Boot camp made me take stock of my new life – despite my scepticism


The last thing I wanted to do was a ‘body camp’. After 12 months spent moving and six months of waiting to get into my house, I’d planned to move in, get into bed and never get out again. 

I’d only even entertained the idea of a Mediterranean retreat when I was freezing in my caravan. But then the dates changed, and so – shortly after buying my home – I found myself reluctantly boarding a plane.

At least it would get me fit. Having shown off about taking up running this summer, I need to address the winter pounds I’ve gained since.

Body Camp Majorca seemed a solution. And an accessible one. They have an ethos not to judge. The schedule is less gruelling than other boot camps: with fun workouts that mix yoga, boxing, hiking and HIIT – then give you afternoons off. I’ll show up and go through the motions, I thought. I didn’t expect it to be life-changing stuff.

So, it was something of a surprise to arrive for the first day’s hike, be paired with someone and told to discuss ‘the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in life’. Which is how I found myself trekking up a mountain discussing with a stranger how you have to Trust the Universe.

The exercise sessions are tough but playful. We box singing Eye of the Tiger, we do Baywatch workouts on the beach, doing sit-ups to ’80s pop and candlelit morning yoga as the sun comes up. I’m surprised how good it feels to ache. 

After a year in which I’ve abused my body with junk food, alcohol, #caravanlife and stress it feels amazing to have a giant, soft bed to rest in. Between exercise classes I sleep, and sleep, and sleep. But it’s the mental and holistic side that’s the real revelation.

In the mornings at breakfast we’re met with affirmations for the day ahead. We eat meals of plant-based food and have cooking lessons, learning to make fuel for the body that’s as wholesome as it is delicious. We fill in journals about the goals we want to accomplish.

We do a mindfulness session in which we write down our own self-limiting beliefs – the things we tell ourselves that stop us reaching our potential. 

One woman in the group writes ‘I am too sensitive’ and talks about how she limits herself by avoiding confrontation. ‘I’m not consistent,’ someone else admits. ‘I hate mindfulness,’ I confess.

We write letters to ourselves to open in six months about how we’ve changed. ‘Dear Katie,’ I write, ‘You’re reading this happy in your new home.’

As I speak to other guests I realise that, just as it has for me, this boot camp has come at a time when all our lives have been profoundly changed by the last two years and our experiences during the pandemic. 

I meet a woman who’s recently split from her long-term partner and another struggling to leave a bad relationship. I meet two women who have lost their jobs – one who held a senior finance position and another a CEO in her 50s – on whom it’s had a devastating effect. 

Nearly everyone booked the retreat on impulse, desperate to reset. That’s what this camp does – gives you a space to conduct a mental overhaul of your life.

At the end of the week I’m surprised that rather than feeling frustrated to have left my new house behind, I’m energised to have had this chance to rethink who I want to be as I start my new life.

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