I intend to post a review everywhere I can find a place to for SDR as I truly want to promote the program but I also want to make sure guests know the pros and cons before they attend. Also keep in mind that this is a relatively young program that if the reports of previous guests are correct can change significantly from year to year so there is nothing to say that my few problems will not be improved upon and nothing to say that the things I found best will still be so.
First let me say that this program definitely works, if your intention is to improve your physical capabilities and gain knowledge to loose as much weight as you want then this is definitely the place to go. That being said do not expect to loose eighty pounds in two months as some places advertise, it is impossible not to loose some weight while you are there but rapid boot camp style weight loss is not what SDR promotes.
I spent six weeks at SDR and lost thirty-five pounds but this was not typical of the average guest most lost less and some more, the proof of concept as it were was not my weight loss while there but more the fact that I have in following their program at home (far less than perfectly I might add) lost another thirty-five and counting.
The problems I had with SDR are not really related to the fitness and nutrition they teach you but more with SDR policies. If you attend and are under 26 do not expect a lot of freedom in fact theoretically you are not allowed to leave the resort at any time, except in the presence of one of the older guests or the trainers. This led to many problems with night trips outside the resort and such. You might ask how this is enforced with the mindset "I'm an adult how can they stop me," keep in mind that all "rules," for SDR are based on the threat of expulsion from the program which for at least one person was carried out during my time there.
Keep in mind that this resort is located in a remote area outside of a very small town and though the trainers keep you busy for most of the day there is a lot of down time. (there has to be no one can work out for ten hours a day.) You will be bored and you will be looking for things to do, we probably went to see a movie at least once a week. This led to many logistical problems as; not many people brought cars, anyone under 26 had to ask for permission to leave the resort and be in the company of someone older, and to get anywhere interesting is at least a forty minute drive.
The trainers are top notch, though many were young they all were very qualified my year and worked well to collaborate their lessons, the management of the program however did not seem to be in frequent contact with the trainers at the resort. Ziporah spends most of her time at camp shane and as such does not deal with the day to day of SDR very much after the initial few days of the summer. This definitely caused discrepancy between the rules given by her and the rules given by the trainers. The trainer who was put in charge so to speak was brand new to the program as were all the others my year and though they spent a lot of time preparing for it this still caused a few problems.
As far as the day to day exercise routine that the resort promotes I have no complaints at all, it is difficult and rigorous but rewarding, varied, and easily modified to account for fitness level and injuries. On the subject of injuries though keep in mind that SDR does not employ any medical staff whatsoever so the two nurses and an AT student who were guests basically turned in to the medical team during my stay. I definitely suggest trying all of the classes at least once and you do have options while there, you have some gold standard classes that are taught almost every day like yoga and spin and then you have alternating morning classes which are usually a boot camp or a ready, set, go which are sprinting running based. Then there are options if you want they even have a class to learn how to swim if you don't know or learn new strokes and improve your form if you do.
The nutrition program that I was taught during my stay was sound, logical, maintainable and not based on a "diet," but on changing the way we even think about eating and food. The program they support is based on good science and basically amounts to; count your calories, watch your portions, and watch how much fat your eating. It's simple, easy and it really becomes so automatic that you don't even have to think about it. I cannot emphasize enough how much you learn during your time there. Not to dampen it but Ziporah tried to sell us on a program they have joined up with called Vtrim which is completely unnecessary if you attend SDR especially cause you get the first four lessons anyway. Ziporah really does care about the success of everyone who attends and fitness really is her passion but never let it be said she is not a shrewed business woman who knows the bottom line.
If you attend be prepared to be on camera at the exact moment you are upside down, red-faced and contorted in the middle of a previously unimagined yoga pose. They'll leave you alone if you tell them to but if you don't say anything they are going to film you a lot.
Last but definitely not least one of the best parts of this program is that you really do make good connections with the other guests and trainers, I can not tell you how many people I saw balling when one of the guests left and many ended up coming back or extending their stays. One of the best aides in continued weight loss is that you have lots of other people that you are still in contact with supporting you and promising physical violence if you "fall off the wagon." The last part was a joke, but seriously.
We greatly appreciate the review of our program in 2010 and respect the reviewer's point of view and input.
For 2011, we have modified our procedures to give guests under 26 no restrictions differing from our over 26 year old guests. However, we will encourage all our guests to get the most out of the program by participating as fully as possible.
Also, we wish to point out that video or photography of guests is not taken often and that we of course will respect any guest who objects when there is occasional filming. Any photography that is done occurs so that prospective guests deciding whether to attend this program can see what actually occurs rather than take our word for it!
Finally, Vtrim is offered as a way to give guests access to a nutrition support program after their stay at SDR. We believe many guests felt they had learned so much at SDR that they did not need the support, but others thought it an excellent option, particularly as it allowed them to stay in touch with other SDR guests. The program is offered at a very modest cost and intended solely as a support option for guests who would like to have it.
We look forward to an amazing 2011!