So this time was my turn to visit Epic Sana in Portugal. Neel was there last November for the Boot Camp and since then the team have developed a new program, the Epic Ultimate Reshape program, and I happily volunteered to go and test it!
In need of some me-time, with three kids, a busy job and with a bit of a belly after all the Easter eggs, this seems like the perfect program for me. A program to get back in shape, offering a combination of sports, a healthy diet, slimming treatments and some wellness workshops about a healthy lifestyle.
When driving to the hotel from Faro airport the roads started to become narrower and narrower and just when I started to wonder if I was going the right way, the Epic Sana Resort appeared right in front of me. To the right I can see the hotels of Albufeira, to the left the hotels of Vilamoura but the Epic Sana view offers nothing but pine trees, some gravel coloured cliffs and the Ocean ahead. My holiday can officially begin….
The first evening starts with a welcome dinner for me and my fellow reshapers. There are five of us in total, 4 ladies and a man. The first evening feels a bit like the last supper, we can eat from the buffet with tasty Italian spices, Carpaccio, risotto with prawns, pasta with Vongole and a delicious panna cotta to top it off. But we are warned not to eat too much, tomorrow at nine is the moment of truth….
So the next morning at nine we are all “analysed” and full measurements taken: weight, fat mass, muscle mass, metabolic age, waist line, hip line… The verdict: not too bad – metabolic age great, 26! (my real age is 41), weight is ok, but a bit too much fat and too little muscle mass. But don´t worry says André, our personal trainer, I am sure that by the end of the week we will be able to turn this around, together we will succeed, ¨no pain, no gain¨! That sounds promising….
The pain starts shortly afterwards!! After a light breakfast, André programmed a 7 km run up and down the cliffs along the coast, combined with some exercises; planking, jumping jacks, lunges, crunches and push-ups. O, and not to forget the famous Epic Sana stairs down to the beach, pffeww… The stunning views, clear blue skies and the sun on our faces ease the pain substantially, like this it is even quite enjoyable!
Our second meal of the day is a healthy snack, wholemeal pancakes with honey… is this a weight loss diet? This way of losing weight is fun! After the snack we do some stretching exercises and we can relax by the pool. In the afternoon we have a scrub and a Hydration treatment to prepare our skin for the transdermal mesotherpay sessions that are included in this program, 5 in total.
Transdermal mesotherapy is a cosmetic procedure that not only helps in eliminating cellulite or localized fat deposits, but also helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles (at least that´s what it promises). It is a non-invasive treatment which involves transdermal delivery of the chemical special composition. Once the mixture reaches the fat cells in the target area, it facilitates the rupture and break down of the adipose fat cells. This helps in removing the localized fat deposits. I am very curious about this treatment, if not a bit sceptical… You have to choose an area to focus on and can choose between slimming, anti-cellulite or firming. I choose my belly (after three kids I can use some help in this area), and focussed on slimming and firming. I do not expect a six pack after this week, but some cm of the waist would be an added bonus 🙂
After the treatment my consultation with the nutritionist is scheduled. She asks me for my eating habits and she also puts me on the scales. She agrees with the personal trainer, that I can reduce a bit on fat and should gain some muscle and she adjusts my diet in line with these goals. The diet is the same for all the participants (and consists of breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-supper) and is based on a low calorie diet (1800 calories per day in my case), yet the portions per person vary in correspondence with the recommendations of the nutritionist. The consultation is followed by the first wellness workshop about nutrition, given by the nutritionist. She emphasizes the importance of regular meals (6 per day, every 2-3 hours) and that it is important not to leave out any food groups, like for example carbohydrates. The key word is ¨Balance¨.
And Balance is what this program is all about; 3 hours of exercise per day with personal trainer André or Patricia (running, beach circuits, spinning, yoga, cardio circuits, trx, stretching etc.), 6 healthy and very delicious meals per day prepared by top chef Luís Mourão, some lazy reading by the pool after lunch, a slimming treatment in the afternoon and a wellness workshop to make sure you will continue a healthy lifestyle once back home.
We have four in total; about nutrition, how to prepare detox juices at home, a massage workshop about how to relieve your own stress and lastly a healthy cooking workshop with the chef Luís Mourão. The program is very complete and does not stop at your departure. The wellness team will send you a personalised health plan to follow back home (up to 6 months after your departure!), comprising of a personalised diet and work out plan.
But what really makes this program sooooo special is the dedication of the whole team. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner one of the team members joins the group, to answers questions, to see how everybody is doing and to just be there for all the guests. The team is super enthusiastic and dedicated and they make each and every participant feel special. They motivate, are strict when they have to be and are true professionals, each in their own field. But above all they are such nice people adding a personal touch and this extra bit to your stay at Epic Sana.
And so, after my 6 day intensive program at Epic Sana; JUDGEMENT DAY! Saturday morning 9:00, back on the scales. And the results are amazing!! I lost 2% of body fat, I gained 1 kilo of muscle and I lost 3 cm around the waist. And I am happy, not only with the results, but I feel rested, energetic and ready to head back home and face my busy life again.
I truly enjoyed my stay at Epic Sana and there is only one thing I would add: Just go and experience this program yourself. You´re worth it!!
For more information about the EPIC Ultimate Reshape program or any other of the program they offer at EPIC Sana Algarve Hotel, please click here.