Why a fitness holiday?
Every summer, I have had the opportunity to travel for an extended period of time. Having summers off is one of the best perks of being a teacher. Usually, I go on a month-long trip to at least a couple of different countries. I try and see as much as I can in a short amount of time-because who knows when I’ll be able to see this place again on my budget. Well, this year is going to be a little different. Because I am going on a month-long fitness holiday in Thailand.
That’s right. I’m going to be spending about 24 days on an island in Thailand, focusing on my mental health, my nutrition, and my fitness. I’m going to (hopefully) take a few small trips as I make my way over to Thailand. But most of my time will be spent at a fitness resort, on an island, in Thailand.
What is a fitness holiday?
A fitness holiday, fitness vacation, wellness retreat, boot camp vacation, or any variety thereafter, is when a person spends their vacation (usually at least one-two weeks) outside of their normal environment, working on their mental and/or physical well-being. The goals of different retreats vary, some are more mind focused and have a spa-like atmosphere-they may include massage, meditation, facials, relaxation, etc. Other retreats have specific fitness purposes, like a cross fit retreat, or a yoga retreat. And still others primarily focus on weight loss. The fitness camp that I signed up for has different packages-triathlon training, relaxation, boxing, and weight loss. I signed up for the weight loss package.
Why a weight loss retreat?
I wrote a post about what it was like being overweight and traveling. And I am at the point where my weight makes me tired; I am so physically drained and I have absolutely no energy. When I get home from work at around 4pm, I plop myself down on the couch, and at around 8:30pm I move to the bed and go to sleep. I used to love working out and being outside, I had such a zest for life-now it’s a miracle if I run to the grocery store after a day of work.
My weight has also impacted my mental health. Now- I am a huge proponent of body positivity, and I believe people are beautiful at any size, however, when you are eating bad foods, and not exercising, and you are carrying around excess weight because of your lifestyle, and you feel like crap most of the time, I can see how it is easy to have a negative self-image. And I do look in the mirror and hate myself sometimes, not all the time, but it is becoming more and more frequent. When I look in the mirror I see a failure-because I can’t stick to a diet, I can’t stick to a workout program, I can’t make a lifestyle change that impacts the way that I feel. All in all, I feel like a loser.
I know I must make a change. Despite my weight, I still consider myself an athlete (how odd I know). But I adore exercise, I love being pushed and told what to do by a trainer. I used to row in college, and, I love a challenge. So instead of traveling across southeast Asia this summer, I decided to go to a fitness retreat that came highly recommended from a friend of mine that I met in New Zealand. My friend described the camp as life changing. She would talk about her lack of energy, and how life seemed bleak. After the retreat, she found a new zest and excitement for life. I was jealous, I wanted that for myself.
In March I decided to email my friend and ask her questions about the ‘boot camp’ that changed her life. And after a flurry of emails, I emailed the boot camp-a place called Lamai Fitness, and said I wanted to change my life.
Why Lamai Fitness?
Well, first and foremost, it came highly recommended from someone that I trust-I saw the light in my friend’s eyes when she described the place, and I knew from her descriptions that this would be a good place for me as well.
Second, they have a lot of accolades, helping contestants on Thailand’s version of the biggest loser, and hundreds of positive reviews on their website, Facebook, and TripAdvisor, from people whose lives have been changed by their program.
Third, I believe in their program. They do not promote magic pills or weight loss supplements. The resort involves exercise, nutrition, and other programs like hydrotherapy, massage, and yoga-not only to promote weight loss, but also to transform your physical and mental health. I like the honesty of their head coach and owner of the resort, Billy, who says in a video that the program is not easy. Most people want to quit by day three. But we all come together and help each other out. Your life will change. You just have to show up, we’ll take care of the rest.
And fourth, it’s affordable. Google fitness retreat or weight loss vacation and you’ll find lots of places-especially in the United States, but they have a huge price tag. One resort that I looked at in California was $3,000 a week! A week! I cannot afford that. Lamai fitness in Thailand is affordable-even if you do have to pay for a plane ticket to get out there.
What happens at Lamai fitness?
Well, I only know what my friend has told me and what I’ve found on their website. I will, of course, share my experiences through this blog, and tell you exactly what happens while I’m there, but here is what I’m expecting:
Only clean food. There is a vegan café, as well as a whole food café with natural, nutritious food. It is extremely inexpensive. You can buy a meal package when you arrive, but I will probably be going day by day, as my calorie intake will vary. But I will only be eating clean food-nothing processed.
Two hours of cardio in the morning. My friend told me it alternates between swimming, hiking, biking, and running hills. I am not excited. However, I am happy that cardio is first and I can get it out of the way-I have always enjoyed working out in the morning.
A yoga class mid-morning/afternoon three days a week. I adore yoga, so I am really excited for a chance to do yoga so frequently. Yoga, to me, is relaxing, even if it’s a tough class. Yoga gives my mind and body a chance to re-group.
Two hours of weights and strength training in the evening. I have visions of the biggest loser in my mind, but I think I will be okay. I’m strong.
I may get hydrotherapy. My friend’s colon was cleaned out using this method, riding her body of toxins. She did this a few times during her stay. I’m a bit nervous-but also excited to get the junk out of my body.
Massages every few days. Yes! But you must see why-there is so much activity that your body needs a break.
Ice baths. Chilly. It will be interesting to see how I handle those.
Beach/pool/nap time in the afternoons. Recovery is important, and your body needs rest. The program seems like a lot-but rest is also an important component.
One day off a week for tourism/relaxing. I will mostly spend this day writing and exploring the island (hopefully). Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I think even after the first week I will have more energy. I’m hoping that my first day off will be spent with people that I meet at the resort, exploring a new part of the island.
What are you hoping to accomplish?
The easy answer to that question is: to lose weight. I would like to jump start a weight loss plan and lose about 20lbs at Lamai fitness. But, that’s the easy answer. The hard answer is that I want my life back. I want energy to do the things I love. And mental clarity-not to feel so foggy and unhappy and worthless all the time. I want to feel powerful, and strong, to be able to hike and bike and swim and run without stopping after five minutes. Mostly, I want to be excited for life again.
How do you feel about going to Lamai?
I feel nervous more than anything, excited of course but mostly nervous. I have told exactly four people where I will be this summer-two of my closest friends, and my mom and sister. Why? Because I’m scared of failing, I’m scared of going on their retreat and not losing weight, or not changing my life-or worse, changing and then coming home and falling into the same routines.
I’m scared that I am not going to be able to keep up with the other people at the resort. That I’m going to fail at all the exercises, that I am going to be weak. I’m scared of throwing up in front of people (which I have done while working out before). Going from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to working out for five hours a day is not going to be easy for me. Going from eating a lot of processed, unhealthy, sugary foods is going to be even harder because I do like exercise, but I hate eating healthy.
But I do feel excitement-like my life is going to change. Even though I’m trying to not get my hopes up, I know there will be major changes. I know how my brain works, and I know this jump start will change my life. And for the past few months, things in my life have been falling into place-with everything-my professional life, my personal life, my spiritual life, I’m in a very good place. And, I think now is the perfect time to go to on a fitness holiday and change my life.
I can’t wait to share my journey with you all. Happy travels!