You will be familiar with the term ‘health farm’, but when you first arrive at Hillmotts, your understanding of the phrase becomes somewhat more literal. The brainchild of personal trainer Cleo Collins and her former trainee Neil McLaren who lost four stone and completed the Great North Run with her guidance, it is a converted farm surrounded by acres of Buckinghamshire countryside, and you get the feeling that this is the kind of place where contemporary good health thrives.
Being a bootcamp, guests can stay for a weekend or a week – it goes without saying that the longer you stay the more effective the camp. Adding that extra bit of luxury to the experience you are hosted nearby at the illustrious Burnham Beeches hotel, which provides a nice sense of removal from all your hard work during the day, and is included in the price of your trip along with free transfers.
Not wanting to waste a moment with afternoon check-ins, you arrive on your first day at 9 am and are welcomed with tea, coffee (no biscuits) and a one-on-one chat to ascertain your goals and medical background, not to mention the weigh in – painful, but it has to be done. You then have an exercise session, which is a cacophony of all the things you will be doing throughout your visit – Zumba, Pilates, yoga, kettle-bells, and TRX which essentially uses suspension and your own body weight to work out – it’s particularly good for anyone struggling with injuries. A normal day starts at 8 am, and at 4.30 in the afternoon you are free from your aerobic endeavours to enjoy any number of the treatments on offer – which although they are a little extra, are well worth the expense with a 50% discount and the Detoxifying Indulgence Seaweed Wrap proving an unequivocal favourite – partially because it’s relaxing but mostly because it is pretty much guaranteed to make you lose inches by the end of the treatment – no really … they measure you.
Fortunately, there is a growing consensus that you do not need to be starving in order to lose weight, and Hillmotts is at the forefront of that movement. In fact, trainers are closely consulted when it comes to menus because if you are going to be running around all day, you are going to need to have the right fuel, so meals are always interesting: halloumi, watermelon and pitta salad; Serrano ham, mango and quinoa; and coconut chicken curry to name a few. Each meal is designed by a nutritionist, explained before you tuck in, and when you leave you are given two hundred recipes and a healthy eating plan for the next month as well as an exercise programme to set you on your merry way.
Hillmotts backs onto five hundred acres of Burnham Beeches woodland and two thousand acres of land to run around in, so you are not short on space, fresh air and visual stimulation, which is a complete blessing forty minutes from London.
What’s the Verdict?
As they rarely host more than eight guests at a time, one of the key factors in Hillmotts’ success is the small groups that you work in: as the retreat is popular with clients of all fitness levels, from those wanting to lose weight to sports fans looking for an athletic break guests are split between two trainers so that not only do you train at a level suited to you, but you also build great relationships with your contemporaries – in fact the last group of guests were organising reunions before they left!
– Spend some time being pampered in the afternoon after all those exercises – it’s important to relax as well, especially as some of the treatments will even contribute to inch loss!
– The retreat isn’t just for those looking to lose weight, it is a holiday – so whatever your fitness levels you will have fun and return feeling more motivated.
– After you have left don’t be afraid to get back in touch with staff at Hillmotts – changing your lifestyle can require on-going guidance and they are always happy to take your call.
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