Tried and tested: The Matt Roberts Wellness Retreat at Gleneagles
When an email dropped into my inbox presenting me with the opportunity to spend a couple of days at the five-star Gleneagles on a wellness retreat, my immediate reaction was to reply, ‘Where do I sign up?’. It’s a good job I read on though, as my initial thoughts of lounging around in a fluffy dressing gown for a couple of days were quickly dispelled. On the itinerary was high intensity training, running drills, weight sessions and hill trekking. Certainly not for the faint-hearted. Yet despite visualising my sweaty, red-faced self struggling for breath and collapsing in a pathetic heap, for some inexplicable reason I replied, ‘I’ll do it’.
On arrival, I was introduced to personal trainer Matt Roberts then put straight into action with some dynamic mobility exercises – a series of stretches to limber up for what lay ahead. So far, so easy. Then he hit me with 45 minutes of high intensity circuits featuring burpees, sprints and lunges. A few minutes to ‘catch my breath’ (or attempt to control my panting and groaning) and it was onto a core session involving planking, yoga positions and a curiously named ‘armadillo’ move. Intrigued as to how one armadillos? Lie on your back, curl up and hug your knees as tight as possible then get a partner to try to prise your legs and arms apart. A great workout for the abs but impossible to do with a straight face.
We’d managed to cram all this into just one morning so it was a relief to head to Gleneagles’ Deseo restaurant for a beautifully prepared lunch. Before I could get too comfortable I was back on my feet and trekking up Ben Shee - a killer on the legs but totally worth the burn when I took in the view from the summit. By the time we returned, I’d earned my evening downtime – a massage at ESPA Life followed by a leisurely dinner in The Strathearn restaurant. Any other occasion I would have happily spent the evening sipping whisky in the Century Bar but my aching legs were telling me to call it a night and I was there on a health kick after all, so I was tucked up in bed by 10pm.
Day two was just as fast-paced as the first; a scenic morning run around the golf course followed by more strength training and core sessions. Matt Roberts was positive and encouraging throughout, nothing like the bootcamp drill sergeant sadist I’d imagined. That’s not to say he didn’t pick up on my weaknesses. It was clear from the weight session I wasn’t going to be winning any power-lifting competitions anytime soon. But Matt’s approach was to suggest exercises to address this, giving advice on how to improve strength and posture.
Was the retreat motivating? Absolutely. Did I go home and head straight out for a run? No, I’m not crazy. But once the aching muscles had calmed down I worked some of the exercises I’d learnt into a new regime and I’ve been sticking to it. Even the armadillo.
The Matt Roberts Wellness Retreat at Gleneagles is a three-day retreat running 30 September - 02 October 2016. It includes two nights’ accommodation in a Classic Room, all meals, two 55-minute spa treatments, one 80 minute ESPA Life wellness treatment, one trek, 11 fitness sessions and three mindfulness sessions. The retreat starts from a single occupancy rate of £1,350 per room for two nights, based on one person in a Classic Room. To reserve your place visit www.gleneagles.com or Tel: 0800 389 3737.
Words: Rebecca McCosh