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.
1. Punch it out
Lots of people think of boxing as a way to get rid of stress and aggression. And yes, that can certainly be true! But what I find even more powerful (having dabbled in boxing for over four years) is the confidence in knowing I have more tools than the average person to protect myself with my bare hands, quick feet, and sharp reflexes -- all attributed to the sport.
Even though I don't see myself fighting any time soon (though I have thought about it...), I still get a rush every time I step in the ring for class or treat myself to the occasional one-on-one session. The mix of speed, power, and agility is intoxicating, and there is no better way to kick off a positive can-do attitude in the New Year than by throwing some punches.
Want to know how to start or take your boxing to the next level? Join us in Costa Rica for a special Boxing & the Beach retreat January 25-29! We will be focusing on technique, conditioning, and skills for all levels with Coach Nikki of Work Train Fight... and in true Ketanga spirit we will also be hanging out, surfing, and enjoying local food and drink!
2. Stop mid (Netflix) binge
Somehow the concept of binging has become common and even 'cool' when in reference to a TV series. What!? I mean, I love my watch-a-thons (more PC?), but I'm not too keen on the thought that a couch and TV set have utter control on my life and productivity.
Before you take personal offense and think this is all about cleansing yourself from Netflix completely, think again. Having down time and zoning out to rest your mind is a good thing! But like most indulgences, balance is key. So what am I saying here?
Give yourself permission to watch an episode or two (or three) of the only Shonda series you haven't seen yet, but give yourself a set limit and peel those eyes off the screen to make way for something - anything - else. Just like waking up early or ripping off a bandaid, at first it will suck, but then you'll be much better off for it! And if you can say NO to Netflix, you can pretty much do anything.
3. Find your flow
We've all heard of the winter blues, and likely felt them as well. It's no joke that the dark, cold winter can have an effect on our mood, body, and even health. But when we make an effort to bundle up and get things done, we truly feel more accomplished and are even more grateful for that fuzzy blanket gifted by Crazy Auntie over the holidays. So how to find peace and motivation to push through the coldest days? Yoga... for real!
There are so many types of yoga, and when you find what works for you, it can make a huge difference on your attitude, physical and mental strength, and mobility- especially during the freezing time of year when I don't know about you, but I feel like my whole body stiffens up. As someone who has always liked high-intensity fitness styles, I was most attracted to vinyasa / power yoga because of its combo of strengthening, stretching, and stability benefits.
If you're looking to take your yoga to the next level, or to practice in the warmth (and I'm not talking about hot yoga), I'd suggest looking into our Power & Empower retreat in Costa Rica, January 28 - February 1. What makes this such an exciting program is that the yoga is a power/vinyasa flow which is great for yoga and HIIT enthusiasts. Plus, there will also be higher-intensity Pilates-style classes to target our bodies in a completely different way. And when we're not on the mat, we'll be surfing, biking, and relaxing on the beautiful beach!
4. Prep for meal prep
When asked in an informal survey about meal prepping habits, the overwhelming reason why most of my subjects don't prep is because they simply don't know where to begin. Trying to figure out what to eat for dinner after a long day of work is challenging enough, but planning for the whole week? Yup, it can definitely be a bit intimidating. So our tip for feeling empowered to cook and eat healthier in the New Year is to prep for meal prepping.
This step goes before grocery shopping, before menu planning. We're talking basics here, like making the kitchen look like a place where you'd like to spend time (de-clutter, keep the counters clear of mail and packages), and ensuring you have all of the supplies you need (tupperware, tupperware, tupperware... and spices!). The meal prep guru herself, Alyssa Gagarin suggests, "picking up clear glass containers to store healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit, so that [you're] more enticed to reach for a healthy option. Plus, they always look beautiful when displayed like that!"
To learn more about meal prepping from the unofficial meal prep guru, Alyssa Gagarin, check out the upcoming Fitness, Food & Fun retreat where she will walk through tips, tricks, easy and healthy recipes, all in beautiful Costa Rica!
5. Splurge on what you WANT to wear (to the gym)
When laundry day comes around and all I have in my closet to work out in are old t shirts and the black leggings I don't like as much as all the other black leggings, I will admit, I am often less likely to go to the gym - and I love the gym!
So over the holidays I did two things that have already affected my drive to go to the gym and my performance while there. 1) I de-cluttered my closet and donated/recycled all those 'meh' gym clothes that seem to be the last ones picked. 2) I treated myself to some new workout tops and sneakers (ok, my Grandma bought me the sneaks). Now, when I go to pick out clothes for the gym, I like all my options, and I'm excited to wear them!
Plus, having less clutter and more space in my small NYC apartment actually makes me more productive and calm when I work from home! Try it out, and let me know if these tips or any others listed above work for you!
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For Nikki Campbell, top coach at NYC's Work Train Fight, boxing has become a beloved part of daily life. She loves the thrill (and sweat fest) of training, fighting, and especially teaching others to love it too.
Read on to get to know Nikki, and hear why she is so excited to lead the upcoming Boxing & the Beach Retreat in Costa Rica (Jan 25-29) as part of Camp Ketanga!
Ketanga: What do you expect/hope clients get out of your retreat?
Nikki: I hope that they come away with the confidence in a new skill that they have learned. Feeling strong and empowered is a feeling that I have grown addicted to and I hope they do too. Plus a killer tan :)
What are you most excited for about going to Costa Rica?
Exploring a new Central American country and experiencing the local beauty of the beaches and towns.
What makes this experience/your retreat so special in your own words?
Getting to be gritty, tough and physical while learning proper technique. It's usually one or the other but this retreat will incorporate pushing your bodies' limits while then learning how to be technical and precise.
3 words to describe your upcoming retreat: EMPOWERING; CHALLENGING; BADASS
You should consider Nikki's retreat if you want to train like a fighter and push yourself to see how tough you can get!
Learn more about Nikki's Boxing & the Beach Retreat here, and request more information by filling out the form below. Also, you can learn more by following Nikki and Work Train Fight on Instagram.
Six months ago, MMA was something I hardly even knew existed. I assumed every type of fighting was the same and was confident that I myself would never attempt any kind of training that was built on combat. Me? A fighter? No thanks.
Three months ago, MMA was a sport I was starting to hear people talk about, mostly associated with Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, to be honest. But I still felt confident that MMA would never be anything more to me than just a Pay Per View special that I watched with my boyfriend and his friends.
One month ago, MMA finally poked its head up into my life. I got the chance to e-interview Xavier Pagan, a trainer at the UFC Gym in the Financial District. Our goal: to "de-mystify" MMA, so that I could learn (and then share with others) what the technique is really all about.
Read on to hear why MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is an awesome way to work out - regardless of how you usually train - and why it's not as scary as you may think.
The once grungy, fight club sport is now arguably the hottest workout for fitness lovers who never plan to set foot between the ropes. Alberto Ortiz, owner of boxing gym Work Train Fight, has seen this evolution since opening his studio’s doors in 2009. We sat down with him to get the scoop on what makes boxing such an incredible workout.