What it’s like to go on a fitness retreat

I’m just back from my very first fitness retreat and I loved it! It’s the type of holiday I’ve always wanted to do but I was too nervous to go on my own. Funny enough I actually ended up going on my own. I like working out but I wouldn’t be a die-hard fitness lover but it’s the challenge I wanted. There are so many fitness and wellbeing retreats to choose from it’s hard to know which one to start with. If you’ve ever been on a fitness retreat let me know as I like to go by recommendations.

So why did I go to the OHWellness Retreat?

When I saw that Siobhan O’Hagan from (@ohfitness_ie) was starting her own fitness retreats I signed up straight away, I was actually boarding a plane at the time going to London I was that keen. I’ve been following Siobhan since she started her fitness journey a couple of years ago and she has not only transformed her body but her mindset and that’s why I like her so much. I booked the retreat because I really wanted to train with her. Siobhan had two retreats in Portugal one week after the other for 4 days in Alvor. Not only was I getting to train but I was also getting a holiday. I’ve met Siobhan a few times and she is incredibly motivational and makes eating right and working out look fun. The retreat itself has a mixture of cardio, gym workouts, yoga, nutrition and mindfulness. The perfect balance in my eyes. The retreat costs around €800 including all flights, accommodation, half board, transfer, all classes etc. An added bonus was that Siobhan had set it up that you could pay monthly which was perfect for me and I think most people took that option.

What was each day like?

The group arrived at Dublin airport and Siobhan had organised a meeting point which was brilliant. There were about 16 of us on the retreat so meeting everyone before the flight was the perfect opportunity to chat and start to get to know the group. We arrived in the afternoon in Portugal had lunch then hit the boardwalk for a run looking over the sea. It was a great way to start the weekend and we all really got to know each other that day. The next 3 days had a very similar layout so I’ll just go through the Friday so you can get an idea. On the Friday we started the day with a 7am run and a beach workout which was harder than it looked! Burpees on the sand are difficult! Siobhan had two other trainers on this trip and Martina Clancy (@martinaclancy) led the beach workout with Siobhan. Martina sure knew how to push us and I’ll be taking her workouts with me as I travel the world. As you can see from the photo below the setting was beautiful for the burpees! Everyday after our beach workout we jumped in to the sea. Never did I think that I would have a run, beach workout and swim done all before 9am!

I’m not an early riser but this retreat taught me that it really isn’t that hard to get up and go. The hotel we stayed in was unreal and was a highlight to the trip if you watched my instagram stories because we got to do yoga on the deck overlooking the pool. The Pestana Alvor South Beach is on my list for the next time I go to Alvor as I loved it. Their breakfast was incredible and perfect for a health buzz. Every morning at 10am we had a 2 hour yoga session with Claire McGrath (@claire_mcgrath_fitness) or yoga queen as I like to call her. Last year I went to a yoga class with Claire and loved it. When I heard she was teaching on this retreat I couldn’t contain my excitement. Getting to know Claire on this trip was so special, she is an amazing listener and she has really inspired me and helped me with my yoga technique. At our first yoga session I couldn’t do a handstand then the next day I was flying, she gave me the confidence to have a stronger mindset. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

After yoga we all went for lunch and then into an afternoon gym session. The group was divided into three and we all got an hour with each trainer over the weekend. The gym sessions were perfect for improving technique and challenging ourselves with new workouts. One of the girls on our retreat is an amazing dancer and Siobhan organised for a dance workout in a studio in the gym. I’m sure photos will surface of how sweaty we got but it was such a good workout. I forgot how much fun dancing was! Pilar Lokko (@pilarlokko) is going to teach me how to dance properly now that were home, again someone I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been on the retreat. We then had nutrition talks and mindful talks too. Listening to everyones challenges and how they have overcome them by a strong mind was so powerful and if there is one thing I’ll take from the retreat is that you are stronger than you think.

What I learned on the retreat

Where do I start, I learned so much over the 4 days that it felt like I had been away for weeks. It was a really positive weekend with no judgement on your level of fitness or how well you eat. Everyone was here for their own reason and had their own journey. I met some amazing girls on this trip and we formed a bond which I was never expecting when I signed up for the retreat. I initially thought it would just be about the fitness but it was so much more. We all discussed the reason we wanted to be there and nearly everyone wanted self improvement in some shape or form. This retreat really boosted my confidence. The size of the group was perfect because everyone had time with all three trainers and we ate lunch and dinner as a group meaning we all became closer. The age group was varied which I loved because I got to know so many different people from different walks of life. My motto in life is you can never stop learning and you can always inspire others. Leaving the airport on Sunday I felt emotional saying goodbye to a group of girls I loved being around. I honestly had the time of my life and laughed so much which this gorgeous group. Thank you Siobhan for making the retreat something I’ll never forget.

I’d recommend when Siobhan does another retreat that you really should go on your own because you will get more from the trip. It’s hard to step outside your comfort zone but not a single girl on the trip regretted going on her own which really says something. Keep an eye on Siobhan’s instagram as she’ll be letting everyone know where the next retreat is on. I want to say a huge thank you to Siobhan, Claire and Martina for making the retreat amazing congrats Siobhan on your first set of #OHWellnessRetreats. Photos above were by (@Laurence.snashall).

Until the next adventure….

Kate

P.S. – Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – @katekellyk

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