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Discovering Riviera Maya: Food, Culture, Friends, Relaxation, and Mystical Experiences

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Five Days in Paradise: Our Dominican Republic Adventure

May 1, 2017

One of my favorite things about coaching with Beachbody is the annual Success Club trip. The company rents out a resort (or, last year, a cruise ship) for several days and provides the trip free of charge to all coaches who earned it. During our stay, the company goes to great lengths to make us feel special and pampered, and to express their gratitude for coaches’ hard work the previous year. Sean and I just returned from such an amazing stay in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and I wanted to tell you all about it while it’s fresh in my mind.

 

In a sense, this trip is like a “choose your own adventure” book—there are many different experiences to choose from, depending on what you want out of your vacation. It’s possible to have an active experience, or a more relaxed one; couple time, family time, or social time—the choice is yours.

 

It feels like a Beachbody trip not just because there are a couple thousand other coaches and their families at the resort with you, but because of the schedule of events. In addition to receptions for the entire group, the company organizes training workshops by leading coaches (just a little bit though—not too much business talk on this trip!), plus a greeting by the CEO with announcements from corporate (this year they were about upcoming new exercise programs yet to be released, as well as the new Shakeology formulation).

 

In addition, the company brings down the super trainers from our workout videos to lead the morning workouts for the group! This year, Autumn Calabrese (of the 21 Day Fix, Hammer & Chisel, and Country Heat) and Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews (of Core de Force) were at the resort leading morning workouts, as was Chris Downing, the creator of the Shift Shop program that is yet to be released (coming this July)—so we all got to try a sneak peek of the Shift Shop! (It made me majorly sore—good stuff!!!!) The coolest part is that they are at the resort with us all week, so you’re likely to see them hanging out at the pool or in line at the dinner buffet, and they’re all super friendly and happy to chat a bit or snap a selfie with you.

 

 Another feature that makes it feel like a Beachbody trip is the Shakeology bar each morning! Pretty much all of us coaches drink it daily to get our essential vitamins and minerals, as well as boost immune function and promote smooth digestion—not something you want to give up while traveling in an unfamiliar place where you’re out of your routine anyhow! So instead of forcing us all to travel with supplement packets (and probably a blender too), the company provides Shakeology for us. Bars are set up each morning in the hall outside the workout area, with Shakeology available in two recipes (there’s always at least one dairy-free and one nut-free). Recipes this past week included peaches and crème; strawberry watermelon; chocolate with peanut butter and banana; and cinnamon dolce latte! It may sound like a small thing, but it’s such a treat to have someone else blend up my shake for me instead of having to do it myself.

 

 Apart from those official activities, the week is like any other stay at an all-inclusive resort. We have full access to all of the resort amenities. At the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, this included a private beach belonging to the resort, as well as pools of all different shapes and sizes—heated and not heated, with slides for kids, adults-only, basically every variation you can think of—with special events happening multiple times per day. (While we were there, there was a dinner with a Michael Jackson tribute show, a neon party, a foam party, daily karaoke hour, beach volleyball, a basketball tournament, and much more.)

 

 There’s plenty to do indoors too. The resort has an extensive spa complex with many different environments; with the resort credit each attending coach received, Sean and I were able to get a 90-minute couples aromatherapy massage and spend another hour inside the spa enjoying their “sensory experience” in different water-based environments: infrared sauna, ice bath, steam sauna, clay sauna, and different types of showers and pools with therapeutic pressure designed for different parts of the body. The entire spa complex smells amazing, and you’re able to have a cup of hot tea and some chlorophyll juice prior to your massage to get you feeling all warm and tingly, and then as you exit the massage room afterwards you’re handed a champagne glass filled with mint-infused water—slightly chilled, not so cold as to be jarring after your massage. The whole experience was heaven from start to finish!

 

 There’s a shopping mall and a casino for the adults, and an arcade/game room for teenagers. And the restaurants—oh, the restaurants! There are casual buffets and deli-style restaurants for families needing a quick meal on the go. There are outdoor cafes by each pool so you never have to go too far (and although we didn’t spend much time at the pool, one day we walked past and they were grilling fresh seafood for lunch—it looked and smelled incredible!) There’s food everywhere at all hours of the day—a soft serve machine by the pool; hot dogs, hamburgers and fries available at a buffet as you walk down the hall; a coffee shop with donuts if you get hungry in between meals. 

 

 Then for special/fancier meals during your trip, there are several themed dinner restaurants to choose from. Everything we tried was phenomenal! The beachfront restaurant closest to our room (which we tried on our first night) had island-style cuisine with lots of fresh, local seafood options. There was Mexican (surprisingly good), Italian (which we only tried for lunch, but also good), and Japanese (we watched the hibachi show at surrounding tables while we dined at the sushi bar, which was fantastic). On our last night we went to a Brazilian steakhouse, which had such a romantic atmosphere, an extensive salad bar with tons of fresh seafood (ceviche, shellfish etc.) that could have been our entire meal, the juiciest and most flavorful meats, and an extensive wine list (we used the last of our resort credit on a bottle of red we would never have been able to afford otherwise).

 

Even the guest rooms themselves have plenty to offer. Ours was enormous, with plenty of space both inside and out on the deck to get a workout in (I ended up only using it for yoga on the first and last day, since we had large group workouts on the other days). There was a nice comfy chair inside, and two on the deck, plus free wifi across the resort property, so I could get a bit (just a tiny bit!) of work done each day, plus message my friends to arrange when and where to meet. There was a small dining table in the room, with room service available 24/7—although we never used it because we wanted to try all the restaurants! And the crown jewel of our room (other than the super comfortable king-size bed) was a two-person whirpool tub that was actually located right in the center of the room in front of the bed! It was a unique and gorgeous room layout… we just had to make sure we closed the curtains on the door to the deck when we used that tub!

 

Sean and I really didn’t take full advantage of a lot of the resort features—we didn’t spend any time relaxing by the pool, and I missed the workout and CEO presentation—because we booked an excursion on each of the days we were there for the full day! What can I say… when we visit a new place, I like to see all it has to offer! And Sean prefers active/adventurous vacations as well (though maybe not quite to the extent I do).

 

 During our trip, we went snorkeling, which is my absolute favorite (I love the peaceful underwater world, floating on the waves with just the sound of your breath, and watching the sea life float by)—and the boat ride afterwards is always fun too (they usually play some dance tunes and break out an open bar; on this particular excursion, we got to try a drink made from rum, ice, milk, raw sugar, and raw coconut meat).

 

 On another day, we went on an “outback” tour (the name fit, since it was a windy, rainy day and we were in an open jeep with the rain blowing in through the sides), driving into the country side to experience some Sabores Dominicanos (Dominican Flavors)—locally sourced coffee and hot chocolate, with a visit to a traditional rural Dominican homestead. Although this homestead serves entirely as a tourist stop with presentations and a store, it still is a traditionally designed home where a real family (our hosts) lives, so it was interesting to see. This tour finished with a stop at the beach, and it was nice to see a spot outside of our resort where locals go to surf.

 

 Our third excursion was a shopping tour with a focus on local production. We first visited a flea market at a different beach, then traveled to a chocolate museum where we had the most mouth-watering samples and purchased way too much candy and chocolate liqueur (we could have paid extra to make our own chocolate bar but opted out). This tour also included a stop at a cigar factory—although we aren’t smokers, it was interesting to learn about the process—and a rum purveyor, where Sean purchased a rare bottle for $129 that would have cost $700 in New York. (Rum isn’t my thing, but I did get a cream-based rum liqueur that tastes like Butter Rum flavor Lifesavers… I’m looking forward to having it with coffee back home!)

 

 To me, these excursions were the best part of the trip because although yes, they are catered to tourists and we weren’t experiencing life like a local, I still think there’s something to be said for getting off the resort and meeting some locals, even if they are in the tourism industry. Our guide on the Dominican Flavors excursion was knowledgeable and talkative, and it was so interesting to hear him talk about his life, as well as Dominican politics, the economy, and the education system.

 

 But because we spent so much time on excursions and were generally focused on having couple time—we both work a lot and so don’t get much time to just spend relaxing together outside of our vacations—I didn’t get a lot of social time and team bonding on this trip. That actually was OK with me because there weren’t any coaches from my downline who came along this year. If some had, it would have been a different story—one of the best parts of these trips is when teammates who have only met online can spend time getting to know each other and just hanging out in person! There was a little bit of that, though—from the larger team that I’m part of, I did meet a few coaches for the first time that I hadn’t met before, and reconnected with some old friends.

 

Essentially, this trip is what you make of it. For some of the larger teams on the trip, team bonding is a huge component; they go for massages at the same time, eat meals together, and hang out by the pool all afternoon. There also are a fair number of singles who earn the trip and come by themselves; in our online forums, there were message threads of people looking to make new friends and meet up for dinner with others who didn’t have a predetermined group to hang with.

 

 Any way you slice it, this trip is such a treat, and I’m so very grateful to be affiliated with a company that shows appreciation to its reps in this way. I am also extremely grateful to all the clients who chose to work with me over the past year and allowed me to earn this trip. I am fervently hoping that some members of Team Lives on Fire will be joining me in April 2018 when we travel to Riviera Maya, on the eastern coast of Mexico! We’ll be at the Hard Rock again for next year’s trip… and given what we experienced this year, I’m excited about that!

 

If you are interested in potentially earning this trip, your first step would be to join our team of wellness coaches! Your new coach orientation will go over in more detail how to earn Success Club points, but in a nutshell, earning 120 Success Club points over the course of 2017 equates to a fully paid trip! Since you would be joining midyear, you can earn part of it and pay the difference if you aren’t able to earn the full cost.

 

Success Club points are earned by helping people out in our monthly coaching groups with a combination of fitness, nutrition, and support. When someone purchases one of my monthly packages, I receive two Success Club points per client, so an average of five clients per month (60 total over the course of the year) earns me the trip for free.

 

Once you join as a coach, you will be able to add your name to the waitlist for Riviera Maya, and then as you start earning Success Club points, your name moves up the list. Each month, coaches from the top of the waitlist are invited to register for the trip and reserve a room. Once your room is reserved, you continue to earn points. Payments are due quarterly for any balance above and beyond the points earned (so each quarter you’d need to pay $300 minus any points you earned… so if you earned at least 30 points for 15 clients, you’d owe $0), and points left over after the quarterly payment is subtracted carry over to the following quarter.

 

Helping my team members earn this trip is a big focus of mine because I know how nice it feels to be pampered and appreciated, and I want them to experience that! If you think you may want to try for this, I would suggest that you come on board sooner rather than later, because the earlier in the year you join, the more time you have to earn next year’s trip! You’ll have access to my training and mentorship so you know exactly what you need to do to earn the trip. I share exactly what I do in my own business with my team members. No secrets here! I want us all to succeed, so I don’t hold my knowledge close…

 

I share it far and wide. If you are ready to get started, just contact me at the email address below. I absolutely love helping new coaches get started with developing their very own programs and figuring out how to attract their ideal customer, i.e., the people who need what they have to offer! I’ll be waiting to hear from you :-) xo, Elizabeth

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