What? The Body Camp
Where? Sencelles, Mallorca
Who? Claire Sanderson, WH editor-in-chief, and Alice Liveing, WH columnist
How much? Prices from £1,895 a week for a shared room.
Retreats run from April to October, Friday to Friday; thebodycamp.com
So, what’s it all about then?
Despite the name, The Body Camp is actually designed for both the mind and body. It’s a week-long wellness retreat with the goal of transforming you from the inside out. The programme is a mixture of workouts (TRX, boxing, shuttle runs, yoga, bike rides and hiking) alongside mindfulness classes to help you establish your values and reframe your thinking about yourself, your diet and your overall lifestyle. As a result, you leave the retreat feeling fitter, healthier and happier – ready to take stock of life.
A mind and body transformation you say…
Yes, and it does what it says on the tin. Having not exercised for two months and eaten almost exclusively processed carbs after a bad bout of Covid, I arrived at The Body Camp in a particularly bad place. Fearful of not being able to keep up with my fellow camp mates (including my partner in crime Alice Liveing), I was anxious and, quite frankly, dreading it. But I needn’t have worried. By the end of the week, I was well on the way to my pre-Covid fitness levels.
Walk me through a typical day, then…
Call time each morning is between 6.30am and 7am when, after a cup of herbal tea, you’ll do some gentle yoga or foam rolling to wake up your body. Then it’s on to breakfast (think: banana bread pancakes with chocolate, lion’s mane mushrooms, berries and raspberry jam), followed by the day’s first workout.
Fun is the name of the game, and camp co-founder Rick Parcell ensures the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality is present throughout, all set to a soundtrack of 1980s bangers. Expect oldschool aerobics sessions (which, I discover, is Alice’s secret passion) combined with TRX circuits in one 45 to 60-minute blast.
After a snack (my favourite was a date with almond butter wrapped in dairy-free chocolate), another cardio-based workout wraps up the morning. If it sounds full-on, all sessions can be adapted to suit your fitness and ability levels, as well as what you feel comfortable doing. And apart from the first day, when all activities are compulsory, for the remainder of the week your afternoons are your own to do as much – or as little – as you want.
What else is there to do?
Situated at the end of a country track near the town of Sencelles (about 30 minutes by taxi from Palma Airport), The Body Camp is based in a beautiful rustic property that’s been adapted to accommodate the retreat’s requirements. There’s a mixture of shared and single rooms, a cosy lounge, a fully equipped gym, an outdoor boxing and TRX rig, a yoga studio, a pool and a newly extended kitchen/dining area with both indoor and outdoor seating. Plus, the 25-acre grounds offer more than enough space to get your daily step count in. Our afternoons were spent lounging by the pool, joining nutrition talks and cookery demonstrations, doing yoga classes or taking on Tabata workouts.
Alice and I also hit the gym for a couple of strength sessions, and I even had some personal training from the head of fitness, Anthony Rich. Mindfulness is also a big focus at The Body Camp and Rick leads daily sessions that are designed to dig deep. I left one particularly emotional class rather than let people see me crying; self-analysis is not something that I normally allow myself to do.
Sounds like quite a motivating set-up…
It truly is. Being around a group of varied women (and one man – most weeks tend to have more) provided support and company while also encouraging empathy, tolerance and patience. I sometimes struggle with those last two traits, but I found myself having beautiful conversations with women who were strangers just days earlier.
Anything else I should know?
Yes, the food, prepared by head chef Ben Whale, is heavenly. Every single meal surpassed my expectations, from cannelloni with cauliflower béchamel to roasted red pepper and tomato sauce served with kale and sunflower-seed parmesan. It’s also worth noting that you can choose your ‘lane’ on arrival – depending on your goals. Fat loss is ‘lane one’, maintenance is ‘lane two’ and building muscle is ‘lane three’. I chose lane one, but the portion sizes, amounting to 1,200 calories a day, were ample.
The final verdict?
The Body Camp is the perfect mix of challenging workouts, great food and relaxation. Unlike other fitness retreats I’ve visited, it really encourages you to unwind rather than spiking your cortisol levels with constant exercise and too little food to sustain it. The ‘house rules’ – which include ‘no judgement’, ‘be respectful and accepting’, ‘be positive’ and ‘be kind to yourself’ – typify the retreat’s whole vibe. Alice and I returned home with a vow to make it an annual pilgrimage. Here’s hoping that we’ll make it back next year.