I should really describe this as our clients have, in their words, we held a ‘healthy holiday’ on the sunny island of Cyprus!
The term Fitness Retreat often conjures up images of punishing workouts, very little food, ‘Sergeant Major’ trainers who leave you burnt out and exhausted in their wake. The brains behind the Cyprus Healthy Holiday, of which there are four, decided that this concept has very little value in our eyes. Admittedly, we considered it. A strict fat loss week with measuring, assessing, restriction and an aim of weight loss in 6 days, but very quickly we asked ourselves, what was the actual point? This type of regime will give you results in that time away where you can dedicate all your waking hours to achieving this goal, but then what? You go home, it all goes out the window as you have to go back to normal life. All the trainers of this retreat share a reason for getting involved in the fitness industry, and that is to help people. Not sell pipe dreams and quick fixes. Fitness is meant to be fun, it’s meant to make you feel good about your body and help create a positive outlook on life. Benefits should spill over into your work life, family life, sex life and social life.
Last week, on Sunday 8th May 2016 we welcomed a group of clients and their friends to a week of training, good eating and good fun, based in Protaras on the east coast of Cyprus.
We picked up our clients from Larnaca airport and drove them to the Coralli Spa and Resort where they were staying in sea view apartments located very close to the beautiful beach of Fig Tree Bay. On arrival they found their room already equipped with a T-shirt for the holiday, water and supplements and protein bars supplied by PhD Nutrition. We stayed close by at our HQ villa where we set a meeting for the first thing the next morning.
Our aim for this week was to provide our clients with something we have very little of back at home in the UK. Which is time. Over this week, we wanted to teach, experience different training sessions, spend time on understanding our clients and help them discover the best way to achieve their fitness goals. Especially for those who don’t train with us back in the UK. Having four trainers on hand means many years of experience and knowledge for each person to learn from and ask questions to.
Each day usually consisted of two training sessions, such as Boxing on the beach, HIIT workouts, bodyweight workouts, yoga, movement assessments, tennis and gym sessions. On some days we included a walk to explore the island and of course, we had some down time, which we mostly spent at the beach. It is an active holiday so this beach time included some games, water sports and on the last day we found ourselves at the mini golf course! Some clients booked themselves to have massages at the spa to really enhance the whole experience.
Food was by no means restrictive. Our aim was to show the simplicity of good nutrition, using whole natural foods, eating well to recover and refuel and manage portion sizes. Did we eat out? Of course! But we helped our team consider how to order smartly in order to achieve a healthy balance. How about alcohol? Our approach here is we that are all adults and we’re not your parents…we are on a fitness retreat and we expect everyone to be present and ready to train every morning, so it’s your choice. The last meal of the week is always celebrated with champagne on us, but during the week? Our focus is good training and healthy eating with good company. Breaking habits and taking ownership of your health has to start somewhere.
So how did the group get on?
The group all had varying abilities and the nature of the training means you get semi private personal training, rather than just being bundled into a group. Each participant would have learnt some of their strengths and weaknesses and tried something new. I was so impressed with the commitment everyone paid to each session, embracing the fact that we can all be a million miles an hour back at home, wanting results in 2 days’ time! But here, we all take a step back into learning and understanding that long term change take time. We ran one type of fitness test at the beginning of the week, which was the bleep test. This measures your fitness (aerobic) capacity. This got re-tested at the end and everybody showed improvements. Everybody also commented on how great they were feeling and they’d had fun, even on the tougher training sessions! They’d pushed themselves and learnt something about their body that will help them in the future. Now isn’t that more rewarding than a seeing a temporary number drop on the scales and feeling hungry…?
It is incredibly rewarding for us to see the changes in people’s confidence over the week. We had some major breakthroughs, from realising bad habits a person might have that has been hindering their health for years, to finding the confidence to jump in the sea shirtless for the first time that week. There is no judgment on our trips, only help, honesty and advice.
Is this Healthy Holiday for you?
We have our dates already in place for 2017! Held this time at a stunning 5 Star Resort with unbelievable sea views. If you are interested in joining us next year, please click the link below.