FitFarms Spain Review On The Retreat

downloadFitFarms Spain in Andalucia the South of Spain is proving to be FitFarms’ most popular course. High up in the olive hills with the nearest civilization being the magnificent hill top white washed Spanish village of Iznajar. The province is Cordoba but FitFarms Spain is right on the borders between Cordoba and Granada. Iznajar commands a position 359 meters above sea level and looks down onto the regions largest man made lake which circles over 20 kilometers. Do not worry though we don’t attempt this circular walk on the FitFarms Spain holiday retreat. However on one of the days we drive down to a spectacular viaduct and we walk along a track next to the lake which has breathtaking views. On the other side of the lake to the viaduct is a huge beach where we conduct our beach workouts and for some guests water sports which is not for everyone but in typical FitFarms style we will always find an exercise alternative. Granada the ancient medieval city dating back to Palaeolitrhic times (1000 B.C)  is the FitFarms Spain highlight. It’s approximately an hour from the villa but with a healthy packed lunch it’s worth the distance. Before we go to Granada though there is the pretty waterfall gorge walk in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Nearly all guests say it’s one of the best walks they have been on. It’s challenging but there’s different routes so your fitness can be at any level and it’s really worth the puff because the view points are quite amazing. Once the walk has completed we all tuck into the healthy packed lunch next to a stream down in the village of Monchel before we make are journey into Granada. Once in Granada we park up and everyone gets two hours of sightseeing before the trip back to the FitFarms Spain Villa.

Scotland Weight Loss Boot Camp

scotlandThe Scotland FitFarms weight loss boot camp has proven to be extremely popular due to the fantastic Victorian property and tailor made exercise programme.

Scotland have quite a few non military boot camps and military boot camps dotted around the country but there is not a holistic non boot camp for Scottish people to choose. We have many Scottish customers at our Derbyshire fitness and weight loss camp which is based in Matlock so it just seemed like a natural progression to open our FitFarms residential programmes in Scotland.

FitFarms Scotland is only 40 miles from the historic city of Edinburgh and one hour and forty five minutes from Glasgow. We operate a service where we collect guests from Edinburgh train station on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and return at the end of the course.

The FitFarms Scotland retreat programme is very different than the boot camp style companies that are currently running in Scotland. The FitFarms approach is holistic covering nutriton, exercise and life coaching. Customers can join us from anything between 2 and 7 nights and when the residential programme has been completed we provide a post course programme to make sure customers stay on track after the weight loss retreat has completed.

Some of the exercises you can expect to participate in whilst at the retreat are hiking, boxercise, yoga, pilates, circuit training and HIIT to name but a few. One of the most exciting attractions being down by the Scottish and English borders is the magnificent countryside so expect some stunning, challenging but always manageable hikes.

When the weather isn’t so great we have an extremely quirky indoor fitness area which is a situated in a ball room with a wooden sprung floor.

The new dates will be advertised on the FitFarms website soon where you can book online or just call up and book directly over the phone.

FitFarms Spain Weight loss and Fitness Boot camp

Boxing at FitFarmsFitFarms Spain

Today we are flying out to FitFarms Spain in Andalucia. We managed to get a PM flight so we all met at London Luton airport at 2.30pm in time to board the 4.30m flight to Malaga.
FitFarms Spain is extremely popular with returning customers and on this weight loss and fitness camp we have 4 returning guests looking to improve their fitness levels and tone up in the Spanish sunshine.
There always seems to be a bit more of a holiday atmosphere on the Spanish FitFarms courses which is mainly due to the glorious weather and having a pool to relax around and have a dip in the fitness retreats downtime.
The weather is peaking at 26 degrees on this course and we have planned to do Jens (sports therapist and exercise coach) aqua aerobics session to some hearty 80’s and 90’s tunes which has always been a favourite with past attenddes on the weight loss retreats. Another highlight of the week is the walk in the Nevada mountain range which is close to the medieval town of Granada.
The walk is a Spanish national walk and thousands of walkers come to this place every year. It starts in a very pretty village called Monchel where we park up and start undulating climb to the mountain range. Once on the mountain range we walk past waterfalls and over wooden bridges. The mountainous scenery is spectacular and it gives our customers chance to take some photos and even a few selfies with the waterfalls as a backdrop.
When everyone is back from the walk we have a packed lunch and then we take some timeout to view the medieval city of Granada.


London Boot Camp Simple Circuit

stop giving upstop giving up1When I was down on the FitFarms London Boot Camp I devised a simple but effective lower and upper body circuit for the FitFarms Guests.

Here at FitFarms we have many guests who join us and the London holistic weight loss and fitness boot camp which is popular due to being close to the capital. FitFarms provides a free service where we collect customers from the local train station. However this is soon to be changed to a more central collection point being London’s Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.

London Boot Camp Circuit

A simple circuit involving lower body, upper body and core.

Perform 20 of each exercise in the first circuit, then 18 in the next dropping by 2 each circuit, allow a short rest between circuits if needed.

1.Squats – Muscle areas are quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, lower back and glutes.

2.Tricep dips using a chair great for building up triceps and shoulders

3.Dead bugs the main goal of the dead bug is to strengthen the core while minimizing the pressure on the lower back

4.Treadmills on the floor for a great all round lower body workout

5. Glute bridge concentrates on the glutes but also targets the hamstrings and abs

6.Round the world Lunges concentrating on the thighs and strengthening the hips

7.Press ups increasing functional upper body strength

8.Bird dog strengthening the core muscles and stabilizes the spine especially the lumbar area

9.Jacks great for raising the heart rate

Weight loss and fitness occupational activity

received_2059320577730609A few weeks ago I was given a literature review about musculoskeletal injuries in three specific construction trades (my partner works in the industry & thought I would find it interesting -he knows me well!) I found it enlightening & can’t say I was surprised at anything in it considering the manual activities, work load & repetition involved.

Following that one I found another article about how manual jobs don’t produce the same health benefits as leisure time activity. It notes that occupational activity is of no cardiorespiratory benefit as it does not reach the high intensity or the duration is too long. Heart rate is also suggested to increase during as well following long duration of occupational activity over a 24 hour period, contrary to with leisure activity; also as occupational activity often involves static working postures or heavy lifting the muscle contraction involved increases blood pressure which it also suggests may remain increased subsequently after.

Occupational activity is suggested to cause fatigue & exhaustion with potential to elevate risk of cardiovascular disease due to poor recovery times such as from long weekly hours worked; & lack of control over occupational tasks such as schedule, speed & environment are also put forward as contributory to detrimental effects.

Lastly it suggests that inflammation increases & remains elevated with occupational activity which over long periods of time & combined with inadequate recovery is noted as responsible for prolonged inflammation. It sounds quite generic as will vary by occupation (there’s definitely high intensity in mine -benefit, but equally there’s fatigue -risk) but I think nicely hi lights the importance of including leisure activity even if your occupation involves physical demands.

Holistic Weight Loss Boot Camp Recipes












The first recipe is Jen’s healthy chicken soup which she kindly shared with FitFarms whilst on the Summer holistic boot camp in London

To serve 4 people


2 teaspoons coconut oil

4 pints of water

8 carrots

3 leeks

3 large onions

1 stick of celery

3 chicken breasts cut into strips.

1 inch of ginger

1 whole chili without the seeds or if you like really hot food include the seeds

2 tablespoons of double cream or half a tin of coconut milk. If you would like it really rich and creamy you can add both.

Small shake of rock salt



Chop the celery, carrots and leeks into cubes and put into a pan of boiling water (4 pints). Cook for 30 minutes until all the ingredients are soft.

Put the coconut oil, onions, ginger and chili into a saucepan and fry for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Then add to the other ingredients in the pan.

Mix in the coconut milk or the cream or both for a fuller flavour.

Using a hand blender blend together.

Add the chicken strips and carry on cooking for 20 minutes at a medium heat. Cut one strip in half before serving to make sure the chicken is cooked through. It should be very hot and white in the centre.

Poor into a bowl and add salt and coriander.


Chocolate Truffles

To serve 20 mini truffles


100 ml coconut oil

1 avocado

1 banana

2 teaspoons of Chia Seeds

50 grams of dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa)



Put the coconut oil into a pan and melt.

Place a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water and melt and then add to the coconut oil.

Chop the avocado and banana and add to the pan with the chia seeds.

Blend all the ingredients together and pour into an ice cube tray.

Place in a freezer for 2 hrs. Take out and pop the truffles by pushing on the bottom of the ice cube tray.




Weight Loss and Fitness Boot Camp Balti










Having had a discussion on the last weight loss and fitness boot camp in Norfolk about Indian takeaways, I ventured that I was given a new slow cooker for Christmas & had been making vegetable balti that comes out that tasty takeaways are no longer even thought about! Ok so that may be a slight exaggeration but I did promise to pass the recipe on & as I seem to have already deviated off my usual rails this week I’m staying on that train & throwing a food recipe on the tracks!


Vegetable Balti


1 Onion

2 Garlic cloves (chopped)

3 tbsp balti paste

2 tomato puree

1 tin tomatoes

300ml vegetable stock

Butternut squash

Cauliflower florets



Fine beans


If you would like some more wonderful cooking recipes Stephen suggests Jamie Oliver Healthy Recipes


I have put no quantities for the veg as I tend to see what I have & fill the pot from there, I don’t like wasting food so similarly I’ve added other veg if it needs using (I currently have one on the go with broccoli in it). If you’ve the time & inclination pan fry the onion & garlic first, then add the puree, paste & tomatoes & add to the slow cooker, though it works fine if you just throw everything in! Last note: ideally make it up the day before you want it & switch it on to low the next day for about 6 hours (or about 4 hours on high). Bon appetite!  Oh and a quick announcement – If you live in the London area and looking for the London FitFarms holistic weight loss boot camp we will soon be collecting from London Heathrow and taking you straight to the fabulous Norfolk Retreat which is close to Holkham beach.

Fitness, weight loss and lifestyle workshop

received_2059320577730609The last FitFarms fitness and weight loss camp in the UK was an interesting one for me as I got to have a stab at delivering the fitness workshop which isnt usually my domain.

We began by discussing what fitness is & what makes someone fit and it struck me that there seems to be a perception of what it means to be fit or even an image of it that is over simplistic & doesnt incorporate fitness in a holistic sense.

We broke down physical aspects of fitness into cardiovascular, endurance, strength, mobility, flexibility & proprioception, & discussed how each aspect is incorporated into exercise & it took me back a little to when studying rehabilitation & the goals of a rehab programme -maintaining/improving cardiovascular function, strength, core stability, gait, range of movement & proprioception to ultimately get someone back to full fitness & hopefully prevent future injury. All of these aspects are important & to me add up to what makes a person fit (as I read a while ago the only difference between rehab & training is the starting point).

I often mention about compensatory movements, how if one area of the body is restricted in movement it will cause another area to take over to try & fulfill a movement – the body gets there but not in the best or most efficient way which may then cause problems, but if we can work on those deficits to begin with we put ourselves in a much healthier position; similarly we may be fit in the cardiovascular sense but if we have poor proprioception (balance/co ordination for simplicity!) our control over movements is going to be poor & again less efficient & potentially injurious.

Ultimately fitness sits on a scale & the demands of a task/exercise/sport will dictate the level of fitness needed, but regardless of the task/exercise/sport a degree of all those aspects discussed will be needed, & in the absence of a professional assessing those fitness points its down to the individual to recognise where their deficits lie -the things youre not good at & then tend not to enjoy & subsequently dont do, annoyingly are often the things you should be doing!

FitFarms London Boot Camp New Year


Myths ExerciseNew Year New You!
I remember recently being in the exercise area at the Holistic FitFarms London Boot Camp and speaking to a customer about New Year resolutions, aims and their goals. The customer talked about her 2019 aims and we both asked ourselves the question so we could focus and get to the end goal.


The question we both asked was – But how?


New healthy diet? Maybe try one you haven’t before? Or one that worked in the past? Weight Loss Boot Camp Exercise regime, start easy? Or jump into the deep end and follow a Fitness Boot Camp exercise regime? A walk around the block? Or 5 days a week of hiit (or some other sort “FAT BURNING” awesomeness.)


How confident are you? How serious? Is this a new life a complete overhaul or have you always kept in shape but would like to knuckle down and get back to form after Xmas? What will make this plan a success and when it is what will you do after? Is it really a lifestyle change if you plan to stop after achieving weight loss, fitness and lifestyle goals? Is it really a lifestyle if the changes your committing to are only with a view to achieving said goals? Where do you go after? maintenance? What’s that look like? Doing the same thing but with less focus, doing something different but more maintainable? Stopping all together? What makes this time successful where all the others failed? Details! Not finding a diet that’s seems to have a big successful following not just trying to watch what you eat and get a little exercise not even throwing yourself into a £150 a month online plan (closing your eyes holding your breath and hoping for the best!!) it’s the details.. it’s making the right choice for you based on what you need what you want what you can manage and what you believe amongst others. That what we focus on during our courses the details.. that way you will have the right mix of a plan at your fingertips with the power to adapt and change it if and when necessary without the fear of failure or the doubt of low self confidence because you will understand the reasoning and idea behind the plan and you will be able to move in the right direction without necessarily sticking to one path


weight loss, fitness and lifestyle programme


The third fitness and weight loss program I wrote at the FitFarms London Fitness Camp for one of our clients after my request on Facebook as as you can see based on improving stamina for walking. A slight spanner in the works in terms of exercise program planning was that to train for improving stamina with only around 10 minutes to play with is not a typical request.  However my aim with these weight loss and fitness plans was not to prove I could write an effective plan for the goal but to write one for the client. 10 minutes is what would work for them and consistency trumps perfection every time. So below i have given 4 different 10 minute weight loss and fitness workouts spread ideally evenly throughout the week, I have picked simple exercises again because it is easier for the client to adapt an exercise they understand than one they need constant coaching on and I feel I have left plenty of room for progression which will be the key to the success of the weight losss and fitness program for the client. Whether you are interested in improving your stamina or not give this session a go and let us know how you feel about it..

Timeline: 1 year

Goals: improve stamina start cycling to and from work 7 miles each way

Likes: long walks
Forward focus:

A progressive plan for improving overall stamina and fitness for the long walks planned next year

Provide more healthy option ideas around diet..

Concentrate on core area

Wants to train for around 10 minutes in the morning as it is the most likely time available

Has resistance bands but no other equipment and short on space.
Target areas: legs and core

Frequency: 4 times a week

Time: 10-15 minutes
Day 1

Legs focussed

Static squat

Forward and backward lunges

Rock climbers

Ascending reps.. start 5 reps/pulses each increase it by one rep each time and try to continually cycle without breaks in between these exercises should fatigue your legs quite quickly so improving how long you can go without stopping would suggest your muscular endurance is improving

Day 2

Core focussed


Side plank

Log lift

Side plank

10 seconds per position then rest 20 seconds, repeat (once you can’t comfortably manage the exercises I.e. Back ache take a longer rest but try to build up the time per position as well as how many circuits during the 10-15 minute routine

Day 3

Legs focussed


Squat jumps


2 minutes each as Many reps as possible 1 minute rest between exercises as this improves think about increasing the time limit and decreasing the rest period.. it’s overall improvement is just as important as improvement in the individual challenges..

Day 4

Core focussed

Renegade (press up position)

Butt ups into lateral mountain climber ( bringing the knee up to the elbow on the same side of the body)

Walk outs/roll outs (fitball or rolling device required)

Supermans (weighted or resistance band progression is available but a ruck sack with additional weight would work better)

Side to side touches

Aim for 2 minutes per exercise.. my reason for picking these exercises is that holding the press up or renegade position by itself is a challenge to incorporate movements like these will increase the effort whilst still adding a level of core control. I don’t expect you’ll manage 2 minutes of each exercise certainly not straight away so take note of time spent on each exercise and try to improve as time goes by to see how your core strength and stamina improve.
On top of this building up time on your bike at weekends will add to both your overall fitness and as a way of seeing your strength and stamina improve.