This week I was asked to participate at the opening of The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Utah. When heading out to the resort, I had no idea what to expect. I have heard great things about it and only knew that they were trying to take the same principals from the show and create a place where anyone can come and lose a substantial amount of weight or enjoy a healthy, active vacation. I was a little nervous at first as I needed to make sure that I was able to get in my training for the NYC marathon. And, I was not sure if the structured program would allow me the time for my own runs. Once I arrived at the resort, all my concerns were lifted. The staff was absolutely amazing! I received a schedule of the daily activities and sat with a trainer to figure out the best way to add in my own training for the marathon.
The next morning, I woke up like a child on Christmas morning. I was so excited to see if the resort was like the ranch, the place that became my motivation and safety. If the resort was truly what I expected, then I may have just found my second home! The day started off with a communal breakfast, which to my surprise was served to us. You do not have to cook your own meals like you have to on the ranch. There was also a board with what the meal selections are for the day and the calorie counts of each item. It was absolutely delicious and awesome that there was no thinking about what I would have for lunch, dinner or snacks because it was all provided for you.
After breakfast, it was time for a hike. The hikes vary from beginner to advanced. I chose to go on the advanced hike, thinking, I can handle this, it can’t be that long! Well, to my surprise, the hike was 2.5 hours of breathtaking views of Utah and of course some uphill, downhill, jogging, climbing and walking. This hike was more difficult than most of the hikes on the ranch, but also much more beautiful! It was a great feeling walking away knowing that I got in an awesome workout. After the hike, we immediately changed for the pool workout. The pool was very energizing and it was awesome to meet even more guests of the resort.
During my pool workout, I was with people of all fitness levels. It was astonishing to me to see how the heaviest person in the pool was the motivating factor for the most fit person. The resort truly does cater to a vast array of people, from those looking to drop 100-plus pounds or just those there to experience a healthy active vacation.
After the pool, we took a break for lunch and a lecture on nutrition. For lunch, I had turkey chili with cornbread—one word to describe it… awesome! The lecture series was all about budgeting your calories. It was refreshing to see people taking notes on which nutrient rich foods they should incorporate into their diets—it was just like being on the ranch. At the ranch, after a long workout with Jillian, we would usually eat lunch and go over nutrition. Those talks are always what I refer back to now when I have questions. After the lecture, we had 45 minutes of free time at the gym and then three more 45-minute classes (ranging from cardio, weights, aerobics and stretch). I used the 45-minute open gym time to get in my training run. While running in southern Utah, I felt like I was running in a postcard. Every step was picturesque.
The food was spectacular and the workouts were challenging and fun, but the one thing that really stuck out for me was the people. From the owners, trainers, waiters and resort clients, I was just floored. There was such a sense of positivity and community at the resort. These attributes are what make The Biggest Loser Ranch so impactful on the contestants and now the resort has found that niche. I left with a renewed sense of motivation, just like when I left the ranch.
Want more updates from Tara Costa? Follow Tara on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. You can also follow Tara’s progress on the New York Road Runners website or TaraCosta.com.