New Year, New Healthier You

An early morning woodland workout

An early morning woodland workout - Credit: Archant

The start of a new year often sees us kick-start our fitness routine and promises the start of a ‘new you’. GEMMA CLAPP heads to Revitalise Fitness Retreat to see how their weekends can help you achieve it

Brooke puts the BeAtBoUnCe class through their paces

Brooke puts the BeAtBoUnCe class through their paces - Credit: Archant

Driving to Revitalise Fitness Retreat, which lies on the Devon/Cornwall border just 5 miles from Widemouth beach, there is only one thought crossing my mind: what on earth have I let myself into? While I enjoy the occasional pilates or Zumba class, I’m not a religious gym-goer, meaning I’m hardly at my fittest. How would I cope with a whole weekend jam-packed with exercise?

As soon as I arrived, however, I was put immediately at ease. Personal trainers David Youldon and Brooke Graddon, a former Team GB diver, who run the retreats were welcoming and friendly, assuring me that while it would be tough it would also be a lot of fun. By the end of the weekend, I definitely agreed, despite my aching muscles.

Two other ladies and I were there for an action-packed weekend of exercise and tasty, healthy food cooked by Revitalise Fitness Retreat’s chef, Nicky Vereker. And first up on the itinerary was BeAtBoUnCe – a trampoline-based exercise with routines created by Brooke. With an upbeat soundtrack full of chart-toppers, it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had while working out in a long time. There’s no denying that it’s tough – especially those burpees that are thrown in midway through one of the tracks – but it’s an exercise that is now a real hit with Revitalise Fitness Retreat’s regular customers.

The next morning saw us join in with Revitalise’s regular Saturday bootcamp class, which that day was a woodland workout. Nestled in the private woods just a short walk from the cottage, David and Brooke have created an amazing circuit using logs, tyres and ropes, meaning you work out using the environment around you. Whether you’re running, squatting, pulling a heavy tyre up with a rope or doing those dreaded lunges, each exercise is performed for just one minute before moving onto the next one, ensuring all your muscles are worked on.

Stay in luxury accommodation at Revitalise Fitness Retreat

Stay in luxury accommodation at Revitalise Fitness Retreat - Credit: Archant

I won’t lie, the woodland workout is tough. After we had completed the circuit the three of us that were there for the weekend were looking forward to putting our feet up – that is, until Brooke told us the unthinkable; we had to do it all again.

After a short rest back in the cottage we were off to another BeAtBoUnCe class, while the afternoon saw a Legs, Bums and Tums class that works muscles in short bursts – 20 seconds of reps followed by a 10 second rest, before a relaxing neck and shoulder massage from local masseuse, Vicky Barnes and a quick dip in the private hot tub.

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Sunday was a more relaxing day, but you can choose to do another workout if you wish. With aching muscles, we opted for a short walk across Widemouth beach before we made our journey home, not brave enough to face the tyre challenge David and Brooke had prepared. Maybe next time.