Tuesday, July 22, 2014

365fitt Trip to the Rocky Mountains: Oh, What a Trip it Was!

Last week, I led a group of women on a Healthy Active Living Trip to the Rocky Mountains.  This trip has been one of 365fitt's most popular trips, not only because of the scenery, but because of the physical challenges that it presents.  Hikes on this trip range from short 1-4 mile hikes up to 9 miles, and build steadily in effort and altitude, taking into consideration the fitness level of the group and gradually acclimatizing to the thin air.

Could this be you?

I had a pretty good idea within the first few hours of meeting my participants, what I would be dealing with for the week.  One woman reluctantly offered up that she didn't have time to train for the trip, because she was dealing with a stressful job and moving her parents into an assisted living facility.  Another woman stated that she also didn't get in as much training as she would have liked, but that she had been riding her bike and walking.  And yet another woman, who signed up for the trip late, was a runner (10K), but didn't train specifically for a hiking trip.  (SIDE NOTE:  All participants receive a complimentary 12-week training plan to get them ready to hike.)

As an experienced coach, I knew that my original itinerary would have to be adapted, and that our first hike, a 4 mile roundtrip hike at a lower altitude to Gem Lake, would be a good indicator of the overall fitness of the group.  It is during this first hike that I am able to fully understand my participants; their motivation to attend, their physical fitness ability, their limitations, and their mental outlook.  

I knew immediately that we would shorten our hikes to accommodate for physical fitness, and also to maximize a positive experience.  After all, it's not good for anyone's self confidence to struggle on a 12 mile hike, when I can easily substitute an 8 mile hike and achieve a positive effect on both a physical level as well as a mental (emotional) level.  In fact, while enjoying spectacular hikes and enduring physical challenges is definitely a part of our hiking trips, it is almost equally important to coach women through the mental barriers that have blocked them.  Some of those barriers are, "I can't do that.", or "That's too hard." or, "I've never done anything like that before." or, "I'm not in good enough shape to do that." (I hear that one a lot!)  On our hikes, with positive reinforcement, women learn to break down those barriers and reach for new goals.  

Here's what one woman had to say:

"Thank you for a fantastic week!  Your motivation, compassion and patience is 'astounding' and greatly appreciated.  I will be rejuvenated in many ways as I continue on my journey."

And another woman:

"What a wonderful trip you planned for us!  Every hike just got better and more beautiful and the whitewater rafting was my favorite (!), but, the night hike was the best ever.  How awesome it was to do something for the first time, and that most people have never done."

On our last night, we read a passage together that captures the spirit of our trip:

Advice From a Mountain, by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,
Reach new heights
Savor life's peak experiences
There is beauty as far as the eye can see

Stand in the strength of Your True Nature
Be uplifting
Follow the trails of the Wise Ones
Protect and preserve timeless beauty,
silence, solitude, serenity,
flowing rivers, 
ancient trees

Rise above it all
Make solid decisions
Climb beyond your limitations
Leave no stone unturned
Never take life for granite

Get to the point
Patience, patience, patience
Life has its ups and downs
Let your troubles vanish into thin air
To summit all up
It's the journey step by step
Rock on!

Would you consider a 365fitt  Healthy Active Living Trip for yourself?

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