Introducing FitFarms Five Star in Quantock Hills, Somerset

Quantock Hills Fitness RetreatSince we have been running FitFarms all the way back in 2006 we have always chosen some great locations which have been picked for being in beautiful countryside.

2017 is going to be an extremely exciting year as we have a selection of ‎new courses starting. These courses include FitFarms Accessible, FitFarms Budget and our very latest weight loss and fitness course FitFarms Five Star.

FitFarms Five Star is situated ‎in the Quantock Hills near Bridgwater in Somerset. The Quantock Hills is famous for being the first place to be awarded the title of an area of outstanding beauty. We are also only a few miles away from Exmoor National Park which makes for some great coutryside walks with some spectacular moor to sea views.

The property where we will be running FitFarms Five Star has been awarded five stars by the English Country Board. The rooms are all of an extremely high standard and have contemporary en suite bathrooms. The rooms also have flat screen televisions ‎mounted on the walls with comfortable throws draping over the beds.

There is also the added benefit of being able to split the property into two sections allowing the team to run workshops in one area and physical exercise sessions in the other area at the same time. Both areas have swimming pools and wood burners for those cold evenings after the busy FitFarms schedules. In the summer months the propery has long bi folding doors which can be opened up leading to the outdoor exercise area where the health team will be conducting exercises like circuit training, kettlebells, ‎yoga to name but a few.

We will be running a free service where we collect guests from Heathrow airport and Taunton and also return them at the end of the week. There will be plenty of parking spaces on site for those who would like to drive.

The first course will start in June 2017 and prices will be advertised on our website before Christmas.

Interval Training Session – Derbyshire Fitness Holiday Retreat Review October 2016

interval training session forest joggingAt the FitFarms holiday retreat in Derbyshire this week we did an interval session on one of the local forest footpaths. Here at FitFarms we are all about health and fitness education, and run a very different style of course to the usual boot camp. For this reason, this interval session was not just about doing intervals in a certain way, set by one of our trainers, but rather it was about learning how to plan an interval session by yourself when you get home.

We all warmed up by walking to the forest together. Then we talked through what intervals are and the different ways of doing them. Then we set clients off to create their own interval workouts on the forest path by themselves or in groups. Everyone could go at a pace that suited them, and came away feeling more confident about how to plan a session for themselves.

Intervals are a great way to get a workout, and here is why:

  • They are more interesting than a workout where the intensity stays the same. Switching between high and low intensity breaks up the session and makes it more interesting.
  • Intervals allow to you work harder. Because you are getting rests in between each bout of high intensity, you end up working harder for longer.
  • Intervals give you a great workout in a short space of time. If you only have a short period of time but want to get a hard workout, you can use intervals to really get your heart rate up. Even a 20 minute session can have great fitness benefits.
  • The possibilities are endless. There are so many ways to do intervals. You can do it using time (for example, one minute of jogging and one minute of walking) or using landmarks (for example jog to the next lamppost, walk to the next one) or using songs or apps on your smart phone.

We hope to see you in Derbyshire so you can join us for our next interval session!

Special blog post from one of our FitFarms Health and Fitness instructors.

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Half-Foam Rollers Stretching – Derbyshire Fitness Holiday Retreat Review October 2016

half round roller stretching exerciseThis week at the FitFarms holiday retreat in Derbyshire we got to use some new equipment in our stretch classes. We got a delivery of half-foam rollers which took the stretch and mobility classes to a whole new level.

The stretch and mobility classes focus on movements that prevent injury and improve alignment. They compliment the higher intensity classes really nicely – stretching the muscles that have been working hard in classes like boxercise, aerobics, and circuit training. Sometimes we have them first thing in the morning to loosen you up for a day of exercise, and sometimes they are a welcome break in the middle of the day, to give you a rest in between long walks and more strenuous sessions.

The stretch sessions are also designed to educate you about how to take better care of your body. Just as the body needs to eat nutritious food to be healthy, it needs certain movements to be healthy, too. Exercises (like aerobics, running, cycling, yoga, etc.) provide some of these important movements but not all of them. What you learn in the stretch classes are the movement equivalent of taking a daily multivitamin. I show you movements that you can do at home to keep your joints and your tissues in better working order.

The half-foam rollers can be used for lots of different things in the classes. They are great for calf stretching, for example. Short calf muscles may lead to a host of foot, knee and even back issues, so working on calf length is really important. The foam rollers can be used to sit on to do stretches with better posture, protecting your lower back. They can even be used to stand on for improving balance, reducing your risk of falls and injury. All that from just a little piece of foam!

Don’t worry if you don’t have one at home, all of the exercises can be replicated using a rolled up towel or some cushions (and I always send out a handout to everyone after the course, to remind you of the exercises that we did in my classes). But I’m pretty sure that once you’ve done some stretches with these rollers they will be one of the first things on your list of equipment to get for yourself once you get home!

Special blog post from one of our FitFarms Health and Fitness instructors.

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The Toe Box and a Good Fit Trainer Running Shoes

running shoes and toe boxYou might be wondering how to choose the right shoe for coming to your next fitness holiday retreat in Derbyshire, or maybe if you are just getting back into fitness, or increasing the amount of exercise you are doing you and want to get a new pair of trainers. There is a lot of choice out there, so how do you decide what shoe is best?

The reason there is so much choice is because there are a lot of different factors that go into a shoe design. The instructors at FitFarms can talk to you more about footwear on your course, and we even do a stretch and strengthening session looking just at the feet; the muscles in the foot and lower legs. Just to give you an idea of some of the things to consider, this is a blog about one particular part of the shoe; the toe-box.

The toe box is (you guessed it!) the part of the shoe where the toes go, the section that is forward of the laces. It is really important that you toes have enough room to move in the toe box. If they don’t you won’t be able to use your feet to balance as well, the muscles in between the toes will become weak and stiff, and you risk developing bunions (where the big toe starts to creep in towards the others), not to mention blisters and ingrown toenails!

So how do you decide if the toe box is right for you? There are some easy ways to tell. First, check to see if your trainer has a removable insole – most trainers do – pull it out and place it on the ground. Stand on it, as if your foot was inside the shoe, and spread your toes. If your toes are hanging off the edge of your insole then they might be too narrow for you to be able to move your toes in their full range of movement. If you can’t take the insole out, stand on a piece of paper with your toes spread out as wide as you can. Get a friend to trace around your spread out toes and foot. Place the whole shoe on top of the tracing and see if the toe box covers the foot print (bearing in mind that the inside of the shoe will be slightly narrower than the outside.

The reason it is important to do this with spread out toes (rather than just seeing if your foot fits inside the shoe) is that our toes spread for a reason! Our feet have the potential to be very dexterous. This dexterity is important for balance. Also, the foot needs to be able to move in order to keep the tissues healthy, as it is movement that draws in blood full of nutrients and oxygen. If your feet are crammed into shoes that are too narrow the tissues become starved of these vital nutrients.

So make sure you are feeding you feet right by wearing shoes with a good fit!

Special blog post from one of our FitFarms Health and Fitness instructors.

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Dorset Fitness Retreat Review October 2016

hill running exerciseAt the FitFarms fitness retreat course in Dorset this week we were lucky to get a spell of crisp, sunny October weather which was perfect for walking. We took the opportunity to walk up Bullbarrow Hill. From the cottages it is about a 5 mile walk, along some peaceful country lanes, with some beautiful views of the countryside. The clients enjoyed the walk very much despite the rather steep hill!

What is it about walking up and down hills that we tend to dread so much? It is mostly a case of not being adapted to hills. This is not the same thing as not being fit enough. A person might be super fit when it comes to playing tennis, lifting weights, or walking along the flat. But that is so often the definition of fitness – the ability to perform a specific task. Being fit at one thing doesn’t necessarily make you fit at another.

The body is very adaptable. This is a good thing, but it can also be a problem. If you play a lot of tennis, your body will adapt and get better both in terms of skill and fitness. If you sit at a desk all day every day your body will adapt to be very good at sitting at a desk. If you only ever walk along flat and level gradients your body will adapt to only be good at doing that. Why should it maintain the adaptation necessary to walk up and down steep hills if that’s not something that you do regularly?

That is why, when you then encounter a steep hill, it seems so daunting. But it’s only because your body is not used to it. You might find that your calves are tight and sore from walking up hill. You might find that your knees hurt while walking down hill. But if you avoid hills the problem only gets worse – its not until you feed your body with lots of ‘Vitamin Hill’ that your calf muscles will lengthen, allowing you to propel yourself up the hill with the powerful muscles of the glutes, and build the strength in your lateral hip muscles to take the pressure off your knees when walking down hill.

In our stretch and mobility classes we look at exercises that you can do to help your body get back the strength and ranges of movement that you need to find hills a breeze. And we do plenty of beautiful walks too, of all levels of challenge. It is all about giving your body variety, so that it maintains adaptations to everything that life throws at it – up hill, down hill and everything in between.

Special blog post from one of our FitFarms Health and Fitness instructors.

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Derbyshire Fitness Camp Review October 2016

FitFarms Fitness Camp Derbyshire CottagesSo we are well into our week at the FitFarms fitness camp in the lovely Derbyshire countryside, the weather has been beautiful thou noticeably cooler which is getting Matthew the chef all excited for all things winter. I tend to think that this time of year is better for exercise, it’s beautiful and calm all around, the temperature has dropped to a comfortable measure so when our clients are exercising they can push themselves a little harder and exercise on a whole is more comfortable.

The holiday cottages that we use have such a beautiful and peaceful surrounding,there is a lake on Matlock site which is great for a short walk and the venue itself is coming to the end of a massive refurbishment and I must say it’s looking fantastic. This all adds to the clients experience. We have a lovely group of guests this week and they are all doing so well, we are pushing them in the classes and some of the clients have been faced with big changes and have responded really positively.

Our Derbyshire fitness camp is our longest running site, so we are well settled in our surroundings here and it helps add to the low stress approach we have as part of our weight loss retreat.

Get Motivated with our Fitness Holiday Classes in FitFarms Derbyshire

Fitness holiday Cycling DerbyshireWhen you come on one of our fitness holiday retreats our aim is to give you a taste of a variety of types of fitness classes so that you will find something that you enjoy doing and feel motivated to continue improving your fitness after the holiday is over. Here is a quick look at some of the classes and activities our clients did at our most recent FitFarms holiday in Derbyshire.

Intro to Exercise

This is usually the first class we do at the beginning of every fitness holiday. The instructor will go through some of the most common exercises, teaching correct and safe technique and finding adaptations to meet everyone’s abilities. If you are new to exercise you’ll feel much more confident after this class.

Circuit Training

This is a really fun and fast paced class. The instructor picks a variety of exercises and creates different “stations” around the room. You move around in pairs doing each of the exercises for a set amount of time. It never gets boring because you are always switching stations.

Aerobics and Dance

These classes combine dance and cardio exercises into easy-to-follow routines set to music. This is a great way to push yourself because you end up thinking more about the music and the moves and don’t realise how hard you are working!


Even though yoga classes are much slower paced than many of our other classes don’t think it’s too easy! Yoga helps improve flexibility and mobility, which are just as important aspects of fitness as things like strength and endurance. The yoga classes strike a good balance between being challenging and relaxing.


You don’t have to have any experience at badminton to enjoy it – it is very easy to pick up. You can choose to just have a knock around without keeping score or to get stuck into the competition. This is another activity where you don’t realise how hard you are working because its so much fun.


The Derbyshire holiday retreat is located close to the Tissington Trail – a lovely cycle path free from cars and we usually get the chance to cycle for a few hours here during the week. Don’t worry if you can’t ride a bike, the trail is also a lovely place to go for a walk.

All of these activities are fun and can be adapted to find a good level of challenge for your current fitness levels.

So come and join us for your next holiday!

Worcester Fitness Camp Review September 2016

FitFarms Glamping RealI have to say I’m typically not a fan of camping! And so I never expect to enjoy my weeks at camp Worcester. The nights are too cold, the days are either too hot, too windy, too wet or all of the above.

However, these 2 weeks have been a different experience! They have been hard and challenging as always but thanks largely to the groups and the weather we are now coming to the end of our second fitness camp and I’ve really enjoyed it! It’s been tough and challenging for all of us and for different reasons but I find on these weeks there is a stronger comradery between the clients I think the more challenging environment and the the nature of the course work well to bring the group together. Our non boot camp approach allows for our clients to establish or re-establish an enjoyment for exercise or activity and in the beautiful setting of Leigh near Malvern it really helps people to unwind from the stressful life back home.

We now have another 2 weeks to do up in Matlock and I only hope they are as successful as our 2 here at the Worcestershire fitness camp.

FitFarms Spain Fitness Camp in September

September in Spain.. It’s here again!

fitness camp spain I’m very excited at the idea of flying out to camp Spain in a few weeks for our second time this year, the last one was such a massive success with the clients having thoroughly enjoying themselves and the energy throughout the week being amazing, we had evening walks by some beautiful coastline, we had extraordinary food from our local chef, We had the most amazing weather!… We had a great time! So I cannot wait to go back and do it all again.

Above all else what made this week great was the way the group took to the idea we are trying to promote, the concept that anyone can and indeed should enjoy exercise and activity and do it only to the extent they enjoy and in the way they enjoy it. It’s the main reason we consider ourselves a fitness camp and not a boot camp. Not because there is anything wrong with boot camps, they work and they work very well but not everyone is in the right place for that approach but everyone could be if they wished.

As a fitness camp we look at not pushing everyone to their physical limits (just those that ask for it! ;-)..) but helping everyone see this lifestyle change in a more multipurpose full way for some it’s achieving the summer body for others it’s improving mobility for many in between it’s finding something manageable and achievable. In a lot of ways this works so much better in Spain because, well; it’s a holiday! The whole attitude, mood and environment is different from home and people respond really well to it. So if your reading this before flying out to meet us in Alicante I hope your looking forward to your stay with FitFarms at fitness camp Spain, be prepared for hard work, good food and lots of questions.

FitFarms Exmoor Disabled Weight Loss Boot Camp Schedule

The next FitFarms project is the FitFarms disabled weight loss boot camp which is going to be run on Exmoor down in the pretty county of Somerset.

The programme will consist of exercise, nutrition and workshops and will be challenging but also fun. The facilities have been well chosen ‎which will allow a wide range of guests with physical impairments.

The FitFarms team are working with a disabled charity which have been running for just under 10 years and are well known in the industry for providing safe and effective courses.

FitFarms will add ‎dates to the website in the month of October 2016. We are planning on running four in the first year and then we have scheduled 10 for 2018. The health and safety is going to be very different than what FitFarms is use to on the weight loss camps that we have been running since 2006.

We have a new team member from Hereford called Dave who runs wheelchair based aerobics who will be heading up the weight loss boot camp team.

Dave has been working with guests that have disabilities for over ten years and has quite a following in his local area of Hereford and the Rye valley. ‎Currently Dave runs three wheelchair aerobic classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7pm to 8pm. There is also wheelchair resistance that has proven to be very popular on Tuesday nights and Dave is already trying to find a new venune for another class that starts on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm. He is also heavily envolved in wheelchair basketball at Worcester University which play at national level.

‎Dave has said that he’s really looking forward to the challenge of running a course that is not just the hour but for the whole week and is very keen to see the results that can be achieved in this time period.

FitFarms will be looking at dropping guests body fat but more importantly changing lifestyles.