A Wonderful Reset || The Ranch at MalibuAugust 30, 2016
School is back in session and because I'm a creature of habit I could not be happier. I am ready to enjoy and immerse myself in this school year as I just arrived from a much needed 7-day reset bootcamp retreat at The Ranch in Malibu, CA. What an incredible experience. The Ranch is a not just any bootcamp but a luxury one where you can shed some weight through daily mandatory hikes and exercise classes, disconnect (there is no internet or cell service), detoxify (the food is all plant based. no coffee. no alcohol.....you get the gist), and believe it or not you can relax. I have a big birthday coming up this fall and so I wanted to start this new decade right by toning-up, eating better and centering myself. And this trip did all this for me and more- It was a tough but wonderful experience. Let me share some photos with you-
Above is the living room with a cozy fireplace. This relaxed space is where we would congregate in the evenings after dinner. The dining room with a large communal table is on the right. Below is the outdoor dining table used in the cooler months. The setting overall was stunning. The landscaping was rich and natural, the interiors casual and laid-back.
Below is the outdoor living space which is where we would all soak our tired feet in Epsom salts and warm water after the four and a half hour hikes we did on the surrounding St. Monica Mountains. (You can see the stainless steel bowls we used peeking through in the back).
This below was my cottage. The program houses 17 guests at a time, each with their own room and private bathroom. I found the space very simple and comfortable. The other guests were all so lovely and interesting. Meeting all these wonderful people was a treat and in their own ways they all soothed my soul during these seven strenuous days.
My room. They even print and frame a photograph of your choosing and place it on your bedside table to give you strength when you find it hard to wake up at 5:30 a.m every.single.morning. I slept with the windows open to let the fresh mountain breeze in. This was such a treat for me as I never get to sleep with the windows open. The crickets would sing me to sleep.
The food. I wish I would have taken more photos of the food. It was divine! All the meals are plant based, but they are so beautifully and cleverly prepared that I did not miss the meats or carbs one bit. I wish I would have taken more photos of the food but I was so hungry at every meal, taking a photo was the last thing on my mind. Plus I was making an active effort to leave my cel phone behind. I did learn that my iPhone is not a natural extension of my arm as it sometimes feels like in my daily life.
This was our welcome smoothie snack.
Chef Nina was the creator of all these amazing meals. She is a true artist creating works of art for the palette. She gave us a cooking demonstration that left us curious to try new products and cooking techniques. After her class our minds were swirling with new ideas of recipes we wanted to try and meals we wanted to plan. (I did try kelp noodles at home already and I don't think it went over so well......hmmm.... not giving up! The recipes from their cookbook seem amazing).
This is me before our first hike! This is why I'm smiling, I have no idea how hard it will be. Hard, but so fun and so worth it. The guides were all amazing and so supportive. Oh and after these hard and long hikes we did get a massage each day. At first I thought they were a luxury, but later realized they were a necessity. They made it possible for everyone to be able to
I really loved hiking with poles. Not only did they workout my arms but they also gave me good rhythm and helped on steep inclines and downhills. The views were sensational. Getting back to nature and spending so much quality time with myself during the hikes was the most rewarding part of my trip. After a few hours of going up hill, your mind has no option but to relax. And in this semi-meditative state your mind actually quiets and you just breath. You become present. This part of the experience was priceless for me.
Back to nature and health. If we don't have health we really don't have anything. We really do need to take good care of ourselves so we can give more to those we love.
If you are wondering, most people in the group lost between 3 and 10 pounds and all lost tons of inches. But the trip was much more than just about the weight. It was about resetting, centering myself, and starting fresh. To learn more about The Ranch visit here.
[All iPhone photos by AC]