The concept of ‘healthy’ holidays has become mainstream. Everyone’s doing it. From extreme detox retreats to hiking in the hills, the days of camping out on a beach for a week of solid sun is not your only option anymore. The problem is, once you decide you want to pursue an active break, the whole thing can become very stressful. You have to decide what level of exercise you want commit to; do you want to be active in the day then be free to drink wine and eat bread in the evenings or are you after an extreme regime? How much will you spend? These things tend to carry a hefty price tag. 10 minutes on the internet being bombarded with options is enough to drive you to settle for a pool in sunny Spain after all.
As runners, a holiday might be the only time we have a little timeout from a training plan and the odd week of rest from running can do you wonders. But (and I don’t know about you) I am the kind of irritating runner who is filled with tons of pent up energy and emotion if I don’t burn it off. So if I’m being honest, a week of lazing by the pool terrifies me, and probably whoever is coming with me.
So offered the chance to try a brand new kick boxing holiday in sunny Spain (after all) I was of course very keen to try it out. It seemed like a good balance between a rest from running whilst building up some strength and soaking up the all of the vitamin D I could.
If you are someone who wants an active trip but with all the benefits of a holiday - the wine, the bread, the cheese… well then this isn’t for you so you needn’t read on. But if you want an intense week to blast your health and fitness then perhaps this might be just what you’re after.
It’s hardcore. And I wasn’t prepared for quite how hardcore. There are around six hours of training a day, broken down into stretching sessions, a run up a mountain, the kick boxing element in the Dojo and to top it off a HIIT Tabata style session in the evening. Christian, the founder and your coach for the week is an ex-fighter and this is he explains, how the pros train and live in the lead up to a fight. Ah, that makes more sense.
The kick boxing training is excellent. It’s all non-contact so there is no getting a smashed up face (although that didn’t stop me returning with heavy facial bruising/swelling due to an unrelated incident in a swimming pool – don’t close your eyes underwater, near walls is all I’ll say on that matter). But you pick-up a huge amount in a short space of time and have a brilliant workout, abundance of sweat and total body burn. The Dojo facilities in the local town are also brilliant.
The running element is a joy too. Breathtaking scenery will take your mind off the running up a hill in blazing sun element and the way back is downhill, it was my personal highlight of the trip. The other training was all body weight based, in the villa garden on the rooftop and it was tough. That kind of trying not to vomit tough.
The location is also beautiful, an hour out of Alicante brings the sleepy town of Albia it’s peaceful with an impressive backdrop of mountains and turquoise sea. The villa is also lovely and has a pool and sunny rooftop for your rare moments of rest.
Now for the most important part, the food. It is all cooked on site by a chef and is fresh and delicious. But beware, you might go hungry if you have an appetite like me. What and when you are allowed to eat is controlled and other than a 7am smoothie, fruit is totally banned. This didn’t sit well with me, and by day three, I was stealing apples in desperation. Otherwise, it is heavy on the protein and lite on the carbs so a week of this and you’ll be sure to lean out with a combination of this and the training. A day or two into it I became used to the lack of carbs and modest portion size and felt pretty good. By the last day I certainly felt leaner – although that wasn’t my aim, if this is yours then this is a brilliant way to do it in a beautiful environment.
Kickfitness are launching their first official holiday this April and a discount early bird rate is now available. Get involved and find out more here.