The road to a new and improved you can be found in Lennox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires at Canyon Ranch, where it is all about the ‘Power of Possibility.’ What used to be a private home and boarding school is now known as Canyon Ranch, a mansion that was restored and has become the world’s premier health resort.

 

'Canyon Ranch, Lennox Mass'

Photo provided by Canyon Ranch

With a variety of activities from canoeing on a perfect lake in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter, guests can re-energize with a choice of 40+ fitness classes offered daily. An all inclusive resort, at Canyon Ranch, guests can also savor nutritious gourmet cuisine while enjoying spa treatments, exercise and lectures geared toward spirituality and health and wellness.

Spending the weekend at Canyon Ranch in Lennox, MA, was everything I dreamed of and more. It was ‘all about me.’ When I say ‘all about me,’ I mean I was learning how I can take better care of me. From a Physiological Fitness Test to learning how to cook and eat healthier, I got the kick-start I needed to be a ‘better’ version of me at Canyon Ranch.

Driving through the gates at Canyon Ranch feels like you are entering a different time period. I almost expected someone from the movie The Great Gatsby to greet me at the door.. Located in the Berkshires in Lennox, Massachusetts, the century-old Bellefontaine mansion is the centerpiece of Canyon Ranch. Bellefontaine had been a private home and then a boarding school before it was destroyed in a fire. The mansion was restored and additional buildings were added. Soon it became a classic vacation spot. The library, the only room that had not been destroyed by fire, was fully restored to its original dignity.

Canyon Ranch is an all-inclusive health resort and luxury spa. There is a choice of more than 40 fitness classes offered daily, nutritious gourmet cuisine, and an option to consult with physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and other specialists.

Canyon Ranch provided the assistance I needed to devise a plan as to what to eat, how much to eat, how to cook healthy, the type of exercise that I will benefit from and even how to think more positive to achieve my daily and lifelong goals. Providing the inspiration and the ‘You can do this attitude,’ the staff at Canyon Ranch helped give me the kick start I needed.

Let’s Talk Food at Canyon Ranch

The food at Canyon Ranch was not only delicious, but healthy. The cuisine emphasizes healthy eating with quality carbs and fiber, fruits, legumes and moderate portions of whole grains. All meals are balanced with protein-rich food and healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil and omega-3 fatty acids. They do not use trans fats or other artificial ingredients in their cooking. The food is seasoned with herbs and spices to keep the use of salt at a minimum and the use of sweeteners are in moderation. There are no artificial sweeteners at all.

'canyon ranch food'

Photo Credit: Shari Von Holten

More importantly, the food that is served is the correct portion size. Being a frequent visitor to local restaurants and having heard about what portion sizes are supposed to be, my body (and my brain) initially went into shock when faced with the reality of a TRUE portion size. Fearing starvation, panic set in, but not only did I live through eating a smaller portion, but I left the dining area feeling good. No bloat. No regrets.

There is also a moderate amount of salt in the food. I add salt to everything. Both while I am cooking and when the meal has been served, there is salt on the table. While I would have loved to add a dot of salt, it was not an option. Thanks to the wonderful chefs at Canyon Ranch, the food was delicious without me adding salt.

No soda and no alcohol. No diet soda. No regular soda. No glass of wine with dinner. The choices were sparkling water, regular water, coffee, tea and delicious, healthy smoothies. I am not a huge soda or alcohol person, so I didn’t notice until a friend pointed it out. The philosophy behind no alcohol is that Canyon Ranch is focused on wellness and detoxifying. Canyon Ranch respects people’s decisions about whether to drink in moderation, as well as their choice of wine, beer or spirits. Canyon Ranch advises that guests with concerns discuss them with their doctors.

Both the Canyon Ranch health resort in Tucson and the Canyon Ranch health resort in Lenox are alcohol-free environments.  Canyon Ranch does not disapprove of alcohol, and guests are of course free to bring it with them to consume in their rooms.  The philosophy of the resort is  to present all the resort guests with the healthiest possible choices, so that they can experience how good healthy living makes them feel. They have more opportunity to do that if their perception is unclouded.

Let’s Talk Exercise at Canyon Ranch

Exercise is one of the keys to leading a healthy life. The idea that there is something for everyone is proven with all the choices in exercise classes at Canyon Ranch. There are 40 complimentary classes daily designed to improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and cardiovascular health.

Exercise is part of my life, but not everyday, like it should be. I was offered the opportunity to take part in The Canyon Ranch, “Discover Your Fitness Age.” It is a new program that allows you to measure your physiological age relative to your chronological age. In all honesty, I was scared to “Discover My Fitness Age.” What if it turned out I was 20 years older than my chronological age? Would I be able to handle the results revealing I was as fit as a 97 year old woman? Thankfully, I expressed my concern to Heather, my exercise physiologist, who was beyond amazing and made sure to ease me into my physiological age. You are going to have to wait to find out how it turned out because I am dedicating an entire post to the process and the results. Yes – I will reveal my ‘true’ age. Upon learning the results, the exercise physiologist developed a plan to help me to improve or in some cases maintain that fitness age.
They are also able to inspire guests to get moving and keep moving – in a realistic manner. As someone who doesn’t like to attend classes at the gym, we found great alternatives that were fun too!

Let’s Talk the Spa at Canyon Ranch

While you can go to Canyon Ranch and indulge in exercise, eating healthy and amazing food demos, in addition to spirituality and life management classes, there is also a fantastic spa. The spa had great facilities, including saunas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms, exercise studios, and indoor tennis, racquetball, squash and basketball courts are among the many features of the 100,000-square-foot Spa complex.

I had an 80 minute hot-stone massage. While I was concerned about the length of time, as I have never had a massage for that long, if I could have extended it to be an all day event, I would have. It was as amazing as it sounds.

Overall, the Canyon Ranch had something for everyone and it is a great place for people of all ages. I had the opportunity to speak with a guest, who has been going to Canyon Ranch once a year for the past 18 years, with a group of friends. Carol said it best when she said,

“It’s a reminder of what’s important in your life. For women who are the caretakers – it’s a chance to take care of themselves.”

Carol also said, “It gets better every year.”

I am looking forward to making a return visit to the Canyon Ranch Luxury Resort and Spa. Something tells me, I will be taking a group with me next time!!