If you’re anything like me, you made COVID-19 quarantine an excuse to go off the deep end, ingesting whatever you wanted and you are now paying the price – in pounds. Now that the world is slowly opening up with work to do, places to go, people to see, and that dress I have to fit into for a social distancing, outdoor movie premiere party, I needed to get my broken down health and fitness regimen back up and running. I had let myself go gluttonous and I didn’t want to detox just to retox. I needed to remember what it felt like to feel good and then be able sustain that wellbeing for the long haul. Practically 6 months into the global pandemic, with back to normal a blurry, distant hope, I was craving some tools to find positivity in the panic and stability within the chaos. I wasn’t quite ready for a non-essential plane ride to anywhere too far away. I wanted to stay close to home and passport free but far enough away to feel like I was on a vacation not another staycation. The perfect place I found for me to ditch the debauchery: Canyon Ranch.
Canyon Ranch offers a wide variety of experiences to glow up your life including:
- Optimal Health Exploration – Consult with wellness experts to address any health concerns
- Lifestyle Reset – Reimagine your way of life
- Reconnect with Joy – Deal with loss or trauma
- Transition Purposefully – Put planned or unexpected career, relationship and life transitions into perspective
- Or Just Be Here – Which I chose for personal discovery and to simply feel good
My package included all meals and snacks created with regional, seasonal ingredients, prepared by Canyon Ranch chefs and approved by their nutritionists. Also included: group hikes and bike rides, yoga and aquatics, creative arts, wellness presentations, fitness classes, and a daily spa credit for treatments. Plus, expert guidance from fitness trainers, nutritionists, spiritual-wellness guides, and physicians are also available to help on my wellness journey. Everything is all-inclusive and tipping throughout is not expected or asked for at the end.
Of course I checked out their Enhanced Health Protocols before deciding to visit. Canyon Ranch has always provided a healthy environment where you can feel safe and stress-free. That hasn’t changed. They have made adaptations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and hygiene standards meet or exceed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state regulations and their own team of experts, led by Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States. As always everything is meant to keep you healthy.
My Labor Day arrival to Canyon Ranch Tucson was a smooth sailing, no traffic, 6 and a half hour road-trip from my Oceanside, CA home. It was a big eye opener traveling through the smoky foothills and fire glowing skies where wildfires had been burning for days. As I breathed in I felt sadness for the people, wildlife and forests of my home state and our neighbors ablaze in Oregon and Washington. As I breathed out I sent a prayer of love to all those who have lost their homes or a loved one by fire in this already tumultuous time. It was a record 121°F in the San Fernando Valley as I drove into the, believe it or not, cooler 104°F Arizona desert. Meanwhile, on the radio I was hearing news of the Gulf Coast bracing for yet another hurricane. Can we all please agree that Global Warming is real already?
Set in a desert oasis of Saguaro cacti, Canyon Ranch’s flagship has been changing lives for the better since 1979. The Tucson property, though well kept and newly remodeled, still has an old school vibe in the main clubhouse and lobby areas even though it has been extensively updated in recent years. The latest upgrade includes head to toe remodeling of many rooms and suites during the COVID-19 closure. Guest rooms are clustered throughout the lush desert grounds of the resort. I requested a King Bed and Bathtub so was given a more spacious Executive Suite. My casita had a modern, airy feel and thoughtful amenities like a mini fridge, cloud-soft feather bed & Mascioni® luxury Italian linens, terry cloth robes, DVD, cable TV, stereo, sound machine & iPhone® docking stations, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee and tea service, filtered water, in-room safe and signature Canyon Ranch bath & body products. It was farther from the main areas than some options but well worth the walk through the vast campus to take in the sunset on the way to soak in some Epsom salts after a vigorous day. As always I am a sucker for a big bathtub.
Canyon Ranch’s world-renowned Arizona resort specializes in innovative spa treatments that focus on mind, body, and spirit. From neuromuscular therapy to skin care esthetics, they have it all and are now open for indoor therapies. On my first night, after settling in with some delicious in room dining, I chose to start my stay by sloughing away some dead skin and pandemic stress with an Omega Body Buff. The scrub is designed to promote circulation, exfoliate dry skin and moisturize with omega-3 anti-inflammatory oils. It’s the super-food your skin needs to stay firm and elastic. I am not sure if it is good or bad that I am getting used to rubbies and scrubbies with a mask on. However that is the new reality for the time being and I would rather be getting a 5-Star spa experience with a mask than not getting one at all.
I slept like a baby before waking up and gathering at 5:45am for a hike. The group consisted of me and only one other guest with our two knowledgeable, friendly guides. Outdoor Fitness supplied us with sanitized backpacks with plenty of water and a trail breakfast of healthy snacks including their famous gluten-free blueberry bar that tastes like a homemade pop tart. It was a pretty sunrise 20-minute drive to an early morning jaunt up and down a mostly deserted National Park trail with views over the Tucson valley below and Saguaros as far as the eye could see. Aaaah nature is open for business. I went straight from the 5-mile “warm-up” hike into a day of workouts that included outdoor TRX, in studio (mask on) stretch class, and aqua fitness in the Olympic sized pool. After lunch I skipped the kettle bells I’d signed up for as my muscles were already whining and I didn’t want to overdo it day one and be sore and miserable the rest of my stay. I instead soaked in my amazing tub full of mineral salts and essential oils before a deep tissue massage and a tasty meal in the socially distanced dining room.
In an effort to shed my last inch of post-pandemic belly (I have never in my life had stubborn belly fat before lock down) I was attempting to avoid dairy and gluten, as those are my known inflammatory triggers. The kitchen was very helpful in accommodating my wishes. Though the café that has smoothies, juices and snacks to go during non COVID-19 times was not open yet, the kitchen staff was able to get me most whatever I wanted. My favorites, besides the decadent blueberry bar, were the signature fresh pressed juices that were a quick pick-me-up or tide-me-over. Green Nectar, Beet 8 and Liquid Sunshine were available upon request.
The Canyon Ranch Tucson Food Philosophy is simple, healthy and clean. They favor organic and free-range whole foods and serve only pesticide free non-GMO produce, humanely raised hormone and antibiotic free meats, grass-fed beef and sustainably caught or raised seafood. They source real ingredients that are unprocessed, free of additives, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and unhealthy fats. They offer vegan and gluten-free options at every meal and can accommodate most kosher and allergen-free requests. Although the Tucson and Lenox destinations are alcohol-free environments, guests may bring alcohol to Canyon Ranch to consume in their rooms. However, their holistic resorts provide the perfect opportunity to reflect on existing patterns and experience how good healthy living feels without alcohol. Yeah. Reaching the top of a mountain tends to feel better than reaching the bottom of a bottle.
As much as my Canyon Ranch stay was a detox from over indulging I also took this set aside time to do a digital detox. I checked my phone minimally and stayed away from absent-mindedly scrolling the socials and news cycles during breaks. Instead I just literally took a break and sat in the peaceful present taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the surrounding desert. The outside world would not stress my blissful buzz. Day in and day out there were plenty of fitness classes to choose from and optional lectures and gatherings each night including zoom community AA meetings, in person nutrition talks, expert presentations like “The Path to Self Compassion”, plus group sound and breath workshops. I was so busy doing real things in the now that I didn’t need any distractions.
Each day brought a new trail or adventurous activity. The hikes, led by experienced outdoor enthusiasts, varied in sizes as the week progressed, as did the critters and cacti we encountered along the way. We met a tarantula with a belly the size of a golf ball, a hefty rattlesnake with it’s shaker up mid path, evidence of ancient civilizations set in stone, and a funky one of a kind cactus that reminds us that our particular uniqueness is a beautiful gift. It was fun to chat with interesting folks like a family from Mexico City, sisters from Florida, a lawyer from my hometown of L.A., and world-renowned ex-boxer, fitness/weight loss guru Cristy Code Red. When it comes down to it the Canyon Ranch experience is most importantly about the people. The staff are extra friendly and committed with many of them being there since the early days. The clientele are successful, likeminded health seekers that are each inspiring in their own way. Many Canyon Ranchers are longtime Members or resident owners of houses within the compound.
I left free time open on my busy self care schedule for some sit by the pool leisure reading and lounging between Zumba, yoga and spa treatments. It was fun to try new things like Qi Gong, a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation. I enjoyed feeling the subtle energy in my body moving with the breath with my eyes closed. I got out of my go-to deep tissue routine and experimented with a Thai ginger, lemongrass and turmeric hot poultice massage. My overworked muscles were overjoyed. I also got a lash lift and tint to be glamorous as can be while going make up free. Canyon Ranch Tucson even offers Botox and fillers med-spa style if you are looking for a non-surgical facelift.
I wish I could stay longer at Canyon Ranch Tucson and do more but I have to get back to Hollywood for the outdoor premiere screening party of my new movie BECKMAN. I play human trafficking assassin “Janice” and also serve as an executive producer of the film. My production company, The RHL Group, partnered with Pure Flix to make the movie distributed by Universal, directed by the multi-talented Gabriel Sabloff and starring David A. R. White, Billy Baldwin, Jeff Fahey, Burt Young, and new upcoming star Brighton Sharbino BECKMAN is available everywhere digital and DVD September 22, 2020. I’m thrilled we are able to have a red carpet post quarantine celebration in a safe social distancing way. It will be my first official event since the worldwide shut down in March. Thanks to Canyon Ranch – I fit into my dress.
I saved the toughest workouts for my last day: a 5-mile plus hike, “Fierce Tabata”, a high-intensity interval workout, and a fun ‘Rockin’ Retro” dance class…all before lunch. Then, I spent the afternoon doing “Conditioning to the Max”, a gym circuit training program that emphasizes balancing both sides of the body. Thank goodness all this was followed by a stretch class, a massage and a soak before another satisfying dinner. As I mindfully enjoyed my well-deserved desert, coconut milk chocolate gelato, I reflected on the past few days at Canyon Ranch. I felt at peace with myself and happy that I made some progress toward connecting back to health and fitness. It’s taken me a couple of post lock down jump-starts and stalls to get back running smoothly. I will likely need another tune up down the road. The good news is that I can come back to Canyon Ranch Tucson post COVID-19 when they are in the full swing of things and have a whole new adventure. Truth is – I can’t wait to visit again in the spring. It’s my favorite time of year to experience the desert, and myself, in full bloom.
To book your health and wellness stay at Canyon Ranch Tucson visit; https://www.canyonranch.com/tucson/