“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” Bertrand Russell
When I booked myself in for a week at a Yoga Retreat in Turkey – I didn’t think too much about it. I wanted some hot weather and it sounded like a healthy way to spend a week. I assumed several things might come with a trip of this type…‘away from temptation…out of trouble… lose a bit of weight…meet like minded people’. I had practiced yoga for over a year a while back and for some reason stopped – so this seemed a great way to get back into it. So. Yoga Retreat… no brainer really?
I arrived exhausted yet, excited to Suleyman’s Gardens, Turkey, a beautiful family run farm on the coastline where I was assigned a simple wood cabin with a comfortable bed. All one needs really.
Scouring the weekly timetable I saw yoga was to begin at 7.30am for an hour and a half. We would then reconvene at 6pm that evening for more yoga. There were huge spaces in the day to do with what we wanted. A feeling of fear washed over me as I realised the long blank hours and the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere. ‘Oh god.. what if it’s really boring..’ was my feeling of dread.
“Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.” Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
I took myself off to the beach and flicked to the chapter “Boredom and Excitement” of the book I’d taken ‘The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell’
“Ok”. I thought… feeling less afraid.
As I sat in the yoga den clad in my Primani leggings at 7.30am the following morning the realisation that mayyybe I should have thought about my attire a little more washed over me. As the other women commented on each others fashionable yogi outfits I made a joke about my cheap leggings to a quiet audience. But I had to remember – I wasn’t there for that. I was there for a holiday from my mind. From societal pressures and to do some yoga. But where there are other people it can always be hard to remain centred and to keep with one’s game plan. There will always be comparison, self reflection, opinions, advice, or perhaps some drama of some sorts. To remain unfaltering in a world of conflicting ideas and opinions is perhaps the hardest thing to do.
Boat trip..a bored fisherman looking for stimulation from.. Facebook?
And I guess that’s what I learnt on this trip. That my fear of boredom was just that. Fear. The days indeed, magically filled up themselves up.. either with spontaneous walks or exploring on the seashore. I faced my fear of spiders. As I woke up and spotted a very big beast on the wall. Mosquito netting between us. In my groggy state…. I realised – that maybe… just maybe there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of. So. I went back to sleep.
There is something extremely satisfying about stretching and working out as the sun rises over an amazing horizon, feeding on home grown food.. and swimming in the Mediterranean sea and listening to the wise life stories of others. I could definitely get used to it. But.. could I ever become a real.. yogi? Hmmm. We’ll see.
The #yoga classes were led by Sarah Kekus of website The Health Architect. Sarah delivered an eclectic mix of Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and core strengthening work and easily led two hour morning sessions and deceivingly made them appear only an hour long (helped along with her awesome collection of empowering music). I found Sarah to be a strong minded yet sensitive teacher who easily adjusted her teaching to the needs of different skillsets.
A good week with some interesting women, excellent food, beautiful landscapes and some lessons learnt. And the life advice offered up by the retreats’ Conceptual Designer Ian Worrall was second to none.. Suleyman’s Gardens – a very beautiful place to escape to..
Looking forward to my next adventure.
Since my last gruelling bootcamp (article HERE) of the three days of intense work outs, I discovered that mentally I could easily become obsessive about working out. Or thinking about working out. Actually two different things. ‘I should go to the gym’ had now been replaced with ‘I should really go to the gym for at least three hours’. And that sort of thinking can really be off putting to doing anything. The all or nothing thinking that replaces that of moderation.
You see an hour at the gym was now no longer good enough after I discovered through the world of the bootcamp that I was capable of working out for eight hours a day. I now found myself to be a binge gym goer, not seeing the point if I wasn’t going to do a spin class, followed by yoga and perhaps a nice swim followed by then running home.
I was after all now cutting down those daily intense workouts from the bootcamp by more than half. And… I had to keep the fitness up….! The good thing about the bootcamp avenue is that you’re cut off and woken up at six thirty in the morning, hidden away from ALL temptation. Rehab for foodies. But as soon as you step back on that high street (and something I feel quite disgusted about) is how much temptation of the absolute crapness we’re actually surrounded by. The strongest of minds might find it hard to centre oneself and keep motivated when brands spend so many millions on advertising rubbish at us! Every day I walk home I walk past.. pub/nandos/mcdonalds/burgerking/pizzaexpress/kebabshop/boots/costacoffee/pub AGAIN/nail shop/sainsburies/wineshop/oooh Marks and Spencers yep that’s a good un.
But all that aside it really is up to ourselves to stay present and look after one’s health. I’ve become aware recently of how much mental space this has been taking up in my mind. And I’ve been consistently trying to lose weight since I started to try and lose weight. Not good. I have a friend who never works out, is extremely slim and has really conquered what works in terms of food habits for her. And I guess that’s what it’s all about. Finding what floats one’s boat and keeps one motivated and happy with the self. I however, do enjoy the feeling of feeling fit and the feel good factor that working out gives me… and lately I have been desiring an athletic body similar to that of the women racing in the 100m Relay at the Commonwealth Games.
Abs. They look amazing.
I was invited to try a day working out with the Prestige Bootcamp in Hyde Park. The day consisted of a mix of boxing, body combat, core training and circuit training followed by a team game of netball. Led by two professional, friendly and motivational trainers the atmosphere was down to earth and the series of exercises crushed into an 8 hour day, keeping it entertaining. I can imagine how intimidating these bootcamps might be to someone who has not attended one before – but most people there had turned up on their own, simply because they wanted to get fit/lose weight so the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. Everyone is there for themselves.
One lady I met at the last bootcamp was checking in to the same retreat every month to keep her fitness/weight loss consistent and help her maintain motivation. A great idea… if you can afford it!! Prestige Bootcamps currently have a sale on and their days in Hyde Park are definitely worth it and currently a snip at £39.50 (let’s just be real and call it £40 yeah?). It was awarded Best Womens Bootcamp in England although there were a few men there so I didn’t get the impression it was restricted to only females. So men… don’t be afraid..
The best thing about the bootcamp apart from exercising in a motivational atmosphere for me, was the boxing. I’ve wanted to keep this up.. and as a regular attender at the gym I’ve looked at the boxing gloves and kit sitting in the corner of the room. And passed by in embarrassment. There’s some things you need a personal trainer/bootcamp for..
Prestige bootcamp – a fun day of fitness! Recommended!
This week Becki is trying the maple syrup diet…
Good luck with your personal goals. Try not to give up… whatever it is 😉
“The word compassion literally means to “suffer with”…
A week at a fitness bootcamp. Sounds intense doesn’t it. I had been a regular at BMF (British Military Fitness) in the past and that one hour a day had been pretty tough. Needless to say I had seen results, but for some reason, life had gotten in the way and I had tailed off. And before I knew it – the pounds had crept on. Sneaky fat.
I would describe myself as an impatient kind of person. All or nothing. We’re doing it or we’re not. Black or white.. I want it now. Now. Now… so the idea of losing weight. Well it just can’t happen fast enough. It’s a slow business. As that skinny model Kate Moss so aptly put it once upon a time ‘a minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips’.
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’ Aristotle
And so for the past few months I’ve been lost in the roundabout of “put a pound on.. take a pound off.. take another pound off.. put another pound on…reach for some instant gratification. Regret. Take another pound off” and so on. And so on. And so on. And what an incredibly boring roundabout to be stuck on.
So that was that. Decision made – bags packed, off I went on the train to the Apples and Pears Retreat in Devon for a week, with hope that this would help spur me in the right direction.
After a four hour train trip I arrived at the station suddenly full of dread as I realized what I had done. “How hard is this going to be?” my gut lurched suddenly as I saw the fit and toned Apples and Pears representative in the distance. I hesitated and considered legging it. But it was too late and he was cheerily waving me over. And he looked like a friendly fella..
We were driven to a secluded, yet quaint house in the middle of the countryside and it was then I realized I was staying with random people I’ve never met before for a week. In a house. In the middle of no where. God. They could be murderers I thought to myself as I peeked over at my fellow retreaters. But I didn’t have too much time to let my imagination run wild. The fitness instructors nipped that in the bud straight away. We were ordered to get changed so that we could delve straight into an intense boxing lesson. As an intro class, that would be the beginning to a grueling couple of days.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” M. Scott Peck
If you should wish to see the diary that was kept please see the schedule below.
The first full day of working out was intense. It totalled nine hours of exercise. I did become concerned it was going to be like that for the entire duration as I never really find interval training that fun. It’s something I do to look and feel better. So after the intensity of the first day of working it out, it was pure relief that hiking and mountain biking were on the schedule for the next few days. Personally more enjoyable workouts. The retreat itself, had attracted a mix of people, of all ages. Those that wanted to simply keep fit and those who were there to lose weight. The sense of camaraderie in the group as people shared their life stories, dating woes and wisdom kept the atmosphere light and fun and the sense of hope high. A shared sense of humanity filled the air as individuals struggled to out do their personal bests. And perhaps that is why a retreat is a great way to start off a lifestyle change.
So would I recommend a fitness bootcamp? The residential fitness bootcamp, whilst tough going, does get results fast. If you want to get on the right track, the service Apples and Pears provides is efficient, professional and well organised. For me looking good means feeling good. And if you’ve fallen into a rut – I can’t recommend Apples and Pears enough. It provides the opportunity to learn new skills and to try out new exercises… for example I’d never done boxing or hypoxic swimming before – and I’d really like to continue both of these.. and you can do all this whilst losing weight in a comfortable and serene setting with like minded individuals. Yeaaah!!!
All in all I lost seven and a half pounds in three days. I didn’t believe that could be possible. But like anything consistency is key. The nutritionist on site has a bunch of great tips to ensure that one leaves well prepared, and now I am aware that if I put a few pounds on – I can do a few more sessions in the gym to get myself back on track. I can do it. And so can you.
Find the retreat HERE
Pic above, Woody personal trainer and Katie – retreat manager…
6.30am wake up:
Half an hour hypoxic training swimming lesson (making do with less air)
Half an hour personal training session
BREAKFAST of muesli and milk
Ab workout, followed by hill hike.
Fitness test of running, followed by another AB workout. Walk back.
LUNCH: Carrot soup and feta, bulgar wheat and cous cous with salad.
NUTRITIONAL TALK. What should we be eating?
DINNER: Salmon fillet, broccoli, roasted cherry tomatoes and brown rice followed by honey glazed plums.
Morning swim – improving stroke technique.
Day long hike. Egg sandwiches and soup. TIP Try swapping mayonnaise for the 0% fat free greek yoghurt.
DINNER: Chicken and thyme casserole with green salad, followed by chocolate mousse with fresh mango.
RECIPE ALERT: Blend two avocados with a packet of 85% melted dark chocolate together and refrigerate for a healthy and delicious mousse.
Morning swim – water polo
BREAKFAST of porridge
Mountain biking session.
LUNCH: Soup and salmon salad.
DINNER: Cod, sweet potato fries and mushy peas with tartare sauce. Nom nom.
At the end of the week… getting there..