Every now and again we like to post a ‘No Kids’ review. Whether that’s a romantic anniversary celebration or a trip to a health spa, we all need some time out from the kids every now and then. Jetlag & Mayhem was lucky enough to test out The Strength Sanctuary in Kent, a residential fitness and yoga retreat for women. After reading this I’m almost certain you’ll be trying to figure out a way to get childcare sorted and escape to a wellness retreat. Now over to Georgina…
It’s been a long time since I’ve been away on my own for a bit of me-time. This year I decided to take the plunge and try out a fitness retreat.
What is The Strength Sanctuary?
It’s easy to find weight-loss bootcamps and blissful yoga breaks. However, it’s not so easy to find something that combines fitness, yoga, clean eating, and luxury accommodation. Enter, The Strength Sanctuary retreat.
Based at a luxurious holiday rental in Kent, the retreat is a four night programme run by three friends who are passionate about fitness and wellness. Lysa Whatmore is the highly well-organised one who brings it all together. Amy Lamont (www.amylamontfitness.com) is an energetic, motivational fitness instructor, who covers a whole range of disciplines. Tania Brown (www.taniabrownyoga.com) is an inspiring, and highly experienced yoga instructor.
Planning my stay
I booked my stay at The Strength Sanctuary directly with Lysa, and she was very helpful in explaining the accommodation and how the retreat would work. Before arrival I was sent a kit list, and asked to complete a PARQ (physical activity readiness questionnaire) and to give them information on any dietary requirements.
The Strength Sanctuary is based at Finchcocks in Kent. It took me about an hour and a half to drive there from my home in Hertfordshire. Lysa organised a taxi pickup for those arriving by train.
The retreat is based in a luxurious house with a number of different bedrooms. I had a room to myself with an ensuite bathroom, but there were also shared rooms available. It was very clean (we had a daily cleaning service, which I hadn’t expected), modern and stylish (think Laura Ashley, with some modern touches) and very spacious.
There was a large open plan area upstairs where we ate all of our meals and did some of our yoga sessions, plus a room for beauty treatments. Outside there was a heated pool, a tennis court, and miles of beautiful countryside. The weather was beautiful while we were there so we did most of our sessions outside on the tennis court and in the surrounding countryside, plus some beautiful yoga sessions in the sunshine around the pool.
We were given thoughtful treats throughout the week, such as a pillow spray, plus a fantastic goodie bag at the end of the week.
Our schedule was packed, although it was made very clear to us that sessions were not compulsory. Most of us participated in most of the sessions, but it wasn’t a problem to miss a session if you were tired, had a specific injury, or if you simply wanted to chill by the pool and read your book.
Our day consisted of:
Fitness workout – Smoothie – Yoga – Breakfast – Fitness workout – Lunch – Walk/bike ride – Core workout – Yoga – Dinner
The fitness workouts were varied, and included HIIT, Boxing, Kettlebells and Running. The schedule initially appeared daunting but we were well rested and well fed, so it was easy to settle into the natural rhythm of the day. Amy was happy and able to adapt the fitness sessions to suit a few of us with different injuries, and I really enjoyed having the chance to try new fitness classes that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried out. Tania ran sessions in Vinyasa Flow and Yin yoga. I hadn’t done yoga before, and she totally smashed my preconceptions of yoga classes.
The three organisers joined in with the sessions when they were able to, which helped us all to feel like we were part of a team. The group was made up of women of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels, and we all got to know each other quickly – without any cringeworthy icebreaker exercises.
They hired a wonderful local chef who provided us with a delicious array of healthy foods throughout the week. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity of what we were given, and will be nagging Lysa to get hold of some of the recipes. The retreat is a booze free zone, and no caffeine was provided, but you are welcome to bring your own tea or coffee if you’d rather not do without. There were some lovely home-made touches, too, including Amy’s muesli, Tania’s smoothies, and Lysa’s energy balls.
What made the trip stand out to me?
I hoped to come away from the trip feeling healthy, fitter and energised. That was certainly the case, but I hadn’t anticipated how great it would be to step out of my own comfort zone and get to know a wonderful group of new people. Once you’ve had kids it’s really hard to justify taking time out just for yourself. If you get the opportunity to take on an experience like this, I would highly recommend it.
Would I return?
Definitely, if I can arrange the time away from home. I’m almost reluctant to share the secret … but if you’d like to hear about their next retreat, then sign up to the newsletter on their website www.thestrengthsanctuary.com