Cat Hedberg

Back to Global Conversations 1.16: Cat Hedberg, The Ashram Co-founder

Looking to reset your health and fitness or weight loss regimen? Cat Hedberg has answers and offers her insights to Melissa Biggs Bradley on simple living, the evolution of exercise, being in nature, and why her cult “boot camp” works. Plus: choosing the positive, finding your center, and living in the now—especially during COVID

Episode Guide

We all need people in life who show us the way. People who tell us what to do and what not to do. And when we listen, we’re the better for it. Melissa’s guest on this episode is Catharina Hedberg, also known as Cat. She has probably told more people exactly what to do one on one, and with bigger results than most people ever will. Cat and her business partner, the late Anne-Marie Bennstrom founded the legendary Ashram near Malibu in 1974. Ashram means place of peace, but it was the world’s first boot camp retreat, offering an intense physical and spiritual education. Mind you, when she started it, this was decades before most Americans had gotten into low calorie, high nutrient food, and intense exercise. These two outgoing, adventurous women began to teach what they had grown up knowing in Sweden — the value of hiking and exercising and eating as close to nature as possible. It wasn’t embraced by everyone at first, that’s for sure. That was back when “detox” mostly referred to substance abuse recovery programs and “boot camp” was strictly a military term. Of course, today, the Ashram’s pioneering approach and philosophy to diet, weight loss, and wellness are so mainstream as to be practically, universally accepted. But Cat, who could have opened ten Ashram’s the world over, is still fully committed to running just the single one in California with her unflagging passion and drive. And while she and the program have evolved some, she still gets those results by telling people exactly what to do. And we can all benefit by listening to her wisdom.

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