Posts Tagged ‘retreats’

Dispatches from the caffeine-free front line

June 5, 2018 at 12:54
Posted by Rachael Woolston

I confess. I’m a coffee addict and I love all coffee, espresso, Americano, even cappuccino although my favourite is a short Cortado or a freshly brewed espresso pot in the morning. Yet, despite all that, I gave it up in April. 

Why? Because I asked my clients to go caffeine-free for our Transform Six week Challenge and so I thought, if I was asking them to do it, I should too in support (the fact that I was the ONLY one to do so however, will be something I’ll raise with them all!).

There were a few more reasons too, the fact that I always needed to run to the toilet as soon as I had a coffee (perhaps lactose and caffeine related) and because I had this general idea that I was perhaps drinking a bit too much.

What is too much though? Well, I’d always have one first thing in the morning before I was coaching at 5am, although in truth this would usually only be a few mouthfuls, then one when I got home, and perhaps another couple in meetings or to keep me awake. Doesn’t sound much, right?

Yet, on the first week of giving up, my headaches were just AWFUL! And the desire to drink coffee was like a terrible itch that wouldn’t go away.

It’s funny because, over ten years ago I went to Portugal to write about a juice retreat for The Metro newspaper, where I had to give up not just coffee but food too (lots of juices and broths). But I didn’t get any headaches then and I was drinking similar amounts. And I think that’s because the world of coffee has changed hugely since then.

Back then, you’d get a bit of a weak coffee from Pret and that was about it. For Londoners in the know, Flat White, the Kiwi coffee shop on Brewer Street was the first of it’s kind. Now, there are coffee shops selling fantastic coffee on every street corner (sometimes three within a few shops of each other) and it’s MUCH stronger than it used to be. Everything from how it’s roasted, the blend, the type of coffee bean ALL effect the amounts of caffeine.So whereas a Pret coffee might give you a light buzz, nowadays most coffee will have you gabbling and firing through emails as if you’ve had a shot of something far more illicit than coffee.

Indeed, The Food Standards Agency guidelines released in 2008 recommends 400mg for the average person, about EIGHT cups of coffee. I’d be a gibbering wreck on eight cups!

And another reason why coffee is so hard to give up is because coffee shops have come of age, they’re cool, nice places to hang out so they’ve become a social occasion, somewhere to meet friends instead of going to the pub, a place to go for meetings, hell, even a place to sit and work, where means buying coffee. Which all means that my first three weeks were hell.

While alcohol-free drinks have finally started to move on (Erdinger is my favourite) alternatives to coffee in cafes have not. Decaf coffee, I hear you cry. Well, yes, but I’ve definitely had a buzz of some decafs too which I shouldn’t have done. And if I’d kept the ritual of coffee drinking, I think it was only so long before I’d slip back.

So, what have I drunk instead? I started off having fresh cinnamon sticks in hot water which is really nice, then lemon and hot water and lots of pepper mint tea. I’d have almond milk chai lattes in coffee shops and nip to a juice bars for nut milk based drinks. Delicious, but both are expensive and often full of sugary items.

But gradually, day by day, I found peppermint herbal tea was enough.

It was my intention to return to drinking coffee at the end of our last six week course but then something weird happened. On the last week, when I taught four mornings which required me to get up at 5.15am, and then work all day (often writing features for national magazines) before coaching until 8pm at night, I realised I felt more alert, awake and free of that horrible feeling of being wired WITHOUT coffee.

So, now eight weeks on, I’m still largely caffeine free except for the occasional sip that I steal from my partner’s cup in the morning (I’m not THAT virtuous). The hardest thing now about not drinking it now the craving has gone is the social side; having a coffee after a bike ride, meeting a friend, going for a hot drink and a croissant (shhh!) after an open water swim. I’m not sure the solution to that yet but I’m going to try and fine one.

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Reboot Lewes

September 19, 2016 at 6:15
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Two courses: 6.15am-7am for the very early birds, or 7am-7.45am for the early birds

Join us at our BRAND new small group healthy eating and fitness course in Lewes. Three sessions per week of fun, effective exercise sessions taught in a small group environment so you get the chance to experience personalised training with expert female coaches. With a complimentary eating plan.

As featured in Viva magazine. Nab our introductory offer of £60.  Visit the Schedule and booking page for further details.

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Boost your body confidence in a week

August 4, 2016 at 4:02
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Moving your body, setting achievable fitness and healthy eating goals AND reaching those goals are all positive steps that contribute to making you feel body confident. And that’s what our focus is in our one week fitness and healthy eating blasts every week during August in Brighton & Hove, Worthing and Lewes


What is the single biggest obstacle in getting fit and healthy? Often your own mind telling you, ‘No, you don’t have time to get fit so what’s the point of only running once per week, you may as well not bother.’

Or, ‘I’ve just eaten a doughnut. Oh, what’s the bl**dy point now? I might as well forget about eating healthily I’ve got no will power.’

Yep, that big, massive obstacle that gets in your way of getting fit and eating healthily is all too often, you. But it doesn’t have to be. Creating the right environment where you no longer need to rely on will power or motivation is how we help you to transform yourself.

Throughout August, we have one week courses for all levels (whether you’re a new mum, a get fit quick for holiday type, a fifty-plus woman who doesn’t feel catered for by usual fitness companies, or a super fittie who needs some inspiration). All you have to do is turn up, we provide the personalised support, the coaching expertise, the eating plan, the online support via Instagram and Twitter and – most importantly – the fun, camaraderie and support.

Here’s what one of our clients, Nicole had to say about her first experience of a Fitbitch camp on our newest launch in Worthing…

My course with Fitbitch in Worthing was encouraging, motivating & inspiring. I’m loving new experiences, I feel more confident and I’m hugely inspired by the instructors & other members of Fitbitch who are also achieving their own amazing goals. I loved all of it, the variation, the challenge and the fact that I’ve met some fabulous ladies!

Worthing in August runs Mon, Weds & Fri – w/c 8th and 15th August, £40 with 10% discount if booked together

Lewes – NEW LAUNCH w/c 22nd August

Queen’s Park & Hove run Mon – Friday, w/c every Monday in August, £60, with discounts when booked together

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5 ways to successfully reset your fitness mojo

February 17, 2016 at 1:14
Posted by Rachael Woolston

It can sometimes feel like winter hangs on forever, dragging you into a habit of  no exercise and overeating. Want to kickstart your fitness mojo? Here’s how…


If you like who you work out with, you won’t need willpower to get you out there getting fit

Get support

Willpower? Pah! If you get the right support in terms of a training partner, real or virtual, you don’t need to rely on willpower. Even the coaches here at Fitbitch, whose job it is to be fit, would struggle without the help of others. So, don’t feel useless if your decision to get out and exercise the night before crumbles into a pile of dust come morning. It’s NATURAL.

The trick is to arrange to meet someone, sign up to a running community or do a fitness class where you know and like the people you are going to be training with. And this last bit is crucial…you can go to a fitness class because you know it’s good for you, but you won’t keep going unless it’s fun and you like the people you’re working out with. It is as simple as that. So if you’ve tried exercises classes before and not managed to stick to it, it’s not because you don’t have any motivation, it’s just that you haven’t found the right one for you yet. Keep trying.

Sun Rise Energy

Ok, we know this might sound a bit hippy but the mornings are getting lighter with sunrise inching forward by up to two minutes per day. Nothing is more guaranteed to help you feel motivated than seeing the glowing sun pop into the sky.

Set yourself a goal

Whether it is something as simple as accomplish your first push up, lose four pounds, run a marathon or take on your first triathlon, having a goal to work towards which enables you to track your progress makes all the difference in staying motivated.  All the clients who book our courses are invited for a one to one session where we help them assess a target that means something to them. Although even those who don’t do our courses can be part of our free Challenge community.

Get yourself a habit

It sounds counterintuitive but the easiest way to get your mojo is to do some form of exercise every day. It will take an effort to begin but if you just schedule in sometime in your day, every day where you have to commit to doing something, you will soon find that you don’t feel right if you don’t.

Last month, we challenged our community to run every day in January and in February we set them a flexibility challenge to do every month. All of them have either children, a job, their own business or all of the above but they have accomplished it simply because they have committed to it and have scheduled it into their day, either straight out of bed, in between making the dinner and serving it or after the kids have gone to bed. Even if it’s just 10 squats per day for one month, you will feel the difference in motivation and your sense of achievement.

Sign up to  InstaIMG_1830-2gram

OK, so the whole fitness selfie thing has gone a bit overboard of late. But if you’re new to exercise or restarting, taking a photograph of your fitness workout every day or the meal that you
have made works as a fantastic visual journey of your progress. When you’re suffering from the doldrums (or a hangover) and are feeling like you don’t want to workout, look back over the month for a picture that inspires you and reminds you how you felt after your workout and it could be that one thing that helps you to lace on your trainers. (For inspiration you can follow us @fitbitchbootcamp)



Good luck! If you do need help with motivation, don’t miss our next four week course Fit Body Blitz starts February 22nd at Hove Lawns at both 6am or 7am.

Interested about courses in Queen’s Park, Worthing or Shoreham? Email us to get on our database and be the first to hear of our Summer launches. Our courses are only open to a maximum of 12 women per camp.

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DreamChallenge Diary: from sofa to Hollywood workouts

May 16, 2014 at 5:18
Posted by Rachael Woolston

When it comes to getting super fit fast, Hollywood celebrity trainers know all the tricks for their famous clients. So how did our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor fare on the Fitbitch Hollywood Bodies Camp?

The story so far

Bec Taylor won our Dream Challenger competition in February this year. Mission? To become fit, strong and confident. In just TWELVE WEEKS, Bec has gone from 15st 10lbs, with a body mass index of 32.6 to 14st 4lbs and a BMI of 29. Not to mention entering her first Sprint triathlon and Ostacle race.

I had no idea what to expect at Hollywood Bodies camp, with workouts based on those of  Hollywood A-Listers from J-Lo’s butt busting moves devised by her trainer Gunnar Peterson to some of Tracey Anderson’s workouts. I was more nervous this time round about the Hollywood Raw 5 eating plan, based on eating raw, organic food five days out of seven.

On the one hand, I was thrilled about NOT  having to cook (I’m no Jamie Oliver) although there was more preparation involved that I expected. Within the first week, my body started to detox as it got used to no sugars and toxins with a headaches. It was tough at first but once I got into the swing of it, I became a dab hand at mixing fruit and vegetables together and blitzing soaked nuts into nutritious, yummy meals. I even made home-made muesli, (raw) carrot cake and (raw) ice-cream!

As for camp, it was completely new again from things I’d done in the previous camps, with a  mix of celeb workouts, including the Jennifer Garner, Hunger Games sessions, and the Million Dollar Baby boxing sets, courtesy of Hillary Swank. Brilliant fun, challenging and effective.

By the end of four weeks, I’d lost another 7lbs and a further 23cms off my body. That’s 1stone and 6lbs in 12 weeks. But it is nothing compared with the difference all of this has made to my life in general and self esteem.

I used to find it a struggle ot feel awake for my 7am log in time for work. Now, by the time I’ve logged in, I’ve done an hour’s  workout, I’ve walked the dog, made myself a poached egg with spinach and fresh juice and I’m raring to go.

I feel so confident with how much I’ve achieved that I have signed up for 2 races. This weekend I am doing the Votwo Kamikaze race, a four mile obstacle race involving trail running, water slides, and cargo nets, with two of my other Fitbitch campers.  And I’ve also signed up for the Ardingly Sprint Triathlon on the 1st June, which Fitbitch are doing free tri girls beginner training.

It IS scary but they are out weighed by the thought of how happy I’ll feel once I’ve acconmplished these challenges. Once upon a time, not long ago, I would never have thought capable of doing anything like this. But every day at camp, I think ‘Oh, I can’t do that,’ and then I do.

My only regret? Not starting on this path years ago.  I used to use every excuse in the book to avoid regular exercise; ‘I’m too tired.’ ‘I feel ill, I’ll wait until I feel better.’ ‘I’m too busy.’ ‘I’ll embarrass myself.’ ‘I’ll be the biggest there and boot camps aren’t for me.’

On every count, I’ve been proved wrong. Despite getting up for a 6am class, I feel more energised, I work more, sleep better and, I might be the biggest at camp but I’ve had nothing but support.

As for the Hollywood Raw 5 diet, I’m glad to get back to a protein rich diet but I’ve learned a lot. I’m now a lot more aware of the need for healthy fats and that I love juicing. Before Fitbitch, I ate sandwiches, crisps and snack bars. I couldn’t cook.

Now, I can cook things that actually get likes on Facebook.

The feedback I’ve had from friends, family and the other women I train with has been overwhelming.  Everyone keeps saying that I’m inspiring. But I think anyone can do this. You just have to start.

To read about Bec’s triathlon journey from total beginner to a sprint tri, return in June. Her first session involved 20mph winds and riding a bike too small for her with the brake pads rubbing.







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