with CBS Sportscaster Bill Macatee
When life starts feeling like a tense game with the other team six points up, sports broadcaster Bill Macatee heads for the retreat-like Life Enhancement Center® at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. He’s returned seven times since a friend recommended the Ranch in the late ’90s. Back then, he’d never been to a spa resort before, and was unsure what to expect on his first visit.
“Until you experience it, there’s no way to fully understand how meaningful and life-changing it can be,” he says. “When I checked in at Life Enhancement that first Sunday, my goal was to start turning things around health-wise. I had a pretty big ‘shopping list’ when I arrived: I wanted to eat better and get on a regular exercise routine. I was a single dad, raising my daughter, Caitlin, and I wanted to find the tools to be more patient and a better dad. What I didn’t realize was how tightly wound I had become from just dealing with life. The difference in just three days was truly remarkable. I remember calling a friend on Wednesday night. He asked if I was okay; I sounded so laid-back and relaxed, he thought something was wrong. To say I felt different when I left would be an understatement – and at least once every couple of years, I come back to reinforce the life lessons I learned.”
Fun & gains
Among his favorite ways to relax is finding new things to do and learn, from meditation to acupuncture or taking a new exercise class. “And I always looked forward to the morning hikes. It’s a great chance to get your body going and get to know the other people in the program. Men’s Stretch is a must. Losing your flexibility can lead to a ton of problems. But most meaningful for me were the lectures and classes in Life Enhancement.”
Describing himself as a typical guy, Bill says, “As men, we tend not to ask a lot of questions. As any woman can tell you, we’d drive around lost for three hours before actually asking someone for directions. The lectures and classes give you those directions, in areas from relationships to stress management to nutrition, without having to pull over and ask.
“One of the most elusive things in life is contentment,” he says. “It’s remarkably difficult to find, especially in a world where we are so driven to conquer the next mountain. Well, what about appreciating the mountains you’ve already scaled and all of the good things you have in life? The art of contentment is one of the many things the LEC program has taught me. Another is the importance of shared experiences and just being with other people. At the end of the program we were asked about our touchstone moment during the week, and I remember one older gentleman who started to tear up as he said he hadn’t realized how much he missed the camaraderie of male friends in his life.”
With a career that involves constantly being “on,” learning to unwind and live healthier has been a lasting benefit, says Bill.
“One technique that I’ve used since my first visit, almost fifteen years ago, is correct breathing for focus and stress management. In addition to getting oxygen into your bloodstream and to your brain, the very act of taking deep breaths makes you slow everything down and focus on being in the moment. There have been quite a few times when I’m getting ready to go on TV and have used my Canyon Ranch breathing techniques to focus and relax so that I can do my job effectively. It’s been a great tool to have.
“I wouldn’t even recognize that guy who came to Canyon Ranch that first time. I have a regular Canyon Ranch-inspired exercise program that I use on the road. I also learn something new about eating right and good nutrition every time I visit. My doctors often tell me things I first heard at the Ranch two or three years earlier.”
Over the years, Bill has introduced several family members to the Ranch. “A couple of years ago I sent my sisters and daughter to Life Enhancement. Every night, they’d text or call me and share what they’d done and learned. My stepmother is a retired science teacher who exercises a lot and loves learning about food and nutrition. For her birthday, my dad arranged for her to spend a week in the Life Enhancement Program. She said that it was the most amazing seven days of her life and she can’t wait to go back. It’s definitely fair to say that the experience has been remarkable for my entire family.”