’t hesitate another moment–hurry over to a healing hot spring; the rewards you’ll reap are thoroughly worth it. Or, come visit us and use ours!

SMART goal making with Lead Guide Cathy

Cathy Grierson has been Mountain Trek’s Head Guide & Fitness Director for almost two decades, and she’s not slowing down. She embodies ox-like strength, and is a leading source of fitness-related non-quackery.

In an attempt to become even one hundredth as physically tuned-up as Cathy, I sat down with her to chat about how she’s diving into 2019.

 

Thanks for taking a few moments off from skiing to sit down with me, Cathy. 2019 has officially tiptoed in, and I wonder how you’re viewing the New Year.

My fitness resolution, or big picture “goal,” for this year is to keep moving, in any form, be it hiking, dancing, biking, skiing, spinning, HIIT, yoga, you name it. As they say, “If you keep the body guessing, you keep progressing.”

 

A buffet of activity, of sorts! How do you foresee sticking to this variety?

First thing’s first: you have to keep it realistic by making S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time anchored) micro-actions, one at a time.

For example, this winter, I made cross-country skiing my #1 priority for cardio fitness. Here, I’ve kept my action specific (cross-country skiing), and time-anchored (the 2018/2019 winter season).

To stay motivated and committed, I did a few things. First, I bought a cross-country ski pass for the season, and the financial investment has immediately made me more accountable. To feel like my investment has been worthwhile, I want to pay the pass off. This means that if it cost $150, and a drop-in fee is $15, I have to ski 10 times to pay it off. That’s the “measurable” part.

Second, I want to pay it off by the time I go on Mountain Trek’s South Carolina program in February. This is where the “time anchored” component comes into effect. Whatever I ski once I return will therefore be a bonus, which will feel like a reward. Overall, this means I will have to have skied 10 times from when the track opened on December 15th until I leave on February 1st. That’s a total of seven weeks. I made the decision to commit to cross-country skiing twice weekly, except for the week of Christmas, until February 1st. This statement is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time anchored.

 

I like how you’ve broken down your goal to make it doable. Can you elaborate on how your S.M.A.R.T action supports your objective?

By ticking all the S.M.A.R.T boxes, I’m ensuring I’ll keep moving. At the same time, I’m upholding my values by doing my part in reducing environmental impact and climate change. Instead of driving to my errands, I’m skiing to them twice per week!

I’m also going to find other cross-country skiing allies to ski and carpool with, thereby surrounding myself with like-minded athletes. Having a support network is key to upping the fun factor, and to holding yourself accountable. Having skiing buddies is important to me because if I don’t feel like going out but know someone is depending on me to go with them, I am more likely to follow through.

Lastly, I’m going to track and log each of my skiing adventures using Strava or Gaia. I’m going to record the temperature, snow conditions, distance, elevation and time, as seeing how I am improving over the season will keep me motivated.

 

Your organization, drive and savviness are enviable. Did you make a goal last year, and did it last?

Yes, I made a 2018 resolution, and, yes, it lasted. I made Hot Yoga my #1 priority flexibility fitness action, which supported my long term fitness goal to “keep moving.”  I went through a very similar process: I bought a pass, figured out how many times I needed to go to pay off the pass, committed to that number using the S.M.A.R.T formula, and it worked–I love hot yoga now!

Discover why micro-resolutions are twice as likely to succeed than lofty New Year’s resolutions. Also, read more about how Kirk, Mountain Trek’s Program Director, views goal-making, and how Jenn, Mountain Trek’s Nutritionist, regards intention-setting and dietary goals.

New Year’s resolutions with nutritionist Jenn

Last summer, I walked into Mountain Trek with a host of digestive issues. Food and I were not—I repeat, and emphasize, NOT—on good terms. I was bloated. I was inflamed. I was crumbling.

Jenn Keirstead, the program’s nutritionist, fixed that. And within a week. With her emphasis on non-inflammatory foods, and appropriate meal times and portions, she was able to save me from the dark depths of a body in revolt. I picked her brain as much as her brain would allow for picking—her tolerance is remarkably high, if not infinite—and my gut and I left forever changed.

Because of Jenn’s excellence, I interviewed her to learn exactly what she’ll be doing throughout 2019. I needed to get into her head to find out just how she’s always, well, a ball of sunshine. Is it what she eats? How she views life? How does she view life? I may not have gotten all the scoop this time around, but here’s a snapshot into how one nutrition specialist views New Year resolutions. 

Thanks for spilling the beans on how you’re kicking off 2019, Jenn. What are your resolutions?

To be honest, I don’t make resolutions! Instead, I take time to look back and reflect on the previous year. I’ve noticed this habit of reflection helps me create more self-awareness, and resilience. I’ve also found it helps me establish, and achieve, more meaningful goals. As a nutritionist, I also focus on the dietary strengths and challenges of the past year. I ask myself, how did my diet seem to affect my health, my energy, my overall wellbeing?

Interesting. How do you go about asking yourself these hard questions?  

I encourage you to take your time with these questions over several sittings. Let your thoughts percolate. Stay with the questions over the next few weeks. You can start by asking yourself what went well, who needs to be acknowledged, how you grew, what didn’t work so well, and how will you continue to meet your dietary and fitness needs?

MT emphasizes keeping goals doable upon returning home. How can we apply this logic to our goal-making for 2019?

To help make the goal of reflection achievable, ask yourself what the year ahead will look like. Questions such as, “Will there be big changes this new year, with work or relationships,” “Who would I like to connect with more,” and “What kind of leader/ friend/ partner would I like to be?” Try to create very specific intentions you are wanting to achieve. 

How have you created and manifested your own intentions?

During my swimming career, my coach would encourage me to specifically visualize every second of the upcoming race. I found this to be one of most helpful practices in all areas of my life. For example, my husband and I adopted a little boy this year, and during the three year preliminary adoption process, I would constantly focus on manifesting a healthy, happy child in our world. And it has seemed to work out beautifully!

What’s one tip you can offer regarding diet this New Year?

Here’s the bottom line: small, sustainable change is much more likely to turn into a lifelong habit. Try not to aim for dietary perfection, as that often leads to increased stress and unachievable success. Baby steps will get you there. For example, something as simple as focusing on mindful eating, and putting your fork down between each bite, is an excellent place to start. 

Discover why micro-resolutions are twice as likely to succeed than lofty New Year’s resolutions, and Kirk’s take on goal-making in 2019.  

 

5 Reasons You Need to Start Hiking in 2019

We’re meant to be outside. The terrible thing is, most of us spend over 2,000 hours at our desks yearly. That’s like watching The Titanic 616 times in a row. The stress, the long hours, the sedentary nature of our chair-bound lives—it’s all sucking the life out of us.

This year, take it outside. More specifically, go hiking. Time spent hiking doesn’t just burn calories, it helps cell health, lowers stress levels, balances hormones, improves immunity, and deepens sleep. How? It all boils down to ditching your devices and immersing in nature.

By simply trading your iPhone, iPad, iPod, i-you-name-it for a walk amongst the trees, you’ll immediately notice a sort of cellular exfoliation. You’ll feel alive. Truly alive. This is because, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, in nature, you’re exposed to terpenes, a naturally-occurring hydrocarbon in plants and animals that are neuro-protective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumorigenic. Don’t ask us exactly how they work—all we know is they do the body good.

That’s just the beginning. According to the School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, forest bathing, by which they mean spending at least two hours in nature, is a meaningful way to significantly lower pulse rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Their study also found short bouts in nature to be “an effective psychological relaxation strategy.” Turns out the forest engages all of your senses—your mind stills, and you reconnect to your soul.

Going on a three to four hour hike can burn serious calories—over 1,500 if you really get after it. Beyond the obvious benefit of burning fat and losing weight, this type of medium-intensity, extended-duration exercise does two things. First, it elongates our deep-sleep stage, which is the most restorative stage of sleep that sees the release of growth hormones. Second, it reduces our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is directly linked with memory loss, poor immune function, decreased bone density, increased weight gain, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, and the list goes on. It’s a no-brainer that cortisol wreaks havoc.

This is why we say 2019 is about booting up—the benefits are too compelling not to. John Muir, the “Father of the National Parks,” once said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” No matter what you’re seeking this year, make sure you look outside first.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of hiking, please contact us and send us an email or give us a call.