Can a week at a retreat really change your life?

Sep 5 2018


4 min read

A year ago, Supreme Spy joined went on a fitness retreat in Switzerland and lost half a stone. One year on, we ask how is she doing?

It’s all too common with these retreats to come home and put half a stone back on within a month. But, on the trip, I genuinely enjoyed reconnecting with myself and doing physical exercise; it gave my body a much-needed kick-start, while mentally I learnt that I had physical potential.

The trainer at Peak Health, Lyndsay, was a strong influence in my change for the better, she made me feel capable and saw the potential in me. Being in the gym with her felt comfortable – but was this something I could continue at home without her by my side?

Then there’s the usual issue of spending a fortune on a gym and barely going – I have done this before and didn’t want to fall into old patterns. I love working out outdoors and feel that professional support and guidance could be the key. I remember at the time thinking that a fitness club might be the answer.

I returned home, searched ‘Norwich bootcamp’ and an outdoor bootcamp session popped up; I emailed them and got a quick and friendly response. The following Saturday I went along feeling rather apprehensive.

I won’t lie -- it was really hard but I got through it, albeit it far slower than the others, who all looked like pros. I was utterly exhausted afterwards but very proud of myself, too. The following Monday I ached all over but found the pain satisfying – definitely a sign I had changed!

The longer I did bootcamp, the less painful it became, while my recovery time improved. When I thought I needed to challenge myself again, I signed up for boxing. I was terrible at it to start with (or at least I thought I was) but persevered - the technique clicked after a few weeks. Boxing is great for balancing stress levels – and quite empowering, too.

After six months of a bootcamp and two boxing sessions a week, I had lost a further stone and a half, but really needed to tone up more and improve my strength. So, I added in a weekly weights class.

Again, it took me a few weeks to get the technique right and start to enjoy it, but I noticed that my arms were more toned and that my running ability was much improved. I got fit so that I could run rather than the other way around.

What to expect:

You’ll sleep better: Deeper, more peacefully, and you won’t need as much

You’ll spend a fortune on new clothes: and not just buying things to work out in. The interim shop while the weight is coming off and the final ‘I can’t change anymore’ shop. I even lost weight on my feet!

You’ll meet some new people: Getting fit with people is a great way to be social.

You’ll feel very different: Although I have lost three stone, not ten stone, it is enough to feel very different; I have to remind myself that no matter what my size, my weight does not define me. It is all about being happy with how you are and being the best version of you.

You say things you’d never thought you’d say: “I’m doing Bootcamp in the morning, so I will just have one glass of wine” or “I’m really looking forward to running 7k over sand dunes at the weekend’. Never write yourself off, everyone can reach a good level of fitness.

My top tips:

Join a local club: like Norwich Fitness Club, where professional trainers motivate you - and fellow clubbers support you. The friendly atmosphere makes dragging tyres in the rain more bearable if you are in it together.

Set yourself targets: I completed my first 10k run this month and have just entered a half marathon for next year. I am, by no means, going to win the race but completing it will be a massive achievement for me.

Find an exercise that you enjoy: If it feels like a chore, you are unlikely to continue. Finding the right exercise for you is half the challenge.

Beware of nay-sayers: “Are you addicted to fitness?” “When are you going to stop trying to lose weight?” ‘I’m surprised you are eating that, I thought you were healthy now.” Generally, people mean no harm. Just be aware that when you change your lifestyle, you are not only getting your head around the new you, others are too. Roll with it.

Change your diet too: Slowly cut things out but always allow yourself a regular treat and a cheat. Yes, I do still eat cake - just not as often. I have a treat on a Wednesday to break up the week and cheat on a Saturday. Life will become awfully boring otherwise. I have even got to the stage where I don’t really want junk food anymore and prefer cleaner treats - Nakd bar anyone?

Find ways to treat yourself: A cool muscle gel for post workout; use a relaxing bath oil in a warm bath once a week; skin brush and moisturise daily.

5th September 2018

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