Fit & Fly Girl Retreat Experience

 

Ashley G is from Lake Zurich, Il. She’s been a Fabletics member since 2015. She enjoys Yoga, Kickboxing, running and PureBarre.

 

Tell us about your trip to Tulum.

On the surface, I saw a beautiful lush jungle with crystal clear beaches and smiling people surrounding every corner. Everyone seemed to truly love what they were doing (locals and tourists alike)! Below the surface though, I saw a rich hidden culture that I thought extinct; the Mayans. During our excursions, we were always with a guide who had a true passion for Tulum and Mexico. They respect its history as well as its future and wanted to pass along all the information they could. Each guide (including the paddleboard instructor) knew all the ins and outs of Tulum and the Mayans that paved the way for all of them. They all lived and breathed Tulum pride, more than I have ever experienced elsewhere. The ruins we visited were what struck me the most. I couldn’t fathom how many there were still to be found under jungle-covered mounds. As our group looked out across the horizon together after climbing 13 stories at the Coba ruins, it hit me how incredible all this truly was. Everything that had gotten me to the top of that ruin became clear. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I felt so incredibly thankful and honored to be standing at that precipice. I went to look over at my mom, my guiding light, my travel companion, my friend; but I could not find her. She had rushed back down as fast as she had come up! As I was realizing my moment of clarity, she was realizing she was afraid of heights!

Back at the Shambala Petit Hotel, our little slice of paradise in this rather bohemian section of the Yucatan, the food was fresh and healthy consisting of crisp green salads, perfectly buttery avocados, fresh pressed juice and frosty sorbet desserts. A yummy lunch and sunny beach workout were the perfect “post-adventure” pairing!

 

Tell us about your Fit and Fly Girl experience.

The excursions were my favorite. We not only saw the ruins, but we also swam in cenotes, biked the coast and floated through the Sian Kaan world heritage site. These were welcome breaks in our workout schedule! We woke up each morning bright and early with some tea and coffee to keep us company on a nice 1-2 mile beach walk. Walking in sand became surprisingly difficult as time wore on! Then we would have a quick breakfast of fresh fruit, juice and eggs before heading to our morning workout. These workouts usually took place at the Tulum jungle gym. This was no ordinary gym though; this is Fred Flinstone’s dream gym! Huge wooden dumb bells line the entrance where you can find everything from monkey bars to log jumps. We had so much fun at this gym with our trainer Katie. She kept it to each of our individual levels and had everyone motivated and excited! The retreat itself was well-organized as well which made it easier to sit back and relax and focus on YOU for a week; something we all tend to forget to do. I would absolutely recommend this retreat for anyone trying to be HEALTHY, not just physically but mentally as well. It was never about being the fastest or the strongest or the “-est” at all. It was about bonding with a group of outgoing women all on the same journey of self-love and empowerment.

 

 

What was it like to be away for a week to focus on yourself and fitness and being around likeminded women?

It was a breath of fresh air. I am not the type of person to who rallies behind “women empowerment” or women-only type activities. I grew up with 2 older brothers and have always been more of a tomboy. I have always expected (and demanded) respect from the men in my life and therefore I have never really felt I needed any sort of girl-cation. I have always felt comfortable in feeling like I can do anything I set my mind to regardless of gender, and this has been supported by my brothers, father, grandfather and my fiancé as well. I didn’t realize until I went on this retreat, how much someone in my situation still has to gain from being surrounded by likeminded women. All these wonderful souls radiated off of my own energy in a way that refreshed and empowered me. Stress had taken such a toll on me and broke me down without me even realizing it. When I entered this non-judgmental space of open-minded people all looking for a release and a reboot, it became clear that this is something every woman, no matter how strong or weak you think you are, needs to try at least once in their life. It’s an indescribable slice of bliss!

 

Were you exposed to any new experiences?

For me, all of this was new. I had never been to Mexico, never been on a retreat and never stepped foot in a gym or lifted a weight in my life. I have always been an athlete so staying fit has never been a chore until after college when the sports stopped. This was a great boot camp of sorts for me to learn proper form and how to use gym equipment, albeit in a very atypical gym setting!

 

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I need to be more aware of myself emotionally. I need to recognize the need for some “girl-time” or even just some “me-time.” So much of myself is dedicated to work and keeping the people around me happy that I fail to take time for myself. Even when I was working out, I was doing so at convenient times and not on a schedule. By keeping a schedule, it asserts this small section of my day devoted to me. I learned that I cannot let myself bottle up so much stress for so long. I have to “retreat” in one way or another more often than I thought.

 

How did you feel after the retreat?

I truly did feel refreshed after this retreat. I thought this was just going to be a vacation with workouts. Nothing heavy or life changing. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be wrong! I have come back with more motivation, more confidence and more energy. It has allowed me to unwind and relax. I feel like someone pressed the restart button. My newfound confidence has got me signed up at a new workout experience (PureBarre) and a new body outlook. I am going into summer not ashamed to wear a tighter tank top and some short shorts. I wouldn’t be me without the body I am in—it’s part of me and I need to be proud of it and take care of it.

I have always been an advocate for Fabletics since I received my first order. I brag about the clothes to everyone I meet. Honestly, I wanted to try Fabletics in the first place because of Kate Hudson. I have always liked her as a celebrity and an advocate for female confidence and she has been my favorite actress since I saw her in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days!” So naturally I wanted to try the clothes she was promoting and they were SO cute so how could I resist! I was excited to see that someone I really looked up to was not promoting her “fans” to look like her and buy the things she buys, but to look like YOU and be happy in who YOU are. Wear clothes that show off YOUR body and promote wellness inside and out. I stood behind that brand message and that’s why I promote Fabletics with every opportunity that presents itself to me. Winning this trip did not hit me as a reinforcement of that message until I connected with this group of women and met Fabletics brand partner Rebecca of Fit and Fly Girl. I realized this wasn’t just a free vacation used as a random marketing ploy to get people to sign up, it was actually an opportunity presented to women this company already respects and supports. It was a way to let them know that Fabletics is behind all things that keep you happy and healthy, that they stand for so much more. It was thanking their customers for supporting that message and giving back to them a little something that perfectly paired with their goal. Fabletics to me, operates on an entirely different level than competitor athletic-wear companies. Others are oversaturated with overpriced clothing meant to fit you into a mold you might not want to conform to or feel uncomfortable being surrounded by. Fabletics lets you be who you are and choose to accentuate those parts of you as a badge of beauty and power. I couldn’t thank Fabletics enough for what they have given me. It sounds silly to say a clothing line changed me, but it really did. I sit here after my morning run & barre class wearing my Salar Capris and Aventura Tank, feeling refreshed and thankful for the version of me that burst through when I wore my first Fabletics outfit back in fall of 2015, confidently strolling into a kickboxing gym for the first time in my life.

 

Describe your experience in 3 words

Refreshing, empowering, adventurous

 

More photography by Ashley G.