A few years ago, I went on my first retreat with Lauren. I was managing Lauren’s fitness studios in Philadelphia at the time, and I considered myself a pretty healthy person. I worked out and took Lauren’s classes regularly, I ate fairly well, and drank my green juice regularly. When Lauren, invited me on the fall retreat, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. A trip to an exotic beach in Nicaragua?..for work?... umm hell yeah!
But, then the excitement died down enough for me to think things through and I have to admit, I became a little nervous. First off, I was still trying to prove myself professionally, and here I am helping Lauren lead a trip of 20 women to a developing country, so yeah my fingers were crossed nothing would go wrong. Secondly, the retreat was totally sold out, which 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!) And then of course there was the whole food and fitness component to worry about. I ate “healthy” at home, BUT I was picky. I worked out regularly, BUT I was more of the hide in the back corner and avoid classes that were too hard for me kind of a person.
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’ve lived in Thailand and Spain and luckily have had the opportunity to visit around 25 countries. I’ve had good trips and I’ve had bad trips. Activation was definitely lining up to be on the list of good trips. It had all of the right ingredients- beautiful beaches, great food, strong drinks, places to explore, new friends, fun activities (hikes, kayaking, surf lessons, etc.). Little did I know this trip would change my life.
By the end of the retreat, I lost 6 or 7 inches, I made new friends with some really beautiful 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. 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 how I felt about myself 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.