Does your health and fitness need a kick up the gluteus maximus? This self-care weekend retreat in Yallingup is all over it.
It’s been a while since I went on a wellness and fitness weekend. But it wasn’t so long ago that my body, health and fitness levels were tight. I exercised regularly, often daily and reaped the benefits of good cardio and good overall health. Working out didn’t hurt (much) and I enjoyed it. Until I didn’t.
When I moved to the Margaret River region in 2016, I let my fitness go. Sure, I would walk the Busselton Jetty or go to a yoga class occasionally but I rarely bothered doing anything more strenuous. I’m naturally petite and thin but I eventually became aware of my weight gain when my favourite denim shorts no longer fit around my muffin top.
When I was invited to a wellness and fitness weekend called Revive Retreat at Smiths Beach Resort in Yallingup, I was excited to see what it was all about. Once I got there, my excitement turned into shock horror as my body continued to let me down. Here’s what happened.
Revive Retreat Day 1 – The Awakening
I arrive to Smiths Beach Resort a little late. I have no idea where I am staying or how the wellness and fitness weekend is organised. For once, my plan is to go with the flow (I’m a serial planner so this is not my usual attitude).
Adam McWhirter, the resort’s general manager helps carry my luggage to the 3-bedroom villa – a level of customer care that does not go unnoticed. I’m on a good roll with great hotel managers as this is my second hotel stay this week.
I meet the hosts: Sarah, a health coach and Katie, a personal trainer and the other retreat guests mid-way through the circle of trust introductions. I hate being that person (late to the party) so I quietly observe and when it’s my turn to speak, I don’t elaborate on my reasons for attending or my own personal health battles. Bottom line: I’m here to experience what this wellness and fitness retreat is all about. And I hope it includes lots of massage*, beauty treatments and rest. (It doesn’t. Keep reading.)
After our brief ‘getting to know you’ stage, Katie announces that we were going for a hike. In my room (I actually have the entire downstairs of the villa at Smiths Beach Resort to myself) I find a welcome bag with a Revive singlet, workbook/cookbook, fitness day-planner, a bar of lemongrass soap (lovely btw), a vial of face serum and a metal water bottle. ‘Nice touches’, I think as I put my pink Asics on over brand new socks.
The six of us (4 guests + the 2 hosts Katie and Sarah) set off on foot to Canal Rocks, 2.8 kilometres away. It’s not a hard trek but because I had had an asthma attack 3 days ago, I don’t want to push myself. I stay at the back of the pack and chat off and on to the others. Walking in nature is a great way to connect and bond with like-minded peeps. With each step, I feel more comfortable with these strangers I’m about to spend a weekend with.
When we get back to the resort, it’s straight to a yoga session with another Katie in the resort’s conference room. Although I’m well-versed at yoga, I haven’t practised regularly since October. I keep it light and don’t over-stretch myself.
Back at the villa our hosts are into dinner prep. Katie and Sarah make all the food; some in the fully stocked kitchen, and some at their local homes. Tonight’s dinner is made in front of us: zucchini pasta with prawns. The garlic smells amazing even before it’s sautéed. Besides the addition of parmesan cheese, this is a paleo meal, served with a giant rocket, walnut and pear salad that begs me to go for seconds. We’re off to a great start with the food.
After a leisurely dinner, Katie and Sarah go to their own homes and leave us guests to enjoy the villa. The others, a farmer from Katanning who is also a doTerra rep and Bowen Therapy practitioner and a mother-daughter team who live in the South West head to their rooms. I linger in front of the fire for a bit but soon decide to go to bed as well. We all want enough sleep for tomorrow’s 7am gym session. I retreat to my king size bed downstairs and turn the lights off feeling blessed.
Revive Retreat Day 2 – The Yakka
I’m not thrilled to get up at 6am. It’s the weekend. I like to have zero morning responsibilities on a Saturday but whatevs, I get dressed and meet up with the others. Sarah fetches us in the car park and takes us to Katie’s gym in Dunsborough.
Katie’s already there with 2 fitness routines already planned out. I scan it and don’t think I’ll have much problem. The routines aren’t scary hard but after a few minutes in, they highlight how unfit I am. And that sucks. Katie and Sarah gently push but also adjust the workouts when I need semi-breaks. I stick it out and I’m stoked when it’s finished.
No rest for the wicked though. After a light breakfast and coffee at Grounded Wholefoods, we attend a yoga class with Katie the Yogi at her studio, Zen Den near the gym. I do love yoga – it’s really more my speed these days. #gettingold
The rest of day two is spent at Smiths Beach Resort where we get some downtime in the late morning and again after a cooking demo and deliciously healthy lunch.
The sun decides to make an appearance so I head to the infinity pool. Now, this is my idea of a weekend wellness retreat. I have the entire pool area to myself for the better part of an hour. The chillax spell is broken when the clock strikes 430pm: time to get ready for pilates.
Katie and Sarah spoil us at dinner by including wine. Now, this is not the usual at a Revive Retreat weight loss weekend but since everyone’s goals are not about losing weight (more about incorporating good routines and healthy choices), we share some local wine over dinner. Everyone knows I like Margaret River wine so I’m defo in my happy place now.
Revive Retreat Day 3 – The Pain and the Prize
We get a little sleep-in today – gym session starts at 730am. It’s a boxing session. Yesterday morning, I fully planned on skipping this but I hate to be a quitter so I force myself up and out the door. We’re back at Katie’s gym KT Personal Training and strapping on gloves by 7:35am. The rounds look complicated until I start doing it. Then my boxing experience comes back to me. Not that I ever did more than training with my MMA-mad husband and watch UFC. It’s been awhile and I’m rusty af. And it’s not long before I feel tired and nauseous.
My breathing is all messed up and I can’t keep up. I take a break to try to re-compose. Let’s face it, this part isn’t a walk in the park. I get back to it and finish up but I’m disappointed and a bit embarrassed by my fall out. I’m so glad when it’s over.
My Revive Retreat Wellness and Fitness Weekend Ends in Style
After Sunday’s boxing sesh we go to Shaana Cafe at Yallingup Beach. I’ve wanted to eat here for 2 years (it’s seasonal – that’s my excuse). It’s all decked out in inspirational signs and all things coastal. There’s a strong surfing vibe not just here, but all over Yallingup Beach. That’s why we are here after all. We’re going surfing.
To be honest, I’ve never had any interest in surfing. I have a fear of water and last year, I came way too close to being a drowning statistic (for the second time in my life). I’m sore as hell from working out in an unfit body but the sun’s out with force and the water looks so damn inviting. Plus all the surfy vibes are having a heady effect on me.
Crystal from Yallingup Surf School and our host Katie (she’s a former surf coach too) take us in the “lagoon”, a shallow, reef-filled part of Yallingup Beach after some surfboard training in the sand. When we enter the water I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this. But I do. And I catch a couple waves too. I’m completely in awe of myself and feel like I’ve finally become one of the cool kids.
A skydiving license, now surfing. All my Point Break dreams are coming true.
We have one last lunch at the resort, then say our goodbyes.
The wellness and fitness weekend went so fast that I wish it could last another couple nights (without the work-outs…lol). I may have struggled through the fitness part (my own damn fault) but I fully believe in and endorse a retreat like this one – as often as you can manage it.
Not only does it give you a kick up the arse in terms of health and fitness, it allows space in your life. We are all so damn busy these days and it’s really sad to see so many of us (especially women) burning out and stressing out. Or worse.
Unless we make, and take, the time to care about ourselves first, we will be no good to anyone.
Revive Retreat Yallingup Highlights:
- The healthy food. OMG, it was all delish.
- The accommodation. Smiths Beach Resort is classy, clean and close to the beach (stone throw).
- Breakfasts in cafes (okay, that’s more about food but…)
- Surfing. Getting out of your comfort zone.
- Meeting new people.
Katie and Sarah also host week-long retreats in Bali. How freaking awesome would that be? To learn more about their wellness and fitness retreats, or to book yourself in, see the Revive Retreat website.
For a luxury stay at Smiths Beach Resort (do it), book here.
*for the record, the lovely farmer, Danica from Katanning gave us all a short Bowen session, which was amazing and helpful.
Have you ever attended a wellness fitness retreat?
If the answer is no, I highly recommend giving it a go. If you’re amping for a weekend away that focuses on YOU, you’re in luck. Sarah & Katie offer retreats in Yallingup and Bali.
©All photos are my own unless stated otherwise.