Always looking for new ways to feel great and try something new; this is me in a nutshell. So naturally, it doesn’t take me too long latch on to the idea of attending a fitness retreat . A quick search on Instagram reveals over 1.5 million pictures tagged with #fitnessretreat. From CrossFit athletes and yogis, to corporates and students in need of a break, people from all walks of life are looking towards new and more meaningful ways to spend their downtime.
Are just like those adventurous souls, wanting to break out of your usual fitness habits that have left you uninspired? It is almost certain that a fitness getaway is calling your name, it can be an excellent way to meet new people, get in shape, and also have fun.
Seek and Sweat Retreat in Bucks County
Our latest trip to the hills was just what the holistic doctor ordered; a three-day, two-night Seek and Sweat Retreat in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The retreat was organized by Ketanga Fitness Retreats, an organization dedicated to making fitness and travel a viable option for anyone. They currently have 9 retreats available on their site, from boot camps in Costa Rica to yoga in Ireland. This particular retreat was to be led by Jenna Muller and Steve Feinberg. They promised a great weekend with their positive energy and combined expertise in dance, pilates, barre, speedball, general cardio training, and more.
The highlights were:
- Hip Box and stretch classes with Steve Feinberg
- Pilates and barre classes with Jenna Muller
- Wine tasting at a local vineyard
- Biking adventure through parks and local towns with a smoothie stop
- SUP yoga class
- Cultural activities: castle visit, local restaurants, and more!
Day 1 – Vegetarian Lunch, Cycling & Hiking
The arrival was at 11am on Thursday and the group was treated to a delicious vegetarian lunch and an introduction to the weekend in New Hope, PA – home base for the trip. After a bit of time to digest, the “Sweat” part of the retreat started with an intense 7-mile bike ride around the Delaware River. The rigorous climb was breathtaking, but not nearly as much as the views of the river, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey on either side. Back at the residence, everyone was eager to recharge the batteries with some light exploring. To cap off the night, the group met for drinks, ending the challenging day on a high note.
Day 2 – Hip Hop, Hiking, Yoga, Pilates & Art History
The action started again bright and early on Friday morning, with a 7 am Hip Hop Box class before breakfast. What a way to get your blood pumping. After breakfast, it was off to the hills for a hike through Peace Valley Park that ended at the beautiful Lake Galena. Have you ever performed your Savasana pose on the shore of a lake? It is absolutely incredible, and it’s hard to come by a more relaxing spot.
If you have the chance for a pause in this area, you must spend some time trawling through the items at the local thrift shop, “In Full Swing“. You will be pleasantly surprised by your findings. They have an excellent range of products, including vintage clothes. Even better, all items purchased from In Full Swing go directly to support victims of domestic violence in Bucks County.
Back with the group, it was time for lunch in downtown Doylestown. Doylestown also happens to be the home of archaeologist Henry Chapman Mercer. Henry’s home is definitely a must see in the area. It houses an incredible collection of artifacts and brings the Industrial Revolution to life. The tour also included his old home, the Fonthill Castle, a walk through the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.
Buckingham Valley Vineyards was next on the list. At the vineyard it was time to unroll the yoga mats again, and this time beside rows of grapevines. The focus for today’s session was pilates. If you’ve ever watched people doing mat pilates, you might think they’re doing yoga, but you’ll be very surprised if you join in. It’s more of a calisthenics based workout that will really make your muscles shake. Luckily, the grapes nearby help to keep your eyes on the prize, a wine tasting session. The day closed with a wonderful meal at the Hattery Stove and Still in Doylestown, a small boutique restaurant with a very unique atmosphere.
Day 3 – Paddleboarding & Reflection
After such a full second day, the final morning was spent enjoying a stand-up paddleboarding class on the river in lower Bucks County. The activity was lead by the staff at Driftwood Water Adventures, who were excellent at getting us up and away on our boards. This class was a fun and exciting experience for everyone; a few of the first timers will surely be scheduling their next session again soon. After a short adventure on the river (and a lot of splashing around in the water) the group dried off, packed up, and were free to rejoin the world.
That’s a Wrap
On leaving Bucks County, I reflected on how I felt before and after the retreat. Riding on the train home, I felt strong, accomplished, and rejuvenated, ready to take on the world I’d left behind.
I also left decisive that fitness retreats are the perfect style of vacation. This experience really allowed me the opportunity to relax and getaway from reality, while giving me the chance to catch up on the exercise that my body needs and so greatly craves. When I’m stuck in the midst of the daily grind, unfortunately, my health routine sometimes gets derailed. My ultimate “me time” is when I have the available hours and a peaceful space to help me get back into my groove, and also get involved in activities that make me feel great. It’s a bonus when I can meet awesome like-minded people at the same time.
This is the year to put yourself out there and try something new, and there is nothing more invigorating than switching up your vacations. When you mix fitness business and leisure you end up with a truly well rounded experience, and that is the type of vacation we all need.
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