day 0: let the games begin

The strangest looks came from people who had just asked me where I was planning to go for my upcoming vacation.

To a one, each face registered surprise, then confusion, then incredulous-ness as I explained that I was headed to a fitness resort where I would be subjected to six hours of exercise per day, whilst being fed 1,200 calories to fuel my body for said exercise.

Some mustered a smile and offered a, “good for you!”, while others just shook their heads and asked, why?

I’m not sure there was one specific “why”. At any given moment my why was tied to any (or all) of these:

  • I always wanted a do-over because of how cray-cray I was the first time around in Malibu 3 years ago.
  • I really needed a reboot to get me back on track after that whole drama with my killer gallbladder had massively derailed my fitness regime.
  • This may be the only sort of “vacation” that would actually allow me to fully disconnect from work – because I would be too drained physically and mentally to do anything but eat and sleep. (Truth)
  • I would get to spend one week with my soulmate and spirit animal, The Russian Princess.
  • I wanted to test my mettle. I wanted to see how far I’d come.

More than anything, this time around I wanted to master my thoughts and emotions. Well, if not master them, at least to channel them for good and not evil.

I wanted to be completely tuned in to the negative self-talk that I knew was inevitable. I wanted to acknowledge it, and then re-frame it into something kinder and more loving.

If I could do this, I told myself, I would be successful.


So, on Sunday November 1st, at 3:00 a.m., I began my ridiculously long journey to get to Movara Fitness Resort, where I would get to test my mettle and see how far, if at all, I’d come these past three years.

I brought with me good intentions. I intended to:

  • Write in my journal every day – to capture my feelings in real-time.
  • Blog or Vlog every day – to share the real-time fun (and hell) of my week.

You know what they say about good intentions…

  • I journaled twice: once on Sunday night and once on Tuesday night.
  • I blogged once on Tuesday morning, on my phone, to inform everyone that I wouldn’t be blogging at all because I had forgotten my laptop at home.

Oh well.

So here I am, three weeks from the day I arrived at Movara, two weeks from the day I left, trying to piece together the memories of what was.

Lucky for me, I have a journal entry from Sunday November 1st to help jog my muddled mind. Here are my notes:

Holy shit, am I ever tired.

My day started with a 3am wake-up, followed by a two hour drive to Buffalo, then a 4.5 hour flight to Phoenix, a one-hour layover, and finally a 45 min flight to Las Vegas. And that’s when the fun began. After waiting over 90 mins in a line-up at the car rental agency, we were told it would be another hour until our car would be ready for us.

I lost my mind.  

For real, I unleashed the beast on those poor bastards. Once I felt the appropriate amount of tongue-lashing had been doled out, and demanding a full refund (we had prepaid), we stormed off to another rental car agency. 

After a quick pit-stop at my condo in Vegas to pick up some hiking gear, we were on our way to Movara, a two-hour drive. 

Because of our rental car gong-show, we missed the opportunity to do our assessments (weight, BMI, BMR, body composition, etc.), but we did make it in time for dinner. 

I hated dinner. 

In fairness, the dinner wasn’t bad (chicken “alfredo” over spaghetti squash) – I think I was just too spun to eat, and the fact that the food wasn’t to my liking made it inedible in my mind. The Russian Princess reminded me I had to eat because of the work I’d be putting my body through the next day. I knew she was right but couldn’t stomach the food, so I made sure to load up on veggies at the salad bar. 

After dinner was a welcome and orientation session. We all headed up to the lecture hall, and all the guests had an opportunity to introduce themselves and share a little of their story. For guests who were carrying over from previous weeks, they were invited to share tips & tricks, or any words of advice. 

It was really awesome to hear a bit about everyone. Some of my favorite lines during the sharing: 

“Everyone here is broken in some way.”

“Don’t look at anyone and assume anything based on their shape or size. You don’t know what they’re struggling with.” 

“This is an emotional journey as much, or more than, it is a physical one.” 

It’s 10:00 pm, my eyes are barely staying open, so one final thought: I am so happy to be here with my closest friend. I vow to be more open with her this time if I find myself struggling. That’s what friends are for. 

And so wraps up “Day 0”. Next on the docket is Day 1, the first official day of the program. Stay tuned…

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

76 thoughts on “day 0: let the games begin

  1. I totally understand why…I think this sounds like an awesome holiday to me!! But then you know that!
    Many people would think I was crazy too!

    They are all wrong,you did an awesome thing for your health and sanity!!

    • It was an awesome thing. With many hellish things interspersed… But I’ll get to that in future posts. 🙂

      By the way, I met an AWESOME lady from Braunton / Banbury/Oxfordshire. You would love her! She has the same sense of humour we do. I got to spend time with her on the Thursday, after I switched to another hiking group, and just adore her!

      • Oooh that is awesome!!
        Was it Braunston, because that is where my dad keeps his boat, and I have friends in Banbury 😀
        I can completely h sweatpants the awesome thing with hellish things interspersed…but as long as the overall outcome was awesome that is what counts 😉

      • According to Facebook, it’s Braunton. Not sure if that’s a typo, or if there are two places: Braunton and Braunston. She’s originally from Banbury though.

        p.s. your typo above made me snort coffee across my screen. I’m guessing “h sweatpants” = understand? 🙂

      • Nono I totally h sweatpants your holiday 😉

        Or possibly understand…

        There may well be a braunton as well as a braunston, there are probably more than one of each 🙂

      • It reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday about the proximity of Northampton and Southampton and the fact that one is in the south coast and one in the Midlands. And neither are near Hampton which is on the outskirts of London 😉

    • Hi Kathy – it’s been a hellish few months – with nonstop travel, but I’m hoping to get some writing done in the next few days and then publish the posts at a rate of 1-2 max per week, until I’ve updated across all 6 days of the experience.

      I’m very behind on reading – but have your latest post earmarked in my inbox to go have a read. Hope all is well with you!

    • All we wrote down was what some of the exercises were. I’m hoping that when I sit down to write about the day’s activities, that the feelings will come flooding back. I know that I’ll have no issue in remembering one specific activity (10k) – for obvious reasons. LOL

  2. I wonder if they do something like that here? I could really go something like that post bub! Sounds like a flipping shit of a first day though. I am eager to see how it all continued.

    • I’m sure they have fitness resorts all over the place, but the new friend I met there, Fiona from England, said the ones she found in the UK were very military-style, which she wasn’t down for. She’s been doing this place for a few years now – annual holiday. 🙂

  3. A rough start is always somewhat ominous, but I really hope that any ugly parts that followed were few and far between. Looking forward to the rest of the story!

    … and a week’s vacation like this makes perfect sense to me too 😉

  4. Ohhhh, I was thinking how that sounds awesome, to purely focus an exercise for a few days, and then your diary entry started… well, I suppose the stress levels were built up to maximum when trying to get there to definitively need the future work out..? At least that would have been the case if I had been in your shoes! Looking forward to reading about the next days!

  5. That was some rough travel. Certainly not conducive to starting the tough week with a good mindset. Hopefully a night of sleep smoothed out your edges and you were able to start the next day fresh. Guess I’ll soon find out!

  6. I actually love this idea! I would genuinely do it. I think I need it. Maybe I can convince one of my russian princesses (so to speak) to do something like this with me. But first I’ll wait to read your assessment of the retreat as a whole. 🙂

    You rock, N.

    • I totally recommend it, Beth. But I’ll caveat that with – it’s a week, don’t expect miracles. For those looking to go there, kill themselves for a week, and then be ‘done’, this is not the place. For those looking to explore why their health isn’t where they need or to be, to face the harsh reality of how they got themselves there, and then adopt some changes to life style that will last well beyond the week, absofuckinglutely. Total game changer. If you’re willing to change the game. xoxo

      p.s. I would totally do this again. I’m thinking an annual thing: a gift of one week to just focus on me each year. We’ll see…

  7. Sounds like a horrible travel day ending with a nasty meal. Hope the overall experience was what you were hoping for. At least this time, you had a better idea of what you were in for compared to the first time. And spending it with your bestie – awesome 🙂

  8. Sorry for your travel delays, Nancy. But I’m happy you at least made it to the orientation/sharing session. Looking forward to hearing about your triumphs and tribulations in future post. And yes, I understand the why. Have a great week!

  9. I would have enjoyed seeing the faces of your friends and family as you told them of your plans, referring to them as “vacation.” Such strenuous work and challenging personal goals don’t typically pair well with a vacation. You definitely travel a very unique path, and I really admire your desire to push yourself and find new strength and establish new fitness goals. It makes sense to me that you weren’t journaling or blogging “real time.” It must have taken everything you had to complete the program! I hope you have a relaxing vacation planned for a follow-up! 🙂

    • I was just, this very minute, thinking a long weekend getaway with hubby would be a perfect after the “vacation” vacation. Possibly a little SoCal action this weekend!

  10. Third bullet point up top pretty much nails it. My California trip in September would have been more delicious had I been able to leave my work brain behind. Peace and stamina! John

    • I worried that I’d have to disconnect work email from synching on my phone for fear I wouldn’t have the willpower to avoid reading and actioning it. No need to worry. Last thing I had time or energy for was work. 🙂

  11. Pingback: day 1: a wake-up call | my year of sweat

  12. I just read Day 1 before reading Day 0! You sounded so enthusiastic here on Day 0. I was and still am routing for you and hoping you kicked success ass! Just the fact that you are there is HUGE success. Let me go comment on Day 1. Hilarious!

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