The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

best wellness retreats

Restore Your Mind, Body, and Soul

It’s not easy to honour your need for ‘you time’ when juggling the responsibilities of the everyday. Things can progressively get away on you, piling up, and soon it feels like self care just pausing long enough for a glass of water! Um no… that should not be considered a treat.

I get it, and as the owner of one of the best wellness retreats for integrative physical health, I’m a strong believer in using a fitness retreat to kick start your change. Traveling to a health retreat is the ultimate luxury in self-care. This article shines light on where to find a program that fits what you’re looking for.

I’ll also share :

  • Who can benefit from going on a wellness retreat?
  • 20 random ideas to give more meaning to your life – today
  • Why Whistler Fitness Vacations is worth a look
  • What will a weight loss centre, live in fitness program do for you?

Health retreat programs like Whistler Fitness Vacations in B.C., Canada will help get you started (my fitness business!).

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How destination weight loss programs create change

When you think about last week at home, it probably feels like a blur.

You may have made a few positive changes, but possibly not changed your mindset. Spending time on a fitness getaway will blow you out of your rut, nourishing whatever needs. That may be your food choices, being around nurturing people, taking time to exercise, or simply sleeping a lot without feeling guilty.

There’s a high relationship between physical activity and how people perceive their quality of life. The Surgeon General’s report reviews the evidence relating physical activity, or lack of, to reduced risk of health problems. The findings were that exercise can reduce premature development of anxiety, back pain, depression, insomnia, memory issues… to name a few.

Getting in shape and staying fit as part of your lifestyle definitely increases your quality of life.

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Raise a smoothie bottle! It’s lunch time on the trails at Whistler Fitness Vacations

The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness

1 – Whistler Fitness Vacations – of course! Even if I wasn’t the owner, I truly believe that our program is the best wellness retreat for fitness, weight loss, adventure and overall health improvement. We’re highly focused on the ‘doing’ side of things, less on the consulting/medical, compared to competitor weight loss resorts.

2 – Mountain Trek is who we normally refer people to because, like us, they offer wellness retreats in B.C., hiking retreats, and also destination weight loss programs. Here’s their website – let them know that Whistler Fitness Vacations sent you! We’ve shared many of the same customers over the years. People like the variety of hiking, great food and workshops available throughout the day. It’s less of a private coaching retreat than our program, and it’s not known to be a body transformation retreat. They’re strong on the fitness front, another reason they’re on this list!

3 – Premier Fitness Camp is an immersive weight loss program that has my respect – for men and women. Guests at our program who’ve also been to theirs say that Whistler is more adventurous, customized and our lodging more upscale. Their pet policy is less inviting, with dogs needing to be under 25lbs, and around $300 CAD more per week to bring them (Whistler Fitness Vacations has complimentary dog lodging). PFC is stronger than us in gym workouts, personal training variety and, well, they’re like 100 times bigger as a company haha (their owner probably doesn’t write the blogs like I’m doing right now!). Website here. 

READ: This Dog Friendly Fitness Retreat Tailors An Epic Hiking Adventure – Just For You

Decide to take care of your body, no matter what it looks like

Sometimes when people get to a certain weight, or ‘fail’ their workout and food plan for the 100th time, they lose hope. They stop looking at themselves, putting on sunblock, buying new clothes. Maintenance moves to the bare minimum of hair-in-a-pony and a rotation of the same stretchy pants as you fly out the door.

One of the exercises at our weight loss retreat is to put on body lotion everyday, and skin brush. Step one in taking care of yourself. We also invite guests to consider investing in a 5-step skin care routine for both morning and night. Spending a week or longer doing all the things that have slipped through the cracks in past few years.

Studies of women found that positive body image actually increases with age. This is likely because life experiences can teach you to appreciate and respect your body for what it does and what it’s been through – even if it doesn’t look like the kind of body admired in popular culture. In short, the wisdom that comes with age often brings the unexpected gift of greater body appreciation. – Psychology Today

Whistler Fitness Vacations is for women who are outside of healthy range. Come see for yourself what a difference it makes, to be around women with similar physical makeup to you at a fitness retreat!

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How to give more meaning to your life – today

It would be promotional to claim that heading off to a wellness retreat is the answer to feeling better. It’s not. Change starts with you – today – a drop of wisdom and perspective that resonates. With this, you can shift the mindset that’s holding you back to start feeling optimistic about tomorrow.

Do you have the opportunity to spend on learning, or giving back? This will balance your wellness. Give freely of yourself, your time and talents – then find a passion or something you believe in. Figure out how to pursue it. This could be learning to play a new instrument, learning a new language, or hobby. So many of us waste our precious time and we need to reexamine how we spend it.

Focusing on how we contribute to others will take you out of your own head. And of course – being grateful every day! One step at a time, adding one small change in a positive direction each day. Getting out of your comfort zone is when we grow.

Stand tall, shine your light, live in love. Smash those disabling beliefs and tell that negative voice to bugger off – CHOOSE TO RISE ABOVE.

best wellness retreats meaning in your life - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

Animals need your help!

Are there any rescue groups in your area that need volunteers? Rescue groups love having help.

Maybe look at joining an exercise class, instead of going home to cook and eat – then sitting on the couch scrolling through your phone. Streaming a yoga class can help as a first step, teaching you to be in the present moment. This will help with anxiety and prevent negative thoughts from overwhelming you.

Are there any women’s organizations around that raise money for scholarships, or those in need? This could be very fulfilling and rewarding. You could also go into an Elementary school for reading with students. They’re often in need of help.

Another idea is to wake up earlier and while drinking through your pot of tea, reflect on the wonderful things that you already have in your life. It sounds cheesy but it really does make a difference in your mindset, as you take on the day.

Most communities have centres for women 50 and upwards. Fifty can hit people in different ways, some it’s like they are thirty, but for others who may have faced struggle, it’s senior. Check out what’s available in your area and say yes to the day trips, workouts and coffee events!

best wellness retreats meaning volunteering - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

Can Whistler Fitness Vacations help you?

  • You feel stuck in your life. Can’t figure out your next move.
  • Tired all.the.time…. stressed or depressed, you’re not sure what.
  • Passion feels like something you ‘used to know’
  • Fitness is overwhelming and hard to even think about starting
  • The weight is going up each year

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Get up, get dressed, get out! You never know who might cross your path…

There’s an app called Meetup thats worth joining, with groups for all walks of life and interests. Listening to podcasts in topics that interest you, and watching insightful youtube – TEDX talks, Oprah’s SuperSoul conversations.

Cook delicious meals – collect beautiful cook books and figure out what your favorite recipes are. Find a senior nursing home and visit – some hardly ever get visitors. Are there events in your local library, or craft club? Check the notice board at the grocery store.

Going to yoga class can really build a sense of community. People like to chat in the common area and you’ll see the same familiar faces after a while, which is quite nice. Yoga also helps you think differently, and be more tolerant of things that you can’t change.

My personal favorite is to take a long walk in nature. I’m not a hiking guide for no reason! It’s my happy place.. somewhere that I’m passionate about.


best wellness retreats walk in nature - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

Just breathe

Find a faith that can guide you, be it religion or a philosophy – then surround yourself with others of the same. You’ll find generous people who will want to know you, and help you give your life more meaning. Negative thoughts and conversations are things that happen to all of us, including me. It’ll get you stuck in a downward spiral – we’ve all been there.

Stop and take care of yourself. If you haven’t downloaded a meditation app yet, get on it. There’s lots out there that are really great – my personal favorite is 10 Percent Happier. Take a long shower, lay down and do a breathing exercise.

Learning the lingo of ‘fit getaways’

There are quite a few variations of wellness retreats these days, and not all of them are fitness based.

And while many crossover to include exercise, they may not be providing enough physical activity to improve your fitness. For example, a wellness spa typically includes beauty treatments, holistic health procedures and perhaps some gentle movement, like nature walking and yin yoga. If you’re looking for a fitness retreat, avoid going somewhere that uses the ‘wellness spa’ word as main description.

You’ve got to cross off a lot of boxes in the hospitality industry to be able to call yourself a ‘luxury lodging’. Often fitness trainers who are putting on a retreat that is about wellness, use the word luxury without really having criteria to do so. For that reason, you might find yourself in a 2 star hotel that is in serious need for upkeep. And doing a few yoga classes in a conference room at the back of the hotel isn’t really the best wellness retreat experience.

Other weight loss programs in Canada rightfully label themselves as ‘health retreats that emphasize fitness activity.’ Don’t assume that any spa services are offered, however you might be wise to pre-book some treatments at a nearby spa before you go.

wellness retreat in canada health club - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

Whistler Fitness Vacations premium 4-week program includes unlimited access to the gorgeous onsite health club at the Westin Resort and Spa.

Why Whistler Fitness Vacations is worth a look

Over the past 11 years, we’ve remained true to our original goal – to provide unparalleled weight loss retreats to women who are just getting started in their fitness journey, in one of the most pristinely beautiful corners of the world. We’re a company of travellers who are committed to daily workouts, healthy eating and living our best life. We have friends and family who, just like you, find it more challenging to commit to regular workouts.

Many of them struggle with eating too much, and some have obesity related diseases. That’s part of the reason that at our boot camp weight loss retreat programs, we’ll welcome you like family. Let us show you why so many of our customers refer us to their friends!

WFV Fitness Guides are amazing. They are the best in the business, sharing an extraordinary knowledge of Whistler and a passion to share their stories with you. Hired in part for their outstanding social skills, our guides make the best shape-up companions while guarding your safety on the trails.

I am so thankful for finding Whistler Fitness Vacations! My week here was much more than I expected – and now I feel equipped to make this happen at home! Many, many thanks! Kathy Clark Florida

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We don’t just get you in shape, we show you how to love it.

Restricting registration to plus size women over 35, we are likely to have a smaller number of guests join. This is intentional, and space is capped to 16 people per week although we average 6-10. In the past, we’ve scaled Whistler Fitness Vacations into a larger marketing engine with a lot of people in the office promoting and selling. This meant that my job, as the owner came with a ton more stress and responsibility. I wanted to go back to more simple times being able to work directly with my guests and get to know them.  

Truly I believe that we’ve got the best wellness retreats now, with no more than 16 guests per week. You’ll never feel like you’re one of the crowd, quite the opposite. Our goal at Whistler Fitness Vacations is to make each of our customers feel like they are the most important.

This gives us the ability to: 

  • Generate well-organized, creative activity scheduling that is doable, safe, results orientated, interesting, empowering and time efficient.
  • Coordinate the details of your body transformation from foundational phase through to final healthy weight.
  • Work with all types of learners – whether you pick things up best through visual, verbal or feeling explanations, we speak your language!
  • Interact successfully with all of
    our guests. Sometimes you need
    a trainer, other times a mentor, listener, guidance or friend. You matter here, and we have the resources in place to ensure nobody slips through the cracks.
  • Juggle multiple tasks and meet tight deadlines with a positive attitude.

benefit from best wellness retreats - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)

Who can benefit from going on a wellness retreat?

The difference between staying fit on vacation and joining a structured fitness retreat. After a fitness retreat, you’ll feel recharged and ready to continue your healthy choices at home. You’ve avoided rushing from place-to-place, catching transit here and there trying to make connections. You’ve also avoided having to figure out all the logistics of your fitness vacation which can free up a lot of headspace. This is necessary to allow you to get the emotional benefits from working out (so often neglected).

Many of our guests at Whistler Fitness Vacations are going through a transition in their lives, perhaps overwhelmed from work, family, or relationship. Sometimes their health is not where it should be, often due to making poor choices influenced by stress.

Taking time to truly embrace the benefits of a luxury wellness retreat like ours will be of great mental and emotional benefit. No matter how much you strive to do meditation or to self-care sometimes in your home life, it’s just impossible to truly feel free. Getting away will allow you to come home refreshed, renewed and rebooted.

cat smiley best weight loss retraets  - The best wellness retreats in 2020 for fitness (that are actually affordable)


Finding the best wellness retreat for what you’re looking for depends on a variety of factors.

The first step is figuring out when you want to go – even if the program is amazing, you won’t enjoy it if the timing is off. Next, know what you want to achieve from your wellness retreat.

Research the schedule and the typical day carefully, envision yourself doing it. Would you enjoy it? Sometimes when I look at yoga retreat schedules I think heck no, there’s no way I could get into 3+ hours a day of yoga. But for others, that’s bliss. #knowthyself

Do you want tropical, mountains, ocean, North America, exotic, all women… or….? Weigh up your options to decide what kind of destination fitness retreat experience checks off all the boxes for you.

Wellness retreat programs encompass all genres of health retreat. You can add on spa services to a boot camp fitness retreat, for example, but only if the place has a treatment centre or lives near a town. So flying into a remote island in Somewhereville will be quiet, and limiting. Decide if you’re ready for that. I personally love the opportunity to head into town for a massage and new scene from the lodge.

Wherever you go, I wish you all the best in health and fitness with happy trails 🙂 Thanks for thinking about our program, and text out to 604-906-1034 if you’ve got any questions. I’d love to welcome you to Whistler this year. 

Hey, I’m Cat Smiley. I’m a fitness, nutrition, weight loss and life coach. Hire me if you want results! Click here to learn more about my 1-to-1 phone coaching services, upcoming weight loss retreats, and personal workshops.

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