Monday, December 27, 2010

EcoTrek Fitness

When Christmas rolls around, we tend to lose ourselves just a little bit in all the appetizers, cookies and spirits. So when it officially passes us, we crave one of two things: post-Christmas sales and some fitness.

I didn't really hit the sales yesterday, but I did squeeze in a most excellent workout.  I met up with Cari Draft, owner and creator of EcoTrek Fitness. What is EcoTrek? A 75-minute workout that incorporates cardio, strength and stretching. Big whoop, right? Wrong! EcoTrek takes you off the beaten path (literally) to achieve each of those three key things in a truly awesome workout. Think sand dunes, hidden trails, the beach...basically all that Mother Nature has to offer. Equipment? Well, all that Mother Nature has to offer. Plus a resistance band.

And maybe some YakTrax if there happens to be snow on the ground. There obviously was on Sunday, but I rocked my old running shoes sans Trax:

I didn't have time to purchase any, although now I totally want to. I can see how they make any winter adventure that much easier. And also safer, as I think they add a significant amount of traction to your shoes. I did alright without them, but I lost just a bit of confidence traipsing down a few of the bigger dune hills. Speaking of which, here's but a glimpse at my EcoTrek session. In case you're wondering, it took place from 8:00AM to 9:15AM at PJ Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon, Michigan. (Most of her EcoTrek sessions take place is western Michigan, so if you're in the area, look up the schedule and participate! You won't regret it—that's a promise.)  The photos:

Let's start at the very beginning.

We followed Cari along Homestead Trail for a while, stopping only for some side bends at the top of a hill before continuing on along the deer tracks and other tiny footprints in the snow. We eventually ended up on the beach.

We stopped to use our exercise bands for some bicep curls. When not in use, they remained tied around our waist, although for some reason, mine kept coming undone. Guess I need to learn how to put more muscle into my knot-tying skills.

Regardless, I kept on. We followed Cari along the beach for a bit before taking on some serious sand dunes on our way to what she called a "marshmallow and brown sugar" view.

I absolutely agreed with her, and it was here that we did a few yogalike stretches for our backs. There's just something so peaceful about working out in nature. I mean, is there anything more inspiring than the view above? At the very least, it makes you realize that the temp is a bit chilly. That your toes are starting to get super cold and that you really want nothing more than a hot shower and some coffee. That, of course, is what keeps you moving steadily throughout the rest of the workout. And move we did.

We continued to follow Cari through the park, stopping here and there for some additional work with the resistant bands, until we reached the end of our journey.

I wanted to take more pictures of everything that happened and everything I saw, but I didn't want to get all paparazzi on a group of people I barely knew. (And I didn't want to slip and fall down the side of a dune, more importantly.) I'm sure they were already wondering who the girl with the camera was—it's me, just another fit life blogger documenting blogworthy things. In the end, I truly believe that EcoTrek is an awesome workout. I completely enjoyed it, despite the cold, and look forward to one day Trekking again.

Cari: Thanks for giving me a great post-Christmas workout, and thanks for the goodie bag! So glad we finally got a chance to meet!

Question: Have you ever been an EcoTrekker? If not, have you done anything like this in your hometown? I'd love to know!


FitGirlCari said...

Great blogpost and great pix, Tara, thank you! You're welcome to come adventuring with us anytime... and your readers can always track us down in Michigan at, the SCHEDULES & LOCATIONS tab will steer them in the right direction. The next time you're up this way, I'll teach ya how to tie the band easily, we musta skipped over that orientation part, haha! ;-) Here's to a fit 2011! ~ Cari

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

I've been wanting to try EcoTrek, but I feel like I need to get a bit less couch-potato first. I wouldn't want to get left behind in the snow :-) Gorgeous pics though.

TARA said...

Wendy: You have to try it! Don't worry about keeping up. I'm sure you'll be just fine...and Cari is really good about keeping everyone together. Plus, it's a workout that doesn't really feel like a workout because it takes place in such a beautiful place. Check the schedule, compare it to yours and go! You won't regret it. And PS: You have to start somewhere with fitness, so don't worry about the people around you when you DO go. They're just happy to have you along, and totally NOT competing with you! And PSS: Love your blog!

h said...

Hi Tara! Ecotrek really is a cool thing! I did it in the summer and was amazed at how Cari made everyone feel so comfortable! We climbed a mountain, I swear!!! and she patiently helped everyone through. Lori, the other ecotrek leader I met, did a sweet workout through the dunes of Muskegon!! But it was paced really nice and she had fruit cups at the end!! I am a running coach, have done cross country coaching, and this reminds of that, great fun and great workout!

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