Before we go any further I have to admit I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this trip so much. You see, my first Ketanga retreat was just about a year ago and I literally had the time of my life. I went completely out of my comfort zone to do it but came out with new friends (Hi ladies! And Baron!) and incredible memories that set the tone for one of my best years yet.
2017 was on fire for me and I truly credit Ketanga for helping me start it off on such a high. So fast forward 365 days, I knew I wanted more but what if it wasn’t as remarkable the second time around? Like those amazing fish tacos you had at that random stop on your cross country trip and you dream about them for years until you finally make it back and they taste nothing like you remember. Crushing right? I know you’ve been there. I was dreading this possibility on my second retreat but I went with my gut and signed up. I love boxing and I love Ketanga so it was a risk I was willing to take. I signed up for the Boxing & the Beach retreat (part of Camp Ketanga) with Coach Nikki Campbell, and boy am I glad I did!
Risks. I’m not a big fan. The idea of doing something I will likely fail at and will potentially get hurt while doing it, is absolutely not appealing to me. Which is why I have backed out of surfing lessons twice before. I made a point to tell everyone on the Boxing & the Beach retreat that I was 100% no doubt about it going to be participating in the surf lesson this time. I must have said it 15 times in the first 3 days of the trip yet somehow at breakfast on the morning the lesson was scheduled, I managed to confidently tell everyone that I would be siting on the sidelines for today’s activity. I was proud of myself for playing it safe. I rationalized that I don’t need added stress in my life why should I torture myself with an activity I’m already anxious about before it has even started?
My relief quickly dissipated as Stacy told me she had already signed me up and as my dear friend she wasn’t letting me back out because she knew that inside I really wanted to do it. I knew she was right, I just had to get over myself and take a damn risk. I agreed to the land lesson. And that went well so I agreed to ONE try in the water. With Mao by my side, who I swear is the world’s best surf instructor, I dragged my board into the water.
Side note: I chose this moment to tell Mao that I can’t swim and to his credit he didn’t freak out which in turn kept me from freaking out. He assured me that I would be OK and I should hurry up and get on the board because a wave was coming. GULP. I hopped on, he pushed, I paddled, and next thing I know I WAS FREAKING SURFING! On my first try! I couldn’t believe it.
I was so damn proud of myself for taking the risk and getting in that water. But that’s the thing, it goes so much deeper than that. In hindsight, I’m most proud that I went on that first trip last year and met Stacy who I’ve built an incredible friendship with. Someone who knew me well enough to recognize I needed a little nudge that morning. And I’m proud that I took the plunge into retreat number two where – spoiler alert – the other group members did not suck! In fact, they are some of my new favorite people. And they cheered and smiled right along with me when I rode that wave because even though we’d only know each other for a few days, we were in this together and the camaraderie was REAL.
I guess at the end of the day I am a risk taker after all. But really with Ketanga it’s just a calculated risk because you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an experience that makes you smile.
By Nikki C.
We kicked off our Total Body Fusion Retreat in Tamarindo, Costa Rica on January 18. We first had some time to settle into our rooms and then participated in a light workout focused on some dynamic mobility to regain some movement in our bodies after our long day of travel. Most of us had never been to Costa Rica before, so we were thrilled to get to experience the incredible sunset for the first time!
After learning some new kickboxing moves in our morning workout, the group headed out to Canopy Pura Aventura for a horseback riding excursion that was included in the retreat package. We had a mix of experienced and non-experienced riders, so we took things slow – and our horses didn’t seem to mind.
After enjoying a relaxing afternoon by the pool, we spent the evening with our retreat coach, Steve Feinberg, learning about nutrition, and specifically macros and micros. Throughout the retreat, Steve was a fountain of knowledge, sharing tips and best practices from his own workout routines and diet. He even followed-up afterward with a helpful recap of the various nutritional supplements and principles he had spoken to on our trip.
Our last full day of the Total Body Fusion Retreat concluded with a sunset sail into the Pacific Ocean. While the picture may be self explanatory, it was a stunningly beautiful way to end our time in Costa Rica! (and the open bar, humpback whale sighting, and cannonballs off the side of the boat were the cherries on top!).
Because we were on a fitness retreat, even the last day of our trip included a morning workout to get our blood flowing before traveling hours back to our home destinations. After our workout, we spent the morning taking in our last few hours at the beach and the pool and then headed to the airport to say our final goodbyes.
I'm SO thrilled I was able to experience Costa Rica - and Ketanga - for a second time and in such a different way! The 'Tico' culture, laid back atmosphere, and structured activities made this vacation the perfect balance of fitness, adventure and relaxation, and I can't wait to do it again!
By Amy F.
Kicking things off
Once everyone arrived on Day One, we quickly bonded at our welcome dinner on the beach as the sun set (side note: you cannot beat the Tamarindo sunsets. Those alone are worth the flight there). Our energetic, hungry crew of 14 was off to a great start in Tamarindo for five days of adventure, exercise, food, and sunshine!
Each day of the retreat kicked off with a tough morning workout led by our enthusiastic Coach Alyssa Gagarin. The workouts had a different theme and the Tamarindo Diria resort has plenty of spots for us to get our sweat on. After working up an appetite, we'd enjoy a fantastic breakfast buffet right next to the water. Such a perfect way to start the day!
Then our days continued with a healthy cooking activity later in the day. On day 2, Alyssa taught her meal prep philosophy (complete with fresh fruit smoothies). On day 3, Alyssa led a cooking class where we crafted guacamole, plantain chips, cauliflower rice and shrimp curry for a healthy, homemade lunch! And on day 4, the resort's Executive Chef, Patrick, led us through a packed food seminar-- including a discussion/tasting of local fruits, a Costa Rican ceviche cooking lesson (which we also got to eat), and a fish filleting demo. We gained so much insight from a former Michelin Star chef, and on the last night we joined Chef Patrick for a four-course dinner featuring foods from the earlier demonstration!
Experiences over things
Of course a Ketanga retreat wouldn't be complete without some adventure. We zip-lined through the treetops of Tamarindo, took surf lessons in the Pacific, rode horses down the beach, and mingled with local Ticos at the farmer's market.
If the trip sounds full of food, fun, adventure, and activities, it was. But we still found time to catch some rays around the resort, swim in one of the many pools (with swim up bars) and make some lasting friendships.
It was a whirlwind 5-day retreat and we all walked away with new skills and motivation to take to our every day life.
Ketanga on 3!