Apples and Pears Retreat

“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 

apples and pears retreat team

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.

Kettlebell workout.

Boxing workout.


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. 

forest cycle h


Morning swim – water polo

BREAKFAST of porridge

Mountain biking session.

apples and pears retreat

LUNCH: Soup and salmon salad.

Interval training


Abs training

Hill walk.

DINNER: Cod, sweet potato fries and mushy peas with tartare sauce. Nom nom.

At the end of the week… getting there..

sexy pic











Becki Bx

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