Melanie Gower revs up her gym habit with a bootcamp in Andalucia
After months of working late and getting bored of the same old exercise routine, my thrice-weekly gym habit had dwindled to half-hearted visits once a week – at best.The thought of grabbing a relaxing break on a sunlounger is tempting, but it doesn't quite hit the spot this time. I want to feel like I've achieved something on my break. So the idea of trip to Andalucia in Southern Spain to boost my fitness and, I hope, bring about a lasting change in my attitude sounds spot-on.
Day one in Antequera, and my confidence is already being tested. The previous week’s guests included a multiple marathon runner and professional footballer. Gulp. We're off on a two-hour hike, and I prepare for a very long ‘walk of shame’.
It turns out our goals are as varied as our ages and nationalities: from the 20-something Saudi guy keen to shift the pounds; to a stressed-out British high-flyer who’d been working 14 hours a day until she was recently made redundant; and the Swiss business exec in his forties looking to hone healthy habits. The hike is a great introduction to the week. I brace myself for bellowing instructors, but my fears quickly dissolve as I realise that our three are subtly spreading themselves throughout the group, so no one feels like they’re lagging behind – or being held up. That’s not to say it’s not challenging to be hauling ourselves up mountains – especially as we’ve already done a 7am yoga class – but whereas usually I’d be worrying about when I'd run out of steam or fretting about what vertical hill may lie round the corner, the constant chat from our instructors mean we’re on the homeward straight before I know it. And I haven’t looked at my watch once. In the afternoon sessions, I find myself doing spinning and every sort of circuit training imaginable – things I deliberately avoid back home. Working out in open-ended atriums or shady spots in the garden, I realise just how intimidating a gym environment can be, and the part it plays in stopping me from trying new classes. Many of us are having a go at these activities for the first time, but the coinstant presence of trainers means we can work at our own pace, without ever feeling self-conscious. Next morning we take a 30km bike ride through the local countryside. It's a long time since I've been in the saddle, it's 25degC and, we discover as we turn a corner, windy enough to lose your balance.
Fancy a bike break? Try cycling in Brittany
‘Don’t worry Melanie,’ my grinning Saudi friend, who’s at least double my size, shouts over his shoulder. ‘Stay behind me and I’ll be your windbreaker!’ The instructors are just as supportive. When one of our party hits a wall (metaphorically), he’s helped in to a car with minimum fuss, and zero comments about his fitness. Instead, they put it down to the fact that he forgot his all-important fruit snack.So does it still feel like a holiday? Between ac tivities, I manage to squeeze in sunbathing, a massage at the on-site spa, and a stroll into town. The food is typically Mediterranean: lots of salads, grilled fish and meat and roasted vegetables, plus stamina-boosting snacks. Because we're in a hotel, there’s even room service if you’re really exhausted.
But the best bit is feeling as though every second counts. No wasted afternoons dozing - in just a few days I’ve dramatically relaxed, re-motivated myself and rewritten the rule book of what I can do. I’ve road-tested a whole heap of good habits, and feel much more confident about pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. Watch out gym, here I come!
Book a bootcamp, weightloss or fitness break in Antequera, Spain, with RFH Fitness holidays. Flights with Ryanair.
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites