SONKI FITNESS VACATION SPOTLIGHT (2007)
NAME: Craig Titley
PROFESSION: Screenwriter (“Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Percy Jackson & the Olympians,” “Scooby Doo”)
How many times have you been on Sonki Fitness Vacation? I’ve been on the Sonki Fitness Vacation three years in a row and it is now officially an annual tradition for me. Although I’m married, this trip is always a solo outing for me (yes, all you married folks, it is possible to vacation alone…and do you really want your significant other to see you jumping into a fountain at two in the morning yelling “I’m a Dolphin! I’m a dolphin!” after mainlining eight Mai Tais? Of course you don’t! Not that this would ever really happen…). So every year I pack my bags, put on my shades, kiss my wife goodbye, and say, “Honey, it’s time for me to go play rock star and find my inner abs. I’ll see you in a week.”
What made you want to go the first time? I had had a very intense year and needed a vacation, but I had also just gotten my butt in shape so I didn’t want to blow that on a typical slacker vacation and come back with an extra ten pounds. When Sonki mentioned his fitness vacation in class I signed up immediately. What better place to relax and get in shape than in the Hawaiian sun!?
What were your expectations, and did you have any concerns? I had never been on a group vacation before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had pretty much decided that I would be a loner and just focus on Mind and Body. Well, thankfully, that didn’t pan out because I ended up making some friends for life and having some great experiences that I couldn’t have alone. Before signing up the first time, I was also slightly concerned that the vacation would be all work and no play and that when we arrived Sonki would transform into a mean drill sergeant like Sgt. Hulka from “Stripes.” Luckily, that didn’t pan out either. Sonki has found the perfect balance of work and play for the trip. As he says, there are two words here: Fitness AND vacation. You get both. And no matter how hard you play (or drink like you’re in college), you always burn it off and then some. Ah, the magic of Hawaii!
What made you want to go again? I had such a great time the first year that I couldn’t wait to go again. But I admit that I was nervous that a second year couldn’t live up to the first. Well, it did. And each year kept getting better and better. Plus the trip delivered on its promise: “the only vacation where you will come home in better shape.” It’s true. I have consistently lost about four lbs. on each trip and went home noticeably more toned and lean.
What is your most memorable experience? There’s nothing like making it to the top of Koko Crater (aka the Stairmaster to Heaven). It’s something like 1200 step to the top! Crazy! It’s the grand finale of all the workouts and early in the week Sonki drives you past it so you can see what you have to conquer. It’s great motivation. I always celebrate at the top of Koko Crater by smoking a nice cigar. (Granted, not the epitome of fitness, but sometimes what’s bad for the body is good for the soul)
What is your funniest experience? The whole experience is fun. I think the best kept secret of Sonki fitness is the sheer amount of laughter that takes place. In fact, I was doubled over with laughter so much this past year that it was the equivalent of 1000 sit-ups! Somehow this trip always seems to attract people with great spirits and with a great sense of humor. And occasionally it attracts people who like silly string or who have a business card that actually says “Ambassador of Beer.” I kid you not.
What is your favorite activity on Sonki Fitness Vacation? I love the hikes and there’s a nice variety of them. Besides Koko Crater there is also a hike through a jungle and a hike up the side of a rocky mountain. Sonki has incorporated a wide range of activities (hikes, beach days, group training, water sports) so that sometimes you forget how hard you’re actually working out.
What do you like about Sonki Fitness Vacation? From the moment you arrive, you’re in a relaxed state of mind and with Sonki as your host you never have to think or plan anything. It’s far more relaxing than a regular vacation even with all the workouts thrown in. But by far the best part about the Sonki Fitness Vacation is the camaraderie and friendships that develop. The trip has a whole summer camp vibe to it and you really do develop friendships for life. We have a great time and on occasion some of us do party like rock stars (optional, of course), but even so, we still show up for all of the workouts and we all go home in better shape.
What advice would you give to others about Sonki Fitness Vacation? My advice would be: SIGN UP! And be prepared to laugh…and to catapult food at nice restaurants…and to do Saki Bombs (aka Sonki Bombs)…and to get covered in silly string…and to laugh some more…and to completely unwind…and to see beautiful sites….and to get in shape the old fashioned way — by having fun doing it.
Any other comments? In three years of the Sonki Fitness vacation, I’ve seen all kinds of Sonki “warriors” who have signed up: young, old, married, single, in great shape, looking to get in any kind of shape, East coasters, West Coasters, Ozzies, doctors, lawyers, teachers, cheerleaders, Ambassadors of Beer, college students, etc. but no one ever feels out of place. It’s a big tent filled with people who have one common goal: get in better shape and have a good time doing it. And as for Sonki — our leader, coach, motivator, and tour guide — I’d like to quote from “Stripes” once again. It’s a from a scene where new recruit Bill Murray is talking about Sgt. Hulka (we’ll replace him with Sonki): “An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sonki is always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Sonki!”