Every August, some of my favorite local fitness peeps, the City Fit Girls hosts their annual Fit Retreat.
This year the stars aligned once again! Tickets sell out fast; when they went on sale in May, I quickly purchased mine. The Fit Retreat has both VIP and General Admission tickets – I opted for the VIP ticket which cost $53.50 this year.
There was a FitRetreat pre-party held on Friday evening with a workout followed by a party at Philadelphia Runner. Those who attended the pre-party were able to pick up their event tank tops and entry wristbands. I was not able to make the Friday night pre-party but I was looking forward to waking up bright and early to spend a Saturday getting sweaty!
A few Run856 friends and I traveled to Philly from South Jersey; we met up and shared a Lyft together which worked out perfectly. We had a group message going so we reminded each other to bring our yoga mats, towels, water bottles, change of clothes, and other little things I might have otherwise forgotten at 7am when my brain is on autopilot. Thank goodness for them!
Fit Retreat has grown in size, even from two years ago. This year’s Fit Retreat hosted close to 200 attendees (in 2015 it was around 150) and was held at Independence Live! on Market Street. The location has rotated in the past and it’s fun to see where each year’s event will be held. The doors opened a little past 8am and we all eagerly entered the space.
We were able to peruse the schedule of events prior to the day and I made a list of the classes I wanted to attend. Because of space restrictions, some of the classes were limited so we needed to sign up for those pronto. The workouts were split into 45 minutes sessions in the morning, with the afternoon being a bit more low-key and conversation based.
There was a light breakfast provided by Melanie’s Medleys (YUM), various vendors had booths, and we were welcomed by the founders of City Fit Girls – Kiera and Takia.
My morning consisted of The BPM Bootcamp, which was a combination class of AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible) and Tabata (which is time based. Example: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 rounds). This was a high energy workout and reminded me a lot of the things I do with my personal trainer twice a week.
Jen was my buddy for the morning and we tried some new to us moves (including a downward dog push-up). She and I were hooting and hollering the entire workout. Sweat was flying all over the place! It was great!
BPM came to an end and the rest of our Jersey crew joined our area for Barre with Megan. While not as high energy as the first session, this was intense! We focused on working our legs, core, and hip flexors. I’m pretty sure my muscles were screaming the entire 45 minutes. Holding and pulsing is a big part of barre work and while we didn’t have an actual barre that we were working with, the workout was just as challenging as the barre classes I’ve taken!
Speaking of challenging: throughout the day off the instructors and motivators called attention to doing what you, yourself, are capable of. At a retreat like this, there are so many different fitness levels and rather than worrying about the person beside you, you can and should modify and do what feels good for you.
After barre, Jen, Brandi, and I joined 27 others in Double Shot [Abs + Butt] which I’m sure you can probably guess worked our… Abs and Butt! The ladies from Freehouse Fitness led us through exercises like lunges, squats, twists, band squeezes, and more.
My abs and glutes were already shaking from the earlier workouts but I did my best to show no mercy and try my absolute hardest! I could feel the blood pumping through my veins.
The floor under our mats was really hard and weirdly textured (which you can see in the picture) so that didn’t feel particularly good. Next year I might want to bring a thicker mat or even double up on my yoga mats!
After the third session it was time for… DRINKS! The ladies of City Fit Girls acknowledge and embrace the fact that many of us enjoy a nice drink or two after a couple hours of working out. This year there was not only mimosas but also lemon shrub. I’d never had lemon shrub before but now that I have, I might need to track it down. It was delicious and garnished with mint. Nice and refreshing!
From there it was lunch time and while the line was long and the space a bit squishy, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and living high off the endorphins from the morning’s multiple work outs. The food (catered by Chef Joy Parham) was delicious breakfast tacos! I love breakfast and I love tacos so this was a no-brainer. And there was GUACAMOLE. SO GOOD.
After a dance party with DJ G33K, we all split off into our afternoon sessions.
My afternoon was geared toward the empowerment side of my well-being. I chose to spend the first session with Melissa Alam and learning about brand building. I recently helped establish the nonprofit Bullock Garden Project, Inc. and I knew that I’d pick up tips and tricks for marketing in regards to that and Scoot a Doot, as well. It was great to hear not only Melissa’s ideas but also some of my peers input as well!
My final session was with City Fit Girls founder, Kiera Smalls, regarding Body Positivity. This was an emotional session and one in which I felt a strong connection with my fellow attendees. The time flew by and I was so grateful to end the day’s journey surrounded by the women that chose to be a part of this session.
Without a doubt, the City Fit Girls Fit Retreat is one of my favorite days of the year – it ranks right up there with my birthday and the first day of school. I’m already looking forward to next August! Until then, train hard, brunch harder!