Best workout and fitness motivation: get inspired by Wellness JourneysMay 04, 2023
This week on the podcast I am interviewing Josie Baxter, Personal trainer with big fitness goals and a huge personality!
You can listen to Josie's first podcast interview here: Public Heartbreak and Health & Fitness, where she talked about having her heartbreak splashed all over the papers, her tips for moving on and her 3 rules for health and fitness. It's a good'en.
Me and Josie walking for Paella
She's the hardest working person I know. Arnold Schwarzenegger ain't got nothing on this girl - I refer to her as the Dalai Lama in the body of a really sexy 24 year old because a) she looks unreal and b) she is full of motivational quotes and her first podcast interview went down so well with so many of you (to date it is by far my most downloaded episode of Happily Ever After!).
We recorded a new podcast straight after Wellness Journeys, Josie's retreat that is the only place where you can take care of your body, get out of your comfort zone AND make great friends, laugh until your sides hurt and get a banging tan :)
All within the beautiful setting of Calpe in Spain (super easy to get to FYI as it's an hour from Alicante but away from Benidorm!)
Calpe in Spain
As I was a paying punter, I thought you'd like to know my take on the retreat, what Wellness Journeys was really like and then you can see if you fancy doing it next time (click here for details of the next retreat).
Wellness Journeys - the 4-day retreat
To give you an overview - the premise of the retreat is a fitness journey promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy body through delicious nutritious food, physical activity and connecting with likeminded people (this was one of the really great things for me and I made a few besties in the few days I was there).
We stayed as a group in a gorgeous villa in the hills of Benissa in Spain, which had incredible views of the mountains and Calpe Rock. All meals and water were included and we either ate in the villa or went out for meals.
We went on 2 organised hikes (including climbing the Calpe Rock, which I LOVED!!), did daily yoga and also did some cross fit and poolside workouts too over 4 days.
I left feeling the glow of good health; rested, reset and with new healthy habits in place. I also felt highly motivated to try harder!! I have seen what the human body is capable of beyond what I normally get mine to do!
Left to right - Debs, Josie and Alice
We had trained Yoga teacher and Personal Trainers Josie Baxter and Debra Kristiansen leading the physical fitness activities and encouraging us through any tough times to be the best version of ourselves!
And we also had Alice ... who was our professional photographer but also a very keen athlete in her own rights.
Focused at Dagaz CrossFit gym
I'm not going to lie, I had to close my eyes at times to focus on getting through some of the workouts but being around Josie, Debs and Alice has shown me that only consistent hard work gains success. And in the long run, that's all that counts!
Early morning walk
Most of us had arrived the night before, so while the last person (the lovely Lianne who had actually booked on after listening to Josie's first podcast with me!) was being picked up from the airport, our first step was to get to know our fellow guests!
We decided to walk from the villa in Benissa along the coastal route to Calpe to get breakfast. It was an hours walk there and it was absolutely gorgeous. I found it to be a great way to break the ice and chat with this group of women I'd never met before. I'm not shy but equally, it can be a bit awkward at the start of any trip when you don't know people! So one of the good things about walking is you are already doing something so you don't have to talk all the time!
After a lovely breakfast in Calpe we walked the 1 hour back and arrived just in time for the welcome meeting and the official start of the retreat. We were talked through all the plans for the 4 days, what the different excursions and activities were going to be like, and any health and safety guidelines.
We also had all our questions answered, then we were free to settle in and sunbath for a few hours before our first activity.
The sun was still quite warm when we were doing our first yoga session, but with the intention to go with the flow and a not too challenging sequence that ended with Downward Dogs on the wall (a personal favourite of mine!), we were able to get to a bit sweaty and feel like we'd done a bit of a workout after a pretty chilled day.
I loved the intention. Like good motivational fitness quotes, it helped me to most past any resistance or lack of desire to give myself permission to really enjoy this retreat.
I was able to breath into an area of pain or discomfort (which includes your head! I was struggling a bit with guilt at leaving my kids behind!) and I could lean into gratitude. I felt quite overwhelmed towards the end of the practise because it was just so damn beautiful - Doing yoga beside my new friends with the incredible view across the Spanish mountains, it really got me... soppy bugger!
But it's always good to take a moment to really appreciate what you've got.
After yoga we showered and gathered as a group, coaches included, for an evening meal. All the catering was provided by a local Vegan restaurant called Plant Shack.
Our first meal was a Pulled Jackfruit Poke bowl and it was unreal. I'd never had Jack fruit before but the way the had cooked it, it tasted just like pulled pork! It was the exact right amount of nourishment after a fun and busy first day.
We were up and at it for Sunrise Yoga at 8am. It was much cooler in the morning, and a gorgeous way to warm into the day.
The intention for the class was to remove any stubborn energy... again another good one for me as I had woken still feeling a little out of sorts and anxious about being away.
The practise really worked into the hamstrings and was very energising, prepping us for the next activity...
Hiking up Calpe Rock
After a delicious breakfast of yoghurt, granola and as much fruit as we could eat, we set off early to beat the heat of the day. I felt quite nervous about the climb - I was worried I would be too unfit to keep up with everyone and I'd get too hot.
After a double espresso and a nervous wee, we set off and were very quickly within the national park.
The Gang ready to climb Calpe Rock
The path was easy up to the point were the real work started; the edge of a tunnel that takes you right through the rock. It was dark with a stony path, so holding onto ropes, we made our way carefully through to the other side. It wasn't as daunting or difficult as it looked.
The climb from then on was a bit of a scramble, with ledges to walk on and ropes to hang on to but I really loved it. A couple of the others realised they had a fear of heights and found this challenging so some chose to go down at this point. My new pal, Victoria, who was terrified and literally shaking, managed to keep going. And, with lots of words of encouragement from the Wellness Journey coaches, she was so chuffed to make it to the top. As was I!!
After over an hour of climbing, we were treated to some absolutely spectacular views and a huge sense of achievement. I can honestly say I was not expecting to enjoy it and it's give me a desire to climb a lot more. I didn't think it was my thing but I loved it!
If you're thinking that is definitely not my thing, don't worry, there are other options too!
Lunch and chill time
By the time we made it back down, we were covered in dust and very ready for our lunch which was at a lovely restaurant at the bottom of the rock. Pizzas eaten and cokes drank, we then spent a few hours relaxing on the beach and swimming in the sea.
Evening walk and BBQ
After the beach, Josie and I decided to walk back to the Villa (an hours walk after the climbing the rock - I don't know who I am either?!) and we arrived just in time to freshen up before Plant Shack served us up a vegan BBQ. The food was delicious and there was so much that none of us went hungry!
The intention for this class was to energise. It was a really fun and flowing practise that ended with forearm balances (plus other options if your practise doesn't include inversions yet) and it got us pumped up and ready for the next workout which was...
Now... I do a bit of personal training with Josie so I have done some of this stuff before but let me tell you; Debs seriously put us through our paces during this session.
Weirdly though, while it was definitely hard, I loved it and never once felt fed up or bored or tired. The 2 hours we were there seemed to go in a flash. And the hardest worker of us all? Josie Baxter!
I'm not going to lie, when I was partnered with Josie for the relays at the end, my heart did sink a bit!! But only because I knew she'd be going for it and I didn't want to let her down. Turns out I just found it more motivational to keep going and work harder :)
I spoke to some of the girls who had never done CrossFit before and they loved it too. So don't let it put you off. This is definitely accessible for beginners.
After lunch at Plant Shack (I had a smoothy bowl that was yummy), the rest of the day was ours. Most of the group did a 5 mile walk back to villa via the pub to watch the Newcastle Match. I had some work to do, so I went back with the remaining people to the villa to record this podcast and then had time to relax in the sun by the pool before dinner, which was another delicious poke bowl from Plant Shack.
Sunrise poolside workout
I didn't sleep amazingly well so this was the first workout where I was struggling and a bit grumpy. Lord knows how Alice managed to get a picture of me smiling WHILST doing a sit up?!
But as they say, the only bad workout is the one you don't start!
Debs brought enough motivational words of encouragement and bags of enthusiasm to carry us all through it! It ended up being a really good laugh and I was proud that I'd put in my best effort and made it to the finish line!
After breakfast we made our way further into the mountains to a gorgeous beauty spot. A short hike up some well laid out paths and steps and we were at the foot of some gorgeous waterfalls.
There were places to sit and relax and take in the scenery (it was very hot so I found a little cave to watch the world go by and people watch for an hour!), places to swim and places that were deep enough to jump in from platforms!
We took a plant shack packed lunch (my avocado sandwich was incredible) and we spent a lovely few hours here.
It was still super hot, so Josie did a gorgeous routine of partner-based restorative yoga. It was such a lovely way to end the trip, working together, breathing and stretching. A real bonding experience as the sun went down over the mountains.
Evening meal out
Once we had all had chance to shower and get our glad rags on, we drove down to the local beach were there is a lovely restaurant for tapas and paella.
Victoria, Josie and me ready for dinner
Drinks were had, certificates were given out (I was awarded the certificate for respecting my boundaries. Lol. Mainly because I like to go to bed on time and I like to sit on my own in caves at beauty spots!! - in the past I would I have taken this to mean I was a rude bitch but I now I take it as a huge compliment - put your own oxygen mask on first and all that!), stories were told and bellies hurt from laughing.
We all shared 2 stars and a wish (ie 2 things we loved and a thing we wish we had - I said the hike and the people were my stars and I wish I'd done a bit more swimming at the waterfalls!) and bonded a bit more. It was a lovely last meal before early flights and goodbyes the next day. A great way to end.
I left everyone there when it was my bedtime, of course. Boundaries and all that!
I loved it. As I say in the pod with Josie - I've never done anything like this before and I'd definitely do it again. Here why I loved it so much:
1. It was all planned for me - as mums we do a lot of planning and looking after others. I just had to turn up at the right time and not think beyond what I should be wearing!
2. The people were wonderful - Josie called it Tribe Vibes in the podcast and also pointed out that as adults, how often do we really meet new people or make new friends?!
3. It was active. A few weeks ago I asked on my stories what holidays do people like: Beach, City or active. The majority said City or Beach and before this retreat I would have agreed. But now I'm like, get me up that mountain!! (as long as there's some beach too! Or a city roof top pool, not fussy.)
4. I've taken a lot of positivity home with me - the purpose of training is sometimes to just get through it! One step in front of the other, creating new habits that don't take a lot of time but create big results if you keep doing them. I want to keep doing them.
I'll leave you with some words of wisdom from coach Debs..
I asked her if she has a philosophy that keeps her motivated to workout. This is what she said...
"I’m basically motivated by enjoyment of what I do and the benefits I feel from doing it! I enjoy working hard and pushing myself, so going to the gym doesn’t feel like a chore, and I love being strong.
"For me health is a much better motivator than aesthetics - but that comes as a byproduct anyway!"
I like that - it's going in my inspiring quotes spreadsheet!
If you'd like more information about the next Wellness Retreat, you can message Josie through the Instagram page here (she also had information on the grid and teasers reels for what you can expect!).
I've also been chatting with loads of Mums' Days reader who would be interested in doing a Mums' Days Wellness Journeys Retreat - we're currently exploring April 2024, so get in touch asap if you'd like to express an interest in that! You can email me [email protected] or DM through Facebook or Insta.
You next time!!!