5 Questions With Founders Of Groundsea Fitness Tracy Gaslow And Hollie Levy
Five Questions With Tracy Gaslow And Hollie Levy, Founders Of The East Coast Wellness Retreat Groundsea Fitness
By Chloe Cornell
Childhood friends Tracy Gaslow and Hollie Levy are both health and fitness enthusiasts who live in New York and regularly travelled to the west coast to participate in week-long wellness retreats together. They both loved the immersive experience, but as their families grew and their lives got more hectic, they longed for a destination that was closer to home. Hence the creation of Groundsea Fitness, their east coast wellness destination based in the Berkshires which merges the best of west coast retreats with an east coast mentality. Immediately embraced by many New Yorkers happy to have a more convenient retreat option, Groundsea’s program incorporates rigorous hikes, gourmet organic meals that are sugar, dairy, and meat-free, yoga, meditation, personal training, daily massages and other fun activities such as cryogenic facials and Shamanic dream interpretations. One notable adjustment from west coast destinations that is particularly celebrated by guests is that Groundsea Fitness allows morning coffee, recognizing that caffeine withdrawal is too cruel and is never maintained once a retreat is over.
Launched in 2016, Groundsea has already been celebrated by travellers and top publications including Town & Country Travel, W magazine, Goop, Harper’s Bazaar, The Purist and The New York Post. Participants describe the trip as a life-changing experience that connects one with nature, healthy behavior, weight loss and mindful food consumption alongside like-minded people in a beautiful, safe environment. There is a maximum capacity of 10 guests at a time so there is an intimate, personal experience for every attendee. The goal is for participants to embrace new behaviors and routines that they will continue when they return home.
As an alternative or supplement to the retreat, Groundsea also offers the “Groundsea Glow Cleanse” which is a 3-day detox cleanse delivered to your home in NYC or Westchester. In addition to the interview below, you can learn more about the Groundsea Fitness retreat and detox cleanse at https://groundseafitness.com.
Chloe: What is the underlying philosophy at Groundsea Fitness? What do you hope your guests get out of their experience?
Tracy/Hollie: At Groundsea Fitness, our motto is “recharge. reset. renew”, and this speaks directly to our underlying philosophy. We meet people where they are and help them to get better. Better means different things to different people. Some of our guests are seasoned athletes and hikers, while others have never hiked and rarely engage in any exercise. The same holds for diet. We’ve had guests who are diehard vegans and others who literally never eat vegetables. Some don’t need to lose any weight and others are just beginning their weight loss journey. We want to make it easier for all guests to get to the next level health wise. For some, this is getting back to baseline after a slide and for others it can be the beginning of a whole new way of life. We believe that through challenge comes empowerment.
Chloe: Can you describe the program- typical day, activities, programs, meals, unique features?
Tracy/Hollie: Groundsea Fitness retreats are fully immersive experiences. The day begins with guided meditation followed by yoga with a master instructor. Next, our guests enjoy a nutritious breakfast that helps get their bodies primed for a four-hour hike through various trails in the scenic Berkshire mountains. We have expert hiking guides that adapt to the guests’ paces so no one is ever alone in the woods! The hikes are as breathtaking as they are challenging. After the hike, guests take a delicious lunch which is followed by an afternoon of fitness with our fitness instructor. Broth is served in the late afternoon and massages begin daily at 4 PM. There is restorative yoga class at 6 PM which is followed by a colorful dinner made with local, organic fare. Evening activities vary from acupuncture and dream interpretation to guided hypnosis and tea making workshops. The cuisine is predominantly vegan. There is no alcohol or sugar. All meals are balanced to sustain guests throughout the day and help their body detox. Unlike some retreats out West, Groundsea does serve healthy bulletproof coffee in the AM which avoids many of the withdrawal symptoms that come with cutting out caffeine. Bulletproof coffee is blended with grass-fed butter and a medium-chain triglyceride oil derived from coconut oil. It’s higher in calories than the more-traditional Joe, but rich in health benefits. Bulletproof coffee sustains energy and blood sugar levels throughout the day.We call it detox without deprivation.
Chloe: What are your favorite types of workouts? How about your favorite way of eating?
Tracy/Hollie: We love trying anything new in the fitness space! In general, we like a mix of cardio, strength training and yoga spaced out throughout the week. We like to exercise early in the morning so we have the rest of the day to ourselves for recipe testing and other fun stuff. We love making dishes the healthiest yet tastiest they can be.
Chloe: Can you name one activity and/or nutrition tip that you offer at Groundsea Fitness that you would hope guests continue when they return home?
Tracy/Hollie: That’s a tough question as there is so much to learn and know at Groundsea Fitness. We always tell guests to eat the rainbow or fill their plates with bright, colorful and healthful fruits and vegetables. This is something that is easy to remember and incorporate at home.
Chloe: What has been the best part about starting your business? Were there any unexpected things that you had to overcome?
Tracy/Hollie: The best part is getting to spend time together and really see our lifelong dream come to fruition. Both of us tend to be perfectionists so at first it was difficult to learn how to “divide and conquer.” Ultimately we put together a top-notch team of professionals who have really taken their roles to new heights so we are more able to focus on the bigger picture of growing the company and launching new products and services.
Chloe: As entrepreneurs, what do you think are the most important skills, personality traits and actions that have led to your success?
Tracy/Hollie: See it. Believe it. Achieve it. This may sound cliché but it is true. You must believe in yourself and your vision or nobody else will. It’s also important to develop thick skin as there will always be naysayers and it can be hard not to take their words – even if it’s constructive criticism – personally. A sense of humor helps too! You have to be able to laugh at yourself.