As a trainer at Premier Fitness Camp, I work with the most interesting, inspiring people I have ever met! I get to spend my days helping our guests forge ahead in whatever personal wellness quests they have and I thoroughly enjoy watching them transform along the way! Premier Fitness Camp is an amazing fitness camp at its core. However, in my eyes and in the hearts of our guests, Premier Fitness Camp is SO much more than that!
I watch people changing daily on so many levels! Not only do their body sizes and energy levels change, but they also change in their confidence and level of happiness. Being a part of our guests’ journey is the most fulfilling career I could ever ask for! Hands down.
A lot of our guests have told me they are amazed at how much they get from coming to our Camp aside from their weight loss and increased health. What I am talking about is personal growth and a greater sense of well being. So, on that note, I want to give you a glimpse into the life of a Premier Fitness Camp guest and learn about her personal journey and experience — in her words.
Melissa was a guest at Premier Fitness camp in April of 2012. I can’t say enough amazing things about her! She filled our Camp with so much positive energy, support for others, laughter, and a life-loving attitude. Her laughter and tears (yes, Melissa, we have shared some tears, haven’t we?) are both equally contagious!
Readers, here is Melissa! Enjoy.
WS: Melissa, tell me about you.
M: I am 36 years old, a mother of two boys (a month year old and a two and a half year old). I own an antique store and some rentals and I am married. Originally from London and I have lived here for ten years. Here I am at this wonderful camp, on my last day, funny enough!
WS: How long have you been here?
M: 4 weeks.
WS: What initially brought you here? Specifically, what were your initial goals or thoughts about what you wanted from the camp and from yourself?
M: It definitely was weight loss. Weight loss was the first thing. I am a very optimistic person by nature and I found that I was getting more and more unhappy with the way I looked and with my weight issues. So, I really wanted professional help. I have a trainer. I know how to work out, but I really wanted professional help in a confined sort of bubble, if you will.
WS: Along the way, while here, did anything change in regard to your goals or your perspective about fitness, health and wellness?
M: So much changed. There is not one thing that hasn’t changed. I think that my understanding of nutrition and fitness was so far from what the reality is. I came here naively thinking I’d lose 30 pounds in two weeks because my mentality is “everything I want, I want yesterday” and I had this magical thinking about weight. And I very, very quickly realized that it is long road ahead. It is a gradual thing. It is a very steady thing, but a very slow thing. That was very, very difficult to realize.
With nutrition, there are no short cuts. There is only the right way to do it. So that was a really, really big change in my way of looking at that and that was huge – really, really huge. Part of that was devastating because you realize how long a road you have ahead of you. And part was that there was genuine hope that I thought for once, I’m doing the right thing! Not these crazy diets…I’ve done Jenny Craig; I’ve done different over-the-counter pills; I’ve had trainers; I’ve gone really hard on exercising. All these fad diets, you name it! And the weight was never lost. But, honest to God, I know that this is it! It’s just something that just changed for me.
WS: Is/are there some thing(s) that you have realized about yourself that you didn’t know about yourself before you came to Premier Fitness Camp?
M: I would never think I was “sporty.” There are so many things —like spinning. I would look at people doing spinning at my gym and I would be so intimidated. They looked like big athletes. They would come out drenched and had all the right cycling gear. I never thought in a million years I could do that. A lot of exercises I never thought in a million years I could do. Not only does Premier Fitness Camp give us full support and confidence that we can do it, we DO do it and what is so lovely is that we do it kind of well! So that was something that was a big surprise that I did not know about myself — that I actually have athletic ability!
WS: What is or was some of your biggest obstacles that you had or still are working through?
M: I think our biggest obstacle is our own mind. That cliché, “mind over matter”, is there for a reason. Our biggest challenge is ourselves, and the limitations that we place on ourselves. That is why you really do need the professional health and wellness coaching offered by Premier Fitness Camp. For example, even the last exercise we just did [at our workout today], I thought I was at my exhausting point and couldn’t do another 10 more of those abdominal movements, but the personal trainers at PFC were yelling at the top of their lungs, “10-9-8” to motivate us to push a little more, and you do it! So I would definitely say that the biggest challenge is you and it’s just a matter of overcoming that inner voice.
WS: One of the things I have seen with you is your positive attitude, which is clearly present and has really pushed you through this program. All the trainers and staff see it. All the guests see it. You are truly an inspiration. What are your thoughts on how attitude affects your day and your world?
M: It affects everything! If you essentially think about it, in the end, it comes down to energy. There is positive and negative energy and we all have it. Again, it’s going back to that inner voice. If you exert positive energy, you will attract positive energy. If you exert negative energy, negative things will come to you. I have been really blessed that I have known that from the beginning of my life from my mom, and I have that attitude about everything. But you can see it when you come to Premier Fitness Camp really clearly because you get stripped of everything here and all you are left with is yourself and your attitude. So try to be positive!
WS: In terms, of being stripped down, sometimes Premier Fitness Camp’s weight loss program does that to people because of the physical work involved. You are fatigued and worked physically and that sometimes open up doors for emotion because it becomes harder to fight emotion coming out. So, on the emotional end, has anything come out for you personally?
M: You know, a lot of people here are capable people “out there”. They are smart. They can do a lot of things. But if you think about it, a lot of very smart and capable people are always in their head and very, very rarely are we in our bodies. We have hidden that way. We have allowed our bodies to get to this point because we hid from them by being in our heads. So, here at this fitness camp, you are always in your body. When we are doing your exercises, you don’t even give us a chance. You say, “OK, now do this and now do that”, so we don’t even have the time to go back in our head. So we are constantly in our bodies. Because of that, it is a very unfamiliar thing. You are stripped right down to the core. You cannot hide behind your intelligence, your wealth, your position, your kids, your spouse, your family, your parents. You can’t hide behind any of that. All you are left with is you, your attitude and your ability. You are stripped to the bare core of who you are.
WS: Does good come from that?
M: Absolutely! If anything, in the least, you are reacquainting yourself with yourself. Let’s just say that is the least! Let alone, if you really examine yourself in this journey, by doing things like journaling or going to the circle talks that we have, I learned a very, very important thing. I told you at the beginning of this that I had a little bit of sadness before I came here. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for the life of me. I just couldn’t. But it rose right up here because I didn’t hide behind anything. I didn’t have anything to hide behind. That sadness rose right up at any point I would hear any human story or anything beautiful. Just this flood of sadness would come. One of our teachers here said that sadness or fear or pain — when you feel that — you are getting closer to the truth. Because you are stripped bare down to literally your body, you allow all of these things to come up. There is no way for them to hide. The truth comes up.
I’m really glad to say that, as of yesterday, I worked out what that thing was. I now have tools to fix that. And now if I do cry, it is really coming from a different place. It is coming from final hope. Not even hope, because hope means, “Hopefully I get there.” Because I did get there!!! I am really pleased. And it only came from these grueling, grueling, grueling four weeks! (Laughs!)
WS: Physically and health-wise, what have you gotten out of this live-in fitness program? Have you changed?
M: Night and day. They say that it takes 21 days to change neuropathways to break and then form a new habit. We don’t have any soda here. We don’t have any bread here. We really don’t have any rubbish here. Honest to God, I can really confidently say I don’t feel like having that. I don’t crave that anymore. And before coming to Premier Fitness Camp, I had this weird obsession with these types of foods. And simply because I haven’t had it for four weeks, I don’t crave it. Now, those neuropathways have changed, the habits changed, my taste has changed, my palate changed, my desire for those things have changed. Because now I am familiar with nutrition and calories and how much it takes to burn and I am so on top of the calories. If I were to look at something, I would really think twice. Is it worth doing an hour and a half of cardio, really going for it? So, from the nutrition side, everything has changed.
WS: Has your energy level changed?
M: Yes, it has. I do want to be honest. I thought that by the fourth week, I’d be able to fly through all the exercises. But, I do still find them a challenge. I think that is partly because of the trainers who always add another level to the workout. Secretly, in different ways, you are getting pushed to improve. Overall, I think my energy and stamina have increased a lot. To be honest with you, more than anything, it is just your love and happiness is increased – and that increases everything!
WS: If you were to tell someone about Premier Fitness Camp’s program, what would you say to him or her?
M: Unfortunately, there is a little bias with the words “fitness camp” but there is so much more than that here! There is an emphasis of fitness and nutrition. But you also find yourself here because you are literally stripped to yourself. Everybody I have spoken to here has said they have regained something about themselves.
I have already thought of a million people I would love to send here! I think that everything has its own organic time. I am definitely going to recommend this for all of the benefits that it gives you but I think somebody organically has to be ready. But I am really going to push it!
WS: Is there anything else you want to add?
M: I really thought this would be a weight loss camp. But that is only one of the things I got from this! Like I said, you re-find yourself, you forge friendships here. It is so silly because you have such a short time here at La Costa, but you fall so deeply in love with people at camp.
I am so inspired so much by you guys — the trainers. Your work ethic is just superb! Just superb! You feel so clean eating here. I can go on and on!
It has been literally one of best experiences of my life!!!
Wendy Sallin, Certified Personal Trainer, Premier Fitness Camp
Wendy is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASN Licensed Sports Nutritionist and RRCA Certified Running Coach. She has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. She has advanced education in various specialties such as functional training, corrective exercise, flexibility and cardiovascular performance testing. She works with clients of all fitness and wellness levels, from individuals recovering from strokes and heart attacks to competitive athletes seeking higher levels of sports performance. Wendy has found her home as a Fitness Trainer with Premier Fitness Camp and is inspired daily by the determination and tenacity of Premier’s clients!