Disclaimer: I received a complementary weekend stay at the Empower Summer Camp at Ronora Lodge in Watervliet, Michigan from FitApproach in exchange for my honest review and various social media postings as part of being a Sweat Pink ambassador. All opinions are my own.
Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to join other fitness enthusiasts, bloggers, and influencers for a weekend of fitness, friendship, and fun. When the invitation arrived, I immediately checked my schedule and was thrilled to see that with just a little bit of shuffling, I was available to attend. The fact that it was an easy drive from my home sealed the deal for me. I woke up early on Friday and had every intention of leaving my house by noon Chicago time but as is my M.O., I had a million things to do and ultimately didn’t get on the road until almost 2:30 p.m. This turned my expected two-hour drive into a painful three-hour drive and with the one-hour time change, I didn’t arrive at camp until about 6:00 p.m. Michigan time. Deep breath in, slow breath out; I’m here to relax and rejuvenate, after all!
I checked in with Nic and Alyse and received not one, but two huge bags of amazing swag! I was directed to my digs for the weekend, otherwise known as Main House 1. Several of my bunk mates had already arrived, so I plopped my stuff down on an open bed and made my way back to where Jamie‘s outdoor yoga class was already in full swing. I found an open spot in the back, rolled out my mat, and joined the group. Since I didn’t have time to change, I wasn’t wearing an ideal outfit for such a warm outdoor session, so I sweated my way into the start of the weekend.
After yoga we headed into Chadwicke Hall for a huge taco bar made from fresh ingredients, many of which came from the lodge property itself. This meal set the stage for many amazing meals to come. I ate soooo much yummy food over the weekend and all of it was healthy and good! Over dinner I was able to catch up with Marcia, Erica, and Wendy, and I finally got to meet Rachel, Missy, and Sandra in person.
After dinner we all headed back to our cabins to freshen up and get ready for an evening campfire, complete with s’mores (made with all natural, 100% vegan marshmallows from Dandies) and a corny camp song competition. My bunk mates let me know they discovered another room in our cabin that had plenty of beds for all of us, and as an extra bonus it was air conditioned! I’ve had my share of sleeping on the ground in hot, humid tents. Air conditioned cabins with real beds were quite the welcome treat! We had two bathrooms for the five of us to share, both well-stocked with a variety of products from Now Foods for us to sample and share.
Saturday morning it was up and at ’em for a morning hike fueled by Cold Brew Butter Coffee with MCT oil by Grass Fed Coffee. Missy and I took our time enjoying each other’s company while still being able to listen to music using our new Aftershokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones. After taking some obligatory photos along the way, we arrived back at base camp for an awesome breakfast buffet.
After breakfast we heard stories from Jamie, Cam, De, and Tasha, who overcame various struggles to emerge as the strong and inspirational women they are today. They definitely gave us some food for thought and reminded me of my mantra to not sweat the small stuff (and it’s ALL small stuff). After that we hit the pavement for a Tabata-style HITT workout with Kasey. Let’s just say I did my best to keep up! We started the session with a Now Sports BCAA Big 6 supplement drink. I chose Watermelon. It tasted delicious and I think it actually did put an extra pep in my step!
After this amazing sweat sesh, we headed indoors to make customized smoothie bowls using the base recipe created by Annmarie. Packed with incredible ingredients from Now Foods, I chose the Red Velvet Beet Endurance version. I let my artistic side take over by adding fresh strawberries, blueberries, Raw Organic Cacao Nibs, and Unsweetened, Shredded Organic Coconut. I have to say, this recipe is a keeper! Afterward, I went back to my cabin for a little downtime and to check out some of the goodies in my swag bag. Spoiler alert: Everything was awesome! As if I hadn’t already had enough to eat, it was time for lunch so I chose a modest salad from the expansive salad bar. After that we were treated with a presentation by Christine, who offered some great tips on creating great content. I will definitely be using some of her ideas to help improve my future posts.
After Christine’s presentation we had the opportunity to make our own Momentum wrap bracelets. It was a fun project but the perfectionist in me wishes I had done a better job with centering. Still, I love my bracelet and it is a fun reminder of my time at camp. Wiped out from a busy morning and afternoon, I took a pass on the afternoon HITT and Flow Workout with Nic. I did not, however, miss the 5:30 p.m. Happy Hour! This was a great time to sample some snacks (the Jade Leaf Matcha Fruit Bites were to die for), meet some more camp participants, and yes, have a glass (or two!) of wine.
After another healthy and delicious dinner, I bowed out of the after-dinner festivities and hit the hay early. With an early morning run, more activities, and the long drive home ahead of me, I wanted to get a good night’s sleep. It seems all that fresh air (or was it those two glasses of wine?) really knocked me out!
On Sunday morning I was up by 6:00 a.m. so I could start to pack and get ready for my 7:00 a.m. run. There were two main groups with the faster runners in the front and the slower runners and walkers in the back. I ran a (very) short distance with the faster runners and then slowed down and did my own thing. I did my typical run/walk intervals and got a total of three miles in before joining the group for a big breakfast. After a relaxing break, we had a Morning Flow Yoga class with Jamie. It was just what I needed after a full weekend of physical activity! We had our closing circle where many participants shared what they gained and what they appreciated from spending time with the others. Our final meal was lunch before I would hit the road for the two-hour drive home. We said our goodbyes and I think I might have spied a few tears!
I tried to hit the highlights here, but this post is already starting to become a novel! As expected, we all came home with so. much. swag. Other items I failed to mention but loved receiving include Goodr sunglasses, oatmeal and snacks from Bob’s Red Mill, an insulated stainless steel water bottle and a drawstring bag from Takeya, cassava strips with sea salt from Artisan Tropic, a water bottle, sleep mask, and copper-infused cooling towel from Suja Organic, coffee enhancers from ThinkNOO, and a reausable hot-cold pack from Bioenergy Life Science.
Phew! I think that’s about it, but there’s a good chance I missed something because it was just that good! Have you ever been to summer camp? I bet it was nothing like this! We will be in Roanoke, Virginia camping again this time next, so keep an eye out for details. Be sure to click on my links in this post to check out some of the other bloggers, and be sure to check out all of the amazing sponsor companies! Here are a few discount codes for you to use:
$10 off $40 Now Foods with EMPOWERNOW (expires 8/31/19).
$50.00 off Aftershokz Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium Endurance and Adventure Bundle with code EMPOWER.
20% off one order at Great Lakes Gelatin with code Empower20off (expires 9/13/19).
20% off Takeya with code EMPOWER20 (expires 10/1/19).
20% off Jade Leaf Matcha with code EMPOWER (expires 8/9/19).
10% off THINKNOO with code COFFEE.
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On Sunday, November 3rd, I will be running the New York City Marathon as a charity fundraiser for Team in Training, an organization that helps The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) support cutting-edge research projects in the most promising areas of cancer research. If you’d like to contribute to my fundraising efforts, you can do so by clicking on the link below. Any donation, big or small, will help and is greatly appreciated! Want to join me? You can still register for the NYC Marathon as a charity fundraiser for Team in Training! Use code NYCBIBRAVE to have the $100.00 team registration fee waived (you still have to raise the require funds).