The Benefits of Retreats and Escapes

Retreat: to withdraw, to retire, to pull back. Escape: to break free, to get away, to break loose.

So, a Retreat is a kind of Escape? I’ll leave you to decide that one!

In this, the 21st century, our lives are getting busier and even more crazy, despite all the technology that is supposed to make everything easier.

We are all looking for extra hours in the day, with the hope that eventually everything will become easier, happier and under control.

It’s impossible to create a 25hr day and if we could, we would fill it with everything we are doing now, juggling our work time, family and general day to day responsibilities.

For things to change we have to look at ourselves and the way we live our lives.

A Retreat, by taking you away from the stresses of everyday life will allow you to do this. It’s a time to recharge your batteries and bring new insights for a positive life change.

The feeling of guilt is often a barrier to people taking time away, and the more caring you are as a person the more these feelings emerge. Time to oneself isn’t selfish, it’s important to ‘self-care’. We all know when we’re tired and stressed our bodies and mind just don’t work well!

And OK some people may say “yes, but you take regular holidays”, if you’re holidaying with ‘loved ones’ it can be far from a relaxing experience, as I know only too well!

Retreats are not a new invention, they’ve been around for centuries and usually linked with personal and spiritual development.

Today we see more Retreats used as relaxing breaks without any spiritual input, others offer workshops, meditation and life coaching.

The Corporate World have also experienced the benefits of Retreats, many companies offering time away to problem solve and relax.

Each one of us is unique and no one Retreat suits all, in fact a Retreat does not appeal to everyone.

Sant Elia Fitness and Re-Style is offering a week-end Retreat in October for those who feel they have lost direction following a major life changing experience, feel overweight, unfit and generally stuck in a rut. Again, this isn’t for everyone but if you’re interested take a look at our website;, it could be the start of a ‘new you’.

A Retreat can be a very rewarding experience, much can be realised in a short time, a shifting of perception and a re-establishment of what really matters.

But, it’s important to understand that the benefits gained will be lost unless you you take action on your return home, that’s why Sant’Elia offers a month of regular contact and support following their Retreats, enabling you to go from strength to strength on your chosen path.





How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

One of the questions I ask my clients during our introductory assessment is, how many hours of sleep they get each night. But what does sleep have to do with our health and fitness?  A good sleep pattern is as important as a good diet when maintaining a healthy body and mind.

We all know one of the reasons we sleep, and that’s to give our bodies time to repair and rejuvenate. Lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart and kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and also obesity.

The majority of people I talk to exercise to control their weight, According to a report by Chicago University, those with a poor sleep pattern will lose more muscle mass and less fat than those dieters who are well rested. Not good, as it’s our muscle mass that keeps us strong, supports our bone structure and gives us the toned appearance we all long for.

Sleep not only helps our growth and development but is necessary for a heathy hormone balance, especially those hormones that affect our appetite. There are three major players in this group. The hormone ghrelin makes us feel hungry, the hormone leptin makes us feel full. When we are sleep deprived the level of ghrelin goes up and the level of leptin goes down therefore we feel hungrier than if we’d slept well.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the day after a late night out resulting in very little sleep….head in the fridge and continually snacking, sound familiar?

Insulin, is the other significant hormone, and responsible for regulating glucose/sugar levels, lack of sleep results in higher than normal blood sugar levels, which may increase your risk of diabetes.

So how much is ‘enough sleep’? According to Joe Friel (top U.S. coach) “aim for 6-7 hrs/night, if someone has to use an alarm clock, they haven’t had enough sleep, so go to bed earlier “

With the pressures of everyday living and not enough hours in the day, it’s often difficult to get a good nights sleep. But, you owe it to yourself, add it to your training journal;

‘In bed by 10pm and no use of ‘tablets’ for at least 30 mins before going to sleep.’

I’ve tried ‘ditching’ my phone, iPad and avoiding watching TV an hour before bed and it’s amazing how much faster I go to sleep. If falling asleep is a problem, find a way of relaxing your body and mind when in bed, perhaps some simple meditation, I’ve a great Buddhist practice that never fails.

Go on try it. Put sleep on your agenda, you’ll soon notice a difference, more energy, less stress, appetite under control, as well as looking and feeling great.