Last weekend I headed to Philadelphia to take part in Fit Retreat 2016 with City Fit Girls. I had heard about this annual event through Janelle over at Run with No Regrets but never attended myself. A few of us chatted about it so when registration opened I decided to take my fitness on the road. The event sold out within a day or so and caps at about 150 participants. This is a women only event and for the 4th year in a row, promised a day full of fitness, wellness and mimosas 😉 Today I’m recapping the event Friday Five style with Cynthia and Courtney. Pre-registration party: I came into town late Friday afternoon, checked into my hotel and settled in for a bit. I woke up not feeling great – a trend that continued for a few days – but wanted to check out the pre-registration party later. It was held at local running store Philadelphia Runner in West Philly. Here we were able to sign in for the event and pick up our wrist bands and tech shirts. I also picked up another cute shirt:
They had sangria and light snacks available as well. It wasn’t really what I expected, not a huge happening party but it was nice to meet some new faces and check out a part of Philly I’ve never been too. I left before closing to grab dinner and get a good nights sleep. I’m glad they offered pre-registration because I woke up Saturday with a raging sore throat and slept through my alarm. Oy.
AM Fitness Sessions: The schedule of events started with a variety of low to high intensity fitness sessions to choose from. From Yoga to Crossfit, Cardio Kickboxing to Boot Camp there was something for everyone. Even before falling under the weather I knew I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous given the long run I had planned Sunday so started with “Speed Work Work Work Work Work” .
This session was led by a local run coach and personal trainer. I’ll be honest, I’ve always incorporated speed work into my training in some fashion so can’t say I learned anything new but people asked some really good questions. The session overall left me underwhelmed as the lead was a bit unprepared and it just didn’t flow well. We didn’t do any speed drills but did some sample warm up activities (think high knees, butt kicks and leg swings). This session was outside in the parking lot with cars coming in and out and it was blazing hot!
Next it was on to “Mobility and Active Recovery for Runners and Workout Enthusiasts”. This session was fabulous! I worked parts of my body and joints I didn’t know existed and picked up a few new moves. I definitely felt lighter on my feet when it was done. The only negative was the room. It was in the middle of the retreat space with no windows so it generated a lot of heat.
I saved “The Power of Vinyasa Yoga” for last. It was in the same room right after the mobility session so it felt more like a hot yoga class, which I loved but you could hear all the sounds of the kickboxing session in the adjoining room. Not so relaxing but the instructors made the best of it. I did think some of the moves were a bit advanced for a beginner yogi BUT I did successfully hold crow for longer than a few seconds this time – I might have to work on that one!
Lunch: After the AM “Fit” sessions is was time for lunch courtesy of sweetgreen. They had my favorite – Kale Caesar – and it was delicious. Lunch arrived a bit late and they seemed to run out so some people were waiting around until they came back with more but we managed to get in and out. They also served mimosas. I opted out because I’m allergic to oranges but they looked yummy. Sadly, there weren’t enough of those for all participants either which I thought was odd considering the “Sweat Now, Mimosas Late” tagline of the day.
PM “Retreat” sessions: The afternoon consisted of sessions focused on wellness and self-care. There were facials, sessions on mindfulness and talks for 5k to half marathon runners, and marathon basics. I started and ended the afternoon with “The Basics of Breath and Meditation”. I’ve really stepped my meditation game up over the last year and have such a new appreciation for it. It was led by Rachel Rubin and she was fantastic. The session was relaxing and informative. I skipped the final session and closing as I was feeling run down and still had a 2.5 hour drive home ahead.
The people: Not being a part of the Philadelphia fitness scene I didn’t know a lot of people going in, but everyone was super friendly and I got to chat with some amazing ladies. I also learned a lot more about City Fit Girls, including they have a run club in DC I’ll need to check out. Takia and Kiera who founded the group are both fabulous and made sure everyone had a good time. I also met and hung out with Janelle and Serena in person, finally:
All in all it was a pretty fun day. There were a few logistical hit or misses but with any big event you’ll have that. If you’re in the Philly area or up for a road trip – I definitely recommend attending in 2017 and crossing my fingers for a possible DC Fit Retreat in the future!
Have you ever been to a Fitness retreat? Familiar with City Fit Girls? (which has run clubs in Philadelphia, DC and Chicago).