Retreat: A quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax – The chance to get away from it all…
As I carefully navigated the country road, taking in the vast imposing trees lining the way towards the New Forest, I felt the anticipation rise up inside of me. I was only moments away from arriving at the Fast Track Fitness Retreat and my emotions were ping-ponging between waves of excitement and feeling as if it was the first day at school.
Our accommodation for the retreat was a converted Stable Block, it allowed for plenty of space for dining, activities, and socializing. I quickly unpacked and nestled myself in the kitchen where I met Victoria the chef. Upon meeting the other guests I had a huge sigh of relief about how friendly and welcoming everyone was. After the introductions, I got ready to try my first ever Supple Strength class.
Supple Strength: A dynamic mix of yoga and Pilates, which means you follow a sequence of poses with the end goal of increased strength and flexibility.
After our class, we all sat down to a delicious meal of fajitas followed by crumble cake and a generous dollop of cream. I then retired to my room, to unwind and get ready for my first full day.
The following morning, we gathered in the kitchen at 8am to head out for a HIIT session to jump-start the day and make room for breakfast. By 8.30 am my endorphins were in full flow and I welcomed a black coffee and generous breakfast before getting ready to go out and run.
Initially, the prospect of running as a group had meant that my dear friend anxiety had reared its ugly head. However, Fast Track Fitness Retreats fully supports and welcomes all levels of fitness and this meant that no one was left behind. We started with a warm-up that enabled me to preview some of the high street, before heading into the New Forest National Park.
Running around the New Forest felt like a glorious escape, away from all the hustle and bustle. We broke up our run with sprints, hills, and HIIT, before finishing up with a ViPR group workout session. The wind was blowing, the rain was drizzling and I thought to myself “It’s great to be here, outside in the elements, moving my body and being completely in the moment”. That’s not to say that a hot shower followed by feasting on pizza, pasta, and salad, wasn’t extremely welcome. What can I say? I’m a simple creature.
After lunch we had a few hours free, I explored the picture-perfect town, picking up childhood sugar-coated memories in a charming old fashioned sweetshop. Followed by having some ‘me’ time in a tiny café enjoying a warm scone and cream. With the added bonus of unlimited tea. I returned feeling uplifted and ready to take on “Box Fit”.
Box Fit: A boxing workout consisting of boxing drills, footwork, and abdominal moves.
Okay, so in certain situations, I follow simple instructions with difficulty, you say go left, well that’s my cue to almost certainly turn right. Luckily my partner was not only patient but also supportive during my first ever Box- Fit experience. Would I try Box Fit-again? It’s a definitive YES from me. Our class was followed by an hour Yoga Practice, this was the part of the weekend I found most difficult. My body and mind simply didn’t want to cooperate, despite my best intentions I had to accept defeat and ease into a child’s pose more frequently than normal.
After Yoga, my mood quickly picked up, because mealtimes were one of my favourite parts of the Retreat. Delicious wholesome and comforting food, allowing our bodies to re-fuel, without a single kale smoothie insight. Instead, we tucked into meals like chili, rice, and home-baked bread or perfectly baked salmon with couscous and roasted vegetables. Finished with some of my favourites such as crumble and Eton mess, with the option of homemade delicious ginger, lemon, and honey tea or coffee.
Whilst for some people Sunday is the day of rest, we started again with an invigorating mix of circuits before breakfast. I then prepared myself for one of the most exciting events of the weekend – Paddleboarding! I’m actually going to write a separate post about this experience, as a paragraph on the topic simply isn’t enough. Let it be known, I left the cold water with damp hair, a smile as wide as my Paddleboard and a feeling of great satisfaction.
We then headed to the beach for one of the most rewarding Yoga practices of my life, we settled in the warm breeze, enjoying the sensation of stones under our mat and the sound of the waves. I felt entirely at ease, my body eased into my own clumsy version of the poses and whilst enjoying a post-yoga picnic on the beach. We all agreed it was an experience of joy and great positivity, an experience that we were thankful to share in unity.
Hiking along the coastline is one of my favourite things to do, I think that walking is so underrated. Walking the scenic paths, taking in the views, and putting the world to rights allows for my mind to de-clutter. Once I was back at our accommodation, I indulged myself in a huge bubble bath, with the ultimate companion, Lindt chocolate.
Before dinner, we were treated to a deliciously relaxing yin yoga practice, which was focused on mat-based poses, cozied up with blankets and pillows. Thanks to all the time in the fresh air and the high levels of activity, each night as soon as my head hit the pillow, I fell into a deep comfortable sleep.
Before I knew it, our final morning had arrived and this was jump-started with an intensive circuit’s workout. Providing me with the energy to wave goodbye to my new pals and start the drive home, whilst wishing I was still on the retreat.
Whilst a Fitness Retreat might not sound like everyone’s idea of relaxation, for me, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was always made to feel welcome and exercises were adapted if needed (giving a more personal touch). Being able to try new workouts in such a beautiful location felt like such a huge privilege.
Would I recommend Fast Track Fitness Retreats? Absolutely, if you’re looking to join like-minded people, feast on delicious food and enjoy the added bonus of access to professional instructors in a small group. Then the next event on the 2nd-5th of March 2020 over at The Ickworth in Suffolk is not to be missed.
I’d like to thank – Fast Track Fitness Retreats for kindly inviting me to join them for this Retreat. The guys from 3Dimensional Fitness UK for training me, which means repeating the same thing to me 36 times. Nadine for the glorious Yoga practice, Victoria the chef for her cooking and self-deprecating humor. Not forgetting, Peter at The New Forest Paddleboarding company, I hope you enjoyed me ignoring your instructions, as much as I enjoyed attempting to stay on my board.
Disclaimer – Whilst I was very kindly gifted the opportunity to attend this retreat, my ethos is only to recommend experiences that I genuinely love. As I want your experience to be every bit as good as mine.