#GoWell Retreat by Sun Life

I was recently invited to lead an #NTSweat sesh in a wellness retreat at the beautiful Shangri-La Boracay. What I thought was an exciting project with Sun Life Canada (Philippines) turned out to be much more than what I expected.

When Jaymie Pizzarro, also known as The Bull Runner, got in touch with me and asked if we could work together, the instant answer was yes.

Fun Fact: When this Boss Babe isn’t running TBR and The Dream Marathon, she is busy leading Sun Life’s Health and Wellness marketing efforts! And because of that, you can be sure that all of the brand’s campaigns come from a place of authenticity. It helps to know who to trust, right?

Anyway, it didn’t really matter what she wanted me to do or when and where, when you’re invited by a woman as inspiring and awesome as this one, there is no reason to decline. Being able to share my work with an amazing crowd was only the icing on the cake.  But to be surrounded with like-minded people, ones that you can truly learn WITH and FROM was the best part.

ALL SET TO GOWELL

The first night, we got together for a healthy dinner. That’s where I realized I knew more of the attendees than I thought (which was a relief!).  We also got to know exactly why Sun Life brought us together.

The GoWell campaign kicks off Sun Life’s entry into the wellness space. The vision is not just to educate and feed information to its consumers but to build a community that will share the experience through fitness classes and events as a means of sickness prevention. The campaign is tied to Sun Life’s newest product called SUN Fit and Well, which provides a comprehensive life and health protection during times of distress caused by serious illnesses. Read more about the product here.

The great thing about this community is that it’s non-exclusive. Do you need to have a Sun Life policy to take part? Certainly not, but being a policy owner does have its perks. If you’re just interested in joining the community workouts, you can sign up through the GoWell website for FREE. You also get free access to a wealth of articles from the industry’s most credible sources to keep you on the right track in your wellness journey.

THE EXPERIENCE

We spent one full day engaging in activities that were carefully chosen to give us a holistic experience.

I was lucky enough to be roomies with Jackie Go. We had so much in common that I couldn’t imagine what my retreat would have been like if I didn’t spend majority of it with her (Love you, Jackie!).

We were scheduled to go for a sunrise run at 6AM that day. I almost heard my alter-ego chuckle and say “Good luck!” when I read the schedule. Trust me, we made an effort to get out of bed at 5:30 am despite the light rains and wind. We cheered the group on by the parasols instead and ran…all the way to the breakfast buffet. YUM.

An hour later, the entire group (including those who decided against running in the rain), was back together for NT Sweat.

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While I was asked to go easy on them, I took one look at the crowd and I knew the group was gonna go for it.

After the morning run, here's the lovely @nkitorres leading our Sweat Session. #GoWell @gowellph

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With almost none of them new to fitness, we all nailed the hour-long session, tired but still smiling. 😀

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You gotta watch this video and check out Rovilson Fernandez . He totally beat my butt with his Beyonce choreography. Shot during the NT Sweat session!

We then moved on to an inspirational talk by Chris Everingham  on making healthier choices.

First exercise was to have your partner taste a completely random thing from one of the bowls on the table. Jackie was scared sh*tless. Sorry, dear! :D
First exercise was to have your partner taste a completely random thing from one of the bowls on the table. Jackie was scared sh*tless. Sorry, dear! 😀

Chris did a great job simplifying the points that I just couldn’t come up with any excuse not to be able to apply all these things he was sharing with us.

He pointed out three things to remember when it comes to building healthier habits:

  1. Get your nutrition mostly from fruits and vegetables (I have no problem with that!)
  2. Load up on water. For the longest time, I knew that my minimum required intake was at 1.8L. I know I read it somewhere but has long since forgotten how that number came to be. Chris gave us the formula which is: weight in KG x 35 = Minimum required water intake. Weight in KG x 45 = Ceiling amount of water intake per day.
  3. Mindfulness is KEY to everything. Slowing down almost always gives you the chance to pick the better option especially when it comes to food. Choose the healthier options, chew slowly and ask yourself “Am I Satisfied?”

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And speaking of satisfaction, I skipped the regular lunch that was served after Chris’ talk because I knew so well that Marie Gonzalez of Kitchen Revolution (also a fellow Manila Vegan), was bound to feed me.

If there’s something I learned from vegans, is that we had to look out for each other.

GoWell Sun Life

So upon seeing that Marie was coming to the retreat, I approached one of the organizers to say that we were vegans and if they could request the chefs for vegan food options.

Marie, being so naturally nurturing, took care of my always hungry belly and made sure I ate well during our stay. Because she knows food better than I do, I was surprised the chefs came out with yummy vegan dishes for us. Not sure how much of that was her doing, though! But I loved her for that.

Marie’s workshop was on Smoothie Bowls and DIY Vegan Salad Dressings. I was right not to ask the kitchen staff for anything vegan because by the end of Marie’s workshop, I was so satisfied and HAPPY with we made!

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We had the afternoon off to do what we want and of course, Jackie and I chose to take a NAP (hello, titas!). Haha We woke up and headed a couple of hours before our next activity and got to squeeze some pool time in.

Quick dip with the gang before our final workout activity for the day. #jacufreezing #gowell

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After that, it was time for yoga. I was really looking forward to this one. I even asked Bubbles Paraiso prior to the retreat if she could make the class stretchy because I’ve gotten so tight from all the Yang workouts I’ve been doing. She willingly obliged saying she’s gotten similar requests from other people too.

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The class ended with a meditation practice led by Neil Salang. I’ve met him once in another event and loved the calm energy he so naturally gave out. Although shorter than I wished it would have been, the meditation practice felt like the perfect end to that day’s set of activities.

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We all got to spend dinner together before we flew out the next day.

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The Sun Life team saw to it that the farewell dinner was a special one with fire dancers performing to the new GoWell jingle by Inigo Pascual.

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I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, SUN LIFE!

While it looked like we just flew to the country’s top beach spot to eat, sweat it out and bask in the sun (well we really did, except that the sun didn’t shine that much), I felt that the retreat has gone way past what I thought it would do for me. It has allowed me to build new relationships with such beautiful souls and strengthened existing friendships. I saw just how much inspiration there was when it came to people that surrounds us. How anyone with different careers and personalities can come together and work towards one goal–to live life brighter.

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You can GoWell too! I’m leading an NT Sweat session open to all on November 17 at Function Room C of the SMX Aura Premier. Registration starts at 6:30 PM. Sign up by clicking the poster below.

Sun Life Go Well NT Sweat

Be part of the GoWell community by logging on to www.gowell.com.ph Follow them on Instagram, @gowellph, for updates.