Breaking an exercise drought can be damn fun, as Women's Health staffer Crystelle Coulon found out
Recently, amidst moving house, taking on a huge project at work and having three weddings to preside over as maid of honour, I lost something very important to me: my fitness motivation.
Instead of looking forward to lunchtime pilates with my co-workers, I found myself mumbling lame excuses like, “Er… I have to go to the post office”.
Morning walks and evening boxing classes dropped off my schedule as I told myself I was “too busy” – when really, I just couldn’t be bothered. After months of zero exercise I felt, well, shit. I knew I had to get back on track – but I couldn’t muster the motivation.
That’s why I decided to book a Bodibreaks getaway. According to personal trainer Nikki Fogden-Moore, founder of Bodibreaks, it’s a luxury fitness retreat that’ll help “recharge, reset and re-energise” your mind and body and motivate you to exercise again. I can’t get on the plane fast enough.
The retreat is held in Noosa, about 150km north of Brisbane. Having been here a few times for blissful beach holidays, I’m stoked. Fabulous food, cool boutique shopping and perfect weather. Although I’m not sure how much eating and shopping I’m going to fit in.
Fogden-Moore picks me up from Sunshine Coast Airport and on the drive to our accommodation – the Sebel Resort Noosa on Hastings Street – she tells me she has three main types of clients: rundown execs (I quietly check myself into this category), couples wanting a holiday with a bit of a difference and brides after a bootcamp. I ask her what they all have in common.
“They want something failproof,” she says. Then a funny thing happens: I realise I’m actually starting to feel excited about exercising again.
Exercise, here I come!
I’m expecting the next two hours to be a cruisey float around Noosa River. Er, no. Squatting, core engaged, toes clinging for dear life, it’s a constant fight just to stay afloat. By the time we paddle in to shore I’m aching all over – but oddly proud. Sure, I might be walking like a drunken crab, but my sore muscles are proof I’ve worked my body hard – a feeling I haven’t experienced in a while.
The next morning we’re up early for what Fogden-Moore likes to call her Prison Break Workout. Rightio.
“You can do these exercises anywhere – even in a tiny prison cell – so there are no excuses,” Fogden-Moore says. Fifteen minutes of planks, crunches, push-ups, lower ab-lifts and a child’s pose later and I’m sweating like Mike Tyson in a spelling competition.
“I encourage my clients to do this workout every morning when they get back home,” she says, giving me a meaningful look.
“That’s a great idea…” I nervously chirp.
After a healthy breakfast (all food is covered on the retreat), we’ve got a yoga class, held by one of Fogden-Moore’s instructors. I feel myself unwinding with each pose and deep exhaustion. Why on earth have I been avoiding this?
That night we go to Lululemon Athletica for a personalised styling session. I find myself oohing and aahing over yoga and running pants I really don’t need – but end up buying anyway. Then we have a session with a motivational coach on the power of visualisation and goals.Decked out in my new gear and with a freshly pimped mindset, I barely even flinch when Fogden-Moore tells us that her husband – who just happens to be an ex US marine – is going to be joining us for our final session in the morning: bootcamp on the beach.
Fogden-Moore talks us through the circuit as she sets up cones. It’s worse than I had dared to imagine: “Run to the first cone, do 15 squats, then run into the surf and paddle out for 20 strokes, paddle back, run up the beach and do 20 mountain climbs, then it’s back to the start.”
This is repeated at least four times and the exercises are mixed up so the circuit also includes push-ups, boxing, star jumps and burpees.
I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to manage it when Fogden-Moore gives us the signal and we’re off. An hour later, I’m sopping wet, covered in sand, beyond exhausted and feeling better (and prouder) than I have in I don’t know how long.
In fact, I feel just like Stallone after he’s run to the top of the stairs in Rocky. I do a little happy dance on the sand and shadow box a punch or two before heading home – motivation firmly in hand.
Crystelle is still doing her Prison Break workouts every morning and feels fairly confident she could give the guy from Shawshank Redemption a run for his money.
- Break old habits with new habits. Give them some time: they’ll soon settle in.
- Talking is good but it should be setting the stage for action, not replacing it!
- Be your word. Have integrity around the choices you’ve made for yourself and watch your inner warrior grow.