It’s likely we won’t be going on a typical vacation, let alone an organized fitness retreat, anytime soon. But since we could all use a break, going on a fitness retreat from home sounds like the next best thing.
“At Ketanga Fitness Retreats, each and every trip is different and unique — but they all combine fitness, adventure, relaxation and socializing with a community of like-minded people,” says Stacy Schwartz, founder and CEO. “Whether you can’t get away because of other obligations, financial resources or because you are quarantined during a global pandemic, you can take elements of a retreat home with you and reap the benefits!”
Those perks include reduced stress and anxiety, connecting with others, trying new types of exercise, learning a new skill like meditation and simply getting your mind off of coronavirus or whatever else may be taking a mental toll. Here’s a primer on the components you’ll need to create your own homegrown fitness getaway.
The first event of the day on any fitness retreat is a workout. Right now you can find tons of free workouts on the web, YouTube and Instagram, as well as paid Zoom classes conducted by various studios. Try one in a city you’ve never visited. “Ketanga is hosting Brunch and Burn classes on Saturday mornings,” Schwartz says. “Then we post it on our YouTube page so anyone who can’t do it live can do it anytime.” The session includes how to make an easy, healthy breakfast (the “brunch”) that bakes in the oven while you do the workout (the “burn”). Whether you do that class or your own, it’s a great way to kick off a healthy, active day.
Usually retreats offer time alone or a few activities; at home, you can do both. “Clear some mental space and do an activity that you enjoy or have wanted to try but rarely make time for,” Schwartz suggests. Perhaps that’s practicing guitar, journaling, painting or cooking a healthy dish. “Try to do something not involving a screen for 30 uninterrupted minutes,” Schwartz says.
Sometimes retreats bring in guest speakers, so try this virtually. This time you can use a screen, but only for something educational — just be sure it’s on something you are truly curious about. “Watch a TED talk, participate in an online course or lecture or watch a tutorial video about a topic or skill you’re working on,” Schwartz says. You’ll learn something and may discover a new passion.
Time for the second workout of the day. When planning your retreat exercise, consider doing one higher-intensity session and one lower-intensity session each day so you don’t push yourself too hard. For this workout, find something you can do with friends at the same time, whether that’s a live class or something on-demand. Once class is over, get together on Zoom or Houseparty for a happy hour (with or without drinks). “It’s a great way to motivate one another to be active and then enjoy a rewarding conversation and catch up with those who are important to you,” Schwartz says. “We’re hosting virtual HIIT and happy hour events. They’re a 30-minute workout on Zoom followed by hanging out virtually.”
Draw up a bath using homemade bath salts, light some candles and play relaxing music as you soak. (They say a hot bath is almost as good as a workout.) Afterward, consider painting your nails or using a face mask. “Even if you’re not going out or seeing other people, you will feel so much better if you take care of yourself,” Schwartz says.
If you have a meditation practice, it’s a nice way to close out your day. If you don’t, Schwartz suggests writing down three things you are grateful for and then quietly reflecting on them for a few minutes. Or you can try a meditation app; many have short practices for beginners and also ones for sleep.
To up the “getaway” feel, pick a country or workout theme. For example, “pretend you are on a yoga retreat in Italy for the day,” Schwartz suggests. “Play some Italian music in the background as you cook an Italian meal, or put a screensaver of Tuscany on your TV or laptop while you practice yoga and then enjoy some wine.”
You can also get your friends to home-vacation with you. “Send out the schedule and check in on each other at designated times like lunch or after a workout,” Schwartz recommends.
However you do it, you’ll find that at-home fitness retreats can boost your mental and physical health — and that’s something most of us need right now.