Health: Luxury fitness boot camps aim for holistic approach to feeling good

IT SEEMS like an oxymoron, but the reasoning behind a luxury boot camp such as the re:boot camps being run at Farleyer Lodge, Aberfeldy, is that participants are much more likely to make progress with fitness if they are comfortable and well looked after.

The single-day, four-day or week-long courses run by Anne Hunter and Gill Penfold combine a healthy diet with a flat-out exercise regime and classes in nutrition, grooming and personal styling to give a holistic approach to looking and feeling better.

Ignoring the comments from colleagues about my participation turning it into an Old Boot Camp, I signed up.

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The venue is stunning, a laird’s house in a rural setting with views over the immaculate gardens to the rolling countryside beyond. The bedrooms are grand; some have four-poster beds and equally large bathrooms; no bunkhouse accommodation here.

Before the first exercise session participants submit to a machine which not only coyly prints out their weight, but their percentage of body fat and where it is stored, their ideal weight, how many calories their body needs at rest and, most fascinatingly, their metabolic age.

With participants inspired by this information, the exercise begins. Circuits on the lawn with weights, tyres and getting down and dirty in a commando crawl was tough, but personal trainer Gill is firmly encouraging without being withering and you are allowed to go at your own pace. The six classes a day include a mix of modern Callanetics, a hill climb, boxing and yoga. After the first day you can certainly feel the difference in long-unused muscles.

The menus have been devised with nutritionist Tara Inchbald Holt. The dishes served, such as beetroot, hazelnut and pear salad, celery and cashew soup or falafel with tahini, are truly delicious despite being free of salt, sugar, dairy or wheat. Snacks of nuts, smoothies and fruit are eagerly anticipated throughout the day and are dished out regularly to keep up energy levels. I even looked forward to my hot water and lemon with sliced apple first thing in the morning.

Tara’s nutrition workshop is fascinating and horrifying in equal measure but replacements for the food baddies were passed round to try. The super foods of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar in particular will be incorporated into my home diet.

Stylist Kelly Cooper Barr takes a class on dressing for your body type, there is a session on grooming and a taster tutorial in cooking some of the dishes you have enjoyed; all designed to encourage you to carry on the good work when you leave. By that time you will almost certainly have noticed big changes and be inspired by the results.

• Prices range £60 for a one- day course, £460 for four days all-inclusive in a shared room, to £1,140 in a single room with en suite for a week. The next four-day camp is 12-16 October, for more information tel: 0131-344 0376 or go to