Winter Wellness Travel: Escape to Rancho Mirage

Wellness Travel | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

According to the experts, wellness travel is a fast-growing market with travelers realizing the need to rest and rejuvenate is key to living a happy, balanced life.

Wellness travel involves planning a trip with the purpose of improving your physical, emotional, and mental health, and an escape to the warm and dry southern California desert in the middle of a winter Bay Area rain storm sounded like just what the doctor ordered.

 

Where shall we stay?

As an AmEx Platinum card holder, I always check out the Fine Hotels and Resorts in the area to maximize on perks like resort credit to be used for dining, spa treatments, etc. during your stay, early check-in, late check-out, a daily breakfast credit, and a complimentary room upgrade when available.

We chose the Ritz Carlton at Rancho Mirage for our stay. The resort itself is nothing short of lovely. Upon check in, we were offered a glass of champagne as the layout of resort was explained to us. As a Marriott Gold Elite member, (another perk of the AmEx Platinum card if you haven’t achieved this status through actual stays) we were given daily access to the spa grounds to enjoy the plunge pools, steam rooms and other amenities.

Sunset in Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Sunset at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage – Source @WellnessScience

We did not receive the complimentary room upgrade to my knowledge. I had booked a desert view, and the room was on the second floor. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have requested a ground floor room which would have given us a private fire pit. I could tell that the people who had these rooms enjoyed using the fire pits, and we would have probably spent more time outside enjoying the property if we had been in one of these rooms.

 

Incorporating wellness into your trip

One of my goals during this trip was to shake of the blue feelings I was having from being trapped inside after weeks of rain and cold weather. My first mission was to scope out a decent hike in the sunshine to get the endorphins flowing.

Walking Path at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

The resort itself was a lot smaller than I expected. While there was a beautiful walking path facing the desert side of the property, I had to actually exit the resort and head down the hill a bit to find walking trails.

Hiking in Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

The key to wellness travel is really just to focus on what you’ve been neglecting, so the sunshine and exercise did me a world of good. The beautiful desert views were a nice backdrop to connect with nature and really did make me feel grateful for the beauty around me.

 

The Spa

Massages were booked for day two. I booked a 50-minute Stress Relief massage, though again, in hindsight I should have booked either the 80 or 100-minute options. The spa attendants were very helpful upon arrival, and my massage therapist brought me a glass of champagne after my treatment to enjoy in the co-ed lounge area.

The spa had three AromaSense shower heads in the ladies locker room area. I found the Eucalyptus shower very relaxing, and the spa is equipped with hair dryers, flat irons, etc. to make it easy to get ready after showering if you don’t feel like rushing back to your guest room. There were also nice complimentary teas, fruit-infused waters and healthy snack mixes on offer in addition to a Spa Menu if you wanted to order lunch and enjoy it before or after your treatment.

The fitness center, located inside the spa, offered a daily group fitness class including sunset yoga, a barre class, and a stretch class.

 

The Food

Breakfast was my favorite time of the day. The views from the restaurant were serene, and since it was winter the heat lamps on the patio were fired up so you could enjoy dining outdoors if you wanted without being uncomfortable.

Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

Again, as an AmEx platinum member we were given a $65 breakfast credit daily. The buffet offerings on Saturday and Sunday were a treat with a made-to-order omelette station, options of pancakes and French toast along with healthier choices of yogurt, an array of fresh fruit, pastries and smoked fish. The coffee was strong (a major plus in my book) and tasty, so it was a nice way to start a relaxing day.

In addition to the spa, lunch was offered at the adult pool as well as the main restaurant, State Fare. My club sandwich with sweet potato fries was my favorite lunch of the entire stay.

State Fare at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

We treated ourselves to room service on our last night, finishing off the meal with the signature Ritz Carlton Cake – a must for any chocolate lover.

 

Wellness Travel Essentials

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing stay and we headed back to the still stormy Bay Area happy to have soaked up the sun for a few days.

All you really need to make any trip a wellness getaway is the intention to focus on your wellness while you are away. A destination away from the hustle and bustle where you can disconnect from the day to day and connect with nature is ideal. But as long as you can find time to connect with yourself and treat yourself to relaxation and rejuvenation, you’ll come out on top.

Rancho Mirage | thewellnessscientist.com

Source: @WellnessScience

What are your thoughts about wellness travel? Do you have any favorite wellness destinations? Have you ever been to a wellness-focused resort or on a wellness retreat? Any plans to do so in the near future?

LYFT Clean Caffeine {Product Review}

LYFT Clean Caffeine Review | thewellnessscientist.com

I am a devoted coffee lover. Seriously, to the point that I have to stop myself from having “just one more” so that I don’t start having palpitations.

I come by it honestly … I grew up in Louisiana, home of some pretty darn good coffee and have been guzzling it down before anyone outside of Seattle had ever heard of Starbucks. I even met my husband in a coffee shop in college!!!

I know that I can go overboard with my coffee so I was intrigued to try these LYFT Energy Stir Sticks for my afternoon caffeine-boost, a no-calorie “clean caffeine” product made from green coffee beans and boasting vitamin A as well as a handful of B vitamins that no cup of joe can offer.

LYFT Energy Stir Stick | thewellnessscientist.com

I found the product extremely easy to use. Simply remove the wrapping from one of the sticks and stir into 8-ounces of the beverage of your choosing. Each stick contains 125 milligrams of caffeine — about as much caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of coffee.

I decided to mix it with a glass of sparkling water since staying hydrated is super important in this warmer weather. I did not detect any taste at all, which I considered a benefit. The fine powder seemed to dissolve completely, and I chugged it pretty quickly as I do when I’m drinking room-temp water.

THE ONLY CON …

I consumed this bevvy at around 2:30, and by 4:30, I was yawning & feeling oh-so-very-sleepy! My usual Grande Iced Coffee (packing 190 milligrams of caffeine) usually keeps me going well into the evening hours & gives me just enough of a boost to make it through dinner and a little TV watching but not enough to keep me from falling asleep at a decent hour.

PROs:

So insanely convenient! No waiting for a coffee pot to drip or standing in a long line. Just keep it in your handbag, work bag, etc. for an anytime boost.

I would like to try LYFT again but this time use both sticks at the same time instead of just one. This coffee addict just needed a little more of a boost to keep going!

Learn more about LYFT Clean Caffeine by checking out their website: PureLYFT.com. You can also find them on Twitter @PureLYFT?

 

Have you tried LYFT? If not, would you try it first thing in the morning or for your afternoon boost?

 

Disclosure: I received a sample of LYFT Pure Energy Sticks to try as a SweatPink Ambassador. Opinions are my own.  

Fitness Friday: Do You Need a Power Nap?

 

Today, February 28th is National Public Sleeping Day! A perfect time to talk about fitting in a 20-minute power nap to boost your energy and thus your fitness abilities.

Remember hearing stories about how Europeans took these lovely long lunches & siestas mid-day & then returned to work? I always thought that sounded so relaxed, even glamorous compared to grabbing a sandwich in a box and running back to a cubicle for another 5 hours glued to an uncomfortable chair.

Nowadays, more & more office environments are instituting those cool sleep pods, sofas, and other comfy places for employees to catch a few winks during the day leading to a more productive afternoon of work. For most of us, the ideal environment is quiet, not too bright, and not too cold.

Here are a few products you may want to check out to make your next power nap a little bit nicer:

 

5 Products For a Better Power Nap

 

1. Cedrus Temple Soother from the Molton Brown Body Remedies Sleep range — dab these essential oils to dab on temples, breathe deep & unwind.

2. SleepPhones by AcousticSheep — a comfy headband containing thin speakers to play music, white noise, and block out external noise while you nap. Comes in three colors.

3. DreamTime Sweet Dreams Sleep Mask with Natural Lavender — eye mask blocks out light while natural lavender soothes & relaxes

4. Pzizz Energizer app — this iTunes music app creates a relaxing soundtrack to help you make the most of your power nap. Built-in alarm makes sure you don’t oversleep!

5. Ostrich Pillow — This crazy-looking contraption is not really a pillow, a garment or a cushion.  Don the ostrich pillow and make any desk/chair/bench a nap-friendly spot.

Are you a daytime napper? Does it give you that added energy boost to get through the rest of the day?

Fitness Friday: My Running Favorites

Happy Friday! I started off the day with a nice & easy 3-mile run to get some of that natural energy flowing. My attempt to energize via multiple cups of coffee to rally for Pilates every Friday afternoon has not worked out so well.  But a little run to get the blood flowing seems to do the trick!

If you have been following me here or on Instagram, then you know I am gearing up for a half-marathon on March 9th!!!

For today’s Fitness Friday post, I wanted to share some of my running essentials with you. I swear by this stuff and other products that I’ll feature at a later date. You might want to sign up just there on the right hand side so you don’t miss any upcoming posts!!

Here’s the Gear and Where to Grab It!!

Running Essentials

 

1. Nike Women’s Free Run 2 — This is an older generation of the Nike Free Run’s, but they are still my favorite and I have tried many. If you find them in your size, you should be able to grab them at a terrific price. Comes in a multitude of cool colors. Great for running, super light!

2. Natori Sports Bra — This is my favorite sports bra for running. Has supportive underwire. Also available in Black, White, and Gray.

3. Bioderma Photoderm MAX SPF 50+ — First tried this sunscreen last summer while exploring Paris in 90 degree weather. I was certain that my face was going to burn & peel off because I had forgotten my hat. Ducked into a pharmacie, and the super-nice pharmacist recommended this as one of the best. My face and shoulders didn’t show the slightest hint of pink after 5+ hours spent walking around in the direct sun. I’ll call that effective.

4. Nike “Poise” Sunglasses (color pictured: Matte Night Stadium/Neo Turquoise) — The are great sunglasses for running. Doesn’t move up and down while you’re moving or fall down your nose when you start sweating. Nice pair!

5. Under Armour Running Socks — These are thick enough not to give you blisters, but not so thick that they are too hot or make your shoes feel too tight if your feet swell after you’ve been running awhile. One of my favorite running socks, and again … I have tried MANY!

6. Lululemon Run Inspire Crop — I run in shorts when its warm weather, but I love this running crop for cooler months. Keeps your legs warm on cooler days, but the material keeps you cool after your body gets warmed up. Nice lightweight with convenient pockets for stashing energy chews, keys, and more.

There is so much more GREAT running gear and accessories out there.  What are some of your favorites?

The Jawbone UP Activity Tracker: A Review

 

Chances are you’ve seen or possibly own an activity tracker such as the Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex, Nike Fuel Band, or the Jawbone UP.

I did QUITE a bit of research on all of the above before deciding to purchase the Jawbone UP band. So far, I’m delighted with it!

Mint-Green-Jawbone-UP-band

For the past several years, I’ve gone on vacations that tend to involve a lot of walking. Those same trips also involved a lot of eating, but I didn’t gain weight.  I always wondered how much I was actually walking in a day — up and down to take the train, around the same block several times looking for a particular cafe, up & down in museums.

 

So when I started planning my most recent trip to Tokyo, I figured it was a great time to invest in the Jawbone UP.

 

You might have some or all of these questions …

Does it motivate you to move? For me, it did. It was a much as a challenge to reach my 10,000 steps per day as it is for me to get a new Foursquare badge (if you know me, you know how much I like competitive games).  So if achieving a score of 100% motivates you, you will be very happy!

How accurate is it? On those 2 days before I left for my trip, I was pretty sedentary, so I wasn’t surprised to reach only 25-50% of my 10,000 step per day goal.  What DID surprise me was how many steps I was able to log on the days when I spent 9+ hours on a plane. Walking around in the airport is no joke! You can log some serious mileage during check-in, while going through security, immigration, customs, etc. I had NO PROBLEM hitting 10,000 miles on travel days.

How about sleep tracking? This was a nice little bonus for me. I previously installed the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone, but I didn’t use it for long because you have to sleep with the phone next to you in bed. I charge my phone across the room at night, so that didn’t really work for me. Plus, I wonder how accurate it is with cats jumping on/off the bed, etc.  The UP has a sleep tracking feature that drills down to show how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up during the night, light sleep vs. deep sleep, and more! I always wondered why I felt so tired during the day. The amount of deep sleep I get isn’t so great. I’ll blame the cats again for that 🙂

The band is super comfortable, so you shouldn’t have any problem sleeping in it at night.

Is there an app for that? After you purchase the band, download the handy free Jawbone app, and you are in business! If you use other health & fitness apps such as RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and others, you can sync your data with these apps too. I read a review where several people mentioned their steps were counted twice when syncing with RunKeeper. I did not find this to be the case, so if this was once an issue it has been fixed! I don’t use any of the other fitness apps that sync up, so I can’t comment on the functionality. If you use them, I’d love it if you would share your experience in the comments below so others can benefit!

The complete list of apps you can connect with your UP band as of September 25, 2013 is:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • IFTTT
  • RunKeeper
  • MapMyFitness
  • GymPack
  • Wello
  • Tictrac
  • Sleepio
  • Withings
  • Lose It!
  • CarePass from Aetna
  • Notch

Jawbone-UP-app-screenshots-sm

You can also add food and drink to keep up with your daily caloric intake.

All in all, I’m super happy with my purchase for its convenience and how effective it has been at motivating me.

The UP comes in a variety of colors. I bought the mint green and love it! There is a special edition Orange UP band that is also a very cool color. Jawbone is donating $20 to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation http://jawbone.com/alliance for every Orange UP band sold.

Question:  Do you have an activity tracker? If so, which do you like best & why?

[widgets_on_pages]

Other posts you might like:

Pin It Party: Best Workouts, Recipes, and Mojo Boosters

Eat Chocolate, Help Save the World!

The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home