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3 Steps to 10x your Goal Success Rate

Peeling a banana from the bottom up.

Using duct tape to open tough lids.

Putting bars of soap in clothing drawers to give undergarments etc. a pleasant smell.  

I love a good hack–they increase productivity, and turn me into an efficient, well-oiled machine. The hacks we’re excited to share today relate to goal-setting. Specifically, how three simple acts can make you 10 times as likely to accomplish your goals and dreams.

First, let’s set the stage for goal-setting, and, count yourself warned, it’s not a pretty picture. According to a recent study, 92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail. While resolutions aren’t exactly goals, they’re close enough that this stat is alarming. What if only 8% of people who resolved to go to college actually enrolled? What if only 8% of businesses succeeded? That’s not a world we should want to live in.

On the flip side, let me give you a couple statistics that’ll drop your jaw to the floor, but in a good way: you immediately become 42% more likely to achieve your goals by simply writing them down on a regular basis. We’re not making this up; Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the art and science of goal-setting, and found this to be true, from a sample of one hundred and forty-nine participants. Further, Dr. Matthews found that once you’ve documented your goal, sharing it with a friend and sending weekly progress reports makes you 77% likely to accomplish that goal.   

While a limited data set of 149 participants probably wouldn’t pass any honorable statistician’s  sniff test, there are other similar studies floating around the internet that give credence to the notion that documenting your goals ups your chances of achieving them. A study supposedly done by Harvard business school in 1979 that measured students prior to graduation and then again 10 years down the road found that, before graduating:

  • 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
  • 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
  • 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans

10 years later, the 13% of the class that had set written goals, but had not created plans, were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all.

What’s even more shocking is that the 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan were making ten times as much money as the remaining 97% of the class! Or so the myth goes; to this day, not even Harvard psychologists can find the studies in their archives.

Myth or no myth, statistically significant or not, the fact is that dreaming about your goals is one thing, turning them into reality is another.

But let’s back it up a minute. Before you jump ahead and start frantically scribbling down your goals (to breed dragons, own a house with several secret passages, rule the world, live like a dog, you name it), you need to make sure you’re setting a good goal.

We’re not talking “good” in the sense of good vs bad, because who are we to judge the nature of your goal, but in the sense of making it SMART:

  • Specific
    • What exactly do you want to achieve and how will you get there? The more specific you are, the greater the chance you’ll accomplish your goal. If losing 10 lbs or running a marathon is your goal, break down what it is you need to do for this to happen. Ask yourself the “what, where, how, when, with whom, why” questions.
  • Measurable
    • Make sure your goal is concrete. “Being happier” doesn’t cut it; “Not downing 700 bars of chocolate a night because you’re eating well-rounded meals and balanced snacks five days per week” is.
  • Attainable
    • Go ahead and shoot for the stars–smart planning can make even the most impossible things possible–but also remember to weigh in your goal’s effort, time and other costs. If you don’t have the time or money, to name just two possible limiting factors, you may be unfairly setting yourself up for disappointment.  
  • Realistic
    • Answer truthfully to the questions, “Why do you want to reach this goal? What is the objective behind the goal, and will this goal really achieve that?” You could think having five cats, 10 dogs and a school of fish will make you a more productive person, but will it really?
  • Timely  
    • Pick a doable date for your goal, because deadlines instill action and accountability.

These days, we tend to set big goals that immediately become overwhelming, causing us to freeze. Setting SMART goals takes the intimidation factor away, helping us focus on manageable actions–actions we will actually stick to, and form habits out of. Mountain Trek has used SMART goal-setting for the last 18 years, which has helped thousands of guests achieve their health goals.

Here’s the thing: setting SMART goals is only part of the equation; we still need to “walk the walk”.

In “Stronger Than Circumstances: 3 Proven Ways to Overcome Fear, limitations, and Procrastination, to Achieve Your Dreams,” Mary Morrissey, Life Coach and Personal Development Expert, details that those who write down their goals and dreams on a regular basis achieve those desires at a significantly higher level than those who do not.

Why does writing down your goals and dreams strongly impact your chance of achieving them? Ask your brain. No, really. You see, it all boils down to the left and right hemispheres communicating. If you just think about a goal or dream, you’re using the right hemisphere (the imaginative center); when you write it down, you’re using the left hemisphere (the logic center), so you’re physically (well, chemically) transferring dream into reality!

Write down your goals to make them a reality

Since science wasn’t really my thing and I’m trying to make this as easy as possible to understand, the gist is that when you write your goal(s) down, you send your entire being a message saying, “I want this, and I mean it, and I’m going to get it.”

Morrissey emphasizes that writing down your goals opens your subconscious to “seeing” opportunities that simply can’t be observed if you’re tied up with thinking about your goals. To help you reach that subconscious level where the magic really happens, we at Mountain Trek hand out green reminder bracelets. When you tie the bracelet onto your wrist, we ask that you set an intention. The idea is that every time you glance at the bracelet or fiddle with it (like when you’re bored in a meeting or something), you’re empowered to continue on the path toward achieving your goal.     

But that’s not all. According to Morrissey, “The likelihood that you’ll transform your desires into reality goes up even further if you share your written goals with a friend who believes in your ability to succeed.” It’s what she calls “partner in believing.” At Mountain Trek, we call this process “building your allies”.

SMART goal: check. Paper and pen: check. Reminder bracelet: check. All that remains on your quest to finally making your dream a reality is to send your weekly progress reports to a friend/ family member/ whoever you’d be excited to update on your progress. According to Deb Knobelman, a PhD Neuroscientist and self-proclaimed Recovering Nervous Nelly:

Knowing that you are accountable to someone outside of yourself can be a powerful psychological push to keep you going. The next time you think it would be easier not to do the thing, or that you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll remember that your accountability partner is waiting for your report, and that might be enough to get you over the hump and one step closer to making that dream a reality.    

Long story short, if you want to succeed:

Set a SMART goal–something that’s smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Write your goal down–on paper, your phone, a sticky note, your forehead, you name it.

Share your progress with an ally–anyone from your grandma to a colleague.

In the name of no excuses, we went ahead and created an accountability tool so we can be that friend. It’s simple, yet powerful, and will let you set your goal and share it with the Mountain Trek staff, who will periodically check-in on your accomplishments. ..

Help yourself get unstuck! Join the Mountain Trek community in taking steps toward your dream. YOU are empowered. YOU can change your trajectory. Make a SMART goal, write it down, and submit it in our Goal Tracker. Next stop: results.

Meet Mountain Trek’s Kinesiologist, Kristy Shields

Kristy Shields Mountain Trek Kinesiologist

Mountain Trek Kinesiologist, Kristy Shields, was born in Canada but spent 10+ years in Los Angeles refining her coaching and training skillset

It’s no secret we’re all curious about the “real lives” of the Mountain Trek staff, and how they came to be part of the program. This time around, we’d like to give you the “behind the scenes” on Kristy, Mountain Trek’s kinesiologist.

I’m from Thrums, in the beautiful West Kootenays. I have recently moved back to this area to raise my daughter, after living and working in California in the health and fitness sector. I’m attracted to British Columbia because of the people, the stunning landscapes, and the awesome vibes.

After playing varsity sports through high school and college, I became a member of the Canadian Bobsleigh team while attending the University of Calgary, where I received a degree in Kinesiology. I competed for Canada for 6 seasons, and I also spent 2 years as Assistant Coach for Team Belgium, where I had the incredible experience coaching at the 2010 Olympics.

Prior and post-Olympics, I ran my personal training company in LA, while also running–and teaching at–my fitness studio, Sweat Factory, and hockey-training company, Prospect Factory. I’ve also done consulting for projects, the most recent of which entailed making a pre and post-pregnancy fitness series for German actress Birte Glang (Move It Mama).

I was drawn to Mountain Trek because my balanced, holistic approach to health and lifestyle that encourages improving one’s overall quality of life through empowerment and education aligns with the program. I’m so excited to be part of the Mountain Trek team, and I love that every week I have the pleasure of getting to know such interesting and motivated guests. My goal is to have even the slightest positive effect on guests’ lifestyles, while providing a memorable and fun experience in beautiful settings.

Creative Ways to Mother Yourself


Next Mother’s Day, we invite you to think of the word mother as a verb (“to mother”), versus a noun. Why? Mothering transcends the female–you’re mothered by anyone (or thing) who offers you acceptance, nourishment, instruction, and empowerment.

By detaching motherhood from any particular person, you’ll begin to notice where you could personally use more mothering. Ask yourself when you feel lovable or disgusting, empty or needy, stupid or ignorant, helpless or incapable. Clear answers hint you need to patch yourself together a new kind of mother that nurtures your unmet needs.

Mountain Trek does not have mammary glands, or any other physical feature of a stereotypic mother, but we mother regardless. We provide a safe and healthful environment, teach the important rules and roles of life through our lectures on stress, detox, sleep, nutrition and fitness, and we meet your emotional needs with our empathy.

The Mountain Trek program provides a space for you to not only feel deeply mothered, but to seek out the mothering you may be lacking. After my week in the program, I learned nature is my mother, and that hiking is the mothering I need; exploring trails enriches my soul in a way I’ve never before felt. The trees wake up my mind. The rivers refresh my soul.

This isn’t to say I won’t be celebrating my biological mother this weekend; rather, I’ll also be celebrating the many ways in which we are all uniquely mothered. I’ll be celebrating nourishing foods, the open spaces we play in, and the soft blankets we swaddle ourselves in with a book. I’ll be celebrating the fluidity of motherhood, and the gift we have to see mothering as more than a trait of female humans.

Kirkland Shave, Mountain Trek’s Program Director, says, “When we’re on the treadmill of life, we lose track of the wounded child in each of us, and we need to take a break to not only acknowledge our unmet needs, but to reflect on how we can self-care.” He continues, “The need to be mothered doesn’t disappear with age, and the real work is done when we learn how to parent ourselves.”  

Kirkland’s top two ways of mothering oneself in adulthood are:

  1. Play and wonder. Open your senses through new tastes and activities. Experience what it’s like to try something for the first time again. Take a ballroom dancing class, or try that funky-colored fruit you always bypass.
  2. Free your emotions. Deeply connect with yourself by letting go of the notion that adults should always be strong and unaffected. The Stiff Upper Lip syndrome only leads to disconnection, and disconnection only leads to feeling lost and neglected. Laugh, cry, go in for energy-releasing body work treatments: do whatever you need to do to tap into your raw feelings.  

As the grandfather of a toddler, Kirkland feels mothered when he’s playing with his grandson. Making forts out of pillows and towers out of blocks, he’s able to nurture his creativity and connect with his desire to live boundlessly.

Other ways to mother yourself are by:

  • Creating a comforting bedtime routine
  • Taking a break from social media (because the unfair comparisons are driving you nutso)
  • Getting fresh air daily
  • Eating nourishing foods
  • Meditating
  • Saying nice, encouraging things to yourself in the mirror
  • Doing puzzles, and other mind-challenging activities
  • Keeping cozy comforts easily-accessible, like a basket of fuzzy socks by the door for when you take your shoes off upon returning home
  • Journaling, in a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness style
  • Listening to uplifting music
  • Making yourself a nice drink (hot chocolate! ginger tea! sparkling lemonade!) and sipping it slowly
  • Planning a special one-on-one date with yourself
  • Building a cozy fort to relax in, equipped with a book, movie, snacks, you name it   

I mother, you mother, he mothers, she mothers, we mother, they mother. The ocean mothers, and the mountains mother. Pets mother, and travel mothers. Look beyond the female who raised you to acknowledge all the different ways you are mothered, and can be mothered. Open yourself up to new perspectives and opportunities, and embrace the ability to meet your needs in a myriad of ways. Seek comfort in the potential. You are not alone. You are not stuck.

To realize a new kind of mothering, book your stay with Mountain Trek. Our program will uncover a new ability within you to grow, to heal, and to show up for your life as fully as you can.

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.

Nelson’s Saturday Farmer’s Market in Cottonwood Falls Park

 

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.