London Fitness Retreat

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. On 12 April I took part in a Fitness Retreat at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge. It was quite an intense couple of days but I came away with some great tips and new, more beneficial ways of training.

It started on the Friday evening with a welcome and introduction from the teams at Commando Active and The Peak Health Club & Spa (located in the hotel). The retreat was led by Jon, a former Royal Marine Commando. From the outset it was clear that we would certainly be moving out of our comfort zones with lots of physical training. My body was still in recovery mode from the Paris Marathon so I was quite apprehensive about everything.

After the intros, we were taken to one of the fitness studios on the 10th floor of the hotel. We didn’t have much time to enjoy the stunning views before Jon started the cardio circuit. This involved a good warm-up (hugely important part of any workout) followed by lots of different sorts of exercises as well as the usual push ups and squats. We did some exercises in twos which brought great motivation to the group. It would be an ideal workout for a couple I guess. After a tough hour we changed in our rooms and  met for dinner.

The fitness studio on the 10th floor

Dinner was served in a private dining room on the 2nd floor, overlooking Cadogan Gardens. The food was delicious and at the same time healthy and nutritious, not always an easy combination to make! After dinner we ironically spoke about why diets don’t work. Again it was really insightful to listen to this and it was an open conversation, we weren’t just being told not to do diets, but encouraged to really look into the pros and cons of each diet. Personally I’ve never been on a diet and certainly won’t be considering one after learning some more about them…

After the hour or so chat we were all exhausted and so retreated to our rooms. I was luckily on the 16th floor of the hotel so had some stunning views of the City. My 6am view of it is below, it was a stunning sky!

My 6am view of London from the 16th floor
My 6am view of London from the 16th floor

There wasn’t much waiting about in the morning as we left the hotel to run Hyde Park by 8am. Before this we had a smoothie, again created by the food and beverage team at Jumeirah Carlton Tower. I never thought I would enjoy a drink with beetroot and spinach combined! It was a really beautiful morning to be out and about. Jon kept us on our toes and set different paces for the group. We were back in the hotel before 9am to enjoy breakfast followed by goal setting. Here I learnt a lot and mainly came out with:

  • You strengthen muscle, don’t build it
  • You should aim for fat loss, not weight loss

We used the ‘SEAR’ method to set realistic goals. So we talked about Strategy; Effort; Ability which will then give us Results. Goal setting is a difficult thing to define immediately and we learnt there’s a lot of trial and error before finding out what really works for you. Again, Jon and the team were really open to questions and had great advice for each us.

The healthy smoothies we had before our morning run
The healthy smoothies we had before our morning run

After the goal setting chat we headed back for some leg circuits, a core and abs session as well as learning about the fundamental exercises one should do all the time, squats being one of them. Again, lots of information given here and the facilities we used were top notch.

After a busy morning we retreated to our rooms to change for lunch which we had in The Club Room. The views of South-West London are stunning from this outlet and the food served is nice and healthy.

The Club Room at Jumeirah Carlton Tower
The Club Room at Jumeirah Carlton Tower

After our lunch we headed to the 2nd floor studio to do classes I had never done; boxing and Thai yoga. Both equally challenging but taught with expertise and passion from Jon and Rick – another former Royal Marine. For the first time I used a foam roller, which I found really helped my tight leg muscles. The following weekend I went out and bought one and have used it since.

We definitely needed a rest after all the working out so we had a nutrition workshop followed by a massage. The massage was a real pleasure after all the hard work we had put our bodies through the past few hours! After that, Jon and Rick spoke about moving forward and about keeping it realistic; don’t set goals that will take too much of your time to achieve, as there’s a good chance they’ll fall by the wayside.

Overall the weekend was of great benefit to me. If you’re interested in doing the same (which lasts for two nights, not one as I did) you can click here to book the Fitness Retreat at Jumeirah Carlton Tower.

Now… off I go work on my next goal (London to Brighton bike ride on 15 June) 🙂

Until next time…


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