Monday, May 11, 2015

High Desert Adventure Retreat - Nor Cal

We began with a 5 mile night hike into the high desert wilderness led by a flaming torch. 

For Folks who love the outdoors, this one's for you.  Free Flow Academy is now offering what we call "Adventure Retreats".  That's right.  We promise you an Adventure, a Retreat, and overall - good times.  We feel what we offer at the gym is all just prep work for the real deal - the outside world.  Because let's face it, it's just not healthy to always exist in a box, and always exist in a bubble, where we get to move things around, to suit ourselves and our limitations.  There is no sense in creating false illusions of what we are capable of.  The gym is great for prepping, and the gym is great for rehabing.  But let's not mistake the gym for what it is.  PREP and REHAB.  So we trainers tend to get a bit philosophical when it comes to training - especially when discussing the realm of "Functional Fitness", which is our industry/niche.  The term "functional" is always being discussed, and quite simply, debated.  So I'm going to keep it really simple.  I think bullet points are always great for defining things and keeping them simple so here goes - how we define "Functional":

- Utility/Application/Alignment to Real Life Circumstances
- Translates to a variety of movement and/or fitness disciplines
- Useful work loads that serve a purpose

I think I'll hold it on just those 3 bullet points.  I may update/revise later - but for now, let's just stick with that so we can move forward.  We believe our Adventure Retreats are the next level - to actually understanding how we move and we can truly adapt to our environment.  The greatest teacher is Mother Nature.  Why?  Because she's fierce, unforgiving, and commands respect.  Mother Nature is humbling, and reminds us of how small we really are, but also, gives us some real insight to the vast network we belong to.

This Adventure Retreat was designed to rebuild us from the cellular level.  So in that case, we started with walking.  Hiking on uneven terrain with packs serves a few specific purposes.  For one, when we walk on uneven terrain, it builds up all the little micro muscles and stabilization muscles in our feet, ankles, and calves.  Add some weight to that, and you'll soon discover some of the weaknesses and overcompensation in your gait pattern.

We ate only organic, mostly plant based food.  High carbs, high protein, and whole foods were our fuel.  The fuel that you take in makes all the difference in the world, helps prevent injury, and excessive soreness, as well as gives us the energy and vitality we need to stay strong and focused throughout the entire process.

Variability was also key - as this is a movement exploration experience.  We hiked, ran, backpacked, kung fu, parkour, archery, tracking, bouldering - it was non-stop movement.  But the difference is we took on different load profiles - working different muscle groups.  Keeping things diversified increases longevity, and delivers a more well rounded experience.  

We rose at 5am to the sound of a Native American Flute, then ran up a ravine, to practice tai chi and qi gong, and finish off our meditation while watching the sun rise over the mountains.  

We practiced archery - and also should mention we took kids as young as 4 on this Adventure.  We tallied around 20 miles of hiking on foot.  11 miles with packs.  If this kid can do it, so can you.  Although this kid is a beast.  And you could be too.
Parkour of course!  We had a QM session, Climbed trees, rock hopped, and took on additional loads (held rocks while we parkoured)
We discovered a small cave and had some fun exploring the inside, slipping into small crevices to discover a new world. We also learned some bouldering techniques to give us some moment of applied movement and exploration.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises help with circulation, increased metal clarity and focus.

Our backpacking crew consisted of a team of 20 people - varying ages.  Yes there was a woman present on this trip (I was taking the picture).  I would LOVE to see some more women on treks like these.  It has been suggested to me to organize a women's adventure retreat.  I think I say "Challenge Accepted!"

We learned about tracking animals, and all kinds of wilderness survival techniques, such as star navigating, and creating shelters.  We had Jeff Adorador from EarthWalker teaching us continually about how to use/adapt to our surroundings so that we may thrive.  His words were simple - "The more you know, the less you need".  Wise indeed!

This video pretty much sums up our trip - we even had ants for snack!  I'd have to say they weren't bad!  Sort of sweet, and a little sour.  It was not what I expected... surprisingly kind of good :)  Consider checking out our upcoming Adventure Retreats and take on the challenge of being transformed from the cellular level!