What is your next bucket-list adventure? For professional opera singer and voice coach Awilda Verdejo’s it was the 500 mile Camino de Santiago trek over the Pyrenees Mountains to Galicia in northwestern Spain. Awilda realized the trip of a lifetime involved getting herself physically and mentally prepared for the long arduous trek. To help her prepare for her epic adventure Awilda contacted Sheri Goodwin of Transformational Journeys in Seattle.Read why Sheri and Transformational Journeys was featured in Seattle Backpacker Magazine.
Camino de Santiago & Choquequirao to Machu Picchu
Walking the Camino de Santiago had been a dream of mine for over ten years. I am an active woman who enjoys being outdoors and was drawn to the challenge and adventure. However, it did not occur to me to walk the 500 miles and carry a backpack of 20 pounds solo. At 69 years old, I realized that I was just getting older.
Christina Schwarz & Herb Schwarz
We were planning a trip to Patagonia with a private guide who suggested we consult with Sheri to help us prepare physically for the trip. Because of our ages we were hesitant if we could accomplish such a trip. We are so glad we involved Sheri.
Everest Base Camp
After signing up for the Base Camp Everest trek, I worried about my conditioning and not being able to finish the 2-week adventure. During a backpacking trip, a former client of Sheri told me about her work and training. I knew I had to meet Sheri and start a workout plan with her.
three 30+ day treks!
I’m on my third round of trek training from Sheri, and it’s time to weigh in with accolades. First Round 2014 prepping for the Camino de Santiago (Camino Frances). Sheri instilled in me that I had the stamina (using her work out training) and confidence (EFT sessions) to carry a pack and walk the 500 mile journey one year after heart surgery.
Camino de Santiago
“You’re going to do what??!!! By yourself? How many miles? Isn’t there a bus tour you can take?” Just a sampling of questions and reactions when I told people I’m training to do a solo walk of the last 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago. Family and friends are used to my solo travels and walks, but not 17 days! This was longer and more strenuous than previous walks… I ‘m fit for my years, but definitely need more endurance to truly enjoy the walk and have time to reflect, as pilgrims do!
Camino de Santiago
I enjoyed working with Sheri because of her warm, encouraging personality. I wanted to do half of the Camino de Santiago and knew it would be a stretch physically. I love to walk but had never been what you would call a hiker. I didn’t have a lot of upper body strength and wasn’t sure how I would do carrying all of my belongings on my back.
France Biking Adventure
What a privilege it has been to work(out) with Sheri! She has the rare combination of integrating the physical, emotional and spiritual sides of life. After hearing her speak, I signed up for her 12 week physical training, EFT, and Reconnective Healing (RH) program. Physically, I wanted to re-gain a fitness level that would allow me to enjoy my biking trip in France without having to constantly worry about my fitness or stamina level.
Mauna Loa in Hawaii
After having a back injury and not being able to hike and barely able to walk because of the pain I had decompression therapy which helped and I was ready to start exercising and walking. I had a goal to climb Mauna Loa a mountain on the big island of Hawaii. I went to a talk Sheri had about the Camino de Santiago trek.
When gifted a trip to Nepal I was both excited and terrified. I have a breathing issue that restricts my ability to exercise. The thought of trekking terrified me. I was introduced to Sheri for training for the trek.
“My adult daughter and I had a compressed three month training program with Sheri in preparation for our trip to Bhutan last fall. The main goal for me was to improve my balance and hiking ability. My knees and ankles are not the best or strongest in the world.
Camino de Santiago
“What drew me to Sheri? I’m often asked this question as it does not make “sense” for us to be working together! I live just out of Portland, Oregon and she in Seattle. Who hires a trainer 4+ hours away? Who? Me!
I have spent the last couple years having vision for going on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I have read many many books and met a few folks in person whom have gone.
Camino de Santiago
“I had been dreaming of the Camino, planning for the Camino, reading book after book on the Camino wondering if I could really walk 500 plus miles. I attended for the second time a talk given by an author on the Camino at the Rick Steve’s travel center about a year ago. This second talk had an extra bonus at the end. Sheri Goodwin. I was so busy reading books on the Camino and buying gear I had paid little attention to my physical preparation for this long 500 mile journey I was about to take. She spoke from her heart on the importance of getting in shape for a long trek.
Camino de Santiago
“Sheri Goodwin’s work with the body is transformative. Sheri helped me prepare for my pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, through the Pyrenees to Santiago, Spain by working with my body to have better balance, flexibility, ease, core strength, stamina and power.
Nepal & Bhutan
“After just retiring from teaching, I took on a goal that would challenge my body and enhance my understanding of a new part of the world. So, when I learned about a women’s trek for 18 days in Nepal and Bhutan, I was both excited for the challenge and quite nervous about hiking on 65 yr. old arthritic knees, after meniscus surgery. Enter Goddess Sheri Goodwin, both an experienced trekker and personal trainer.
If I wanted to make this dream a reality, I began to realize that I better do it while I was healthy.
At that time, Sheri Goodwin gave a talk about walking the Camino de Santiago at The Savvy Traveler in Edmonds. It was during her talk, that I began to think about walking the Camino by myself. Did I have the courage to walk alone? At the end of her talk, I signed up as an interested person in her training program.
Our first meeting included a discussion of my goals and an evaluation of my physical abilities. Sheri set-up a weekly training program that helped build my strength and endurance. When I became stressed over trying to schedule the daily exercises into my life, she gladly readjusted it which helped to reduce my stress. Two of the sessions included an introduction to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique. I found this an excellent technique to help me deal with the self-doubts that plagued me during this time. She always allowed time for me to ask questions. The structure of the exercise goals, EFT, and her positive reassurance helped me gain confidence in myself to achieve my dream.
Sheri’s on-going support and encouragement helped me to realize another dream that would be a challenge. June 2016, I joined a group of women, including Sheri, and trekked in the Andes to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
Over several months, she helped us meet physical goals that proved not only to make the trip more enjoyable, but also our activities of daily living easier, too. She inspires one to reach beyond, both in travel and physical fitness. From the beginning Sheri was committed to our successful fitness improvement and helped both of us to achieve our objectives.
Preparing early is the key and I’m glad I started my journey with Sheri. Patient and professional: that’s Sheri. She adapted the workout routine to my needs and schedule but most important of all she made me feel more confident that I could do it! I can’t thank her enough and highly recommend her work. Thank you Sheri!
Got it done in 35 walking days with energy to vacation another couple weeks in Europe. Next up–2015–feeling a little too cavalier because I wasn’t carrying a pack on the Le Puy route through SW France, I let real trek training slide. Big mistake–the route is a real workout. I did it but had leg, hip and foot pain throughout the trek. Checked in with Sheri upon return and with urging sought help from a physical therapist. Round Two 2016–mended so seriously trek trained with Sheri for The Way of St Francis, Italy, carrying a pack. It was probably the toughest trek so far, and I was well trained and ready. The trek was amazing and wonderful, and I thanked Sheri every day I was on the trail. And what is great this time–I’m doing after-trek maintenance with Sheri (Round Three). Why lose the strength and stamina you’ve gained when you can continue with outdoor trek training with Sheri in our wonderful local parks and hiking trails. It’s worth it!
Sheri prepared me not only for the Pilgrimage, but for all other spiritual/earthly treks I hope to challenge myself with in the future. Using the personalized exercise calendars she prepared with warm-ups, hikes and cool downs, my muscle strength and endurance slowly increased. With her sharp-eyed assessments of my form and gentle corrections, the right muscle groups were worked. When I realized that my left side balance was poor because of weak ankles and knees, she incorporated the internet exercises I found into the routine. She was very careful to include exercises that were gentle on the shoulders since I was recovering from rotator-cuff surgery. Was I physically ready when I put my foot on the Camino de Santiago on my 68th birthday? Physically, yes! Mentally, of course! Being flexible and strong in body and spirit enabled me to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at the end of 18 mile days; not exhausted, but refreshed and ready to visit with other pilgrims, before retiring for the next day of the journey. Working with Sheri was not only delightful (flexible, non-pressured, concerned, gentle, exceptionally qualified) but subtly helped increase my confidence to know that I can not only finish the Camino, but physically fit enough to enjoy it!
I hoped not to use the services that carry backpacks for pilgrims unless absolutely necessary. After meeting Sheri at a local Camino meeting I was impressed with her positive attitude and curious about her services. I signed up after her complimentary consultation and committed to the twelve-week training program. It was the best thing I did to prepare myself. Sheri gradually helped me improve my balance, core strength and legs in particular. I learned which side of my body was compensating for the other due to past minor injuries and was able to strengthen what needed the most work. Sheri worked with my schedule to add weight and increase distance of hikes in preparation for the Camino. I would have added weight in too aggressive a fashion if she hadn’t made the suggestions she did. My husband benefited as well because we did most of our training walk/hikes together. We weren’t sure if we were truly prepared as we headed out from St Jean…but found that we were! I carried my pack the whole time and didn’t have any physical issues. I would highly recommend working with Sheri. I believe she will help you achieve your goal whatever it may be!
I loved having the weekly session with Sheri and the specific-to-me workout program. I didn’t have to think about how I was going to train on any specific day. I just grabbed my sheet and did what was on the calendar. Far from being cookie-cutter, Sheri adapted my exercises and schedule every week to adapt to my fitness and scheduling needs. Plus, her expectations of what I was capable of far exceeded what I thought was necessary to prepare for my trip. This allowed me to sail through the physical demands of riding with a fully-loaded bike and focus on why I went to France – the history, people, art & architecture and food (especially the food!) Sheri’s knowledge of the body and the different muscles needed for different activities shaped my routine and made my fitness level more well-rounded than I could have done on my own. For example, she had me focus on lateral movement (side-to-side) that has truly increased my range of motion and flexibility. I doubt I would have considered that on my own. Plus, she actually got me to DO the regular stretching that I know is a hallmark for fitness. I have actually changed my thinking about how stretching is “just another part of any exercising I do”. The EFT and RH were excellent complements to the physical training. Any transformational journey (including the one called life) necessitates balancing the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of our being. With Sheri’s compassionate guidance, I was able to focus on all three. Beyond the results (which were significant) , I just enjoyed spending time with Sheri. She is an interesting, compassionate and professional person. I looked forward to our weekly sessions (even when I hadn’t been incredibly diligent). Thanks to Sheri for an incredibly positive and effective experience!
I needed some help and signed up for personal training. Sheri was inspiring and supportive. Our weekly workouts were challenging and personalized being careful of my physicality and pushing to improve. Sheri’s wealth of knowledge, expertise and creativity with designing specialized exercises was incredible. Receiving detailed workouts and a schedule assisted me in gaining both core strength and endurance. Sheri’s attention to detail and encouragement helped me improve.
I am back out hiking, thanks to the work we did. Because of the hurricane in Hawaii closing the road part of the time I was in Hawaii, I was not able to trek to the top of Mauna Loa. My primary goal was to hike to the 10,000ft level before I turned 60 this year, which I accomplished. It was a solo hike and incredible. The time on the mountain was reflective and healing. The beauty of the lava and tenacity of plants growing was inspirational. The night sky at 10,000 feet in the middle of the ocean was awesome. I am grateful for Sheri’s help!
As always with exercise, I was embarrassed and nervous and half-assed believing that I would actually change my habits this time. Sheri’s welcoming nature and pure love energy allowed me to feel safe and really let down my embarrassment. I don’t recall ever allowing myself to feel as vulnerable as I did with her about my body and my fears ~ she created that safe space. In moving our exercise session outside to the stairwell where I was actually trying to train she help me find a balance of exertion and rest that really changed my way of working with my breathing issue – it allowed me to lovingly reconnect with my body and build my endurance. It also built my pride, kindness (rather than sadness or detachment) toward my body and my health. I now know how to exert to a level that is building endurance and strength, with gentleness and optimism. THANK YOU SHERI!!
While the trip in Bhutan was not a trek, there was one strenuous hike/climb up to the famed Tiger’s Nest Monastery (1,800 foot elevation gain). The whole country is nothing but steep mountains and the villages are more likely to have cobblestone sidewalks or paths than anything paved. Thanks to working with Sheri, I managed all the uneven terrain without a trip or a fall. If I stubbed my toe on a rock, I was able to catch myself whereas before I usually ‘kissed the ground.’ Since our return, I’ve continued doing the exercises. I don’t get my morning cup of coffee until they’re done!”
Sheri was a Pilgrim. After hearing all the do’s and don’t of going on this type of journey, the pack size, sock type, best shampoo, and highlights that are a must see, Sheri comes enthusiastically down the isle and lets the audience know…you can dream all you like, pack and plan but good physical training is a MUST for the fullness of this sacred 550 mile trek. She had me!
Sheri has felt more like a friend on my journey. To become her client is to be welcomed into her peaceful home. To become her client is to share a bit of her pilgrimage experiences “in person”. In one room she shares her gift of hospitality; just around the corner her work out space-her expertise in physical training.
Who’s not a bit intimidated going for a first time workout? Sheri made it easy. She has that rare ability to be understanding and at the same time, the push to help you do your very best. I found myself wanting to do the extra step up because I know she cared.
Sheri created a personal daily (did I say DAILY) workout sheet. It is important to her to find the strength, cardio, and core training exercises that would work into what my day all ready holds. I appreciated that I was not signing up for a pre-stamped out workout that just better work. My workout had full variety including swimming. running, walking, strength & core exercises, as well as stretches.
Sheri was available to have a phone check – in once a week which she instigated.
My confidence is up, I’m stronger, I have learned much of where I can keep growing in my health routines. But really knowing Sheri cares about my goals and pilgrimage experience means that much more!
I would highly recommend Sheri to anyone wanting a personal, professional, comfortable with a butt kick coach.”
She had recently returned from her journey to Spain where she had witnessed several people physically struggling on the trail. My sister and I decide to take her up on the one hour free consultation. After a two hour no-pressure meeting in her home we felt compelled to sign up for Sheri’s coaching program.”
Before working with Sheri I was dabbling in a little swimming, running and yoga. She helped me focus in on what I really needed to work on. But also set up a schedule with all my other cross training activates. What I appreciated about Sheri is her very specific training for the muscles groups we will need to walk strong and without injury. Not just lower body but strengthening my core and back.
On my first visit she was diligent trying to figure out how my body ticks using a Functional Movement test. She works hard to help personalize a fitness program to meet your body needs and also you’re time restraints and other activities.
Picking her brain about gear and about Spain is awesome. She has fresh information and a relaxed attitude. I would highly recommend Sheri and now look forward with confidence to my upcoming Camino. Thanks Sheri!”
The result was that I walked 500 miles without injury, never once falling, and I arrived in Santiago ahead of schedule. My body was able to handle every challenge it faced, no matter how difficult or dire. Sheri’s knowledge and ability to work with the body is amazing. It is a privilege and a blessing to work with Sheri as she continues to customize what I need to fine-tune my body and move in the world with confidence and authority. I am blessed and deeply thankful.”
She came highly recommended and I was impressed from the beginning. Sheri is not only a comfortable, friendly person to be with, but she is the consummate professional who knows all about bones, muscles, tendons, and alignment. After completing ten bi-monthly sessions with her, complemented by her suggested workout sessions, I felt like I became a 45 year old again. I was so much stronger with my core, my balance, and my aerobic activity. I went from not being able to do any full push-ups to being able to do 23 perfect push-ups in a row. It was also a bonus to experience Sheri’s EFT sessions, which were interspersed in our routines. They not only helped me face and diffuse chronic issues, but I have used EFT to improve my sleep. I continue to use the EFT pressure points practice to relax in other stressful situations. Now, on to those mountains in Nepal, for I am ready!”