I came to Mountain Trek for a week in mid May and it was one of the best experiences I have had!
I am currently living in the middle east but had just left my job and have a few months before I start my new role. I was keen to spend the time trying to get back the fitness I have lost over the last few years, lose the weight I gained as a result of various health issues (despite being fairly active and sporty and eating healthily), travel and see friends and family.
Being British, I started by looking at fitness retreats in Europe. None however quite fitted the bill. They were either yoga or treatment based so not active, or army style bootcamps with lots of strapping men shouting at you whilst you crawl around on the floor! I love sports but I much prefer being outdoors to the gym and I wanted exercise that I would actually enjoy. I can truly say that whilst it was really hard work I absolutely loved Mountain Trek.
On the exercise front the week comprised of yoga for an hour in the morning overlooking the beautiful lake, 4-5hours of nordic hiking at speeds I never knew were possible and in absolutely stunning scenery around lakes and mountains, and a gym based class in the evening - either weights based or high intensity. All the classes and hikes were fabulous and run by amazing and enthusiastic staff. Despite playing lots of sports, running and hiking I had never really done yoga before or weights but everything was set up to deal with people who were totally inflexible or new to these types of classes right through to those who are regulars. walking was split into 3/4 groups based on speed with each group being pushed to the right level for their fitness. I moved up and down groups afew times depending on how I was feeling on the day. Because the number of guests is so limited they really can offer a personalised service and assist each individual.
But Mountain trek wasnt just about the exercise - it really is a fully body and mind reset.
The lectures on nutrition, stress, sleeping, metabolism etc were incredibly interesting and really based around science and research and taught even those who were nurses, drs and return visitors something new.
The spa services form the jacuzzi to sauna and steam room were actively encouraged every day to assist with detoxifying and relaxing. The massages were absolutely the best I have had anywhere in the world from Dubai to Thailand to UK etc.
They also really assist in trying to ensure you dont just gain from your week there but can take it forward with manageable goals rather than unachieveable ones. You continue to receive advice and newsletters once you leave and if you have booked any of the additional medical tests then you will also receive phone consultations with your results afterwards.
And last but certainly not least I couldn't finish without mentioning the outstanding food. Everything tasted truly fabulous. Fish and meat are on the menu - locally sourced and organic, but I dont believe we had wheat. Other potential food allergies or intolerances were all dealt with on a person by person basis. From 6.15am smoothies, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack to dinner around 5.30pm (very early for me but you'll understand why after the lectures!) the regular timed food ensured despite the limited calories that you were never hungry.
Its not cheap and as a result many of the guests are high flyers, but even though it took a while for me to save for it, and is on the other side of the world, I can say without a shadow of a doubt I will be saving up to return again! There were guests there returning for their 17th year and I fully understand why. Now I'm just waiting for a second site to be opened in Europe ;-)
Mountain Trek is the best gift I've ever given myself. I've done the program twice - once for one week, once for two full weeks. I will go back for the third time in the fall. There is simply no better place to clear the cobwebs and reconnect with the real you. It's not just a spa or a luxury retreat or a fitness program - it's a place to reset, learn, grow, heal and have fun in a breathtaking setting, free and clear of daily distractions. Thanks to an exceptionally talented, kind staff and the array of resources available to support you, you leave feeling rejuvenated and armed with practical tools to tackle life AND live it. Yes, it's a splurge and yes, it's a bit of a hike to get to (pun intended), but how much is your future worth? MT reminds you that you deserve to invest in yourself and why 'putting the oxygen mask on first' makes you a better family member, employee, employer, friend, etc. back home. Please feel free to message me with questions or if you are on the fence.
A few specific notes:
- *MT attracts a wide range of guests, men and woman, of all ages, with completely different, individual goals.* My last group had two couples, two single retirees, a pregnant woman, a colon cancer survivor, someone mourning the loss of a spouse, former athletes, several solo travelers who came w/o their significant others or kids, and a bunch of other out-of-shape professionals hoping to break habits and shed a few pounds. The one thing trekkers have in common is the desire detox from the stress of daily life and to support each other on that journey. I leave each trip with a few new friends.
- *No expertise or technical skills required.* Many people come to MT never having hiked or used hiking poles before. You don't need to bring any equipment other than the right shoes. They provide everything else and teach you what you need to know.
- *Huge premium on safety.* There are four groups to accommodate a variety of fitness levels, each with its own professional guide. No hiker is left behind. No hiker is out of the sight of a guide at any time.
- *The food is delicious, and they accommodate all dietary needs.* They also generously share any and all recipes on request.
- Onsite infrared sauna, steam room, hot tub, cold plunge and 24-hr gym. The local hot springs are just down the hill and a cool cultural experience.
- In addition to the included massages, there are numerous services available at additional cost to support your goals: acupuncture, cranial sacral work, private nutrition sessions, private counseling, private yoga sessions, naturopathic/food sensitivity testing, etc. I'd put some of the services in the 'outstanding' category on par with or superior to anything you can get in NYC.
- *Go to the classes.* You may think you've heard it all until you sit through one of Kirkland's talks. I have learned so much both in class and on the trail.
- Save up and make the commitment to go to MT. You are worth it!
After years of wanting to do a trekking vacation, this year I finally booked the trip and gave myself permission to take a week just for myself. The experience FAR exceeded my expectations. Not only was it a physically challenging trekking experience, but the cursory elements of workshops, daily yoga, amazing organic meals, gym workouts, and a staff that felt like family from the start rounded out this dream vacation. I went more for the physical challenges and muscle mass growth, and achieved both during the week, while also decreasing my body fat index making me much more shredded. There is definitely a science to their process and if you simply follow their program you will lose weight, gain flexibility, and get a mental reset. I have incorporated a number of their practices into my weekly workout routine and have been able to continue gaining strength and maintaining flexibility.
I went to Mountain Trek to lose weight but I left with so much more .When I first checked in I was a little concerned about the room. The lodge it's self is very nice but rooms are dated and small. After a day you quickly realized it's very comfortable,clean& all you need .
The food is amazing I would go as far and say it is some of the best I have ever eaten. Being limited to 1400cal a day I was worried,but I was never hungry extra food is offered if needed, but I never needed. The chefs really believe in eating with you're eyes first and these people knock it out of the park!! Every meal is a pice of art and taste like a master pice.
The gym equipment is garbage. It should all be thrown out. This is not why you come and offering programs to use this stuff only hurts Mountain Trek's reputation. The real gym is out side and the hikes are beautiful.
The yoga room is very nice but needs some sun blinds. When the sun pops up in the morning it's very hard to see the instructor. Yoga should be relabelled stretch class which is still good. there is a wide range of people here and they are trying to do a program everyone can do. Its a great way to start the day and I enjoyed and looked forward to it each morning I could not imagine doing the hikes without it.
The night host changes all week and it's up to them for the evening gym program. I can not begin to say enough great things about the staff these people are hard working / encouraging /amazing people that go out of their way at every waking moment to help you get the most out of your stay. They do their best to make the evening gym enjoyable but as mentioned above they are working with dated garbage equipment .
The lectures are good but need to start on time and end on time You do not have a lot of time between lectures /meals & gym so when they run late this makes it impossible to chew your food well and slow down and eat. Which is one of the biggest things they preach about .They need to allow more time between these events.
Lectures did not change between week one and two. This was nice as it allowed more free time on week two which was very nice to take it all in.
Hiking is great my only complaint would be is there was no change between week one and two. This is good and bad; Bad from the point I've already seen the trail great from the point I got to see how much I improved from week one to two. The trails are beautiful and the guide really help you be successful.
Laundry service is offered twice a day, however they do not use a biodegradable detergent. There are great options in the marketplace, and using an alternative would be more inline with Mountain treks values: healthy eating, exercise and being in nature. Putting clothes on filled with chemicals on my largest organ ( skin) goes against everything they preach.
Mountain trek talk about the benefits of journaling, however there are no private spaces to do so. If they reconfigured the rooms and added a chair it would work. In the sleep lecture they are very clear on what your bed should be used for; and journaling was not one of them.
The spa for lack of a better word is non existent there is a hot tub/ cold bath /sauna & steam room all very nice but this does not make a Spa. There are evening massages but the rooms are scattered around Two in the spa area one in a room in the main lodge and one in the office Massages are ok but very inconsistent. These do not seem to be Mountain Trek employees
The Internet is turned off at 10 pm and sometimes turned back on at 6 am depending on the over night host. I think this is a great thing. I was going there to disconnect and that allowed me to do it
With all this being said I believe Mountain trek is the best at what they do and only need a few tweaks This is not a weight lose place it's a life altering program. They give you the tools to change habits they educated people to understand choices. You leave there feeling better looking younger with a different out look in life
There isn't reallu anything I can say about the Mountaintrek experience that hasn't already been said. But I'll give it a go anyway!
I went here on the winter reboot Dec/Jan 2015. I was expecting something fabulous after all the raving reviews, but those expectations were far exceeded. The preparation for the trip was very well organised. The staff was very approachable via phone or email to prepare for a full week of snowshoeing. Also arrival and transfer was well-arranged - I got in a day early but it was no problem to have specific demands for the transfer arranged.
The lodge itsself is gorgeous. Everything is to a high standard and it is kept very clean. The spa building is equally beautiful, with the yoga room overlooking the valley, as well as the outdoor hot tub. I wish I could stay in that hot tub forever - I doubt there are many more in the world with such an amazing view and feel of tranquility to it.
The programme was very intense, but there was enough freedom to join or not join as many activities as you liked. If you did all, you had a very full day, and you would learn that you can push your body beyond what you thought was possible without even noticing it. The various classes on nutriotional health and wellbeing were well-thought through, understandable and brought something new (I think) whichever level of knowledge you have in these areas. The workouts were well-balanced and there was a lot of professional attention how to prevent injuries, which is especially important in these high-intensity programmes.
The food was really, really good. Again, there was plenty of felxibility to adjust the diet as you wished. There was a very diverse range of foods used and they really try to push guests to eat something different. I ate many things I never even knew existed (and I'm usually an adventurous eater).
And lastly, the staff was really amazing. Each person was very different and had their own expertise, and I learned something from everyone there. It feels as if they all know they are blessed to offer such a life-changing experience and that they are proud to provide that, in a humble and respectful way. Mountaintrek really provided me with time, scenery and tools to reset and rethink what is important to me, and to continue to pursue those personal goals. If you're still doubtful whether or not to sign up - don't! I think everyone should experience at least once in their lives what it is like to be entirely clear-minded and being fully rested and. This experience will give that to you.