I’ve never been one to diet or watch my weight. I grew up eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted and seemed to get away with it. This of course, was until lately where I just noticed the pounds piling on an on and despite, what I have to admit now was a rather shoddy attempt at weight loss, I never seemed to quite shake the extra weight off.
The main issue was bigger than just weight gain however, it was just a general lack of fitness. Take for instance, on a Saturday night, I was pretty unstoppable on the dance floor! I’d burst into all the moves and carry on for ages. Cue a couple of months ago and I would probably be able to get through one song (two, at best) before I created a fake ‘slow dance’ (e.g. swaying from side to side) just so I could catch my breath.
When you can even do something as simple as having a little jig with your friends, it’s probably best to re-think what you’re doing. I kinda knew I had to at least attempt to improve but I just never seemed to be able to (I even bought a rowing machine and an exercise bike – one of which is still in the box as it was the day it was delivered from Amazon almost 8 months ago).
Finally, we found out about The Body Camp in Ibiza (Spain), got our places and prepared to embark on what we hoped would be a brilliant weight loss journey. In about a week, I lost 8 pounds and 3 ounces while Lloyd lost 6 pounds and 3 ounces (not to mention 7.5 inches of fat around my body and building up my running/walking/hiking stamina). Bring on the hot weather summer – I’m ready now! 😉
First off, I feel very inclined to point out – the name ‘The Body Camp” is ever so slightly misleading. For starters, it’s nothing like a camp. 🙂 You’re staying in a luxurious villas (seriously, it’s the kind of place you can picture celebrities having summer parties in), you have a private chef who whips up amazing healthy (portion-controlled) meals for you, you have a personal trainer who whips you into shape, cleaners to make your bed for you (yes, you can get away with doing literally 0 housework here), there are massage sessions, treatments, manicures and pedicures if you want, an infinity pool and perhaps some of the best views across the island – to mention but a few things.
It’s also not like a boot camp where someone screams at you and makes you exercise until you break something or throw your back out (whichever one comes first). Everything you do here is at your pace which is great as it means when you come to end of it, the success is in a very large part yours! It’s such an empowering feeling as you know you pushed yourself as much as you wanted to.
Also, a little bit about my experiences, I’d always been skinny growing up. I never thought about this but this may in part have been due to the fact that I never over-ate (like I did for the last couple of years – seriously, a buffet to me was both a feast and a feat to be conquered), I exercised naturally (i.e. I never went to a gym but managed to cycle for about 1.5 hours a day to get around and would happily walk for 2 hours each day) and I almost never drank alcohol (travelling recently means indulging in a lot of wine – which I love but it does take its toll on the waistline if you don’t exercise moderation). Point is, the reasons why I was gaining weight and losing my general fitness were pretty obvious to me but I always seemed to excuse them.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this isn’t all about weight loss. Some people here didn’t want to lose weight – they just wanted to tone up. Some people just needed to get away from everyday hassle and surround themselves in nature. The Body Camp is a retreat and the plan you get for the time you’re there is entirely tailored to you (weight loss was a big one for me, though once I realised that maintaining the weight meant getting extra portions, I was tempted to say I wanted to maintain my weight – hehehe!!! I stuck it out though).
Like I mentioned earlier, you’re in a luxurious villa in the picturesque northern part of Ibiza. This is one of the most exclusive parts of Ibiza to stay in as this is where it’s peaceful, serene and relatively unspoilt. The property is set atop a hill with amazing sunrise and sunset views.
There’s an infinity pool, lush gardens, cleaners, gardeners and staff available round the clock to see that everything you need and want is all seen to. Seriously, it’s one of the best travel experiences ever!
I’ll just come right out and admit it – I’d never been a fan of vegetarian food in the past. Lloyd has always been keen but I’d never really had veggie food that excited me (or made me want more of it).
Fast-forward to our experience with The Body Camp where 80% of the food is plant based (i.e. veggie). The whole experience completely turned me around. No one was as shocked as I was when I realised a few days in, that I’d been eating pretty much just vegetarian food and had loved every single meal. Funny thing is that someone else told me in advance that the food was amazing and I remember thinking to myself – “Seriously, how great can vegetarian food possible be?”. Turns out, very VERY good!
Thing is, I don’t try to over-analyse food. What’s the point? Eating food isn’t meant to thought about, it’s meant to be felt. You don’t need too much thinking to tell you if you enjoyed a meal or not – you simply just know. And I’ve got to admit, there’s something truly special about eating a meal, feeling great afterwards and not being laden by the guilt (and heartburn) that comes quite readily with meals such as the KFC bargain buckets.
The meals aren’t only vegetarian, I should also add. You get chicken and seafood as well (no red meats) as part of the meals too.
Everything you do here is entirely at your pace. You get told what to do, you get encourages to do it but no one will be shouting at you to do it. Everything you choose to do eventually comes from you (as it should do) and the amount of work you end up putting in is truly testament to the power of positive re-enforcement. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as they say and there’s nothing quite like a group of fellow trainees at The Body Camp, cheering you on (or your instructor) for that matter to get you going.
As a random aside, I’m not someone who would respond well to be shouted at anyway (which is why I don’t think I would ever had done a traditional Boot Camp). I know it’s great for weight loss but I don’t feel like having someone push and insult me is the best way to bring the best out of me. Worst still, I would leave the experience knowing that everything I did was due to the fact that I was being shouted at and so wouldn’t feel like I could implement the same training and discipline once I got back home.
Health and fitness should be a long game – not a short term goal and this is something I absolutely love about The Body Camp – the thing you get and leave with aren’t just for you gain quick results for the week or two that you’re there for. The ultimate goal here is for you to get a SUSTAINABLE positive change to your health.
Oh and we also did yoga every evening (amazing) and had a dance class (so. much. fun!).
In addition to the physical side of things, there’s also a lot of opportunity for you to attend (very informal) classes intended to help you make long-term healthy changes to your lifestyle. Some of those classes are as practical as learning more about healthy foods to have and cooking recipes and some are a bit more therapy based – for instance, thinking about triggers that make you make unhealthy choices (one of my biggest was taking far too much pride in showing my friends how much food I could eat).
The important thing about all of these classes of course is that it starts to get you to go beyond the obvious stuff (e.g. exercise and diet) and start to think much more of ways you actively make better and healthier life choices. This is a very key part to the long-term success of the goals you arrived at The Body Camp with.
The best bunch of people ever! Seriously, you spend every single waking moment with them and everyone here is amazing. The thing is, this is a project of passion for the guy here and you can tell. They’ve worked in the industry for years and know what they’re talking about.
Then there’s the connection they all have – some of them are brother and sister, others have been best friends for ages and everyone at The Body Camp has a genuine (and rather old) connection with each other. Sounds corny but this is probably what made it so easy for us participants to gel so quickly! When you walk into an atmosphere where the people are so comfortable with each other (and in their own skin) that you can’t help but be the same too. (I kid you not, there were actual tears when we left as it was just so sad to say goodbye to everyone – funny how quickly some people can worm their way into your hearts, eh?)
Also, we may have been lucky but the other participants at The Body Camp were just the absolute best. In some ways, it reminded me of being in school again except without the egos, acne or insecurities. Everyone was genuine with each other, helpful and the dynamic was just absolutely fantastic. (You can probably tell if you have a look through some of our tweets from when we were there). Again, you get to know people so much quicker when you spend a week intensely with them and boy did we get to know each other. We all had such a laugh and are already planning our great reunion in the upcoming months – can, not, wait!
The Relaxation Sessions
Everything isn’t all about getting physically fit here. There’s also downtime for you to get a massage (they get a masseuse to come see you at the villa), a pedicurist/manicurist (your choice) and there’s even an outdoor cinema night (which is so amazing – seriously, I would love to do that every week). You also have meditation sessions (I’m not that great at meditations yet – I fell asleep in one, only to be prompted woken up by the sound of myself snoring) and group games (which again, is an amazing way to spend time with people you’ve grown very fond of very quickly).
The whole experience here is very holistic (i.e. focused on all parts of you rather that on just one part in isolation e.g. muscles) and I think the relaxation sessions are probably the perfect example of this!
This Little Guy
Finally, there’s this cutie pie! His name is Rebel and he can be counted on to come lick your face when take a nap during meditation (if your snoring doesn’t wake you up) or to provide you with a good laugh with his mad antics. He’s only a few inches tall but he’s a bundle of energy and personality. I honestly kept plotting the many ways I could smuggle him back to London with me – he’s that adorable.
And there you have it – our experience from The Body Camp in Ibiza. Over the coming weeks, I hope to share more practical lessons and personal improvements with you from our time here. We’ve been back home for a few days now and I feel like a brand new person. Might be the weight loss in some part but for the most, it’s the realisation that I can do things I never thought I could before (like a 12k uphill hike), going running in the mornings and making active choices to stop eating so much nonsense I neither need nor really want! It feels great and I honestly can’t stop talking about it. 🙂