My stay included 7 days of fresh, healthy food, hiking, exercise classes, lifestyle education and the best medicine of all – laughter. What could be better?
About WellFit Malibu:
Tucked away in the hills of Los Angeles, Wellfit Malibu is part of the sprawling 130 acres known as Calamigos Ranch. Privately owned by the Gershon family, Calamigos has been “in the business of making memories since 1947” and along with WellFit, offers special events, set location for filming, a lux boutique hotel, a hip café and private homes.
Often referred to as a fitness and weight loss resort, Wellfit Malibu at its core, is a healthy lifestyle program that helps guests cultivate positive habits into daily life. Weight loss is a natural by-product of improved healthy living skills and practices.
What to Expect at WellFit:
- A privately owned, mission-driven wellness retreat
- A beautiful campus mixing Western hip & sleek SoCal design
- A focus on vibrant living versus scale shaming
- Fitness classes lead by leading local experts and friendly and sincere staff that make personalized attention seem effortless
- A 1,500 calorie a day meal plan co-created by a chef and registered dietician
- A variety of evidence-based health education sessions that are not boring
- Their son Glen and his wife Mon-Li Gerson began creating, restoring, and building what has now become a hot spot for special events location in Southern California.
- Calamigos Ranchi is a popular place for filming, guests can expect to see trailers and lots of activity. The new TV show that premiered this week, “Strong,” was filmed on premise. The Strong building is still there along with the climbing wall and some of the outdoor obstacles.
A Typical daily schedule included:
- 2-hour hike (Tuesday is beach work-out)
- Strength training/education
- HIIT class
- Water Aerobics/Water Zumba
- Optional spa treatments
- Lights out at 10 pm (encouraged)
Good to Know:
Here some general good-to-know info about WellFit programming:
- It is a well-paced schedule with just enough time in between sessions to change but not enough time to be tempted to take a nap, get sapped into work or feel bored.
- Wellfit’s consistent message is “listen to your body’ so if you need to take a nap, do that. Need an extra healthy snack? Enjoy! Prefer to hit the gym than hike or need to take a day “off”? Not a problem – as a courtesy, just let them know.
- Guests are invited to challenge themselves and there’s no shame if you’re not up to it. More often than not, an exercise can be adapted – if you have a pre-existing health condition, injury or personal worry – so that everyone can participate in group exercise and be successful. This is great because it brings people together and builds camaraderie.
Hiking Rocks at WellFit Malibu!
Monday is the hardest day with an “assessment” for the hiking guides to determine fitness levels and plan hikes and staffing for the remainder of the week. That was the toughest day for me and I kept a pretty good pace covering five and half miles in a little over 2 hours, but boy, was I pooped.
What I found to be totally impressive is the amount of expertise and planning that goes into coordinating these hikes with the vast differences in fitness levels from beginner level to fitness junkie and in between. Guests hike at their own pace and are never left behind. During my week, there were three groups from runners to slow pacers – and often the ratio was 1:2 guide to guest ratio.
Hiking is a calorie burner that you can do practically everywhere. Wearing a Fitbit, I walked 10,000 steps usually before 10 am in the morning, which meant my calories for the day, were already spent. Pretty awesome!
Quick Interview: Damon Botsford, Hiking Manager, WellFit
Other than the obvious love of the outdoors, we look for applicants who are dependable, knowledgable, dedicated, compassionate and most of all, relatable. Guides must be able to "step into guests hiking shoes" and understand the difficult challenges they often times face on their journeys to fitness. Being in good shape also helps with the job, but it's not a requirement upon applying.
The training process involves First Aid and CPR certification, instruction in hiking techniques, hiking safety and wildlife awareness, and familiarization with our extensive trail roster. Some guides also have the opportunity for additional training to test for a commercial driver's license, which is required to drive our passenger vans.
Do you have any tips you'd like to share on best practices for hiking? Or hiking and weight loss/improved fitness?
Always be prepared with the right gear! That includes a good pair of hiking shoes and socks, appropriate clothing for weather conditions, a hat, sunscreen, hiking poles, first aid kit, fully charged cell phone, plenty of water and a map or good knowledge of the area.
To improve your fitness level, sometimes you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, don't be afraid to try new things, and most importantly, hang in there! Fitness is a journey and it doesn't always come easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. While never easy, it does get easier with time and anybody can do it!
What are some of the most popular Wellfit hikes and why?
Our most popular hikes are trails that offer tough challenges as well as beautiful scenery. Two such hikes are the Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountain range, and Solstice Canyon. Both hikes offer challenging terrain as well as stunning coastal views and beautiful lush scenery.
Exercises Classes: Something for Everyone
The Food at WellFit Tastes Good & Looks Pretty!
Comfy Cabins & Enchanting, Charming Campus
The main building houses guest reception, dining hall, lounge area, spa, offices and shop in a contemporary wood and glass structure. A switchback walk way lead to the pool, hot tub, cardio and aerobic gym and beyond are winding paths leading to the lodging area.
The property is enchanting. Wooden banisters artfully made from tree branches added to the rustic feel of the ranch. A string of vertical twinkling lights grouped in trees giving a magical feeling when the sun sets. There’s an old fashioned merry-go-round, cows, the Strong building mentioned earlier and quaint red buildings with white trim used for filming. The nice part – is nothing is off limits and you can walk about and explore to your hearts content
Hurray! WellFit Malibu is Dog Friendly!
Two Thumbs Up! Can't Wait to Go Back to WellFit!
WellFit Malibu provides an opportunity to disconnect from daily stressors and connect with a like-minded community out in nature. If you want to feel well, be well and look well – this is the place to be! It’s a place I want to go back to – again and again!