My thighs were burning. I hadn’t run in ages, and here I was trotting on the wet sand of Cox Bay beach in Tofino. Huffing and puffing, I came to a stop in front of Michele, our trainer. “Welcome to the Beauty and the Beach Wellness Retreat at Long Beach Lodge!,” she said, grinning.
Fortunately, I wasn’t alone in my lack of breath. We were a group of ten women and one man, getting our fitness on, on the far western shore of Canada. In one of the best retreat locations and hotels in Tofino, British Columbia. It helps to have a pack supporting your efforts to reboot your fitness regime. So round up the girlfriends for a unique wellness retreat in the luxurious surroundings of Long Beach Lodge.
Long Beach Lodge in Tofino
Long Beach Lodge was our home for the weekend, and a more cosy and view-tastic luxury accommodation in Tofino, I can’t imagine. There are many hotels in Tofino, but Long Beach Lodge is right on Cox Bay Beach, with many rooms facing the beach and Pacific Ocean. My spacious hotel suite included a king bed, gas fire place, balcony, and large bathroom with views onto – and sounds of! – the ocean.
Long Beach Lodge is pet-friendly, which is even more wonderful, as dogs do love running on the beach, even if I don’t. If you’ve gathered the girlfriends for a wellness retreat getaway, the Lodge also has cottages behind the property. These are perfect for families, BFFs, or couples staying together. Cottages have multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, a large dining and seating area, and full kitchens.
The central Great Room is the social heart of the Lodge. The room features a massive wood-burning granite fireplace, comfy sofas near the bar. The dining tables look out onto the ocean and beach. The Lodge is focused on sustainability in its operations and food preparation and sourcing. Local fish and shellfish feature prominently, as does produce from other regions of Vancouver Island.
Surf Club and Adventure Centre
The Lodge maintains a Surf Club and Adventure Centre on its property, where guests can rent boards and equipment (hello sexy wet suit!), and book surfing lessons from local experts.
Surfing in Tofino is very popular. The Pacific Ocean waters off Tofino are cold, and can be wild in late fall and winter. Even if you’ve surfed before, getting a handle on local surf conditions in Tofino with a guide is a good idea. The Centre includes hot showers and a steamy hot pool and sauna for guests to warm up post-surfing.
Beauty and the Beach Wellness Retreat at Long Beach Lodge
The Beauty and the Beach wellness retreat is an annual fall gathering at Long Beach Lodge, hosted by Victoria-based fitness trainer Michele Shorter. She’s brings women (and some men) together on the wild coast of Tofino for a mindful adventure focused on fitness, nutrition and regaining connection with nature.
“The Shorter Approach is all about integrating what makes you feel good into your daily life. We’re going to work together to create a plan you can follow after you leave our weekend wellness retreat and equip you with the tools you need to nourish your body and mind every day, no matter where you are.” – Michele Shorter
The first evening post-arrival is focused on a meet and greet, sharing goals, and noshing on some delicious Lodge food. Our group is from all over western Canada – Victoria, Metro Vancouver, and various cities in Alberta. Everyone is keen and ready to recommit to some hard beach workouts, after one more glass of wine of course.
Oh, did I mention? This wellness retreat doesn’t prohibit some of the finer things in life, like wine, cheese, or dessert. It’s all about moderation, and learning about what foods may be better for you while keeping favourites in the mix.
Wellness Retreat Workout
The day begins with a beach meet up and warm-up run. (Remember my huffing and puffing.) We pair up, and quickly move on to squats, jumping jacks (a personal favourite), pushups and sit ups in the sand.
Working out in the natural environment of the beach, with the sunshine warming the air and the mist rising is supremely motivating. I began to enjoy running in the sand, kicking up some sea spray and breathing in the cool air. I certainly wasn’t fast, but I was moving, and it felt wonderful.
In addition to the outdoor fitness sessions each day, the wellness retreat includes daily nutrition classes and yoga sessions. Sharing recipes and food prep tips in a group is a great way to learn how to switch up your diet. And the benefits of yoga stretches after multiple squats cannot be overstated. I could barely make it up stairs as it was.
On our last day, I woke up early. To run on the beach, by myself. I wanted to enjoy this healthy feeling and the beauty of Tofino and Long Beach Lodge. To carry it with me home to remember on those days when moments for self-care are scarce.
Click here for information on Beauty and the Beach 2018.
Disclosure: The writer was invited to participate in Beauty and the Beach and hosted by Long Beach Lodge. As always, her opinions about long soaks after multiple squats on the beach is honest and her own.