Our close friend and Marmalady JoJo spent a week at the fabulous Body Camp in Ibiza. Read her personal and honest insight into what a week at the infamous Body Camp is like.
“Picture this; a beautiful, open, spacious, airy Ibizan villa — made cosy with lovely blankets, throws and colourful cushions; an outside eating area, a turquoise pool, and a wooden decking for yoga, discussions and hanging out overlooking an exotic garden with plants and flowers and a sea view way in the distance. Dotted around the grounds are rope ladders, TRX areas, dumbbell stations, slam balls, kettlebells, and exercise mats. So here you have it, a small part of what makes The Body Camp experience a winning formula.
Off I went at the end of a busy winter ski season to Ibiza to kick start my fitness, re-find my muscles that were hiding away, re-set my goals and intentions for the summer, get back into my groove of healthy eating, and maybe even lose a few pounds. However, I gained so much more than what I set out for (and not in weight!) I did lose a few inches — but that really became irrelevant — I came away feeling my muscles (in a good way once the DOMS had calmed!), my core felt stronger, my mind was clear and as a result I stood taller and felt utterly rejuvenated. I can hand on heart say it was one of the most transformative and restorative weeks of my life. A combination of fitness, fresh air, and wellbeing, new friendships and a lot of laughter is a recipe for success, a whole lot of self-love and general awesomeness.
An example day at the Body Camp:
I was sharing a room with four girls; by coincidence, we were all roughly the same age. It was like having an extended sleepover, and after just seven nights we had formed a bond that could have potentially taken years in normal circumstances. The first day we were all fairly polite to one another and respectful of each other’s space and privacy – but by the last day, we couldn’t really see the floor, were walking around in our underwear and treating each other like we had known each other since being teenagers! I know I could ring any of the girls up a year from now with a problem or not even, just to have a chat and arrange a visit, which is pretty awesome! NB. You do not have to share rooms; but I was on a budget and I believe it enhanced my experience, as did going alone. Maybe I got lucky with my girls, but it would have been an honour to share with anyone . Which is why going solo is, in fact, beneficial and not scary at all. You are welcomed with open arms and I would say 60% of the girls there had come solo like myself. (NB. It was a complete coincidence that we had an all-female group, seven men were on the week before).
6am - wake up. The four of us had agreed that we would set our alarms for 6am even though the first activity wasn’t until 7. But this gave us ample time to sip on a cup of Pukka tea (of which there is an endless supply) whilst cracking on with our 360s. The 360 is a daily in-camp circuit challenge which you must complete 6 times a day and mark upon completion on a whiteboard, this was one of my favourite things to do (surprise surprise), and since being home I try to do in my own garden! Although setting our alarms for 6am did in fact mean that we started our fitness in the dark which we weren’t actually anticipating – all in the pursuit to complete the daily 6 before breakfast, and maybe squeeze a few extras in too, Rick would be so proud!
7am — group walk or fitness session with qualified PT Paul or Rick (and the smallest in house dog I have ever seen).
8am – Breakfast— o my god the food…all plant-based deliciousness, my idea of absolute heaven — bloating, IBS, sugar highs and lows GONE. There is the option between two portion sizes for those wanting to lose weight and those wanting to maintain. The first three days I was blumin starving — especially after certain activities such as the Breath Work Workshop (more on that later) — but weirdly I then started to lose my appetite, which is unheard of for me; the art of conversation and sitting down to eat with friends and have banter about the day became the focus; the food was just a lovely bi-product, and also a stimulus for more conversation and me asking the chef a million questions. O, please note, you ARE allowed coffee at breakfast! In fact you can have as much as you want but without sugar or cows milk; oat or soy milk only. A couple of examples of breakfast that spring to mind are the Asian flavoured tofu scramble with grilled tomatoes, kale and mushrooms or the raw cacao and coconut chia seed pudding, topped with raspberries, goji berries, desiccated coconut, and edible flowers. We would always be given a shot of smoothie or juice as well — i.e. a ginger mango or watermelon juice. A little shot is just perfect, not too many calories or sugars; but enough to satisfy the sweet tooth. I have always been a foodie and really appreciate the love and presentation that goes into every plate, so the food was an utter delight to me; we weren’t allowed phones at the table but I managed to sneak in a few photos!
9:30/10am — Baywatch fitness — sounds slightly naff but it was so much fun! Anyone who knows me knows I hate organised fun, but this was great! Do not be alarmed you do not have to wear red swimsuits for this! This is just one hour of getting mega sweaty down at the beach in your activewear. Tunes pumping, flat calm sea view, no one else around, ideal for a workout. All the workouts (of which there are many!) are very inclusive — it really doesn’t matter if you are an Olympic athlete (yes my Olympic skier friend has been on the camp before) or have never done a sit up in your life — you push as hard as you can whoever you are! Like with every element on the camp — you get out what you put in.
11:15am – SNACK TIME! WHOOP! — Every day you have two snacks; one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon — of course, these are optional; but they are never big so its good to keep blood sugar and energy levels steady, and hunger at bay; and also good to re-educate yourself on normal snack size. For example — some sort of energy ball (i.e. date nut cacao in desiccated coconut) was usually on the cards in the morning, then a savoury piece of sushi dipped in wasabi and soy or a homemade cracker with cashew cream cheese in the afternoon. I feel like the snacks were carefully picked depending on the activity. And yes I purchased the recipe book, quelle surprise!
11:30am — chill time at the beach; obviously I donned my swim goggles and went for a swim, which despite the sea looking extremely inviting was baltic in April! Still worth it though after having my feet in ski boots all season — it was amazing to see little fishies beneath me, and feel the sand and sea between my toes.
12:30pm — lunch, usually a quinoa-based salad, and served in an eco-friendly box with wooden cutlery — the wannabe eco-warriors amongst us approve.
Back to the villa; time to squeeze in a couple of 360s before an hour of mindfulness with the lovely Lisa. If you are one of the cynics amongst us don’t let that put you off; you can take from it what you like. It is a chance to reflect, share and talk in pairs and learn how to manage any moments of self doubt or low points in life if and when they occur, which is increasingly valuable in today’s world. Lisa’s empathy and passion creates such a safe, supportive, open, and relaxed environment. These sessions can be quite thought provoking so it is always good to get physical after. Q, Ranjith, a doctor, osteopath, master of Reiki as well as athlete (and a fellow skier so naturally I hung on his every word). He led us though a dynamic and static sequence of moves similar to yoga but somehow better (no offense to the yogis out there) perfect for engaging the core, stretching and alleviating any delayed onset muscle soreness, he informed us why we were doing each move so it was a real education, probably one of my favourite classes. Note to self; must get better at stretching – as I write this I am in fact sitting on the floor easing out my hamstrings. With an oatmilk coffee. Well done me.
5.30/6pm – The day would normally finish around now, time for a shower before dinner.
7pm – Dinner would normally last an hour – consisting of a small bowl of soup to start; anyone else love eating out of miniature colourful Oliver Bonas style crockery?! Followed by some sort of goodness for main — for example, a vegan burrito bowl — a blend of chickpeas, onions and tomatoes (and a hint of raw cacao), with brown rice, guacamole, and cashew cream.
9.30pm – Lights and music would be subtly softened and most people would drift off to bed at 9:30ish. It was lovely having my roomies to debrief and chat to, or just uncontrollably laugh with before nodding off.
Other highlights included:
Hiking to Ez Vedra — a beautiful coastal walk overlooking Ez Vedra – a rocky uninhabited island; I never in a million years thought I would say this but the best bit of the hike despite the scenery and sun shining on us, was walking with 22 women, all so unique, strong, and simply amazing in their own right. It was quite powerful. Especially when one lady felt slightly breathless, we all got behind her in silence and she set the pace. She was a cancer survivor so this was a very moving moment. A local and very well travelled woman, Sapphire, led the hike and for the most part we were to remain in silence. She would then pick subject matters for us to discuss with a partner, again embrace it and it becomes easier. Sapphire also ran the breath workshop I mentioned earlier. Holy Moly that was mental! I want to write a longer blog about my experience because one sentence does not do it justice; but in short, breathing to music has never been more intense, trippy or exhausting! I feel like it is something everyone should try once.
In contrast, we were all given a relaxing complimentary massage and manicure/pedicure which was a lovely touch. There was also the option to book an additional massage, nutrition session, Reiki, or tarot session; although they do come at a price so I declined, only to be so inspired by Ranjith that I went to see him in London anyway!
Sarmado the chef is a fountain of knowledge and was extremely patient with all my questions. Michelin trained he has worked in high end fast paced restaurants all over the world; and because of this found himself going down the vegan route as a lifestyle choice. Plant-based food is becoming more popular due to concerns over lifestyle as well as environmental change, but it is important to know the facts, which is why the nutritional workshops he runs are great to educate and broaden knowledge. Just like anything, you take from it what you want, but I for one have embraced more of a plant-based diet and feel better for it.
One week later and Saturday arrived far too quickly. The week started off very intense but petered out towards the end with a trip to Ibiza old town for some shopping which was lovely (and dangerous!). Then a celebration dinner to finish off the week including dancing, sober, in fancy dress - we even had fizz — of the Kombucha kind!
The whole week was first class. Everything from the hosts Hayley and Liv, to the chef Sarmado, Paul and Rick the PTs, the animal workshop, the hikes, the breath workshop, the yoga sessions, the life coaching, the beach, Ibiza itself, the villa setting, the schedule… Coming from a background teaching skiing, it is clear how much thought and planning goes into the week so as not to utterly exhaust us mentally or physically, but keep us upbeat, energized, moving forwards; and prepared to continue the changed habits and attitudes after leaving the camp.
The compassion I have for the ladies I got to share the experience with is hard to describe. As is putting into words what a week can give you; 7 days is such a short space of time, but it reminds you just how much can be gained and achieved.
Body Camp, and all my “booty bitches” from the bottom of my heart I thank you, and in the words of Arnie, I will be back, xx”
JoJo is a ski instructor working in Méribel for Marmalade Ski School. She is an adventurer with a real love for life and the outdoors. A budding writer, fitness instructor and wild swimmer, to name a few of her past times, she is a true inspiration to us all! When she is not out on adventures she is based in Salcombe mostly on her paddle board. So if you are in the area and keen to live life to the fullest be sure to get in touch with her!
If you loved her review keep up to date with all of her awe-inspiring activities on her blog here.