Because of my enthusiasm for the weekend, that post got so long I didn’t have a chance to dive in to some of the nitty gritty details, like how do you measure progress?? What’s the food like? Are you going to be exhausted? What’s the focus of the program?
And what do I wish I’d known before going…followed closely by your next question, would I go again?!
When I first heard about Wellfit Malibu, I knew it only as a place that used to be part of The Biggest Loser Resort line up. I started searching, but couldn’t find much detail on those who had been and what they experienced. Which I suppose makes sense because not everyone on Earth is as open book as bloggers!
There are plenty of resorts that focus on total relaxation and food as the path to weight loss. It absolutely works by reducing your stress levels and helping you to disconnect from all your troubles.
“There is an environment that is best for my body to relax in and rest. This is the environment where my body is not working as hard and has the most energy available for recovering, healing, and generating new cells for peek health performance. ”
Wellfit however believes in the power of movement to help you reconnect with yourself and create a habit that studies have shown time and again is key to maintaining lasting weight loss and health.
At a fitness and weight loss resort, unlike a yoga retreat, you’ll be spending the majority of your waking hours sweating along side fellow guests, finding yourself shocked at what you’re capable of and empowered to continue at home.
First thing Monday morning everyone is assessed, privately, to have a starting point to gauge progress.
- Body fat
- Aqua Fit
One thing I really love is that while they do measure your weight, there is a lot of talk about how it’s only one portion of seeing healthy changes. In fact, they are so intent on showing you that health is a whole body process that they use a tool called the InBody.
The Inbody 520 provides not only body fat readings, but measurements that help you to see where your weight is distributed and if you have any imbalances like one arm or leg heavier than the other.
I’ve been really curious about this body fat measurement option since trying BodPod testing last year. The results were vastly different and quite a bit in my favor, but based on all the studies I found “InBody reports 98% correlation with DEXA scanning and superior reproducibility.”
In fact, according to a CNN report:
GE Healthcare’s InBody bio-impedance products are one of the only devices that measure leg, arm and belly fat. They are currently being used by federal government agencies, the armed forces, and Division 1 collegiate athletic programs.
Despite my skepticism, I redid the test at the end of the week and it was the same. So I’m going to believe and run!
Here is an example report, CLEARLY not mine as I’m not male and it’s not 2012. BUT what I wanted you to see is how exactly this system shows you the variance between different parts of your body along with breaking down your total body fat.
Additionally, they do some fitness tests to help you see how you improve your endurance and cardio throughout the week.
I think it’s a bit hard to see speed improve over a 7 day period, but what does happen is you mentally believe you can do more and thus usually push harder on the second test!
In fact, the only thing I disliked was that they took measurements, but with all of your clothes on..so if you happened to have on a big jacket that would completely throw off the results from your day 1 and day 7 measurements.
Of course a key component to weight loss and lasting health is food!!!! The best thing for me about a week long resort is someone else doing every bit of the cooking and thus opening me up to all kinds of new foods.
But it’s not just about the chef prepared meals, there are also daily classes:
- Understanding Calories
- Macro nutrients – what foods are in each category
- Hidden Sugars
- Learning to Eat Intuitively
- Meal Planning
The biggest thing I wish I’d known in advance:
If you don’t want to eat it when you get home, throw it out before you leave.
Sounds simple enough, but honestly after a week of getting off my holiday cookie train, I came home and there they were…so I ate them!
Anyhow…back to the food at the resort. The other thing I wish I’d known was the plan is 1500 calories a day, which is comprised of 3 meals and 2 snacks.
As someone not seeking to lose weight, but hoping to improve muscle mass this was actually not enough calories for me. Luckily there was a Tuesday night Target run so I could stock up on some Kind Bars, Vega Sport and well yeah a little chocolate.
The goal of the meals is threefold:
- Create stable blood sugar to reduce cravings and hunger
- Show you how using more veggies means a meal that is large and satisfying
- Teach you how to create plates at home that are a good break down of carbs, protein and fat
Here is an example of the Friday menu, where booth meals are roughly 350 -400 calories.
Because the focus is weight loss, this isn’t like going to a standard resort.
- The menu is the menu.
- They are going to happily accommodate food allergies
- There is usually a standard substitutions menu….but if you don’t want that you aren’t dining at a restaurant.
- You will not be getting seconds
- If you have a known food allergy (I listed dairy) they won’t give you anything with it…yeah I missed out on some tasty looking desserts.
- Meals are at set times and the kitchen is otherwise closed.
- There is no coffee, no caffeine, no alcohol
- The food is delicious and for the most part very filling
Breakfast: This is the one menu that doesn’t change, each morning you have the option of oatmeal, a smoothie (which isn’t green so I can’t comprehend it), eggs or a yogurt parfait.
Snacks: Because the focus is whole foods and stable blood sugar, the 2 snack times are right after workouts and they suggest you take 1 from each pre-portioned section
A. Orange, Apple, Carrot sticks, Celery
B. Almonds, 1 tbsp peanut butter, hard boiled egg
Lunch and Dinner per the menu above change daily. They are really your chance to try new things, think of new ways to eat veggies and see how filling they are.
Since one of my issues is muscle wasting from endurance training the 3 oz protein portions didn’t feel like enough. That is something a nutritionist has advised me on, but again here the menu is set.
What to Bring
If I’d known then what I know now…well my bag would have contained a few more things:
- Waterproof pants and jacket
- Waterproof hiking boots (I used trail running shoes and they were fine 90% of the time except when super muddy)
- Hydration pack (I prefer to travel light since I wanted to run, but it’s really helpful for carrying your snacks, water and clothes you take off since you’re out a few hours.)
- Stuffits (yes the things that help dry out shoes)
- Granola bars, nuts, chocolate – again only if weight loss is not your goal.
- Extra layers that you can put or take off during hikes
Of course there are also the standard things you’d expect when working out multiple times a day:
- Multiple pairs of socks/sports bras for each day
- Variety of workout gear (I re-wore because I don’t care, but you could do laundry too)
- Swimsuit, flip flops, goggles
- Hat, sunglasses, gloves
- Watch or Jawbone Up
- Magazine or good book to end the day
And pack your I CAN and I WILL attitude.
I remember hearing stories of “fat camps” as a kid and let’s be clear, that term sucks to start with, but it’s also not a reflection of what happens here.
You’re an adult, one who deserves a healthy body and these resorts go above and beyond to help give you the tools, knowledge and excitement to go home and keep moving in the right direction.
Years of bad habits don’t change overnight, but a week or 2 of being on the right path and seeing what it’s like when your head is clear, your energy is high and your confidence is growing makes it a whole lot easier to feel committed to change.
At times you’re going to feel exhausted.
They will encourage you and keep you moving.
You will take naps.
You will want to take advantage of the on site spa with a massage.
You will come away with new friends and renewed passion for healthy living.
It’s absolutely what you make of it.
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