No1 Boot Camp was at the forefront of active wellness retreats and sustainable weight loss programmes when it was founded 10 years ago. Since then, thousands of people on a mission to shed some pounds, as well as celebrities including The Pussycat Doll’s Ashley Roberts, The Saturday’s Vanessa White and Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead and Spencer Matthews (whose brother is now engaged to Pippa Middleton) have become clients.
THE RESORT PHILOSOPHY
The camps boast an average weekly weight loss of 7lb per person. When Ahlan! visited, ex-Royal Marine commando, Gee, was our trainer for the week. He runs a tight ship to pull together a diverse international group comprising doctors, bankers, lawyers, estate agents, new media entrepreneurs and students, as well as a TOWIE cast member, to manifest “one team, one dream”.
Eating each meal and working out for six or seven hours a day with the same group of people, for the best part of a week, creates a kind of bonded unity usually only found in the trenches. Yet, the particular genius of No1 Boot Camp is that they make it all (surprisingly) fun. Even if you are not an A-type, you can arrive – as one weight loss blogger described herself – as a ‘NARP – none athletic regular person’, and still leave fit and primed just a week later.
There’s a kind of alchemy at work at No1, where an average day may burn in excess of 6,000 calories and a specialist chef prepares three meals and three snacks daily to punctuate and fuel the workouts, for an approximate intake of 1,300 calories for women and 1,600 for men.
Portions, though small, are satisfying and flavoursome. The quality’s so good that there’s no hardship to eating clean when it’s herby-infused fish, chicken or roasted goat’s cheese on apricots. This is certainly no fad diet of juices and deprivation.
Expect challenging and diverse sets of burpees, air squats, planks and press ups, as well as weights, sprints, boxing, swimming and long scenic hikes along Ibiza’s dazzling coastline and undulating terrane. Stretchy yoga sessions in the shade of the garden’s fig trees also feature.
As per the teachings of Karl Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, highly experienced trainers tailor a fitness journey appropriate for the individual, while also working with the group dynamic.
The first couple of days are hard. Really hard. Boot campers are tired and muscles are sore. Yet by day three, change has occurred and the group begins to feel energised by workouts, not worn out. Working together as a team is something that happens by design and this is a vacation that works equally well for single travellers, couples or groups of friends. By day four, boot campers began to look different, one commented that “the fat fairies have visited faces” and it was way better than anything the tooth fairy ever did. An unanticipated upside to the week (running Saturday to Saturday) was the complete absence of individual decision making. The schedule for everything is written up on a white board daily – so just go with the flow.
Exercising for six or seven hours daily is generally not sustainable for most people, yet the talks on nutrition and workouts are takeaways that will enhance your ongoing wellness and fitness.
Post-workout tanning and recuperation at the luxe Ibiza villa is enabled by lush gardens, a swimming pool and a barbecue area. Most rooms have flat screen TVs and the large communal lounge area enjoys elevated sea and mountain views. Options for sunset horse riding, stand up paddle boarding and one-to-one yoga sessions are available as extras, and Ibiza town, a UNESCO site, can be quickly reached by taxi.
Rejuvenating post-workout massages are available in a private corner of the garden for €85. Beauty treatments can be provided on-site by English-speaking therapists.
Room shares for four and a sweet wooden chalet in the grounds, cater for budget-conscious boot campers, while the penthouse suite has a private balcony, extensive views, a four-poster bed and a large modern bathroom.
Like Labrador puppies bouncing with energy, the final weigh-in and measure saw a room full of people with glowing skin tingling with the pride of achievement. After litres of sweat, a new idea is born: exercise is not necessarily a duty to be endured or ignored. You will laugh your socks off with these guys and have a ball as you become stronger, fitter, faster and leaner. Do as you are told, eat what is served and a new and much-improved version of the person who had walked through the gates seven days earlier will emerge.
There aren’t any direct flights from the UAE to Ibiza, but route options via major European cities are plentiful. British Airways fly direct to major London airports with return flights priced from Dhs2,360, onward connecting flights to Ibiza with the same airline are priced from Dhs500. Bootcamp’s driver provides airport transfers for €40.
Ahlan! readers can enjoy a 20 per cent discount until Sunday 25 December by quoting 'Ahlan! UAE offer' when booking. Villa accommodation for one week ranges from Dhs6,541 per person for a shared room (maximum of four people) to Dhs12,115 for single occupancy deluxe double with ensuite. The Ibiza season runs from March to the Ibiza is running to end of October and No1 Bootcamp, Norfolk UK is open all year.
INFO: Location is confidential to protect the privacy of celebrity clients, full address details available upon booking, +44 208 502 1144, no1bootcamp.com, email@example.com