Reflection on our September Training Retreat in Crete
My partner Paul and I are fortunate in life to do what we love. With both of us spending many years in the academics, traveling, and working in the corporate world, our true passion became clear as we both turned to helping people to be fit, both physically and mentally.
In May, we went to scout our new retreat location in Crete, a Greek island known for its purest Mediterranean diet. We were blown away to discover beautiful landscapes, warm climate, fresh food, and welcoming people, particularly in the Southwest part of the island, around Palaiochora. We hired a car and drove many small roads with the aim to select the best routes suitable for road cycling, while offering incredible views of the endless greens and blues but also presenting us with various physical and mental challenges.
Our offering for this training retreat consisted of bringing together Paul's expertise in road cycling, swimming, and running, and my focus on sports nutrition, yoga, and GyrokinesisⓇ, creating a solid foundation with the best conditions for a successful execution.
Our September retreat group brought together a group of 5 amazing individuals and successful working professionals, who grew into a strong and supportive team throughout the retreat and after. Every day offered us numerous challenges as well as many incredible triumphs. We started the day with a swim in the sea led by Paul, then a GyrokinesisⓇ session on the beach, followed by a nourishing breakfast at our beach café. Our breakfast menu was developed based on a carefully selected nutritional guidelines aimed to provide sufficient energy and nutrients for the ride to follow. We began riding our selected route late morning, followed by a pre-lunch break for a coffee/water, later on stopping for lunch at the most beautiful personally selected tavernas, and returning to our base after the ride led by Paul.
I recommended adding electrolytes to our water bottles during rides, with my preferred brand being Thorne Research's Catalyte. We discouraged consuming excessive amounts of coffee to avoid cramping. For extra Magnesium support, I recommended adding Nutri Advanced's MegaMag Muscleze post-ride for recovery. Additionally, lunches were heavier on healthy carbohydrates to provide energy for the afternoon ride, and dinners always included a fresh fish to aid muscle damage repair and provide anti-inflammatory support.
Our group, consisting of both new and more experienced cyclists developed many new skills that one just cannot learn in a spin studio. Being aware of the environment, the road and weather conditions, other cyclists and cars on the road (even though there were very few that we encountered) are just a few of the things one learns. Being aware of the bike's reactivity when clipping in, approaching fast downhills, taking sharp turns, stopping without falling over, sipping water while riding, all provide a set of skills one cannot learn in a spin studio. Our group experienced it all and every single one of them made incredible progress towards building more strength, resilience, and courage.
Afternoons were all about soaking up the sun, swimming in the warm sea, joining my yoga session, followed by a nutritious dinner at one of the local tavernas. The GyrokinesisⓇ and yoga sessions provided a complementary therapy to cycling focusing on the spine, hips, and lower back. GyrokinesisⓇ, in particular, is the most effective form of healing movements that I have ever experienced and I can't recommend this practice enough to my clients.
Although everyone felt strong and full of energy throughout the retreat, we offered a day-off from cycling and our group went to explore one of the nicest hikes on the coast, with a 16-km trek to Sougia where they relaxed on the beach. We were also lucky to have the opportunity to join a 5-km run organised by the Palaiochora's trail running team where we competed with many others in this 4th annual event. Plus we all earned a medal!
In closing, I wanted to thank our group, Anja, Rup, Steph, Ed, and Dai for such incredible energy. I wanted to thank everyone in Crete that supported us, cooked for us, and took care of our bikes. If you are reading this post, I hope to see you on our upcoming training retreats and I look forward to meeting you! For a sneak peak on what our retreat was like, see the video below.
With love, Hana