According to a small study from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a health and wellness vacation (a.k.a. a few days spent focusing on healthy food, exercise, and stress management On. A. Beach) is the ticket straight for a clean healthy bill. In the study, people who experienced such a trip lost an average of 6.8 pounds, lowered their blood pressure by 7.7 percent, and saw a 5.2 percent decline in cholesterol levels and BMI. While most CrossFit athletes don’t necessarily need to lose weight, lower their blood pressure, or decrease their cholesterol levels, health and wellness retreats can still be a beneficial way to focus-in on fitness, reduce stress, and recharge.
Despite how beneficial a wellness vacation can, we aren’t taking vacations at all! A new report from Project: Time Off shows that Americans are missing out on a lot of precious lay-on-the-beach (or lay on the coach or by the fire) time, which equates to $270 billion in unused vacation. That’s 658 million actual days, a 21 percent increase from last year. In other words, this is money that our employers are giving us to spend however we CHOOSE… and we’re spending it, yep, that’s right, at our desks. Or in our cubicles. Or on a conference call.
Lucky for us CrossFitters, ICE NYC has partnered with Jumby Bay to offer a wellness retreat specifically for CrossFitters. To get the down-low on what a Jumby Bay retreat is like, we talked with Coach CJ who spent one week in Antigua Coaching.
Read on to learn about his Jumby Bay trip as well as any information an athlete interested in going might want to know.
ICE NYC at Jumby Bay offers guests an upscale training experience with intuitive instruction. From warm-ups on the dock, to a "WOD" on the beach and burpees or pushups in the sand, guests have access to a wealth of fitness knowledge including training that is functional, intuitive, and easy to take home.
At ICE NYC our goal is to bring functional fitness to a community; Coach CJ said that in Jumby Bay, functional fitness looks a little different: “Functional fitness and the everyday utilization [in Jumby Bay] means cutting tree trunks and using those instead of barbells. The location of Jumby Bay allows athletes to do more running on the sand, which is stability training. The goal for this active retreat is to utilize the environment organically and learn how it translates to CrossFit when an athlete returns home. Athletes will remember a barbell thruster when they get home because they did it with a tree trunk”. Even though the equipment is slightly different at Jumby Bay, the workout is structured how a workout is structured at ICE NYC: there is a warm up, a WOD, and a cool down!
Coach CJ made it clear that Jumby Bay really is for everyone, “We had a woman who made the Olympics in sailing, a woman in her 70’s who had never tried CrossFit before, a family made up of an 11 year old, a mother and a father, and people with joint or back issues”. Coach CJ explained that he planned the workouts in increasing technical ability throughout the week so that the athletes were constantly building on the skills and progressions they had learned the day, or workout, before. No matter the fitness-level, an athlete will come out of a workout knowing that they have gotten stronger, and were aerobically tested as well.
From breakfast to a late-night snack, at Jumby Bay every meal, snack and drink is inspired by the dynamic combination of simplicity and sophistication. Coach CJ very excitingly shared that “The food was fantastic...there are 3 places to eat, and they are all inspired by fresh and local ingredient”. Owner of ICE NYC, Izzy Levy, who has also been to Jumby Bay said eating healthy was incredibly easy, explaining that a typical meal consisted of a lot of fish, a salad, and ended with fruit native to the Island.
In addition to great dining options, Coach CJ and his partner Katie, a gluten-free baker, offered an introductory nutrition workshop about gluten-free baking and cooking. Not only did the workshop explain gluten free baking basics and easy substitutions for ingredients, the workshop also consisted of a lot of taste-testing- yum!
“On vacation we automatically adopt a better mindset because on vacation because there is no upcoming day on our minds” says Coach CJ. Add the natural mental-shift to the the exercise and nutrition aspects of the wellness trip, and you’ll have a week that is mentally rejuvenating, as well as physically challenging.
“It was like family there. Every person there was incredible. The staff was the most accommodating. The athletes were the most fun”. The positive interactions made the people on the week-long wellness trip feel like they’ve known each other for years. Plus Coach CJ said, “The spa was really beautiful and professional. You walk in and the massage therapists interview you about what hurts and how your body is feeling. The experience was incredible”. What more could you ask for?
In 2017, wellness retreats are the new vacations. Why spend all that money on a regular holiday, when you could travel to the ~exotic location~ of your dreams, soak up some rays on the beach, and sample the local cuisine—but with an order of high-vibe personal development and health on the side? All while getting your world rocked by a fitness coach, nutrition expert, and the friendly faces of the athletes who have the same goal as you.