"I went on a Costa Rica wellness retreat organized by Petro Martynyuk in October 2014. I was familiar with his work as a trainer as well as his active involvement with nutrition brand ETB / Eat The Bear, but I had never worked one on one with him and it had been years since I had last seen him. Feeling pretty burnt out from a nonstop busy period at work in New York, I signed up for his wellness retreat (which I found out about over social media) and figured I would give it a try.
How glad I am that I did. The trip was comprised of seven days at a grand, sweeping property sitting on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean -- all located in the middle of the jungle of Costa Rica. Petro kept each day structured with a straightforward routine that kept the group engaged - from fresh wakeup tonics to sunrise boot camp to simple and clean meals around a massive wooden table and evening yoga, there was a nice rhythm to the whole trip. There was down time for chilling poolside, afternoon off site activities when the group might stay together or split off for a bit, and even time to read a book -- but across it all, we were anchored by a simple schedule that never felt forced. Meals were prepared by a private chef, we all had our own personal space in king sized rooms, and the property itself is something out of MTV Cribs in its grandeur and scale. There's really nothing like waking up to a private balcony and seeing toucans out your window, or sitting on the edge of the infinity pool and looking at the Pacific Ocean as howler monkeys wail through the forest. It was really fantastic (and luxurious) to recharge in this context.
The retreat was not just about disconnecting and relaxing; there was also an active recovery element of the trip that Petro designed and implemented across each day's activities.
His style as a trainer is direct, straightforward and ultimately efficient. His bootcamp programs were not designed to take all morning; they were designed to target key muscle groups and be as effective as possible. As needed, he tailored the program to individual capabilities and fitness levels, and explained multiple approaches to each movement in advance of beginning. We all knew what movements we were doing when we started, so no time was wasted asking questions because the instructor had rushed instructions. Petro kept an eagle eye on form of every member of the group, and his training was simple and focused -- thumbs way up.
Victoria Martinez was Petro's co-pilot on the trip, an Ayurverdic wellness specialist and yoga instructor. Her evening classes were a nice counter balance to the morning bootcamps, and while the two types of classes were very different, each day began and ended with intense body-oriented experiences which, again, was a nice rhythm and balance to fall into. The yoga classes were solid, paced well and all positions, transitions and movements were explained at the right speed to follow along with live as she led the class -- no one was caught wondering what we were doing next, or what arm to move where, as can happen in yoga classes where the teacher isn't so attuned to their students' practice. Post-yoga head massages with essential oils became the unanimous highlight of every single day. Additionally, she taught the group a multi-day primer on the basics of Ayurveda, its principles and core ideas, as well as its practice and how to incorporate some of its key concepts into daily life. I'm personally a skeptic, but Victoria kept it easy, digestible and relatable, which is not an easy thing to do with the subject matter. I recommend both her yoga teaching and wellness instruction.
Both Petro and Victoria went above and beyond to make sure everyone was comfortable and having a great time throughout the week. I'll definitely go on the next retreat that Petro organizes." - Nick Ponton, 29, NYC
"Wow! I just returned from the October 2014 Cost Rica Retreat with Petro and it was such a life changing experience for me! The opportunity to attend the retreat happened at the perfect time because after closing the current chapter on my life, the trip symbolized a new beginning for me.
The retreat provided me a chance to truly “live” and hit the“reset” button without the distractions and stress of every day life. Being carefree allowed me to experience so many different activities that were far beyond my comfort zone. I can’t think of any other place where you can have all your meals planned out (my special dietary needs were met 100%), participate in daily challenging workouts for all fitness levels, yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda workshops - all with perfect ocean views. Petro also made sure we had free time left over each day to rest or do other fun things like horseback riding, ATVing, swimming and hiking. I had an absolute blast!
Thanks to Petro and Victoria for being so attentive to my individual needs. It was obvious they spent a lot of effort toward preparing for us because everything was so structured and well organized. All I had to do for the entire week was focus on taking care of me, relaxing, re-centering myself, and connecting with amazing new friends and nature. We were in the perfect environment for that with the privacy of the villa, sounds of nature, and breathtaking views of the ocean.
I returned from the retreat with new tools and lifestyle changes that I have been able to quickly integrate in to my daily wellness regimen. I also came away feeling a renewed sense of energy, confidence and full of clarity regarding the next phase of my personal/professional life. I am extremely happy I went on the trip and I’m already looking forward to next time!" - Darla Lilleberg, 43, Charlotte, NC
"I attended the fitness retreat in Costa Rica with Petro in October, 2014. It was one of the best experiences in my lifetime. It was 7 days packed full of great workouts, healthy foods and amazing team building with the other attendees. If you are looking for a great vacation, a detox and an awesome experience, then I highly recommend this retreat." - Stephen Cooley, 48, Charlotte, SC
"I have been a client of Petro's for about 6 months now and really enjoy working with him. He teaches you a holistic approach to health and fitness and provides specialized services targeted to an individual client's needs. He has helped me evaluate my nutrition regimen to identify foods that were not agreeable with my body, taught me healthy cooking techniques and worked with me to establish an exercise routine that would work for my fitness level and intense work/travel schedule.
I also did a Fitness and Yoga retreat with Petro in Costa Rica in August of 2013. It was my first health retreat and it was an absolutely amazing experience. It was very well organized, I met some great people (both locals and fellow retreaters) and learned tricks and techniques (deep breathing, yoga, stretching, meditation, cooking, smoothie making, suspension training, total body workouts) that became part of my daily life. Also for me it was an ultimate (and much needed) opportunity to relax, reconnect with my inner self, calm my mind and rejuvenate my body. The setting was perfect for those purposes with the privacy of the villa, breathtaking views of the ocean, and the enchanting sounds of the rain-forest. Would absolutely do another one of those next year." - Anastasiya Purlo, New York, 31
"Never thought that a "retreat" style holiday would be my thing...but I went to Costa Rica last year, and boy was I wrong! Petro and Grace did an amazing job of awakening our curiosity and ambition; not once did it feel like a chore to get up and exercise...and I actually ended up not being able to wait for those sunset yoga sessions to begin. If you are looking for an extremely well-equipped trainer who still manages to make you feel good about doing something great for your body, look no further. Petro is your man. And there is something about getting up in the morning, hearing the monkeys and looking across your infinity pool into the horizon that contributes to the atmosphere. Definitely a different experience than my home gym:)" - Petar Perkovic, 32, Germany
"This is well overdue but needs to be told - what an awesome experience it was to join Petro and Grace last year at the Costa Rica Wellness and Fitness resort - everytime I do holidays of that kind I ask myself why, and really why, do I push myself through those - it's intensive in fitness gaining, intensive in shaking off bad habits, intensive in stretching yourself all the way to a healthier living but god, is it satisfying and I absolutely looooved every minute of it. Set in a beautiful location with fantastic views all over the pacific, surrounded by true wildlife that next to the packed schedule you can actually enjoy, I truly had an amazing time. However, dont discount the coaches itself, there couldnt be anyone better to put you patiently but determinantely onto the path of a better living through nutrition, yoga and a full fitness regime - I came back feeling revitalised, focused and energised coupled with an appreciation for my body and soul that has pushed me through the whole year - and a year on i not only cannot wait to do it again - I actually stayed true to that "start up"! :-) Petro is professional, fun to be around with and the perfect role model - inside and outside. loved it. Thank you - let's go again! you can count on me! :-)" - Mathieu Feurehahn, 32, London, UK
"I wish there were 10 stars! Petro has an amazing ability to dig deep and push his clients mentally and physically in an incredibly positive manner. He sincerely listens and is willing to modify anything that you feel uncomfortable with. I am also impressed with Petro's ability to work with a variety of fitness levels from beginner to advanced. His knowledge of fitness and nutrition is something you don't want to miss out on!" - Jeneal Wiskerchen, 30, Scottsdale, AZ
“I was amazed by the location, venue, and service. I am not a person who likes to travel too far from the comforts of a Ritz Carlton or the like, but this was an experience that could rival some of the top hotels in the world! Poised beautifully atop of a mountain in the Costa Rican rain forest, this venue is oft the vacation retreat of some of America’s most prominent names and once experienced there is no confusion as to why they would want to visit with great regularity. The brutal decisions of the day ranged from deciding what the chef should make for meals to whether we should sleep pool side or in the hammocks. In the latter case one can expect late afternoon visits from exotic birds and butterflies, along with the occasional monkey swinging through to have a peak. Whilst others in the group fanned our for day excursions, we chose to relax at the villa most of the time enjoying the peaceful quiet solitudes of the surroundings, along with the undisrupted company of each other which is a luxury in its own right that we don’t often get to enjoy at home. In the week, I was there I lost 7lbs through better eating habits and partaking in some of the personal training and boot camp activities with Petro, a number of lessons which I took back to reality to help me modify my normal routine and dietary habits to continue losing weight. All in all this was an amazing experience and I anxiously look forward to repeating it next year.” JSC, 40, Charlotte, North Carolina
"My wife and I attended Petro's Fitness and Yoga retreat last November, and it was by far the most relaxing AND energizing vacation we've ever been on.
The views of the ocean and rainforest from the villa are truly spectacular! Now imagine waking up to the sunrise each morning, having a great fitness workout with a group of newly made friends, followed by a delicious smoothie and a healthy, fresh breakfast prepared by your own chef.
After breakfast, we gladly enjoyed the infinity pool (overlooking the rainforest and the ocean), watched toucans from the gazebo (it’s a secret spot, located inside the villa’s garden, perfect for bird watching, reading or just taking an afternoon nap :-), till the lunch came and it was time for another creative culinary surprise from our chef.
While we would have been perfectly content just staying and enjoying the beauty of the area from the villa’s pool, Petro offered us several excursions during the week, all of which were fantastic. Hiking turned out to be a great cardio workout, and swimming at the waterfalls offered another memorable experience. We also enjoyed meeting some local monkeys and iguanas on our trip to the beach (they were super-friendly!)
Evening yoga sessions were just as amazing (when was the last time you exercised while watching the sun set on the ocean? :) )
When we returned home, we felt an unbelievable flow of energy, something we haven’t experienced in a long time. Now I am practicing Petro’s circuit-training routine several times a week, and look forward to another amazing retreat next year. Lastly, Did I mention that my wife got pregnant with our first baby during this week?:)" Ivan, 31, New York
"I recently met Petro in Dec 2013 on a fitness retreat that he organized in Costa Rica. We had a 1 hour consultation over the phone prior to the retreat - I found Petro to be easy to talk to right away and felt very comfortable talking about my objectives for the week. Petro had some great suggestions and his approach was definitely geared towards making sure I got what I wanted out of it.
Meeting Petro in person was great! he's very easy going, has a great sense of humor and is very flexible in his approach which is a great trait when you have a mix of different personalities and abilities. So, he's a very nice guy but that doesn't mean he doesn't push you hard, he manages to walk that line where you want to hate him for making you work so hard but you just can't (well maybe for just a second or two ). Petro is very focused and results oriented - exactly what you want in a personal trainer.
Petro did a great job with the structure of the retreat, I felt like I got a great workout everyday and also had plenty of time to relax, swim in the incredible pool, soak up some sun, do yoga and meditation and we took several trips out to local places.
The food was incredible - all in all it was a fantastic week and very good value for money.
One last note - I thought I had lost my iPhone and that it may have fallen on the ground in the parking area for the waterfall hike - Petro drove 30 mins to check if he could find it so I didn't have to miss our organic chocolate making workshop - he's just a great guy! I would definitely go on another retreat and if I lived in the Charlotte area would love to train with him." - Karen Grierbach, 46, NY