Celebrate Your Life – See the World
by J “Kat” Loren : :
Craving a week away at a resort focusing on fitness in the company of like-minded adventurers, I flew to Las Vegas and caught a limo to St George, Utah – home of Movara Fitness Resort. I would have loved to remain more than a week. A week at Movara Fitness Resort in the high desert of Southern Utah was just enough to jump start my fitness goals. A month would have enabled me to lose more weight, re-shape my mid-life figure, and be fit enough to seriously train for sprint triathlons.
Movara has morphed through a couple of name changes over the past decade including a stint as a Biggest Loser resort made famous by reality television. Since then, it has evolved into a gentler, kinder but no less impacting all-inclusive program that attracts individuals of all ages and nations.
Some come to Movara for the daily extended morning hikes through wilderness cathedrals of sandstone etched with Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloans petroglyphs and take photos of desert roses – blooming cactus and spring waterfalls that disappear by summer. Some come to drop a few pounds a week in the spectacular fitness program involving a fully equipped gym and pool. Others focus on gaining a level of fitness and health that will help them run the marathon of life and add on personal training to a set rigorous schedule.
I came to immerse myself in a culture of health and fitness and get a jump start into summer hiking in a resort that offers a real pool where I could swim laps to my heart’s content. Well into my 50s, I had no illusions that one-week would give me quick weight loss and instant beach body. The Movara guests who stayed 3-4 weeks stood a better chance of dropping 10 pounds and regaining a bouncy step.
I left feeling fitter, having shed three percent of my body fat. I became more in touch with the reasons why I desire to maintain a healthy weight, and gained an appreciation for the beauty of the contemplative desert surroundings one hour from Zion National Park. My only regret is that I didn’t stay another three weeks. One week is too short.
Movara itself is a lovely resort. In fact, it is arguably the only resort specifically designed as an all-inclusive fitness resort, meaning, the education center, dining facility, spa, gyms, and pool area were designed to accommodate serious weight loss and fitness guests. This is not the place to sit around the pool with a beer between workouts. In fact, alcohol and coffee are not served on the premises due to their negative impact on metabolism. All guests are offered the same routine and can put as much or as little effort into the workouts as they please. Some spa services and personal training cost extra but unlike resorts that host a fitness program, you are not paying a la carte for every class, or hike, or excursion.
One glance at the resort policies that highlight the phrases Be Kind! No Comparing! -and you know that you are in for a wonderful experience. Everybody is different and it is not good for you or other people to compare your results and abilities with another. It is definitely a safe place to show your rolls of body fat while exercising and not worry about appearance.
Follow me along and I’ll show you what the program is really like.
Sunday Afternoon Check In:
Whether you arrive solo or with a roommate, the rooms are large enough so you’re not feeling cramped. Be warned, the furniture is dated and walls are thin so voices carry (bring earplugs). Not that you will be spending much time in it during a week-long stay. Ample lounge areas are located in other buildings and poolside cabanas where guests may take refuge in their own journals and headphones or meet some of the other guests for casual conversation.
After settling in, guests receive a fitness assessment where you stand barefoot on an InBody 520 machine that uses a bioelectric method to measure body composition – body fat, lean tissue mass, water/waste, and BMR – your basal metabolic rate) the amount of calories your body uses at rest). Stay tuned for a wonderful surprise. At the end of your stay, you’ll retake this assessment and marvel at your changes.
Its’ early! Why do resorts always want you up by 6 am and in the gym for stretching? For one reason – it gets your metabolism moving. For another, it warms up your muscles so when you start hiking that 5-8 miles along desert trails and up and over the stunning rock formations after breakfast, and then spend 45 minutes bouncing around the gym doing circuit training on the weight machines, followed by another 45 minute cardio workout session. Then its lunch, lectures and a pool or stretching session so you won’t be sore that night.
Every weight loss program imparts their signature lectures on nutrition, fitness, emotional eating, and weight management planning. Movara is no different and offers a simple but profound program that anyone can follow. Movara’s beautiful lecture room offers a respite from exercising the body and the lecturers shift you into the great Ah-Ha! that will unlock successful weight management strategies.
The Movera model reveals that weight management is the result of your beliefs and choices. The way you handle your emotions determines the choices your make – to eat healthy or not, to exercise or abdicate your life to the loving folds of your overstuffed couch. It is definitely a cognitive-behavioral way of looking at weight gain and loss that is evidence based – meaning it works.
The people who come to Movara as guest are as inspiring as the lectures. One look around the room at the variety of body types – from thin to obese – and variety of health ranges – from healthy to barely walking – and you will realize that there is always something you can do to remain active and do more than you think.
Beyond the ever-present salad bar, tea and beverage bar, and 1200-calorie meal plan that seems standard in most weight loss resorts, Movara serves up some pretty wonderful meals comprised of ample servings of protein like chicken and beef. Alternative choices are available at every meal and vegetarian options are always available. Unfortunately, little of the food is organic.
Tips for Getting the Most of the Program:
Stay longer than a week. Two weeks minimum, if possible. Some guests stay for one to three months. The resort offers many pricing options and friends & family deals so don’t be afraid to ask.
Do the morning hikes! They get you out of the gym, out of your thoughts, and into the healing beauty of nature. Hiking also helps you strengthen your core. (Summer hikes go earlier in the morning due to the heat.)
Focus on how your body feels and back off or push your exercise within your limits. Get in the pool if you want to skip a cardio class, or hide away in one of the fitness rooms for a 30-minute stretching routine to release the kinks.
Book a massage or two during your stay. Your body and your emotions will thank you.
Tired of the gym? Take one of the bikes out for a spin through the surrounding neighborhoods.
Need help getting over an emotional or physical obstacle so you can unlock your true potential? Schedule a session with Movara’s Life Coach or Personal Trainer and stay in touch with additional sessions once you return home.
Finally, do what professional athletes do and book the RMR and VO2 testing at the end of your stay so you know how many calories you burn at rest, how many you can eat to maintain your weight according to your body composition, and know how to effectively train within various zones to maximize your workouts.
The least expensive way to reach Movara Fitness Resort is to book a flight to Las Vegas and have Owl Shuttle pick you up at the airport and drop you off at Movara.
The local airport at St. George, Utah is about 30 minutes from Movara. Owl Shuttle offers the least expensive and most beautiful cars in town and is also available to pick you up in St George.
Depending on length of stay and whether you have a roommate or not, the cost varies from $1500 to $2400 per week. Not bad for a healthy lifestyle alternative to vacations fueled by sugar and alcohol on an overcrowded cruise ship or beach.
290 W Fitness Way
Ivins, UT 84738
J “Kat” Loren is a Pacific NW-based journalist and author of more than a dozen books. She currently focuses on writing health, fitness, and travel articles. Her blog “Crazi Culture” is a popular read among those who like eclectic topics and travelogues about odd places and adventures. http://www.craziculture.com
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