I just came back from the most fun and adventure-filled 10 days of my life.
You know that quote that goes “do something that scares you every day”, well I totally lived by it during this retreat.
It was the fourth retreat I was leading for Fit&Fly Girl, an American company which specialises in women-only luxury retreats.
Villa Don Vito was absolutely incredible! The 8 uniquely decorated bedrooms overlook a round centre which acts as communal area. The kitchen and the dining area are beautifully decorated as well as the outdoor patio. The lush tropical garden surrounding the swimming pool and its waterfall; were a wonderful backdrop for the daily fitness classes and worked wonder for fun circuits stations.
We were super spoiled by maid service every day and we had a private chef, Fabienne, who was cooking for us delicious and balanced meals accommodating any dietary requirements (and trust me there were many!). Using local and organic produce we could have a taste of the typical cuisine, which mainly consists of rice and beans, guacamole, fried plantain, ceviche and lots of fresh fruits (papaia, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple in particular). Ella was the host of the retreat and she did a great job at satisfying all the clients request as well as being great at handling any sort of problem arising.
All curated by me, behind every class there was a purpose and something to work towards. I have to say I’ve never experienced before a group so committed to make every single workout and focused in each and every class. Typically the day would start with high intensity training: body weight HIIT, Partner Workouts, Functional Circuits (using the aid of TRX and thera-bands) and my signature TotalBody class (cardio + resistance training). In the evening we would focus on strength and conditioning with Sculpt & Stretch and Ass & Abs classes as well as yoga flows. To spice things up and keep it fun, we were also using fruit as weights in some of the workouts. Each class would typically start with a mobility session.
I’ve offered to whoever wanted a one to one comprehensive movement assessment to screen for postural imbalances, range of motion and any areas of weakness. The aim of this session was to inspire clients to tailor their workouts to benefit their bodies rather than working against it when they’d go back home.
THE ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS
This retreat would offer a number of activities included in the schedule to push the clients (including myself) out of their comfort zone.
- Surfing – one of the most popular activities in Costa Rica and attracting thousands of tourists to these shores every year. The girls and I took a surfing lesson with a local instructor at Playa Tamarindo on day one. I have to say it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Despite my strong core, balancing on the board is really challenging and like in most things in life, practice makes it perfect…shame that to practice you might end up drinking all the water of the ocean! After falling 1,000,000 times I can’t describe the feeling of getting to shore on the crest of a wave – that at times felt huge, but as pictures shows, it wasn’t even THAT impressive. The beach was at walking distance so whoever wanted to do additional surfing class or just practice on their own in their spare time.
- Zip Lining – another activity that put me personally out of my comfort zone being afraid of height, zip-lining across the rain forest is a pretty popular activity in Costa Rica. I can’t deny I had a mini break down before my first one, but by the time we got to the 10th one I was actually able to enjoy it and appreciate the surroundings.
- Rappelling & Rock Climbing – My first experience of outdoor climbing, I could finally put to good use all those climbing sessions at The Castle Climbing Centre in London.
- Horse Riding – Another of those activities that you don’t want to miss especially on a beach at sunset…and sunsets are extremely beautiful in Costa Rica. This was nothing too scary and is suitable to every non-experienced riders like me. It’s basically a walk on a horse, which gives you the opportunity to explore the land and intake its beauty.
- Water Rafting – this for me was of the MOST scary experiences I did in my whole life. We were paired with an experienced guide in each kayak. Some of the biggest falls of the river were two meters high. Although I was buzzing with adrenaline at the end, I am not sure I’ll do it again. I have never been a brave-heart at fun parks but I am definitely happy to have tried it and count it as one my life experiences.
- Mud Bath – After a day filled with adventures you definitely want to relax with another of the most folkloristic rituals in Costa Rica. The experience of mud bathing includes painting yourself or someone else with volcanic mud and letting it dry on the body. We then rinsed the dried volcanic mud from our bodies by dipping in a natural hot spring. On the side of being fun, the benefits of bathing in volcanic mud are many and varied. They include beauty benefits such as conditioning of the hair, exfoliation and softening of the skin, an improvement in circulation, and the alleviation of some skin conditions. It’s also very relaxing, resulting in a great feeling of calm.
- Walking La Senda Labirinth – La Senda is the largest labyrinth in the world, it measures more than 2½ acres and the path is almost 2 miles (3 km) long, and it’s all made of cactuses. While in a maze you get lost and have to find your way out, a labyrinth has only one path which symbolises our life’s journey and takes us inward guiding us to find out who we really are. An ancient meditation tool, labyrinths were walked to calm the mind, inspire and connect with the individual self.
Walking through La Senda really helped me to find this connection and somehow brought up many emotions, teaching me and also most guests, that sometimes the hardest challenges don’t actually involve physical strengths.
Such a wonderful week with inspiring and driven women. If you are looking into join one of the Fit & Fly Girl retreats choose this one to challenge yourself and put your fears to a test.
Have you ever been in Costa Rica before? What was your experience of it? Comment below!