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Wed, November 6, 2019

Desk Based job to complete relaxation

Having a desk-based job in a high-stress environment, it is really important to me that when I have time off I am spending as much time as possible being active and/or outside (ideally both at the same time and somewhere sunny)!

So when I was given the opportunity to attend the first-ever SF Retreat, I jumped at the chance – it seemed like the perfect place to switch off from the stress of the office and train in a really unique environment. It did not disappoint!

Accommodation wise, being a huge fan of camping, I opted for one of the bell tents by the river’s edge. They are pretty basic but have everything you need for a good nights’ sleep including very comfy beds! It certainly isn’t camping as most people would know it.

I got into a routine pretty quickly on the retreat and (as yoga isn’t really my thing) started every morning with a run around the stunning grounds of Quinta Rabaçal, followed by coffee and a banging breakfast whipped up by the resident chef! After a small break, it would be time for the main training session of the day which largely consisted of strength training and high-intensity metcon. As I train with the SF Retreat coaches at home, at Starks Fitness Gym in Bristol, the training was very similar to that which I already do, but the amazing open-air training barn made the sessions feel completely different. There is nothing quite like gritting your teeth through some absolutely horrendous air bike work whilst staring out at the peaceful Portuguese countryside and Rio Mandego.

One of my favourite past times is kayaking so every afternoon I skipped the second training sessions in favour of a long paddle down the river in the glorious sunshine. The scenery is breath-taking and there are plenty of good spots down the river to bank the boat and go for a little explore or jump off some rocks and go for a swim.

It was clear that a lot of time and thought had gone into the plentiful food offerings on the trip and every meal was unbelievably delicious. There is no scrimping on portions so you can have as much or as little as you want. The chef was fantastic and always made every effort to cater to our requests, even making a cake for us after our dismay at the lack of dessert (yes we were aware it was a fitness retreat but who doesn’t love dessert?). All the ingredients were locally sourced and super nutritious which meant (particularly after our intense training sessions and active chill-out time) we could really go to town guilt-free!

Before I went, I must admit I was slightly dubious as to whether I might need a holiday after the trip but the tranquillity of the surroundings, quality of the training and interesting like-minded people (as well as the food of course) meant that I honestly didn’t think about work once the entire time and returned back to the UK feeling totally refreshed, fitter, stronger and like a completely new woman! I could have quite happily stayed for the rest of summer.

Plus, there are doggos! What’s not to love!!

I cannot recommend it enough and look forward to returning again next year.

Be sure to book on for our 2020 dates and you will also be able to have an all-inclusive experience the same as Jen.

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