True Story: When I was 5 I tried to fly. I really wanted to be like a bird and it seemed like an amazing idea! The thought came to me while walking across the drive into a crowded mall. I saw a low wall and jumped up on top – I ran the length of the wall until I had to pull up my feet. I flapped my wings (arms) furiously and with a huge smile skidded about 100 feet on my knees… ok, only 3 feet, but it seemed like 100. I was in shock, I could not believe that I was not able to fly!! I spent the next month hobbling around as my wounded knees were cleaned and dressed twice a day. You can still see those scars on my knees today.
I wish I could tell you that I learned a huge lesson from that experience, but in reality I didn’t. As I look back on my life, I am where I am today (in my happy place) because I didn’t overthink things. I get an idea in my head and ACT – before the fear sets in and I ask myself “why not?” I can tell you that the best things in my life came from saying YES/OK/SURE – before I could talk myself out of it:
Hey, you want to move up to northern California with me and teach Taebo. OK (what’s Taebo?)
I love your classes, would you personal train me? YES
I noticed that you are training my neighbor, do you want to train me everyday too? SURE
I know all of the trails, do you want me to take you on your first mountain bike ride? OK (and crash 1000 times in the first week).
The Sea Otter Classic (MTB race) is next month, you should do it! OK
Hey, my friend just started this company called Athleta and needs some fitness models for their catalogs, you want to do it? SURE
I think you should send your modeling photos to SHAPE magazine. OK
My boyfriend just backed out, do you want to take his spot on the LA AIDS ride (in 2 days)? SURE
You may not know how to swim but you sure can ride – I will sponsor you for your first triathlon. OK
Surprise- I rented us a place in Punta de Mita, the lease starts next month – Do you want to try living in Mexico? SURE
Want to write a blog post about fear? OK (I re-wrote this 6 times)
Each of these experiences had one thing in common. They all scared the crap out of me. Many of them had me physically shaking!
If you are not living the life you have always dreamed of, I encourage you to say YES! ESPECIALLY if it scares you. Friends invite you to train to hike Mt. Shasta; A co-worker asks you to go salsa dancing; For 8 months you been driving by an art studio on the way home from work and have been saying you are going to take a class – START hiking, GO salsa dancing, TAKE that painting class! If you want to BE something different, you have to DO something different. Not everything will be the perfect fit. Did everything I said “yes” to turn into a magical experience? Definitely not. But, trusting the universe and running off walls – flapping my wings with everything I have, has landed me right here… splitting my time between Mexico and Park City, UT, married to an incredible man, living a life WAY beyond my wildest dreams. Saying yes to things, YES TO LIFE, got me to this place and it can get you to your happy place too!
20 years ago I met Lisa. She was the manager of Skylonda, one of the original wellness retreat centers in Northern California. Every day, rain or shine, she would take guests hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains. After lunch, she would lead them through an exercise class and sometimes an additional yoga class. Can you say dream job? Maybe you can’t, but I did – I thought she had won the career lottery! Soon after, I began my training to be a Taebo instructor and within a year I was also personal training clients at a local gym. I never forgot about Lisa and knew that someday I wanted to lead my own wellness retreats. You have to remember this was 1995 and there was no such thing as a fitness or yoga “retreat.”
Fast forward to 2004 – The summer I met my now husband on an organized road cycling trip in France. (That is a whole other story). In the 11 years since our first trip, Mack and I have cycled, hiked, surfed, and scuba dived all over the world. Many of our adventures have been with organized groups or outfitters. 16 to be exact: 6 MTB trips, 1 MTB/surf/Yoga trip, 3 road cycling trips, 2 diving trips, 1 yoga retreat, 1 surf camp, 1 week of buddhist meditation study, and even 1 couple’s retreat (yikes). I will also throw in the 3 MTB multi-day stage races that we did – just because it takes some major organization to provide travel, gear, lodging and food for 50-400 racers. In addition to these organized vacations, we have also planned many of our own multi-sport trips. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of this travel was “research” for my fitness retreat company, SweatPlayLive. I know many people shy away from traveling with a group, so why do we seek out organized trips for our vacations?
It is a no brainer… literally. You do not have to think. All of your meals, activities, and transportation are set up for you. It is SO AWESOME to just show up and have everything planned out for you.
You know you will be staying active – YAY! You know exactly when and how much exercise you will be getting, I mean enjoying. 🙂
You meet like-minded (cool) people. I have become very good friends with many people we have met on our trips. *You may even meet your future spouse!
Traveling to new places and enjoying the local culture with people “in the know.” When you visit a new place, especially foreign countries, local knowledge can save you tons of time and money, and why would you want to follow the herd to all the tourist traps anyways?
About 6 years ago, I started looking for a fitness retreat to go on by myself. I went to 4 of the most famous fitness retreats out there, and the schedules were all the same: Class, breakfast, class, class, lunch, sit by the pool, class, class, dinner. Now, I am not knocking it, and if that sounds great to you then I am happy to give you the names of these places. But for me, even as a fitness professional and someone who teaches and takes tons of classes, that is not what I want to do on a vacation. So I decided to create my own, and SweatPlayLive fitness retreats was born. I design each SPL retreat after my perfect day: I love to get up early and do a kick-ass workout. Dive into a healthy breakfast before our ride, hike, surf, etc. Enjoy local flavors for lunch. Explore the area, shop, or just hang out. Do some yoga or stretch before dinner. Add in a margarita or two, and that to me is a PERFECT DAY!
I know I am a little biased, but I want to tell you why I LOVE my SPL retreats.
We workout every morning 1- 2 classes before breakfast. No fear… there is coffee/tea and fruit served before if you would like.
The meals and restaurants that we go to offer many healthy choices. When we eat out at restaurants you can order whatever you wish off the menus.
All the activities are included. Depending on the location, we offer hikes, surf, sup, snorkel, fun activities like zip-lining, or ropes courses. You will never see “these activities are offered at an additional cost.” (I personally hate that.)
Our groups are small 6-16 people. You will have individual attention and will never be lost in the crowd… or doing yoga with 100 of your closest friends.
SweatPlayLive started in Mexico, and I love showing people secret spots and “off the beaten path” adventures in all of our locations.
We offer evening yoga and/or meditation. All of our workouts and activities are optional, and if you choose to skip the day, you still can join us for an incredible mind/body stretch class.
There are no hidden costs. Service Fees? Nope. Airport transfers? Those are included too… and not just within a 30 minute or 1 hour window. I realize guests are traveling from all over the country and they should not be penalized if the only flight available to them arrives later that night. You land on the first day of the retreat, we pick you up.
All vacations are great time to unplug and re-connect with your true self. If you also enjoy great workouts, outdoor adventures, and meeting otherfun, like-minded women to share tons of laughs with, then I invite you to join Heather and me on our upcoming Move Your Asana® fitness retreats:
Park City Summer Escape – August 5-9th
Mexico Fall Fitness Fiesta – October 22-27th
I am sitting on my flight from MKE to SFO…I smell like pee. My four year old promptly feel asleep right after take off. I asked him to please not pee, but he did. So, his pants are drying the floor, his underwear are wrapped in paper towels at my feet, as he sits bottomless in one of my beautiful wraps and I smell like pee. Awesome. It actually makes me chuckle. This is just sort of how we roll.
I grew up in Waukesha, a suburb outside of Milwaukee. My parents and brother and his girlfriend still live in the area, so I try to take one, two or all three of the kids out for a visit at least once a year. We laugh at the accents…and I laugh at myself as I easily fall back into the “oh, don’t ya know”.
We arrived on a Thursday afternoon in late June and that evening I taught a super fun Move Your Asana® Fitness•Yoga class at the Lululemon shop in downtown Milwaukee. Friday I hung out with my boys at we did an awesome park-our workout. Check out this funny video. We did 5 circuits and then a bunch of fun drills (and I was sore on Saturday!!!). We were all sweat and smiles. Rad.
My mom was diagnosed with MDS shittyness last June. What is MDS? Cancer sucks. She has been going thru chemo, had a transplant and is going thru more chemo now. It was nice for her to get to hang out with her grandkids. She is the best. Just getting to chat and chill was really nice. That was the main reason for the visit. Just together time. Sitting on the couch or the floor or the counter laughing and then talking about real stuff. This is a whole separate blog post…
This year my daughter was old enough to want to go to sleep away camp. Awesome for her, and me. I was a counselor at Camp Birch Knoll in the Great Northern Wisconsin Woods the summer after my second year at UW-Madison (Go Bucky!). Camp Birch Knoll She flew across country solo and my parents took her to camp for her first week. Camp Birch Knoll is an AWESOME all girls camp. If you have a daughter, you should consider sending her. The Saturday of our visist, I handed my two boys off to my mom, dad, uncle and auntie and drove 4.5 hours up to CBK. I listened to the EL James book GREY (50 Shades from Christian’s point of view) the ENTIRE drive there and most of the way back. I know, super cheesy, major queso—-but totally fun…and it kept me awake. My daughter showed me all of the cool stuff around camp that she loved and I was flooded with fond memories. My butt was broken from sitting for so long and my torn hamstring attachment was not happy, so I opted for a 60 minute power walk, planks and neutral spine abdominal work the moment we landed back at my parents house in North Prairie. Continuing to listen to my 18 hour book along the way…then I ordered a grey tie on Amazon. (Just kidding.)
Aunti and Uncle kept the boys with them in Milwaukee Saturday…and good thing. My oldest boy ended up with Norovirus and puked ALL over the place in the middle of the night. OMG. My brother, who is inching towards 50 and doesn’t have kids of his own…cleaning up my kids disaster…all night long. eek. Life lessons I guess. I got the word of my kids vomit-spectular-evening mid TRX workout on Sunday morning. I cut it short, got my daughter ready to go back for 3 more weeks of sleep-away camp (word!) and headed to Milwaukee to help with the cleanup. I picked up a few hazmat suits and entered the quarantined area. 7 year old asleep in the middle of the floor and 4 year old racked out in a bed and older brother completely wiped out. Then, my sick kid totally goes into weird delirious mode – in a strange sleep awake stake – living out the crazy dream he is having with eyes wide open but seeing nothing. (I’m not an MD, but sometimes I play one on TV. Dehydration combined with fever would be my guess…or a serious creeper invading his body. After 15 minutes, I was considering holy water.) That passed and two hours later he popped up and was totally fine. Alrighty then.
Round two for transportation to the Great North Woods for the daughter. I put her on the bus this time. I needed a break from Christian. We met the bus at a local Starbucks. There was a homeless man outside trying to pool together money for coffee and food. We ended up in line behind him and I bought him a bunch of food and coffee. He was super nice and we clinked coffee cups. I told my kids that if they are ever given the opportunity to buy someone a meal or shoes or a jacket, someone who needs it, they should absolutely do it. Its the right thing to do. Never mind the people rolling their eyes in line behind me. Let them live in their own reality and I will live in mine…where you try your best everyday, don’t make judgements, speak the truth and don’t take things personally. Those are good rules and values. I am doing my best to instill them in my kids. Anywho, off Mason Leigh rode and we back home to hang out with Nonee and Popee and chill. Park, adventures, legos, giant bubble tub, nap, solid Move Your Asana® Fitness•Yoga workout (where I kicked my own asana and listened to music instead of Mr. Grey, gasp), dinner with the family, bike ride, races in the grass, rides in the Cobra and sitting on the couch talking. It was a good day. We stayed back at my brother’s house that night. And, at 2am – barf splat splat – spaghetti all over the bed from the 4 year old. OMG. THIS is why I work out. So that in moments like this I can respond with the quickness and agility of a cheetah. I also have those crazy, bat-like ears, like most moms do, that hear everything. I was out of my bed, into the next room and had my 4 year old over the toilet before hurl #2 started to bubble. And I did it like a crazy ninja with not a noise. AWESOME. Spaghetti puke is gross. Bed stripped and in the wash, kid cleaned up and feeling ok and we went to sleep on the couches with a bucket next to us. No more puke…and no more sleep for me. Such is the life of a ninja mom.
It was time to head back to CA . All packed and ready to go. Ding. 10:30am flight delayed to 1:45pm. Ok. Boys are psyched…they head to play Halo. Me work. 12pm we Uber it to MKE. I think we had the ultimate hipster driver. Cereal. Um, and he didn’t help me with my 5 bags. Sorry, I don’t tip for the F of it. Inside to the gate…ding flight delayed to 2:10pm. Lame. We headed for lunch when ding…flight delayed to 3:30pm. Hey-Zeus. So now, finally en route, here we sit. I smell like pee, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. What an awesome trip we had. We didn’t “do” much “stuff”…but we got to hang out a ton and talk and laugh and puke and pee. Collecting moments, not stuff. I think that is what this is all about. You don’t have to “do” “stuff” to collect moments. You can have a crazy workout session with your kids at the park and then make a silly video and laugh so hard at it you cry. And, you can just sit on the couch with your mom and talk. And you can clean up puke and sit in pee. This is the “stuff” that makes lasting memories.