There’s an air of elitism in the world of wellbeing that just doesn’t sit well with me. From unattainable band wagon fads like V steams, to crystal infused water bottles, facial acupuncture and coffee put in places one should never put coffee (I’ll give you a hint in involves a colonic.) As a lifestyle journalist I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world writing about all kinds of holistic retreats, sorting the good stuff from the fluff, from the ones the A-listers flock too to shed pounds, the ones that promise to re-align your chakras and grant you eternal youth, the ones that rob you of the joys of actual food (juice cleanse) and the ones that stick a drip in your arm and hope for the best. You name it, I’ve tried it.
A lot of these retreats really tick all the boxes when it comes to a pre prescribed ideas of what lofty health retreats are all about, and sadly yes, that wellbeing elitism tends to have an omnipresent undertone that you just can’t seem to shake off. A huge component is always missing, and that’s simply making space to have a right old belly laugh. Being in touch with your inner child, doing the work, whilst finding the space to not take life too seriously is a fundamental part of triggering healthy and emotional changes in the physical, and emotional body, and for some reason this is so often, if not totally overlooked! Finally, I stumbled across The Body Camp and VOILA! They’d absolutely nailed it.
Even The Body Camp’s home in the heart of Mallorca’s countryside doesn’t scream ‘pretentious health retreat’, instead I was met with a very chic, decadent Mediterranean home away from home Villa amongst acres of land, complete with wall quotes and furnishings, that somehow managed to tickle me too, and yes the staff all meet the ‘quirky/ beautiful’ memo too much to my delight.
The experience itself in a nutshell is transformational. I’ve always thought of myself as one of life’s optimists, but The Body Camp team had me recognise habitual, negative self-talk patterns that they instantly helped me break. Powerful reframing exercises woven into the program work to strengthen new neural pathways, quite literally helping the whole camp experience life with a more positive outlook. You can imagine the endorphin rush when you throw exercise into the equation too!
On that note, expect to be encouraged to meet your edge. I’m an active person, and I was aware at times that the level of training we were doing was more than your average hit class which is exactly what we were there for, but whilst I felt it physically challenging, mentally the program has you so strong, the team work involved lifts your spirits in ways that make you reframe any challenge as something fun, which they really are. The format, the variation in exercise, from boxing, pool workouts, Yoga, meditation, running, cycling, incredible hikes, weight training and the levels of entertainment thrown in for good measure meant training was hugely enjoyable, with just as much emphasis on down time and recovery. I can’t say I’ve ever been trained by a PT dressed in full blown Top Gun aviator chic before, but there’s a first time for everything and I loved it.
In terms of nourishment, expect gut friendly meals with no sugar, meat, dairy, wheat or alcohol, yet master and commander of all things food, Ben Whale, makes every nutrient dense meal surprisingly filling, utterly delicious, and education around nutrition is served up on the regular.
The Body Camp runs from Friday to Friday, and I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that some guests were staying on for another week once our program had come to an emotional close, there’s a pull to it that never leaves you once you’ve experienced it. For me personally, parting with the funhouse of health was way harder than I’d thought it would be, but thanks to everything I’d learnt, I found I could integrate the teachings into everything I did once I was back to reality, making it well, well worth the investment. And yes, I may have had a sore throat from laughing (and singing) so hard, and I may have developed an unprecedented obsession with Top Gun, but I’d be back there in no time to experience it all over again in a heartbeat.
The Body Camp evokes a return to the roots of why wellness is so important, which I fear has been getting lost amongst unattainable wellbeing trends. They recognise that being well is about learning to truly optimise the time we have here earth side, to have fun, stay healthy, challenged, nourished, and above all, have a darn good laugh while you’re at it.