As I previously mentioned, one of my latest travels was to Kenya. More specifically Watamu, a small village 20 minutes from the town of Malindi on the Kenyan coast and Indian Ocean.
This was my first trip to Kenya, and Africa for that matter, and I must admit I was quite nervous about going, as I had no idea what to expect. Coming from a first world country, I knew that I would see things I have never see before and that my eyes would be opened up to a whole new part of the world and way of life. Life there was indeed simple and minimalistic, and yet adults and kids looked happy and content. It was a beautiful area of Kenya (as you can see in the photos), and it was a great experience for me to go somewhere so unfamiliar and outside of my comfort zone.
However the reason I was in Kenya was not just to see the scenery and the country, but was actually to participate in a fitness holiday run by a British company called Wildfitness. I wanted to go on this trip as a challenge for myself both mentally and physically, and also to do something so completely different from what people expect from me. It was my first big adventure of this year!
Wildfitness is a company that was started by a woman called Tara Wood in 2001. Tara grew up in Kenya and her parents owned this house on the coast in Watamu. Their lifestyle was always focused on being outdoors, eating healthy fresh food, and being active. When Tara had friends come over to visit at the coast she noticed that they would always leave more rejuvenated, relaxed and energized than when they arrived. This gave Tara the idea to start these fitness holiday’s, so that people from all over the world could come and get the same experience and healing her family and friends were having. Wildfiness has had such success that it has now become one of the top fitness holiday companies in the world.
At Wildfitness they focus on the philosophy of wild eating, wild moving and wild eating. Which as stated on their website is:
- Wild Eating – eating the delicious natural foods that your body was designed to eat and which make you feel light, satisfied, energised and lean.
- Wild Moving – moving with skill & playfulness to develop a lean, strong, flexible & injury-free body.
- Wild Living – respecting your body’s natural rhythms of rest & recuperation to achieve results & stay healthy for life.
And having been there and experienced it first hand, I for one can say that you really do experience each of these three dimensions clearly during your stay there. It’s a program that really helps you to reset and refocus, because as is normal in daily life, we all get run down and get swamped by work, relationships, technology, and the demands of life. Thus in this environment by the Kenyan coast you get in touch with yourself, your inner drive & strength, and you reconnect with nature the way your body was always intended to be.
Wildfitness operates in 3 locations, which are Kenya, Andalucía in Spain, and the Isle of Wight. I chose Kenya because I wanted to be in a warm climate close to the ocean, and also to go somewhere completely different. In Kenya they offer three course lengths; the 9-day kickstart (which is what I did), the 2-week revitalize, and the 27-day long transformation course. It all depends on what you are looking to get out of the trip and the program, so obviously the longer you choose to stay the more changes, results and overall improvements you will see.
Thus what was the experience like? Well it was challenging and fun all at the same time. You get to meet great people, and in my group there were expats from all over the world working in all kinds of industries and countries. It was fascinating to listen to everyone’s stories over the 9 days. Since you are all in this unfamiliar setting, the group quickly bonded as a tribe and we managed to make even the hardest workouts fun. Everyone is cheering each other on and the support you feel was amazing. You are all in it together and that brings a certain type of camaraderie that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
The exercises were fun, hard work, yet sometimes still playful. The program is made so that there is a lot of variety in the exercises so that your body doesn’t know what to expect next. I have to say that the workouts were definitely not easy and really took all your energy at times. I don’t think there was one time when you weren’t dripping in sweat after a workout, and if you weren’t it was a clear sign you weren’t trying hard enough. However, the trainers were so encouraging and positive that it made you want to put in your very best effort. Even if your body was begging you to stop, it was mind over matter and you pushed yourself to give that little bit more, that last ounce of energy!
The exercises you do in Kenya are boxing, lifting, beach circuits, cardio circuits, hanging, running, swimming, volleyball, lactic acid test, and much more. My proudest accomplishment was completing a 4km swim across a creek, something I never would have thought I would or could do!
After all the workouts everyday (2-3 sessions daily), your body definitely needs rest, recuperation and replenishment. The food severed was delicious and so creative. It’s a paleo diet, so no dairy, processed food, grains, sugar, or caffeine, and it really helps you to detox from all the crap one tends to eat in our normal lives. People have often asked me, “Then what was there to eat?” Well the variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, and protein was amazing and always prepared in a different way. Not once did anyone feel deprived! My favorite thing to eat were these delicious, sweet and fresh mangos offered at breakfast. If I could find them as good at home, I would be in heaven. And along with proper nutrition, there was a strong emphasis on rest and relaxation. Trust me, after all the working out, you so appreciate any time you have to take a nap, sometimes multiple times a day!
So would I recommend Wildfitness to others? Absolutely!! I learnt so much about my inner strength and well as my physical strength, most importantly listening to my body and its needs. I saw improvements from the beginning to the end, and I just felt so much better within myself. It was such a wonderful experience and the people I became friends with there are wonderful. However, what I found most surprising is that the week after I got back and went to my normal gym, I actually missed working outdoors, the heat and the fresh air. That coming from me, who is the least outdoorsy person, is was quite a statement about the holiday. A testimony to the effectiveness of the Wildfitness philosophy and trainers!
Go check out their website and see if you are up for the challenge!