I´m at SHA Wellness Clinic and what an absolute delight it is to be back again! I really love this place. It breathes wellness from the moment you step into the lemongrass scented lobby and see the welcoming faces of the reception team.
SHA offers so many different wellness programs, treatments and activities that it would be impossible to do everything during our short visits but as spring is already upon us and before we know it our summer wardrobe, and the beach, will be calling, I thought it´s time to get ready and start my preparations! So for this stay my focus will be on becoming a bit fitter and leaner ;-)…
SHA offers a large variety of (sports) activities, ranging from Pilates and yoga to kickboxing, aqua gym and hiking and I decide to try them all! As we all know being physically active is not just good for the body but destresses the mind as well. If you, like me, feel a bit ´down´ after the winter months, then doing sports is a great way to shake off those late winter blahs… So time to get in shape, to re-energize and to get some colour!!
Every week the SHA Healthy Living Academy publishes their activities in a weekly calendar. You can see which activities are on offer, what the difficulty rating is (beginner, medium, advanced) and if there is an additional cost or not. The majority of the activities are for free, just the cooking classes (because there are only 6 spaces per class) come at an extra cost.
I start my day with a Pilates class at 8:00. After a good rest in the super comfy SHA bed I am all ready to go! And it looks like I am not alone, the class is full, all woman, and all looking as equally enthusiastic to get their bodies moving (where are the men?!)….
Sencia the brilliantly enthusiastic Pilates teacher really takes her time to explain all the different exercises and postures, some ladies have some health issues and she makes sure everybody can participate at their own level. This makes it a great class for all and a great start of the day!
After a healthy breakfast we continue our day with a GAP class at 12:00 with personal trainer Iker. GAP stands for Glutes, Abdomen and Piernas (legs in English) and it becomes very clear that Iker takes his job seriously!! Lunges, crunches, jumping jacks, push ups, planking and more planking… and if half way through the class we are not tired enough, he gets out the steps for some cardio training! But Iker keeps on smiling (so we have to too) and the energetic music makes us keep on going until the very end….
For most people these two classes would have been enough, but….. I am here with a purpose so in the afternoon I have a personal training session scheduled with Luis. Another super enthusiastic and very professional personal trainer from the SHA team! He prepared a small circuit for me at the brand new SHA outdoor training section. Battle ropes, medicine ball, kettlebell, TRX…. No clue what this all means? Give it a try for yourself at your local gym and your muscles will never forget (or forgive you for) it 😉
By the time my training ends I am done for the day! I need some TLC and enjoy a lovely massage at the spa and relaxation afterwards in the saunas. It was tough, but I am really pleased with myself and look forward to day 2!
7:00 Rise and shine! There is a walk to the lighthouse scheduled for this morning!! I and my fellow participants get in the SHA transport that takes us to the entrance of the ´Parque Gellada´, a beautiful nature reserve located just 5 minutes away. The walk takes us along the beautiful coastline with breath taking views! It is a beautiful sunny day, ideal to get some colour on my pale office face.
It is sooo rewarding having breakfast after you have started the day with some exercise and for sure you enjoy and appreciate it more!
After breakfast Luis is ready for me again. This time he takes me to a room with two machines that initially look more like torture devices rather than training equipment! Uh oh, what can I expect here?! The machines are the two machines commonly used for private Pilates sessions, the Reformer and the Cadillac. Phew!! We start with some gentle warm up exercises but during the class the exercises get progressively harder. I move my body in ways I did not think possible. Luckily Luis is there to very patiently explain what I should do and what the exercises are for. After the class my body feels released of all tension and I feel 10 cm taller, hahaha!
In the afternoon there is a more relaxing activity available, a detox cooking class in the Chef´s studio. My body is thanking me for this little break ;-). The class is great! There are six participants, we all have our own burner on the big kitchen Island and ….. the chef teaches us how to make a detox kombu and sweet vegetable broth, a really healthy and delicious cabbage pressed salad and a detox smoothie with kale. During the class she tells us all about the different properties of the ingredients and how easy it is to introduce some of these cleansing products into our daily cooking. I will write another blog about this class, because it is too much information to put here, but sooo interesting that I don´t want you to miss it!
Ouuuuch!! My muscles are so stiff that I can hardly get out of bed. But I have to, because Nieves the Yoga teacher is ready for us in her Hatha yoga class. I seriously consider just not showing up but tell myself not to be a sissy and just to get on with it! Just one more day…. And what a good decision. The yoga class is marvelous, relaxing and soothing for my mind and body…
After breakfast I have second wind and am ready for more which is just as well as Luis is waiting for me again, this time with a kick boxing session!!! This is the class I have least been looking forward to, but it turned out to be my favourite! WOW, I discover some forces in me I had never imagined. ¨Let it all out¨ says Luis, ¨Don´t be afraid, kick as hard as you can!¨. So I do just that, and it feels great! This is such an adrenaline rush and makes me feel 20 years younger. If you go to SHA don´t miss this, it was the highlight of my trip!!
In the afternoon of day 3, my stay is coming to an end, but there is one more activity I would like to try, aqua gym. This sport has such a bad image, being for ´old´ people only, but I want to give it the benefit of the doubt. And I can tell you, I have never had so much fun doing a sports activity. It´s hilarious!! Fernando, our teacher, turns up with a speaker from which super loud 70´s disco music blasts out. But what is most fun about this class is Fernando´s´s enthusiasm. Most aqua gym teachers explain the exercises from the side of the pool, but Fernando just dives in with us and turns the class into a huge water party; he splashes, sings, jumps, runs and dances and we, of course, all follow!! Even the most serious guest is infected by his enthusiasm and in the end we all our drawn into it!
Although you would expect me to be totally exhausted after my three day stay, quite the opposite is true! I feel energized and ready to face daily busy life again. And what´s even better, I am all excited and motivated to start exercising more at home. Feeling the benefits of daily exercise in your body makes you realize this is something you should reward yourself with every day! So, I have started my own little daily routine. Some crunches, push ups and planking when I wake up and some relaxing yoga exercise before I go to bed. Super easy but with a great effect. I feel relaxed, energized and ready for summer!!
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Written by your SISters in Wellness Femke