While most beach holidays involve barely moving from a lounger and eating all the food, a bootcamp abroad is a great way to take advantage of the sunshine while supercharging your health and fitness levels. Our resident nutritionist Sarah Macklin headed to The Body Camp fitness retreat in Ibiza, and while she would recommend it to all, if you’re not able to book yourself a space, then she's revealing the six lessons she learned at the retreat that she will be carrying on back home.
Connect With People
We spend much of our lives in our own head, but The Body Camp encouraged me to connect with other people. I was meant to be attending the body camp with my brother, only to hear from him the day before that he injured his back badly and was currently laid up in a back brace. I was, for the first time ever, going on holiday by myself. I travel a lot on my own with work, but this was the first time I was having a full seven days of “me” time. A little apprehensive but also excited, I headed for Ibiza.
On the plane, I was wondering what sort of people I would meet. Would it be mostly couples, individuals looking for some headspace or groups of friends? Would I fit in? I was picked up by Kate Whale, who runs The Body Camp, and her electric energy immediately put any of these thoughts to rest.
I connected with each person in the group, making my experience a memorable one. Listening and sharing everyone’s experiences within the group gives you encouragement to tackle your own problems, and the support you gain from others throughout this journey is priceless. Most activities were team-based, from circuits (which sometimes included dressing up outfits!), fitness treasure hunts, water polo, yoga in pairs, rugby and dance workouts. You embark on a week's journey with a group of strangers, ending as friends who have supported each other through lots of hard work, laughter, and tears. Since I’ve come home, I’m making a real effort to meet up with my friends in person, rather than relying on social media to stay connected.
Put Your Phone Away
The body camp had a “phone box” where every mealtime all phones had to be placed firmly in a box on the table, encouraging everyone to engage in conversation. This is something I LOVED. There is nothing more frustrating than having dinner with someone who is constantly on their phone. We focused much more on what we were eating and how much, as well as connecting with each other. Now at home, a phone box will firmly sit on my kitchen table.
Slow Down and Switch off
Every evening after dinner we were given an optional sunset walk. At home, I never manage to eat before 8 p.m. or sometimes 9 p.m. In Ibiza, dinner was served every evening at 6:30 p.m., and afterward, we would usually walk to the top of the cliff face to watch the sunset. Reprogramming myself to have earlier dinners, then finish the evening with a stroll (not emails) helped induce a better sleep pattern and an overall less “sluggish” feeling. This is definitely something I would recommend everyone to try and embrace, even if you can only manage it a few evenings a week.
This was Rick’s favorite phrase. Rick is the Mindful Master Coach and in the world’s top four percent of Master Mind and Transformation Coaches. He has had huge success helping his clients with weight loss, lifestyle changes and fitness aims, enabling them to overcome the blocks that were preventing them from achieving their goals.
A dedicated lover of all things American and an ‘80s music enthusiast, he uses the phrase “treat yourself” whilst working out. Treat yourself to one more push-up… or burpee. By the end of the week, the phrase was used by everyone to “treat themselves” during the end of a workout, or at 6:30 a.m. when my body felt tired. This clever conscious mind training technique pushed us all further in treating ourselves, and we felt we truly deserved our more traditional treats (snacks) at the end of it. Rick wanted us to understand you need to work for your rewards, something that I think we all forget from time to time, and that exercise should be viewed as a treat and not a punishment by allowing our bodies to release those all-important endorphins. So, next time I’m told to do 10 push-ups, it’s a treat. And I may treat myself to an extra five.
Being surrounded by positive and grounded people really does change your mindset. There was not a day that passed where we didn’t laugh. Laughter is incredibly good for us; in fact, one study linked increased laughter to a decrease in your chances of developing heart disease, so it’s basically like a very funny workout.
Eat 80% Plant-Based Meals
All the food on the retreat is 80 percent plant-based and created by resident chef Ben Whale. He believes that every food choice is an opportunity to redirect your health, your body composition, your performance and, of course, your well-being from the inside out. His wonderful menu gave me so much energy, and I never thought we’d be served a buckwheat Nutella crepe for breakfast! Back at home, I’m aiming to make my lifestyle more plant-based. Cutting back on animal products may sound all too much for meatheads, however I’m fully converted.
Hayashi K, Kawachi I, Ohira T, Kondo K, Shirai K, Kondo N. Laughter is the best medicine? A cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease among older Japanese adults. J Epidemiol. 2016;26(10):546-552. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20150196