Posts Tagged: bridal fitness


22
Aug 13

A weekend spent at FitFarms

I don’t think my bridesmaid Sarah, herself a bride-to-be, will mind me saying that the pair of us are pretty unlikely candidates to ever sign up to three days of consecutive, non-stop exercise. Neither of us are exactly known for our athletic prowess – yet, a few months ago, with both our wedding dates looming on the horizon, we somewhat apprehensively signed up to an intensive FitFarms retreat.

“You’re off to fat camp!” laughed Sean, not so supportively, when I told him of our plans. He insisted I didn’t need to go – but then it’s not him who has to fit into a wedding dress this time in two months! Since my juice detox I’ve been doing twice-weekly bootcamp classes (which I love, actually – the first time in my life I’ve ever actually enjoyed exercise) but it was time to kick things up a notch.

We were welcomed at the FitFarms site in Derbyshire. They have two others in the UK - one in Somerset and one in Dorset

We were welcomed at the FitFarms site in Derbyshire. They have two others in the UK – one in Somerset and one in Dorset

I think Sarah and I were as surprised as anyone else when the date of our expedition finally came round and we found ourselves on a train whizzing up to the Peak District, munching on a last supper of jaffa cakes and mini cheddars with our backpacks full to the brim with newly-purchased and never-before-worn sports gear. (Fyi, prior to this I hadn’t worn a backpack since I went traveling round South East Asia in 2007.)

We were pretty nervous. And when we arrived at the station in Derby (after a quick trip to Costa for a latte and a banana loaf, ahem) we joined a group of equally as apprehensive looking ladies – we’d opted for a girls only retreat – waiting for a transfer to the FitFarms site.

Our bus journey did nothing to ease our worries. There were two people who had done the course before, who terrified us with promises that the weekend would be “hardcore” and that there was barely any food. Yikes.

They weren’t wrong, either. Upon arrival we were assigned our houses (the accommodation at the Derbyshire site is absolutely lovely, with big, comfy en suite bedrooms, lovely living areas and clean well-equipped kitchens. With empty fridges, obviously…) and then, after an emotional getting-to-know-you session with instructors Andy, Ian and Zu, and a light aerobics workout, our dinner was served. “Is this the starter…?” Sarah asked, incredulous, as we were handed a plate with what appeared to be three leaves on it. It wasn’t. (It was delicious though, Lynny in the kitchen serves up the most incredible food. There just isn’t much of it.)

The view from our house. Everyone at FitFarms was assigned one of these little holiday cottages

The view from our house. Everyone at FitFarms was assigned one of these little holiday cottages

As we retired back to our houses for bed (we’d decided to get an early night – after all, we had a pretty busy day to follow) there was a hen do setting up camp in a neighbouring cottage – pinning up bunting and laughing together as they sipped glasses of wine outside in the warm evening sun. I think we know who was in for the better weekend…

Day one

We were a little indignant about our 6am wake up call on the first morning. Particularly because we were only up that early to go and get weighed. After having our fat pinched, our lung capacity measured and our weight taken, it was time for our first work out of many – which was followed by a delicious (but small) breakfast of homemade muesli with chopped up dates, apricots and nuts, and almond milk. To my surprise we were allowed a cup of black coffee, too. Probably to help us deal with the shock of seeing the schedule of the day’s vast amount of exercise pinned on the board:

Not bad for a day's work...

Not bad for a day’s work…

Gulp. It was a pretty punishing itinerary. By the time we were on our way to the seventh class of the day, the neighbouring hen do’s bulter in the buff had arrived and there were whoops and cheers coming from their cottage as we all grappled with a tough resistance training workout before bed.

We were more than ready for sleep that night – but what had struck me most throughout the day was that I hadn’t been hungry even once. The portions I was eating were at least one quarter of the size of what I’d eat at home, and we’d done more exercise in a day than I would usually do in the space of at least three months. Interesting.
Day two

Day two

We woke up full of energy and raring to go, even though we had a 6.45am aerobics class. I wasn’t as achy as I’d thought I would be and anyway, the entire group of us – there were 27 people, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Cyprus, Belgium and Bahrain to take part – were so good at motivating each other that even if you did feel the odd twinge, you just worked through it.

The day’s activities included a gorgeous three mile hike, a spot of aquaerobics (which I loved!) at the pool in nearby Bakewell, and an educational talk on exercise led by instructor Andy, which was brilliant.

We hiked through this forest. Pretty, non?

We hiked through this forest. Pretty, non?

But tiring. And thankfully, that night it was time for our sports massage. Just the thought of it had kept me going all day. Everyone at FitFarms gets at least one during their stay, and it’s done by the masseuse whose full time job is working for Stoke Football Club – so it’s pretty darned brilliant. Unsurprisingly I slept like a baby that night, too.

Day three

I couldn’t believe it was already our last morning – and time for our weigh in. I must admit despite working SO hard – by now I was absolutely knackered – I wasn’t expecting any results after two days. Perhaps a pound or two loss just because the portion sizes we were eating were so small.

So I was incredulous when I was told I’d lost 3.8 % body fat, an inch off my waist, half an inch off my hips and 1.2lbs. In two days! Sarah had done even better, shaving an incredible 3 inches off her waist. Wow. We were suddenly wishing we were staying for the whole week. Imagine the results at the end of that…

YUM. This was a very tasty frittata dinner that resident chef Lynny served up one night

YUM. This was a very tasty frittata dinner that resident chef Lynny served up one night

We were also pretty pleased we weren’t going home before the nutrition workshop. I was really eager to learn more about what we should be putting in our bodies after realizing how little food (well – how little of the right sort of food) we need to be able to do so much physical exercise. As predicted, it was brilliant. (And not just because we got to spend a rare hour sitting down.) Even now I’m home I keep referring to my notes and I’ve made small changes, like swapping my usual skimmed milk to full fat milk and making sure I eat protein with each meal.

We were able to complete just over half the day’s programme before us weekenders had to leave. The rest of the team had another four days ahead of them...

We were able to complete just over half the day’s programme before us weekenders had to leave. The rest of the team had another four days ahead of them…

I am so, so happy we decided to go to FitFarms. It was fab, and not only because of the results. Let’s face it, when else would I ever do a kettle bell class, or experiment with martial arts? It let us try out a whole array of different exercises and I now know I prefer hula hooping to boxing, interval training to zumba and yoga to tai chi. (I still hate running though. Hate it with a passion.) And each class has different versions of the exercises so every single person is pushing themselves to the best of their ability. It isn’t cheap – a three-night course in a shared room will cost £599, and a week-long course in a single room is £1599 – but you get what you pay for, and this is one hell of a life-changing experience.

Also – I know we’d worked hard, but the remote location, limited phone reception and gorgeous countryside surrounding us really did make me feel refreshed and like I’d been on holiday. (The site may be in the middle of nowhere, but the staff are brilliant at making sure you’re not running out of essentials. I’d had a bit of a contact-lens related emergency and neither of us had thought to bring a razor, but someone headed out to the shops for us and it was sorted).

On our last day we squeezed in a 13 mile (uphill) bike ride. It was definitely my toughest point of the whole retreat. But it was a nice bike path...!

On our last day we squeezed in a 13 mile (uphill) bike ride. It was definitely my toughest point of the whole retreat. But it was a nice bike path…!

As we headed home, wearily trudging towards the transfer minibus with our now-extremely muddy and well-worn equipment, the girls on the hen do were looking hungover and fragile as they piled phallic-shaped inflatables into their cars ready for departure. I was no longer sure who’d had a better time, us or them – I was feeling pretty amazing (though admittedly, I looked shocking. My hair has never been frizzier nor my face a more makeup free zone…) But we were certainly sad to be leaving.

I’d go again in a heartbeat.

Here we are celebrating after we'd just bought Sarah's wedding dress last week! Ok, so we haven't managed to ditch the fizz... but Bootcamp has definitely left us healthier, slimmer, and with a reformed, positive attitude towards exercise

Here we are celebrating after we’d just bought Sarah’s wedding dress last week! Ok, so we haven’t managed to ditch the fizz… but Bootcamp has definitely left us healthier, slimmer, and with a reformed, positive attitude towards exercise

If any of you brides-to-be out there fancy trying out FitFarms too – or if any of you who might just want to lose a few pounds, kickstart a health and fitness regime or take a few days away to look after yourself and find a new lease of life, check out FitFarms online at FitFarms.co.uk


2
Jul 13

Trying out a bride-to-be juice cleanse…

A couple of weeks ago we hit the ‘four months to go until the wedding’ mark – and it made me start to panic. Wasn’t I supposed to have started a new diet and fitness regime a while back, now? When we got engaged I was full of good intentions and felt sure I’d be all toned and in top shape by summer. But I haven’t done anything at all yet – and since Sean gave me this ring, it’s been an (admittedly very sparkly, very lovely) excuse to have cocktails, dinners out, and probably far too many cosy nights in with takeaways. I also blame the terrible ‘summer’ we’ve had so far. The cold weather hardly inspires you to eat salads, does it? But with the countdown ’til the big day ticking away, it’s finally, definitely time to get myself in gear.

A well-stocked fridge! Purifyne juices are all organic and come in loads of different flavours

A well-stocked fridge! Purifyne juices are all organic and come in loads of different flavours

I thought I’d kick start my new regime by signing up to do a juice cleanse. I’ve always wanted to do one anyway – so when I found out that Purifyne offer a bride-to-be package I was sold. And a little apprehensive… could I really go three days without food?

Well – turns out that yes, I can! And without even feeling very hungry. The programme is really easy to do, too. Purifyne deliver your juices in a package the morning of day one of the cleanse – and it includes absolutely everything you need to completely detox your system.

Last Saturday morning I was sent 12 juices – four to drink per day – colosan powder (which releases oxygen in the digestive tract for cleansing and also helps prevent some detox side-effects), beauty capsules (for healthy skin, hair and nails), aloe vera juice, acai berry juice (one shot of each to be taken every lunchtime) a green superfoods powder (brimming with nutrients), Epsom sea salts (for in the bath) and a purifying facial mask.  Oh, and a sisal brush to dry brush and exfoliate the body – always in the direction of the heart to aid the flow of lymphatic fluids. Amazing.

You have to do face masks too - the bride-to-be cleanse is all about making your skin, hair and nails amazing as well as giving your digestive system a break

You have to do face masks too – the bride-to-be cleanse is all about making your skin, hair and nails amazing as well as giving your digestive system a break and aiding weight loss

The juices are all made from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables with no added preservatives whatsoever. They’re packed full of nutrients and easy to digest. Basically, the point of a juice cleanse is to get rid of everything from your digestive system and give it a complete break, which is supposed to result in a whole host of benefits including weight loss, clearer skin and eyes, improved circulation, improved mental clarity and concentration. It’s all listed right here…

They even sent me a laminate with step-by-step directions of what to do each day – and I was allowed to sip on herbal teas, hot water with lemon, and mineral water throughout the day. They recommend you buy coconut water too, but I really don’t like it so went without. Oh, and in case your resolve is weakening, they send you daily cleanse tips via email.

These are all the powders and capsules I was sent to supplement my cleanse - Green Superfoods (one teaspoon to be taken with water every morning), Colosan Powder (one tablespoon to be taken with 1/4 of your morning juice), Beauty Oil capsules and Epsom Sea Salt for in the bath

These are all the powders and capsules I was sent to supplement my cleanse – Green Superfoods (one teaspoon to be taken with water every morning), Colosan Powder (one tablespoon to be taken with 1/4 of your morning juice), Beauty Oil capsules and Epsom Sea Salt for in the bath

I won’t lie – on day one I was absolutely miserable. It does say in the pack to alert those around you that you’re doing a cleanse in case you become irritable, and even though poor Sean made me promise I would try my best to be nice all weekend, I failed miserably. By lunchtime I was in a foul mood, I had no energy and a headache was definitely on its way. I so, so nearly gave up. Especially when at lunch time, Sean proceeded to cook himself a full on fry up with a fresh-from-the-oven baguette. So unfair!

I genuinely thought I was going to quit. But somehow, I persevered. And when I woke up on day two and hopped on the scales I found I’d already lost 2lbs. I didn’t feel hungry and I was full of energy – more than usual, actually.  And at lunchtime I was thrilled to discover my tastiest juice option to date – carrot, pineapple, ginger and cinnamon. Yum. It was definitely way easier than the previous day and my headache was completely gone. I was so happy I hadn’t given up at the first hurdle.

Step-by-step instructions are provided in the pack so you know what to do morning, noon and night

Step-by-step instructions are provided in the pack so you know what to do morning, noon and night

By the morning of day three I was well and truly into the swing of things, and it was plain sailing from there. In fact, I think I could easily have carried on and done another few days. I registered a total weight loss of 3lbs and felt lighter and more energized than I have in ages and I’ll definitely be doing one of these cleanses again in the future. So! My summer health plan is off to a flying start, and if you fancy trying out a juice cleanse too I’d definitely recommend you take a look at Purifyne’s website. Next stop – some exercise…

Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer