In 2015, I went on my first retreat with Lauren. At the time, I was managing Lauren’s fitness studios in Philadelphia, and I considered myself a pretty healthy person. I worked out 3-4x per week, I ate “healthy”, and drank (probably too much) green juice. When Lauren, invited me on the fall retreat, I jumped at the opportunity. A trip to an exotic beach in Nicaragua?..for work?... umm F*** yeah!
But, as the excitement wore off, I started to become pretty freaking nervous. First off, I still had nightmares from a one hour beach class that I took with Lauren. I was so sore from working in the sand that I had to crawl down my apartment’s three flights of stairs b/c my legs literally gave out on me. I was definitely more of a “hide in the back corner and avoid classes that were too hard for me” kind of a person... so there was NO WAY I thought I could keep up and handle not one, but TWO of Lauren’s classes each day. Then there was also the food to worry about. I am a picky eater and I eat A LOT. What if I didn’t like anything, or worse what if this was some kind of fat camp and they only fed us 1000 calories a day? Finally, did I mention the retreat was totally sold out? This meant I’d not only be sharing a room, but ALSO sharing a bed with Lauren…god forbid I fart in my sleep while sharing a bed with my boss! So between embarrassing myself, starving and being the weak link I had some serious hesitations about this retreat. Luckily, Lauren purchased me a non-refundable ticket and I never had a chance to think about backing out.
I like to think of myself a traveler. I traveled a lot in my early 20’s, and still jump at any travel opportunity I get. I’ve had amazing trips and I’ve had some really really bad trips. Besides the personal things I worried about, Activation had all of the right ingredients for a great trip- beautiful beaches, yummy food, strong drinks, places to explore, new friends, lots of activities (hikes, kayaking, surf lessons, etc.). Yet, little did I know this trip would not only land on my list of amazing trips, but it would ACTUALLY change my life.
By the end of the retreat, I lost 6 or 7 inches, I made new friends with some amazing people, I watched the sunset on the beach with a cocktail in hand almost every night, I beat myself up in surf lessons, I got some sun (burn*), and ate dessert regularly. But what made this trip so different was how it made me feel. I came back feeling stronger, proud of myself and my body, and feeling so confident that I was walking around the streets of Philadelphia like I owned the place.
In one week, Lauren pushed me to reach a level of fitness that I never knew I even had the potential to achieve. We worked out twice a day. It was tough. I was never the first to finish an exercise. I was tired. I was sore. But, I never felt the urge to quit and I didn’t have to crawl down any stairs. Lauren had a way of tailoring all of the workouts to the group. She knew how to push us just enough without going too far.
I came home feeling inspired and motivated to maintain my strength and my results. I didn’t want this feeling to go away. My “healthy” diet, became healthier. I felt so much stronger, that I was able to push myself harder in my regular workouts. I even moved from the back row to the front row of class and stopped stalling every chance I got. And most importantly I ‘fell off the wagon” less frequently.
I’ve now been on three retreats with Lauren. I’ve lost over 20 inches, I’ve gained muscle and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. If I had never gone on that first retreat, I don’t think I would have learned to work at my full potential. I certainly wouldn’t have ever been strong enough to film with Lauren. And I probably wouldn’t feel as great as I do on a daily basis. I will always be grateful I had this life changing opportunity. Thank you Lauren for pushing me to new limits!