There’s no need to spend your life savings on a swanky fitness retreat in Santorini, we’ve got some pretty awesome training backdrops here in the UK that you can do on a budget.
I’ve been on a few training camps and fitness retreats in my time – the 6am alarm calls, portion sizes that wouldn’t feed a sparrow, the packed schedules. Don’t get me wrong I had an unforgettable time and they get the job done, but they also cost a small fortune and don’t feel like much of a rest from the big city. So after a long stint with no proper holiday, a few months of not clocking any serious training and a budget that wasn’t going to stretch to taking me trekking round South America, I decided to do my own fitness holiday here in the UK. Here’s the rundown.
I stayed in an awesome little cottage near Kirby Stephen where the Lake District meets the Dales so that I had the option to explore both. I could spend hours telling you how ace it was but instead I’ll just let you have a look at the photos.
Awesome right!? The roll top bath was perfect for a post run soak. We split the bill so it was £175 for a full week. The Cow Byre was lovely but there are also loads of other great little cottages scattered all over the Lakes. If you’re on a shoestring budget get a bigger group together to hire somewhere a bit bigger and split the costs.
Because we went self-catered we ended up eating in most of the time, with the log fire on and feet up! We planned all of our meals at the start of the week and did a big shop which worked out about £40 each for the week. We splashed the cash on a mountain of Texas Joe’s Beef Jerky so you could easily manage to do it on much less, especially if there’s a big group of you.
For breakfast, we made our own smoothies. My favourite is banana, strawberry, almond milk, unflavoured protein and phD Woman Green and Berries. I’m anaemic so powdered greens is a great way of getting in some extra iron.
For lunch and dinner, we had all sorts. I made roasted butternut squash and chilli soup at the start of the week which was super cheap and awesome emergency food when I was too ravenous to contemplate cooking anything. I also cooked up a big roast at the start of the week to keep us going.
We also brought with us a stash of Quest Bars (the cookie dough ones are my favourite) and Montezuma’s Lordy Lord Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs (awesome stuff!) which kept me going up some of the hills. If you’re planning some long hikes you’ll probably be gone a good few hours so make sure you’ve got a stash of high energy supplies including some emergency extras.
We mixed it up. We were mostly hiking and running but we also did some strength, circuits and HIIT – both at the cottage and while we were out and about. Here are some of my highlights.
Hiking and Circuits, Ambleside on Windermere
Ambleside is a quaint little tourist village on the banks of Lake Windermere, with loads of awesome hiking and running routes nearby. In the summer, you can also hire little wooden rowing boats which make for some pretty cool alternative training!
We also set the suspension trainer up on the side of Windermere and did some circuits. The suspension trainer is a great one to carry with you for a spontaneous training session. My one is from 66Fit and it was cheap (only £18.55 on sale at the moment!) and it’s super light so I just carried it about in my rucksack until we found a spot. We did a combination of rows, push-ups, pec-flyes, jump squats and jack knives against a pretty ace lakeside backdrop.
Hill Session, Pennine Way
We headed to the Dales for a hill session along the Pennine Way. We only clocked 6 miles but the hills and the boggy ground make it feel like it was about 30! We finished it off with a pint of local ale at The Tan Inn, Britain’s highest pub!
Running, Buttermere Lake
To say Buttermere is off the beaten track is a bit of an understatement but it’s well worth the hair-pin drive. It’s not as touristy as Ambleside. While it was uncharacteristically busy because the BBC were there filming a 6 part series, it’s normally the perfect place if you’re after peace and quiet. The path loops the whole way round the Lake and is relatively flat so is a great one for an easy run. There is also an awesome little farm café at the start of walk if you fancy a cuppa and a scone on your way home!
This was my highlight. We walked from Padderdale, a little village at the bottom of Ullswater, up to the top of Place Fell. It was only a 500m climb but it was still pretty hard graft. The views at the top made it more than worth the effort.
I didn’t do Scarfell and Hellvelyn this time round but they are both worth a visit. The pub food when you reach the bottom isn’t too bad either!
Need some more inspiration on how to make your own fitness retreat on a budget? Checkout Charlotte’s advice here: http://lungesandlycra.co.uk/diy-your-own-fitness-retreat/
Any recommendations for spots to visit in the Lakes or top tips for a DIY fitness retreat drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or share them with us on social.