On Being Out of Shape at a Fitness Retreat

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I tend to be a bit of a worrier.  So before my plane touched down here in Sayulita, Mexico, the following thought was stuck in my head:


In my nightmare, I had this image of Terri being a drill sergeant, blowing a whistle and having us do five-mile runs before 90-minute workouts and screaming obsenities at us.  I pictured Kim as a human pretzel, ordering us to have our legs above our heads for twenty-minute stretches, yelling that our lovers would thank us when we got home.

Thank God that was not the case!

I’m happy to report that Nourish Retreats has been a revelation: even people like me who aren’t that good at working out can do well at a fitness retreat!

I do enjoy fitness, especially dance and yoga, and for a long time, I worked out four days a week at a gym that I loved.  But I ditched my membership about a year ago and haven’t been that active since, unless you count bucket-drinking in Thailand as a calorie-burning activity (hint: it’s not).

But beyond that, I have no athletic talent whatsoever.  Even back when I was a gym fiend, I rocked at dance classes but struggled with everything else, even yoga.

So while I initially worried that I wouldn’t be in good enough shape for a fitness retreat, I realized that I had nothing to fear. I was just the right kind of person who would do well with Nourish Retreats.

Terri is NOT a drill sergeant. She leads us in circuit workouts — a series of strength-training exercises interspersed with cardio.  Terri leads circuits because they can be easily adaptable to all levels of fitness, they are tailored to motions your body is designed to do (unlike machine training), and they keep your heart rate up — so you lose weight faster!

Kim does NOT try to turn us into pretzels. She leads us in Iyangar yoga, a form of Hatha yoga.  Iyangar yoga is diverse — there are over 900 poses! — and since props are encouraged, the poses can be easily adapted to different ability levels.

See the pattern? When Terri and Kim founded Nourish Retreats, they created retreats that work for people of all fitness abilities, from novices like me to full-time fitness professionals.  Everyone here is getting a LOT out of this week.

So for people like me who like working out but aren’t that good at it — and I’d assume most of the general population falls into this category — this is a fitness retreat that will work for both you and your super-athletic friend.

Here’s a typical day in Sayulita with Nourish Retreats:

7:30 AM: Energizing yoga with Kim.

8:30 AM: Breakfast and free time.

10:00 AM: Boot camp workout on the beach with Terri.

11:00 AM: Free time.

1:00 PM: Lunch.

2:00 PM-5:30 PM: Free time: trips to Sayulita town, spa treatments, relaxing on the beach, etc.

5:30 PM: Restorative yoga with Kim.

7:00 PM: Dinner.

There are six women on this retreat.  Three of them, plus Terri and Kim, are from Calgary, Alberta.  The other three of us are from the States.

These are real women — an architect, a trainer and life coach, a salon owner, two stay-at-home moms, and me (who hasn’t yet figured out how to phrase what I do for a living without sounding like a jackass) — and none of us have six-packs!

All of the women except for me are in their thirties; many are married; a few have kids.  (Nourish Retreats are open to both sexes; this retreat just turned out to be all women.)

All six of us are good at different things as we work out — and we all have limitations.  Rather than the competitive atmosphere at the gym, it’s very collaborative.  We’re not trying to outdo each other in the least.

Though I’ll gladly outdo the crab.

Of course, no retreat is perfect for everyone.  If you’re not a yoga fan, obviously, this is not the place for you.

I’m really enjoying my time here. Between the workout schedule, the surfing, and the mostly vegan food, I feel healthier than I’ve been in years.  The girls are wonderful.  The resort is sublime. And while I occasionally struggle in some of the workouts, I feel great.

But most importantly, I’m not in over my head here. And as a girl who’s pretty out of shape, that’s fantastic.

I’m spending my week in Sayulita as a guest of Nourish Retreats.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

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18 thoughts on “On Being Out of Shape at a Fitness Retreat”

  1. Sounds like a great place to visit! I was going to visit a retreat in Hawaii, but I always tend to pick action/adventure over relaxation.

  2. I really wish I could do something like this. I’ve hated yoga for years, but about 6 months ago I really got into it thanks to a yoga flow class that has music, standing strengths, and balance poses. Glad that this retreat is rejuvenating for your mind and body!

    Also, I’m not embarrassed to say that I see a lot of lululemon in the 2nd photo of the ladies…specifically the circuit tank. I haven’t bought anything from there for about 6 months to save money, but damn do they make awesome workout clothes!

    1. Lisa, you should become a fan of Nourish Retreats on Facebook so that you’ll know when they have new ones! We got more into flow yoga yesterday and today — it got pretty intense (in a good way)!

      And yes, it’s almost like the retreat is sponsored by Lululemon! The little curvy logos are everywhere!

  3. Sounds pretty great! I’m an out of shape slug, and I would be pretty intimidated by a fitness retreat as well but this doesn’t look too painful.

  4. Sounds fantastic! How do I go about getting in on an all women fitness retreat?

    Glad you’ve enjoyed yourself and it hasn’t been as terrible as you feared. I’m not sure what you’re talking about not getting exercise in Thailand ….. you were in a Muay Thai fight!

  5. This actually sounds great! I’m just about as out of shape as you can get (it’s what working a desk job by day and running a travel blog by night will do to you, I suppose), but this doesn’t sound too daunting. I don’t think I’d mind giving it a go sometime! Do they need more blogger guinea pigs? Haha.

  6. Boredom is absolute death for most people when it comes to exercise and it seems your instructors are on the ball with this. Well done you for going to the retreat.

  7. This is great! I really want to do a yoga retreat when I get to Costa Rica but I am always too nervous about my abilities to even go to a class. But the spa treatments might make it worth it 😉


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