We used to call them “fat farms,” but wellness resorts like Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, manage to pamper rather than punish their guests.
Wellness resorts entice the woman golfer who wants to improve her fitness because she knows it will improve her golf game. Red Mountain Resort does not have a golf course, although there are several in the neighborhood that look absolutely glorious: Entrada at Snow Canyon, Sand Hollow, Coral Canyon, the Ledges. What it does have are a par-busting, spirit-boosting and soul-soothing program of activities and a kitchen that makes healthy eating feel indulgent.
I didn’t take my clubs on my Metabolic Booster Retreat, a four-day, three-night adventure in January 2020, because I wanted to immerse myself in the sunrise to sunset offerings of the fitness center without missing a gourmet meal at Canyon Breeze. I packed so much into the retreat that I could easily see the value of booking the resort’s week-long Essential Retreat, if only to space out the workouts and reward my exhausted body with a massage and a soak in the hot tub.
Instead, I somewhat overdid it, with nordic walking, a weight plate workout, pilates, train-and-tone, chiball stretch, gentle yoga, a cardio workshop and — my two highlights, both outside in the resort’s gorgeous Southwestern Utah setting — Full Moon Yoga in Snow Canyon and the Explorer Daily Guided Hike.
General manager Tracey Welsh told me the resort’s daily hikes, classified by difficulty, are by far its most popular offerings. The resort sits on a lava field just below Snow Canyon State Park, so nearby are paved walking paths as well as more challenging, uneven trails over red rock, sand and lava rock.
Sandwiched between these experiences were customized sessions to analyze my metabolism, train me in meal planning and mindful dining and arm me with fitness and cardio fitness plans. The staff and experts at the resort were, without exception, knowledgable and kind. They listened to objections attentively and responded with insights and ideas. And they were gamers: It was cold and windy the afternoon I and only one other guest boarded the van to Snow Canyon for Full Moon Yoga, but instructor Ian Phillip White happily led us through a somewhat shortened yet unforgettably exhilarating practice on the rocks.
Welsh, the GM, says she knows the staff is doing its job whenever a guest asks her, “What day is it?” It’s easy to lose track of time at Red Mountain Resort, except that Canyon Breeze has a seven-day rotation of lunch themes and you might not want to miss Hawaiian Day.
Happily, I learned in my metabolic session — sitting in a dark room breathing into an apparatus for several minutes — that my resting metabolic rate is 1,500 calories. With normal daily activity burning another 500, I need to consume 2,000 calories a day to maintain my vital functions. On a day when I walk 18 holes and burn another 1,500, I can over-indulge — or not indulge and lose a pound or two!
Here’s one of my favorite lunch recipes, for any day of the week.
Curried Chicken Salad, from Red Mountain Resort
- 1 pound chicken or turkey breast, boneless, skinless, cooked, shredded Even canned is OK
- ¼ cup celery, chopped
- 3 tbsp red onion, finely diced
- 4 tsp unsalted sliced almonds Toast if you have time
- ½ cup red grapes, halved Raisins/Craisins also work well
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 1½ tsp yellow curry powder
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar Try not to forget this
- Combine the chicken, celery, onion, sliced almonds and grapes in a large bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, curry powder and turmeric. Add a sprinkle of salt, mix well, and let stand for at least an hour.
- Combine all ingredients, stirring in the apple cider vinegar, and serve atop lettuce, or alongside pitas or a grainy bread.