Vera Via Fitness Retreat Carlsbad, California

by Lynn Burshtein,

Wellness-minded individuals who are interested in an intense fitness retreat but who are concerned that they will not be able to keep up with the program may find the ideal solution in a VeraVia Fitness Retreat.

Photo courtesy of VeraVia
Located a 90-minute drive from LAX in the swish Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad on a beautifully landscaped setting surrounded by swaying palms VeraVia is an all-inclusive, California retreat offering guests a strict program, but one that is uniquely customized to each participant’s particular needs. In this sense, it is unlike the majority of other destination ‘boot camps’ where guests are more or less required to surrender themselves en masse to a no-options, one-size-fits-all exercise regimen.

Programs at Vera Via (Latin for ‘true path’) begin on a Sunday and run from as little as four days (the ‘Express’ program, $3,850 U.S.) to the four-week TrueChange intensive program.

Largely geared toward stressed-out executives, the program has already seen several return visitors since its launch in 2013. There is a high staff-to-guest ratio and the program includes more one-on-one consultations than most other retreats.

None of this is to say that they go easy on you at VeraVia. Make no mistake, no matter what shape you arrive in, you will work like a dog. However, what ‘working like a dog’ means will vary from person to person. Think about it: if a group of dogs were chasing one another, you would not expect the same level of speed from a nine-year old Saint Bernard as you would from a three-year old Italian Greyhound, right? So it stands to reason that you should not lump together a seasoned marathon runner with an elderly guest recovering from an illness and expect everyone to proceed at the same pace.

VeraVia also distinguishes itself with a ‘wraparound’ (mind/body/spirit) approach to health and wellness, with programs integrating scientific Western and ancient Eastern methods for healthy living.

The VeraVia team is comprised of an array of personal trainers, yoga instructors, nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, behavioural counselors, massage therapists and other wellness professionals.

The in-house team of naturopathic doctors may take lab tests to address specific medical concerns, and then offer explanations and treatments to longstanding issues. Issues relating to poor sleeping habits or stress management are also addressed in the program’s educational workshops, as are topics relating to hydration and nutrition. For this writer, Fifty Shades of Green, a discussion on the importance of eating enough greens, is one of the more the memorable sessions.

And when it comes to food, the farm-to-table dishes at VeraVia inspire guests to acknowledge that healthy eating need not be at the expense of variety or taste. Of course, guests who aren’t used to such rigid diet and eating habits may experience the occasional hunger pangs and withdrawal symptoms – the kind that occur when one is forced to kick the daily mocha latte and the office donut breaks – but it’s all for the greater good.

Yes. It seems VeraVia has found a niche in the wellness travel industry as a high-end health retreat that is also highly customized. For more on VeraVia and to book a fitness retreat

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Lynn Burshtein is a regular contributor to Travel to Wellness