This is what makes my heart happy.
I remember when I was a new Beachbody Coach and I was watching all of my contemporaries traveling and seeing the world, I was so inspired. I have always had the attitude if someone else can accomplish something then I can too. I wanted that life, I wanted to see the world and experience different cultures. I wanted that freedom and I wanted to share those experiences with people who were like me. The first year that I hit the milestone “Elite” in Team Beachbody my Coach said she would take me anywhere I wanted to go. A friend of mine had gone to Belize and that is where I said I wanted to go and off we went! A retreat for two! As I sit here and write this I can remember what it felt like to be sitting in Central America on the beach at this really cool little Eco-resort talking with my coach about all that we had accomplished and all that was still left to do. I had never had the experience of traveling like that before and I had definitely never had the experience of game planning the rest of my life on a beach in Belize. I probably thanked my Coach Liz a million-plus times while we were there and she kept telling me to just pay it forward. I internalized that. It became part of my mission to help other women travel and live the lives they deserve. One of the reasons that I share so much of my life and I live as fully as I can is because I feel that it is my responsibility to show what is possible when you have a vision and you match that vision with work ethic. I recently heard that only 10% of United States Citizens even have passports and my heart broke. There is so much out there to see and experience. As I have built my business through the years I have kept my promise to Liz and I pay forward an adventure a year to those who earn it through helping people around them.
Annual Leadership Retreat.
Last year we headed to Jaco, Costa Rica for a private Yoga retreat and adventure at Vida Asana Eco-Resort. It was an awesome experience, many of the girls that earned the trip had never been out of the country. I felt very privileged to be at a point in my life and business to be able to facilitate this experience for them. We went zip lining, went to Manuel Antonio Rain Forrest, surfed, did yoga, and most importantly told our stories and talked about what we wanted and are committed to for our futures. To be successful you need a community that pushes you, challenges you, and lifts you up. I have worked hard to build that community with Team Set Your Soul on Fire and I work to spread the vision of adventure and contribution with the leadership retreat each year. The girls that attend the trip get to share the experience with those around them and then pay it forward to their own teams as they grow. When we do these trips we all get to experience the positivity and limitless possibilities that life holds. I am drawn to tropical locations and I love sharing my passion for nature, the tropics, and the ocean with those around me. We grow through getting out of our comfort zones and as we try new things we are shown what we are truly passionate about in this life. When we moved to Puerto Rico this year I knew that I had to bring the girls here and show them this beautiful island. So that is what we did.
Be here next year, and every year after.
The girls who earned the retreat this year had to put in a lot of work and help a lot of people achieve their goals of living a more healthy and fulfilling life last year. It is such an awesome feeling to be able to experience these trips with this amazing group of female entrepreneurs. The women on my team who really buckle down and set the objective of earning this trip are the ones who rise to the top and make it. Some of them I had the privilege of traveling to Costa Rica with last year and for a few of them this was their first experience with a retreat like this. We had a whole lot of adventure planned for this 6 days but no matter what we do the best parts are always spending time together, setting goals, talking strategy and best practices, and filling up our hearts so we can go out and continue to change the world. I know you want to hear about what we did though so let’s get into it!
Day 1: La Isla Del Encanto.
One of the reasons we wanted to bring all of my leaders down to Puerto Rico for the retreat is because there is an awesome community, some great food, and there is just a lot to do. We rented a house right on the beach and on a marine reserve in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Everyone got in really late so we spent the day lounging around the pool, walking on the beach, catching up and eating Acaii Bowls from our favorite place Da Bowls in Aguadilla. As I said before, the best part of these trips is just being together and talking shop. For dinner we catered a WHOLE LOT of grouper tacos and vegan chocolate chip cookies from our favorite local spot Jack’s Shack. If you follow me on Instagram @amysilvermanfitness then you have undoubtedly seen these amazing tacos and cookies more than once, they are the best on the island.
Day 2: Go jump off a waterfall.
When day 2 kicked off we were all well rested and ready for adventure. This can only mean one thing… San Sebastian Waterfalls! These falls are beautiful and during this time of year they are deserted in the morning. When we were planning the retreat this was something I knew we would have to do. Something that I find really cool about these falls is that the things we have access to here would never fly in the states due to our overly litigious society and people’s desires to not take personal responsibility for their actions. You have to drive up this half paved crazy steep hill, that our rental van did not make it up and we almost slid, yes slid, backwards into a tree. The guy from the parking lot who has obviously seen this happen a million times came down and got us out of it but I’d say we were off to an adventurous start. After you park you can wander down to the first falls and swim in the water, scale the wet rocks and jump from varying heights, there is also a mini cave to explore and a guy aptly named Jungle Man that will act as your tour guide through the whole experience (totally worth it). I love to challenge people and hep them step out of their comfort zones, we all know that is where life starts and growth happens. This retreat was the perfect environment for people to test their limits in a comfortable environment surrounded by supportive people. One of the girls was afraid to do the rope swing and we got her to do it and one was afraid to scale the waterfall and before the day was through she was climbing all over it. I am someone who is very comfortable being uncomfortable and I value adventure so I love imparting that spirit onto others. We spent the day lounging around the waterfalls and swinging from the rope swings then we headed out to get some lunch.
Puerto Rico is not known for healthy food but on the West Coast there are quite a few options popping up. There are food carts opening and healthy farm to table restaurants slowly opening their doors. For lunch we all wanted something lite, after all, if you are spending the days hanging out in a bikini it is important to feel confident and in my experience that all starts with how I eat. We went to this awesome food cart called West Coast Wheat Grass and had yummy salads and probably the best smoothie I have ever had. It is owned and operated by a couple rad chicks who love dishing out healthy foods with as many local ingredients as possible. After filling up we headed back tot he house to relax and marinate for a bit before going to eat again, this time over looking Desecheo Island and the beaches of Rincon.
We spent the rest of the day poolside at our rental and just talked goals and life. Some of us got some work done because when you own your own business it is always up to you to ensure things are running as smoothly as possible. When everyone was ready and hungry again we headed to the local spot The Beach House. It is an open air restaurant on a hill that overlooks Maria’s beach and Desecheo Island. The food is good and the company was great.
Day 3: Let’s go ride some horses in the rain.
I actually do not live in the town we had the retreat in so today I wanted to take the girls up to my neck of the woods (like 20 minutes away lol). We went to my favorite beach Crashboat. This is where my husband and I spend a lot of time stand up paddle boarding and swimming around the dock and sunken structures. It is also where we got certified to Scuba dive so it holds a special place in my heart. We all went to the beach and Kevin came down and brought us another delicious acaii bowl from Da Bowls, there really is nothing better on a hot beach day than a fully loaded acai bowl. After we filled up we all went in the water and Kevin brought his underwater camera housing. This was the first time a lot of the girls on the trip had ever been snorkeling or gone out in the ocean where their feet could not touch the sand. Again, it was such a cool thing to be able to help some of them overcome their fear of the ocean and see that it is an amazing place and I hope that they spend more time exploring the largest Eco system on earth. There are a lot of coral and fish at Crashboat and it is an easy beach to swim in so it made it a lot of fun. From here we went to my house to get changed for our biggest adventure yet: Tropical Trail Rides.
Tropical Trail Rides is awesome, who doesn’t like riding horses on the beach? We all saddled up under the warm Puerto Rico sun and set off and rode on Shack’s Beach, Survival Beach and through a beautiful almond orchard. The coolest part of it all was that on the way back we got caught in one of those crazy tropical down pours. It was definitely a one of a kind experience to be riding horses with my team through a jungle in a torrential downpour when we got back to the barn we were all soaked. The plan was to head to straight to dinner on the beach but we had to head to my house to dry off and change first. We finished up the evening with a delicious dinner at the Eclipse Restaurant right on Shack’s Beach. It was a truly awesome, action packed day.
Day 4: Survival Beach and a Pool Bar.
We jumped in our rented mini van and headed North to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico where there is a really cool little hike from Surfer’s Beach over to Survival Beach. Survival Beach is a rocky, lush, cool spot that looks a little like something you’d see in Jurassic Park. There are endless photo ops and there are never very many people around. We spent the morning taking pictures and messing around. I love when I get to be the photographer and capture all that is going on around me. We spent a few hours hanging out then went to lunch and watched the waves from The Beach House Restaurant. Everything is on Island Time so you need to be prepared to relax and go with the flow when you go to eat so we spent the time talking about things we are passionate about and where we want our lives to go from here. If you are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with then I am in good company. For dinner we went to one of the best restaurants in Rincon: The Pool Bar. This is just like it sounds, a bunch of tables and a bar around a swimming pool with a huge screen showing surf videos. The sushi is always BOMB and the environment is one of a kind. They always have fresh local fish and crazy specials. Kevin and I eat here all the time and it was so fun to take the girls to the places they see on my social media and let them experience the community and life I live.
Day 5: Barefoot Yoga and Surfing. #Rinconlife
One of the things that I love about living on the West Coast of Puerto Rico is the vibe. I really feel at home in the tropics and being surrounded by people who love the beach, the ocean, yoga, and value experiences over a lot of stuff makes me a happy girl. I was so excited to take all of the girls to do some yoga by the beach at this awesome place called Barefoot Yoga that is right under the mangroves right off the water in Puntas (part of Rincon). Joy, the owner taught the class and she is a fantastic teacher, very lighthearted and fun. After all, it is not a retreat without some yoga! It is the perfect way to start your day so if you’re in Rincon check it out.
From there we just hung out all day at the pool until a few of us got the idea to take a surf lesson. We got in touch with Rincon Paddle Boards and spent the afternoon catching some waves! The instructors we had were awesome, they had great attitudes and seemed to be having a blast teaching us. Everyone caught a wave and they were not tiny so we all felt accomplished. Any day spent in the ocean is a good day and i love sharing these experiences with everyone. The mantra of the trip became : feel the fear and do it anyway. If we do not challenge ourselves to do the things we are scared of how will we ever know what we are capable of? How will we know what we are truly passionate about if we do not try everything? As I write this I am smiling because I keep thinking about one of the girls on the trip (Cait) who kept screaming with a HUGE grin on her face,”THIS IS LIVING!” when she did something challenging. This life is open to anyone who is willing to work for it and who is willing to live with discomfort and in a constant state of growth.
Day 6: Let’s get little something to remember this by.
It was definitely a bummer when this retreat wound down. I loved spending time with all of these positive girls who are kicking so much ass in life and I honestly cannot wait until next year. Before we called it a day and everyone went home we had to do one last thing. Get tattooed! I am a total tattoo snob and I tend to put a lot of thought into every tattoo I get but a bunch of the girls wanted to get a little something to commemorate this amazing week so how could I say no? We found a local spot and made an appointment, then we went and had Ice Cream. Not everyone wanted to get tattooed so while we were getting our keepsakes the rest of the crew went wandering around Rincon and hung out for moral support. We all got simple wave tattoos and I could not think of a better way to close out the week. Everyone flew out of Aguadilla so we spent the evening hanging out at my house and we decided to share this amazing opportunity with others so we hosted a 1 hour Coach Happy Hour. If you want to check it out you can watch it HERE.
Be Here Next Year.
This retreat is something that I feel very honored to do each year. When we were thinking about rewards for our team we immediately thought of travel. I believe that we need to experience the world and challenge the things that we believe in order to grow and evolve as human beings. It is always my hope that each year this retreat grows to include more women who are dead set on changing their lives for the better and making a positive impact on their community. It is not a grand gesture that will change the world but the hard work and diligence of individuals working to make their little slice of the world a better place. You may think that what I do is all workouts and super foods but it is really all about building the foundation for a better life. Each of the girls on the retreat has their own story, some wanted to feel stronger, some were battling nutritional issues, some like me, just wanted to feel better about themselves and lose some weight. The thing we all have in common is we found way more than we could have ever bargained for when we started our first programs and drank our first Shakeology. We found a community that pushed us to work hard on our goals and ourselves and we found a purpose that was bigger than all of us to work towards. Since I came to AA 8 years ago I have known deep inside that there is nothing more powerful than people helping people.