To kick off the New Year, I journeyed WAY outside my comfort zone. If I were to put it into numbers, I hiked 50 miles out of it to be exact!! 😄
Just a day after January 1st, I set off on the The Ranch’s 4 Day luxury wellness retreat. My goal was to detox from the holidays and start 2020 on a positive note.
At the time though, I had no idea the next 4 days would be some of the most physically challenging of my life. I also didn’t know they’d be the catalyst for SO many positive shifts as well.
Reflecting back on my life pre and post retreat, I’m still stunned. It’s without a doubt the quickest I’ve ever seen such radical changes take place in my life. While I owe a large part of that to my own desire to change, I truly believe my experience at The Ranch 4.0 is what gave me the confidence and determination to actually make the change happen.
I’ve been so excited to share with you all the amazing transformations I’ve experienced post-retreat!! Before I get into the results though, let me break down each element of The Ranch 4.0 👊.
The Ranch 4.0 Program
The Ranch 4 Day retreat consists of:
- A 4 night stay at the Four Seasons Westlake Village
- A retreat group size of up to 18 people
- Daily 4 hour (strenuous) hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains
- All vegan, gluten-free meals that total 1,400 calories a day
- No alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or processed foods
- An afternoon of 3 back-to-back workout classes: 2 strength/circuit training classes followed by restorative yoga
- Daily massages
- V02 & Bod Pod testing to measure fitness and health levels
- A healthy cooking demonstration + recipes for all meals on the retreat
Here is a picture of the jam-packed itinerary!
I won’t lie…when I saw this itinerary I was thinking “What the 🤬 did I get myself into?! 😂
NEVER in a million years did I think I was physically OR mentally capable of doing all of this. I personally love fitness classes and my leisurely hikes around LA, but this was next-level. The hikes were probably the hardest I’ve ever pushed myself physically. Plus, the fact I still survived the workout classes that followed still blows my mind.
There were several times I wanted to quit and just stay in bed and skip everything. I COMPLETED THE ENTIRE ITINERARY THOUGH!!
I can’t even begin to describe the feelings of empowerment that came with all of this. Our bodies are capable of so much when we practice mind over matter. But more on this later!
By the end of the retreat, the itinerary became less daunting and my body started to feel the detox benefits. The early wake up calls felt more natural. I looked forward to the stretching and yoga sessions each day. My body was feeling AMAZING being fueled by so many whole foods and veggies.
I still woke up with my muscles ACHING, but much less compared to the beginning of the retreat. The first day home from the retreat, I even did a boxing class because my body was craving endorphins 😂
Although the itinerary was no walk in the park, it’s what made the retreat so effective. Whether your goal is to detox, lose weight, reconnect with your body and nature, or just challenge yourself physically and mentally, the itinerary takes care of everyone’s retreat goals. You of course have the option to sit out of any hike or activity you wish. To reap all the benefits to the fullest though, it’s encouraged to participate in everything.
I’m personally glad I challenged myself to attend everything just because it showed me how capable I really am. If I were to return with friends or family though, I’d probably have a more relaxed approach next time.
The hikes on this retreat deserve their own separate review. They were that beautiful!! All of the hiking takes place in the Santa Monica Mountains and nearby Conejo Valley, with each trail surprisingly unique and different from the other. Even as an LA native, I was completely floored by the mountain’s natural beauty each day of the retreat.
It should be warned that the hikes are DIFFICULT. I’m talking miles uphill difficult. You will sweat, pant, and sometimes even question if you’ll make it to the finish line. The views were always worth it though, and you feel SO accomplished every time they’re over.
The thing I loved most about the hikes was that I often had the whole trail to myself. That could’ve been because I was one of the slowest hikers in the group though. So I don’t know if I can speak for the others 😂. I also loved that I didn’t have to worry about lagging. The guides expertly time out the hikes so that everyone finishes at the same time. You don’t need to worry about getting lost either since the guides mark all the designated trails with flags and stay connected with everyone via walkie talkies!
Like any Four Seasons hotel, the rooms are luxurious and beautiful and provide a relaxing home base for your four night stay. All stretching and workout classes take place in the hotel’s fitness center, which was very convenient. The same convenience applied to the meals too, which take place in the beautiful on-site greenhouse.
The only downfall of staying at the hotel for the program are the restaurants and bar you pass by daily. One night a Domino’s delivery walked by me, and I thought I was going to pass out from the smell alone 😂.
But hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!! 😄💪
All meals on the retreat were phenomenal. As I said earlier, they’re vegan, gluten-free and made from scratch. This caused a lot of initial concern for several non-vegans (which was most of our group). However, every single meal was very satisfying, incredibly flavorful, and packed with so many feel-good ingredients!
I eat pretty clean at home regularly, so I didn’t experience too many cravings. Nor did I miss meat or sugar too much. I did feel starving at times though, especially a couple days into the retreat after being SO active every day. They do feed you 3 large meals a day with 2 snacks in between though, so hunger is not their goal. It was just an inevitable by-product of burning so many more calories than you’re consuming.
Since the retreat I’ve added lean proteins and caffeine back into my diet. However, I’ve pretty much kept up the rest of The Ranch diet with no gluten, dairy, alchohol or processed foods. I even eat veggies at every meal now!!
My reason for sticking with this is because The Ranch meals made me feel AMAZING! It took away my regular stomach aches I’d experience daily. I had loads more energy throughout the day. Plus, my overall body just seems to be functioning better! It also opened up my eyes to what foods agree with my body and what nutrients I should be getting.
As a retreat leader myself, I had a special appreciation for The Ranch staff!! All of our guides were very friendly, encouraging, and went out of their way to make everyone comfortable.
On the hikes, I really got to connect with most of the guides and get to know them on a personal level. They might not know it, but they really helped me push through on the final legs of the hikes when I secretly wanted to quit and turn around!!
I personally know how important of a role the staff plays in making a retreat run smoothly, so I have a lot of respect and admiration for The Ranch team!
The Ranch Results
The Physical Results:
- I lost 3 pounds by the end of the retreat (which then dropped to 6 when I weighed myself at home the next day, so we’ll go with 6 🤣). I also lost a total of 8 inches to my body.
- Just a disclaimer: This was not my goal for going on the retreat. My body feels stronger and more physically fit than ever before though, so I’m very happy with the results!
- I saw noticeable changes to my physical appearance. I gained muscle, look more toned, and lost my puffy holiday layer haha!
- I’ve still been craving my daily workouts lately, even 2 weeks after the retreat. Endorphins are real people!!!
- I’ve noticed I push myself a lot more than before in my workouts at home. I now know what my body is capable of!
- By keeping up consistent workouts and clean eating post-retreat, my energy levels have been through the roof. I’ve never felt so energized throughout my days!
- Waking up early in the morning and going to bed at a reasonable hour has been MUCH easier for me. I’ve been a night owl my entire life, so this was huge for me.
The Mental Impact:
- The biggest mental shift I’ve noticed is in my self-discipline and stamina. I’ve been inviting challenges and embracing fear into life with a lot more confidence. I also feel like I believe in myself more than ever before. I think this has always been inside of me, it just took an experience like this to bring it out 🙏
- Post-retreat, I’ve been lazor-focused on my goals. All that time spent in nature, plus our yoga and meditation classes gave me lots of time to think about the New Year and what I wanted to accomplish. I seriously couldn’t imagine a better way to start 2020!
- The retreat definitely inspired me to keep venturing outside my comfort zone and become aware of my limiting beliefs. I hope to keep doing things that scare me in 2020 🤗
Who I’d Recommend The Ranch For
I think this is important to state first: The majority of the retreat attendees were in great physical shape. I’m 27 and workout 5 times a week, yet many people in my group, even 10-20 years older than me, were lapping me on the hikes 🤣. I would definitely recommend this retreat to active, fit adults, or at least people that live an active lifestyle at home. If you’re a complete fitness newb, I would probably recommend a different wellness retreat.
If you enjoy hiking, care about your health and fitness or just want to get more in touch with your body and your surroundings, I would also highly recommend this retreat to you!! Even if you look at the itinerary and feel on the fence about your survival, just know you can probably handle more than you know.
The Ranch is also great for for anyone looking for ways to incorporate healthy changes into their lifestyle. It’s such an amazing place to reset and jumpstart those changes! It is pricey (it’s priced at $4,200!), but after seeing how drastic the post-retreat impact’s been, I would say it’s worth every penny!
If you’re still wondering if The Ranch is a good fit for you, talk with The Ranch staff! You can take a look at their pre-retreat prep. It gives you a good idea of what kind of shape you should be in to prepare for the retreat. I, along with several of the other attendees didn’t fully follow all the pre-retreat guidelines and were perfectly fine, but it at least allowed us to assess how manageable the retreat would be.
My Experience at The Ranch was life-changing to say the least. Was it a challenge, both physically and mentally? OHHHH YES!! I feel SO much stronger though and SO grateful to have started my year this way!! If you’re up for a challenge, I highly recommend The Ranch 4.0!
If you have any other questions regarding the retreat, please feel free to drop them below or shoot me an email! I’m more than happy to answer them 😊