By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley
“Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go!”
“C’mon. Five seconds.
“I cut it 10 seconds shorter than yesterday. I want more intensity.”
“Run. Run. Run.”
“Keep it going.
Keep it going!”
“Push. Push. Push!
Sounds like a day in the life of a contestant on The Biggest Loser, doesn’t it? These shouts of encouragement and pressure actually came from an intense workout session during a Reboot Retreat at Edgewater Resort.
In Taylorsville. Not Hollywood. Not Malibu. Right here in our own Commonwealth.
We can transform our empty, stress-filled, debt-burdened, high-fat eating lives within five days along the shores of this Spencer County lake.
Just ask Nicole Crowe of Indianapolis.
“When I got back home [from the retreat] I felt like I was ready to take on the world,” said Crowe, who spent five days at the September 2011 Reboot Retreat. “I was just so motivated because it was just the fact that you were in a wonderful place with wonderful people. It was just how they treated everyone … it was like a family.”
Crowe joined fellow co-workers from Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana in the retreat as part of the company’s wellness program. The entire Good Signs department attended with the goal to bring back what they learned in Taylorsville to help others in their company better balance their lives. What they didn’t expect was how their own lives were changed.
“It was an eye-opener for us,” Crowe said. “I think I was just expecting some building with a gym. I had no clue it was as lavish as it was. Those weren’t cottages; those were houses.”
Edgewater’s guest relations manager Willow Sullivan says Crowe’s crew isn’t the first and won’t be the last corporate group to escape to Taylorsville for de-stressing and team building.
“We want this to be for real people,” said Sullivan. “We want it to be realistic for people and apply it to their life. I think today everybody is so over the corporate world.”
Typically, the larger cottages at Edgewater house the participants—one for males and one for females. Separate lodging can be requested in some of the smaller cottages. Each of the resort’s 40 cottages has a hot tub for relaxing sore muscles, a washer and dryer to get the sweat out of workout clothes, and a full kitchen. However, don’t expect to see any food in the cottage. That’s where a nutritionist comes in.
“All of our meals were healthy meals, and they showed us how to cook the meals at home,” Crowe said. “I still cook several meals for me and my daughter at home since we’ve left.”
Each day, following a morning yoga session either on the shores of Taylorsville Lake, by the pool or patio with a view, a nutritionist prepares guests a healthy breakfast and teaches them tricks for more nutritious eating. She does the same for lunch, dinner and snacks. In between those meals, participants launch themselves into several workouts guided by fitness experts—sometimes circuit training, sometimes hiking, sometimes just a good ol’ game of volleyball.
“We’re going to use what God gave us out here,” Sullivan said. “Most people don’t have a gym, so everything we present has a manageable approach.”
During breaks, motivational speakers come to the main cottage’s living room and present different methods of improving guests’ lives.
One of them is Mindy Watson, a youth minister at a Mount Washington church. Watson focuses on the spiritual aspect of “rebooting” one’s life, regardless of religion.
“We focus on the whole life. Not just ‘we’re going to get healthy and still carry all this emotional baggage.’ We’re actually teaching them how to live differently,” Watson said of her spiritual discussions.
“It’s totally voluntary to participate in or they can extend their free time,” Sullivan said. But she does add that, so far, no one has opted out of the spiritual aspect of the retreat.
A component that distinguishes Edgewater’s Reboot Retreats is a financial expert on site instructs guests on budgeting, investing and retirement strategies. In addition to speaking to groups, the adviser offers personal assistance as needed to help get a participant’s financial wellness on track.
“If you think about it, most people’s number one stressor is finances,” Sullivan said. “So when you can’t make that payment or that payment is stretching you really thin and you can’t have the quality of life you want, it can cause stress. And stress can manifest itself physically.”
Crowe said she learned a lot from those sessions.
“We talked about that for days afterward,” she said. “Some of the financial stuff we knew, and some of the stuff we didn’t.”
The financial expert will speak to the group much like the other speakers do—in the middle of the cottage’s living room while everyone relaxes in recliners or couches.
“If you’re in a sterile environment, it’s not conducive to breaking down the walls” that will help revamp your life, Sullivan said.
Then there’s the free time, with plenty to do. In addition to an in-ground pool, retreaters also can take up kayaking. And many take advantage of a relaxing massage at the resort’s spa, The Village Spa. Each guest is offered a complimentary 60-minute session if registered early. Among the choices are a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, The Village Spa’s signature stone massage and aromatherapy.
Guests are encouraged to use their free time writing in a complimentary journal given to them at the beginning of the week. Crowe said she still journals to this day.
“That journal helped me stay on track,” she said. “On the second day, I carried the journal with me all the time. Before I went to bed at night, I wrote in my journal what I did that day and how that helped me as a person.”
The schedule is about the same every day of the five-day retreat. Sullivan said participants are first given a health assessment by their certified trainers, and those trainers remain with them throughout the week.
“They are there to encourage and give positive reinforcement,” she said. “People can just sit and talk with them.”
Once the five days have passed, assessments are given again and typically an award is presented to that week’s “biggest loser.” Crowe earned that distinction during her retreat—losing 7.5 pounds in five days. It may not have been easy, but Crowe said it was worth it.
“They had so much for us to do even though we had a strenuous workout,” she said. “We had to stay on task, but there was so much other stuff that it was just fun.”
The ties are not cut from Edgewater after the week is over. Weekly emails are sent to check in with former guests to see how they are faring. A book of recipes, meal plans and a 30-day workout plan are provided to help guests continue to build on what they learned during the retreat.
Watson, like others involved in planning a retreat, hope the five days have made a mark on the participants’ lives.
“All the feedback I’ve seen and heard says it was a life-changing time for the participants,” she said.
In April 2006, Edgewater Resort at Taylorsville Lake had only six cottages. Today, the Spencer County getaway boasts 40 cottages, a spa and a reputation among pro-athletes, dignitaries, superstar musicians and even an international horse owner or two.
“We’re centrally located,” said Willow Sullivan, the resort’s guest relations manager. “Most of our well-known guests have to spend the majority of their time in an urban setting, and this is the complete opposite.”
Edgewater is about 40 minutes from Louisville and roughly five to six hours from Atlanta and Chicago. Nestled among trees along the banks of Taylorsville Lake, the resort offers guests not only a chance to get away from it all, but also a home away from home for seasoned travelers.
Edgewater offers cottages that feature up to three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, a hot tub on every deck and a staff waiting and willing to help.
“One guest sent me a thank-you card because they wanted complete privacy for the weekend saying, we were ‘the perfect ghost hosts,’ ” Sullivan said. “But we were here if they needed anything. Other guests want us to take care of everything for them, and we’re happy to do that as well.”
They’ll even book a fishing excursion or a guided pontoon boat cruise on the lake.
Planning a family reunion? Sullivan said they will help families plan games, meals and other activities.
Restless? Hiking, kayaking and swimming are available.
If indulgence and relaxation are needed, walk no further than The Village Spa. Massage therapists are on hand to offer various sessions of massage and/or skin treatment. Sessions from 60 to 90 minutes can be booked for guests and non-guests alike.
Want to be a more permanent guest? The cottages can be purchased. Buyers can work with interior designers to determine the décor, and everything from furniture to flatware can be provided. What’s more, owners can work with Edgewater to rent out the cottages when they’re not in use and receive 70 percent of the rental revenue.
To get more information on reserving—or buying—a cottage or even a session at the spa, log on to edgewatertaylorsvillelake.com.